Meet the 2017 Pearson Scholars

The Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship was created to bring exceptional students from around the world to study at the University of Toronto. We are pleased to announce and welcome these outstanding students as members of the very first cohort of award recipients.


Osman Afandiyev

Khazar University Dunya School
Azerbaijan

U of T Mississauga, Computer Science

"I was born in Baku, Azerbaijan. We are four children in our family. My parents are educated people: my mother is a teacher and my father is a dentist. I love playing piano, drawing animal pictures and play table tennis with my friends during my leisure time. I joined various computer science Olympiads held at school and beyond our school. I want to study computer science because it will help me to develop my analysing skills which I hope will be useful in achieving my goals. Moreover, while studying at the university, I would like to produce certain achievements in the various fields such as art and music. The reason behind my will of studying abroad is that I want to expand my knowledge and learn more about other cultures."


Shantal Al Habib

Anania Shirakatsy Armenian National Lyceum
Armenia

Faculty of Arts & Science, Life Sciences
University College

"During my journey of self-discovery as a Syrian-Armenian, violence and destruction broke out in Syria. This led my family and I to migrate to our country of origin Armenia where I began greeting citizens of my new 'home' in an otherwise strange language. Although I have come across many personal struggles, I have always been steadfast in my pursuit of advancing my knowledge in order to achieve my goals. This led me to gain admission to the IB Diploma Programme and maintain a high academic achievement level. During my tenure, I dedicated my hours to creating and spearheading projects that would help build my community as well as highlight internationalism and openness to new perspectives, which are the most important aspects when trying to become a citizen of the world. This generous aid will enable me to achieve my goals that I have so long been determined to accomplish."


Matthieu Fabien Wen Leung Chan Chee

Sir Abdool Raman Osman State College
Mauritius

Faculty of Arts & Science, Computer Science
St. Michael's College

"I'm Matthieu Chan Chee from Mauritius – a tiny island in the Indian Ocean. In our society, computer science is now omnipresent and my dream is to be among the computer engineers who will contribute to advancement in this field. Spreading knowledge is a practice I cherish and through computers, I would be able to do so and help people from all countries and backgrounds discover, rediscover, or further their passion, whether they want to be doctors, astronauts, chefs, or farmers."


Suehyun Cho

Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School
South Korean student in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada

Faculty of Arts & Science, Life Sciences
Trinity College

"My name is Sue (or Suehyun) Cho and I am from Korea. I arrived in Canada three years ago, and I have been living in St. Catharines since. I also spent my elementary school years in Singapore. I am enrolled in Life Sciences as a member of Trinity College, planning to major in biochemistry. I have a particular interest in social justice movements, whether they are related to gender equality, race, culture, religion, LGBTQ+, etc. Surrounded by one of the world’s most diverse populations as a study environment is my dream come true—I love meeting different people and sharing my experiences, so feel free to talk to me at all times. It is my sincere pleasure to spend the most memorable 4 years of my life amongst the bright minds at the University of Toronto."


Carey Davis

Algonquin Regional High School
Northborough, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

Faculty of Arts & Science, Social Sciences
Trinity College

"I am incredibly excited to be a student in University of Toronto’s Class of 2021! I am eager to call U of T and the city of Toronto my new home, 520 miles away from my state of Massachusetts. I plan on majoring in political science and economics in the Faculty of Arts and Science and hope to be a part of the community at Trinity College."


Alec Derry

The British International School of Houston
UK student studying in Katy, Texas, U.S.A.

Faculty of Arts & Science, Computer Science
University College

"My name is Alec Derry. Although I am a UK passport holder, I was born in Switzerland and have already lived in seven countries across three continents. Because of this I consider myself truly international. Both my parents are international educators and I feel very fortunate to have attended international schools my entire life. I believe this has given me an international and intercultural outlook on everything I do. I have been determined for many years that my degree focus would be computer science and when researching universities my top choice has always been the University of Toronto. I had hoped to be accepted, but never dreamed that I would be awarded the Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship. I am very grateful to have been given this incredible opportunity and look forward to beginning my next adventure in Canada!"


Khaled ElEmam

Alexandria International School
Egypt

Faculty of Arts & Science, Life Sciences
University College

"I am an Egyptian teenager who aspires to help as much people as possible and leave a positive impact on our world. If there is one thing that describes me it is that I always try my best to be the hardest worker in the room because hard work beats talent. I embrace challenges and regard them as a ladder to reach the next level of success. My main goal is to revolutionize cancer treatment to help curing cancer patients suffering all over the world. I will achieve my goal. Remember my name."


Sajini Judith Fernando

The Colombo International School
Sri Lanka

Faculty of Arts & Science, Life Sciences
Innis College

"I am currently studying at the Colombo International School, in Sri Lanka. I have always enjoyed helping others and combined with my interest in studying Biology and Chemistry, it is my passion to work in the field of medicine in the future. The various work and community service projects that I’ve carried out, have been really rewarding and I have learnt so much about the impact I wish to make in the future. I feel truly privileged to be given the opportunity to stand as one of U of T's Pearson Scholars for 2017, and I am very excited to join the University of Toronto. I look forward to working with equally passionate and extremely talented people, and being exposed to new ideas and new ways of thinking, so that I can achieve my dream whilst being in a better position to make a positive contribution in the future."


David Tobechukwu Halim

The Westside School
Nigerian student in British Columbia, Canada

Faculty of Arts & Science, Math & Physical Sciences
Woodsworth College

"I was born in Lagos, Nigeria on the 2nd of March, 2000. Thankfully, despite my status as the baby of the house, my parents resisted the urge to coddle me. In the fifth grade, when I was nine years old, I was enrolled in boarding school, a place where I not only maintained my high academic standards, I also matured and developed independence. Unfortunately, I had a lot of free time and not much to spend it on, so I turned to sports; I played soccer, ping pong, basketball and volleyball in school, and I golfed with my father and brother. After five years, my academic and non-academic achievements would earn me the opportunity to complete my education at The Westside Schools, a private school in Vancouver, British Columbia. Moving so far from family and friends would only be a major struggle initially; I quickly fell in love with Canada for its diversity, both culturally and geographically. I still only really speak one language, I still loathe running and I’m still the worst dancer you’ll never see dance, but my time in B.C. has definitely helped me grow into the man I am today. It was here in BC that I discovered a real love for numbers and data, as well as a strong passion for writing. It was through this love of Math that I would decide to become an Actuary, a career path that seemingly features everything I love about numbers. Despite knowing that finances would be an obstacle, I applied to various universities in Canada. After three great years in Canada with The Westside Schools, I know this is where I want to be for this stage of my life. With the Lester B. Pearson Scholarship, I fully intend to continue to develop as an individual, academically and emotionally. I can’t imagine many better places to do it than at the University of Toronto, and I can’t wait to get started."


Aftab Suleman Hirani

Aga Khan Academy
Indian student in Kenya

U of T Scarborough, Co-op Computer Science

"Hi, my name is Aftab Hirani. I will be majoring in Computer Science. My academic interests lie in mathematics, specifically calculus, and I am also passionate about basketball. I am on my school’s basketball team which is currently ranked fourth in Kenya and has qualified to play in the national tournament again this year. I was born in India, grew up in Kinshasa, D.R. Congo and currently study in Mombasa, Kenya. I want to pursue a degree in Computer Science because from a very young age, I liked to intellectually challenge myself by learning to code and applying it to create games, databases, apps and websites. Using the experience and skills I develop during my time at the University of Toronto, I want to be able to give back to the people of Kinshasa by implementing a project that aims to build the populations’ computer literacy skill. I have already seen glimpses of the positive impact of computer literacy on the youth in Mombasa through a project I created called Young Activists. Young Activists is a service project which aims to provide computer access to underprivileged students from a local school. It helps them build their computer literacy and educates them on the use of social media to create awareness of local issues."


Tajharae Jarrett

Hillel Academy
Jamaica

U of T Mississauga, Forensic Sciences

"I'm Tajharae, a recent high school graduate from Kingston, Jamaica. After completing the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme at Hillel Academy in 2016, I was compelled to take a year off from my planned route of studies to work and save towards my college experiences. I plan to pursue a career in forensic sciences in hopes of contributing to the reform of the judicial system in my country. I am honoured to be awarded a Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship and can't wait to join the U of T community!"


Chelsea John-Williams

St. Joseph's Convent, San Fernando
Trinidad and Tobago

Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering; Track One, First Year General Engineering

Chelsea John-Williams hails from the beautiful twin island republic of Trinidad and Tobago. She has been admitted to the Track One, First Year General Engineering program and is honoured to begin a new chapter of her life as a Lester B. Pearson Scholarship recipient at the University of Toronto. Chelsea is excited to immerse herself into university life and participate in the various programs and activities the university has to offer. She plans to leverage her degree to become an entrepreneur in her country.


Alessia Kettlitz

Atlanta International School
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.

Faculty of Arts & Science, Life Sciences
University College

"I am incredibly honoured and grateful to be receiving the Lester B. Pearson Scholarship and being able to attend the University of Toronto. I am an IB student who was born in Italy but I have now found myself in Atlanta, USA. Through my experiences in different countries and the IB program, I have developed a passion for service and the sciences, and thus am planning to study Global Health during my time at the University of Toronto. In the last few years I’ve engaged in creating global change by being a leader in my school community by raising funds for water projects in India. I have also recently travelled abroad to Kenya to aid in building a school. This summer I plan to travel to India for a month to develop my leadership skills further and learn about gender issues. I am extremely eager to continue my development as a leader and citizen of the world."


Maheen Khurram Khan

Lahore Grammar School Defence Phase V
Pakistan

U of T Mississauga, Social Sciences

"Hello, my name is Maheen Khan and I'm from Pakistan. I plan on majoring in Economics and Political Science. I've been a part of my school's model UN and debate team for a good part of four years, as well as being the head of my student council. I am absolutely fascinated by killer whales and marine animals of all sorts. I love volunteering and community building and have worked in New York and Texas with refugees and children from conflict regions. At peace camp, I got to experience being with people of diverse origins and cultures which gave me a better understanding of different cultures. There's a whole world out there, and I'm passionate about not ignoring it."


Katie Kwang

St Joseph's Institution International School
Singapore

Faculty of Arts & Science, Life Sciences
Victoria College

Katie Kwang was a scholar from St. Joseph’s Institution International Singapore, where she served as vice-captain of the debate team. Elsewhere, Katie has interned for Siloam Hospitals Indonesia, as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Education in Singapore. Her firm belief in the principles of diversity and inclusion have led her happily to U of T - a first-rate campus in the world’s most multicultural city. Through the Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship, Katie will aspire towards a future in public policy and research.


Miriam Lustig

Lowell High School
San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

Faculty of Arts & Science, Social Sciences
Trinity College

"I'm from San Francisco, and have been involved with my high school debate team, the Jewish community, and local politics and youth political engagement. In my free time I like to imagine myself a film buff and connoisseur of rock music. I will be part of Trinity College, and plan to study International Relations. I can't wait to join the amazing community at U of T!"


Ling Ma

Branksome Hall
Chinese student in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Faculty of Arts & Science, Social Sciences
Woodsworth College

"During the past seven years, I have travelled to four countries for my studies—China, Singapore, England and Canada. These multicultural experiences have helped me build my identity as a global citizen and become open to new opportunities. I always strive for excellence and have engaged in diverse co-curricular activities such as DECA, JUMP Math, CIBC Women in the Capital Market Job Shadowing Day, Rotman High School Market Simulation Challenge, RBC Ladies Who Lunch and won various math and music competitions. Also, my financial internship at CreditEase in Beijing and leadership experiences both in my school and communities have made me more dedicated, patient and collaborative. Based on my ten years of musical training in Guzheng (a traditional Chinese instrument), I organized the Asian Traditional Music Club in my school, with the goal of introducing instrumental playing and performance opportunities for fellow classical music lovers. My global educational experiences have made me recognized the importance of bridging cultures and the exchange of information. So, I shared my perspective with grade 10 students at the Beijing Foreign Studies University High School and would like to continue to develop global connections. As we say at Branksome Hall "keeping well the road", I believe the best is yet to come!"


Frances Grace McCormick

Naperville North High School

Naperville, Illinois, U.S.A.

Faculty of Arts & Science, Social Sciences

Trinity College

Frances Grace McCormick lives in Naperville, Illinois, and will graduate from Naperville North High School this spring. Through her school, she has channelled her passion for teaching by serving as a leader of the peer tutoring program. Grace’s other teaching roles include her leadership in the children’s service at her church as well as her involvement as a co-teacher of summer classes in creative writing. Grace enjoys reading and writing short fiction and received the NCTE Achievement Award in Writing for her work. She has also been recognized as a National Merit Scholar and an AP Scholar with Distinction. Grace is interested in studying public policy and has conducted independent research on the impact of faith-based organizations in prisons. Her other academic interests include Russian and Latin American languages and cultures. An avid distance runner, Grace has earned varsity letters as part of a nationally ranked cross country team. She is currently training to run her first (and likely her last) marathon this summer. Grace is excited and honoured to have received the Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship, and she looks forward to developing her academic and extracurricular interests through Trinity College at the University of Toronto.


Ksenia Meteleva

Pearson College UWC
Russian student in British Columbia, Canada

U of T Scarborough, Co-op Life Sciences

"My name is Ksenia Meteleva; originally, I am from Moscow, Russia but currently a student at Lester B. Pearson College UWC of the Pacific. I am a member of Pearson College Emergency Response Team and a leader in a community building project at a local secondary school in Victoria. In my free time, I am enjoying volunteer work, choir practices, and dancing. As I desire to serve society, I am looking forward to joining those whose daily job contributes to the creation of special mechanisms to deal with world issues for peace and sustainable future. My dream is to become a molecular biologist at the international level. At the University of Toronto, surrounded by bright minds who are as passionate as I am about innovation, intellectual exploration and collaborative work for positive change, I will be inspired to engage further with the world both intellectually and through considered action."


Emmanuel Murungi Mwebaze

St Andrew's School, Turi
Ugandan student in Kenya

Faculty of Arts & Science, Math & Physical Sciences
Victoria College

"I am Emmanuel Murungi Mwebaze, a Ugandan student who completed high school in Kenya. I am excited to be granted the opportunity to receive an education with a variety of academic options, as well as an emphasis on the depth of understanding to suit my own academic goals at the University of Toronto. Not only do I seek to major in Actuarial Science, I also desire to participate in the growth of this exciting profession in my country, as it is a largely unexplored field. Leadership is my passion, and I am currently taking the Oak Seed Executive Leadership course offered by the Institute of National Transformation, Uganda. My leadership journey is ever evolving, and I hope that the leadership opportunities at the University of Toronto campus will teach me how to be a more effective leader. I am grateful to be awarded the Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship, as it pushes me closer to realizing my dream of transforming my country."


Eiza Naveed

Beaconhouse School System
Pakistan

U of T Scarborough, Co-op International Development

"I am an aspiring global citizen who strongly believes in the ideas of universality and in the beauty of human connection. Through close observation, meaningful dialogue, and by immersing myself in a lifelong journey of learning, I plan on bridging the gaps between any two parties who share a common misunderstanding, be it ordinary citizens or (one day) world governments. I share my journeys of celebrating human diversity at walkingonwonder.wordpress.com, the first platform of many where I hope to raise my voice for celebrating and embracing the differences in the human experience. In the future, I wish to work on developmental projects with great minds from around the world, catering especially to the females and children in LEDCs, so as to create for more inclusive societies around the world."


Jacob Nazarenko

Boston University Academy
Swampscott, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

Faculty of Arts & Science, Computer Science
New College

Jacob Nazarenko is a student at Boston University Academy in Boston, Massachusetts. He is very active on his school’s robotics and rowing teams, and is a senior member and captain of both teams this year. He is passionate about programming, and has participated in multiple hackathons. He sees his future in the areas of artificial intelligence and autonomous systems development, and would like to focus on these fields in his college studies. In his spare time, Jacob enjoys making animations and visual effects, as well as playing the piano for his family and close friends. During the long New England winters, he enjoys going on ski trips, while in the summer, he enjoys hiking, biking, and fishing. He is always open to seeing new places, trying new cuisines, and even experimenting in the kitchen himself! In college, he looks forward to reaching new academic heights, participating in breakthrough research, and building new friendships.


Alexander Odartey-Wellington

Tema International School
Ghana

Faculty of Arts & Science, Social Sciences
Woodsworth College

"My name is Alexander Odartey-Wellington, a young, hard-working and passionate aspiring Economist from Ghana, West Africa. I am self-driven, intelligent, and highly-motivated and I cannot wait to give everything to positively impact the University of Toronto community. I enjoy engaging myself in community service and applying things studied in the classroom in practical ways. I am a budding leader who enjoys mobilising others to achieve set goals and to make a meaningful difference. My other interests include listening to music and playing a range of sports. For many years I have developed an eagerness and keen interest in solving the world’s problems, using economic theories. I hope to major in Economics and develop my intellectual abilities at the University of Toronto as well as pursue my ambition to own a Management Consulting firm and be a world acclaimed Economist. My dream is to one day design an economic model to accelerate the development of African countries, especially my country Ghana."


Leonardo Pinna Cosenza

The British School-Rio de Janeiro
Brazil

Faculty of Arts & Science, Social Sciences
University College

"Born and raised in the city of Rio de Janeiro – a "carioca" as citizens from Rio are called– I developed a critical outlook on the effects of inequality within my social surroundings. This keener eye stimulated my social engagement and dedication towards learning, which I believe are characteristics that are intrinsic to my personality. I studied at the British School Rio de Janeiro since the tender age of three, having graduated from the institution last year. As an international school student, I see the opportunity to study abroad as an important step towards the amplification of my cultural awareness. With my experience, I will take advantage of the global connections and multicultural academic environment offered by the University of Toronto to pursue a social sciences research career. By enhancing my academic knowledge, I wish to, eventually, propose my own models on governmental structure and policies, based on empirical research, aiming at instigating progress in my region."


Samantha Marie Ramphal

St. Joseph's Convent, Port of Spain
Trinidad and Tobago

Faculty of Arts & Science, Life Sciences
St. Michael's College

"I am Samantha Ramphal, an eighteen year old student from Trinidad and Tobago and the eldest of three girls. I attended St. Joseph’s Convent, Port of Spain and successfully completed the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) in June 2016. After graduation, I began working as a teaching assistant at a leading private primary school in Trinidad. I have a deep passion for Dragon Boat Racing and during my school career I had the honour of being the Captain of the Dragon Boat team and representing both my school and my country at national and international regattas. I was also given the opportunity to serve as a School Prefect in my final year, a position to which I was elected by both my teachers and peers. Additionally, I am an avid environmentalist and thoroughly enjoyed organizing beach clean-ups and promoting recycling through projects at school as the President of the Waste Wise Club. I attend Holy Mass with my family at St. Anthony’s Roman Catholic Church as members of the parish choir every weekend. I am privileged to be one of the recipients of a 2017 Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship. As a part of the Life Sciences program at the University of Toronto, I hope to take the first step towards my dream of becoming a Medical Doctor."


Muhammad Ali Sajid

Lahore Grammar School
Pakistan

U of T Mississauga, Social Sciences

"Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us…"

"Imagine a teenager staring intensely at the ‘pale blue dot’, poor eyesight perhaps playing a greater role than the power of the words behind this exercise – yeah, that’s me. If you haven’t guessed it already, I’m fascinated with space and the limitless possibilities it represents. In particular, of all things space, possible space settlements is the area which interests me the most and I have extensively competed in various regional and international settlement competitions, winning gold at the International Space Settlement Design Competition 2016. Space, however, forms just a small portion of the things that make me tick. Among other things, I love: reading painfully difficult but rewarding authors like Freud, Hegel and Nietzsche; designing costly and unfeasible prototypes; Greek mythology. Kendrick Lamar may have loyalty in his DNA but it seems that my DNA codes for adv-ent-ure. Every day, I wake up with the desire to learn something different and new and my home city, Lahore (pronounced ‘LA-hore’), has afforded me enviable opportunities in this regard. Not only have I been able to play a tiny role in strengthening the fledgling entrepreneurial ecosystem of the city in my capacity as the head of a national youth accelerator program but more importantly, I have been given opportunities to help other people through various community service projects, something I’m very passionate about. I have enjoyed working on international projects under organizations like AIESEC, which are experiences that have made me immensely appreciative of cultural and intellectual diversity. I look forward to contributing bad science jokes and a different perspective to the vibrant U of T community!"


Francisco Salvador Sandoval Macias

St. George's School
Spanish student in British Columbia, Canada

Faculty of Arts & Science, Math & Physical Sciences
New College

"My name is Francisco Sandoval and I come for La Alberca, Murcia, Spain. I moved to Canada for my last three years of high school and now I am ecstatic to be able to attend university here as well. My main academic interest is mathematics, but I also have a keen passion for theatre. The world of theatre arts has helped me develop my creativity, organizational skills and, most importantly, a feeling of belonging that is sometimes hard to find. During my time in Canada, I have dedicated my time to trying to make the community around me a little bit safer and inclusive for everyone everyday. Through groups such as my school’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance, I have worked to ensure the safety of the LGBTQ+ community as well as that of any other individuals who feel vulnerable. As I approach the next stage of my life, I look forward to attending the University of Toronto whose open community will help me to explore and follow my dreams."


Razan Sarsour

Ramallah Friends School
Palestine

Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education

"My name is Razan Sarsour. I am a young athlete and an ambitious senior at the Ramallah Friends School in Palestine. I am known for my enthusiastic personality, vivid imagination, and infectious energy. As the only female taking IB Physics at the Higher Level in my school, I like to think of myself as someone who breaks both academic and cultural barriers. Some of my favourite experiences have been travelling; whether it was to the UK for a Quaker summer camp, to Norway for a course on coaching football, or to the USA for an international women’s leadership conference, I have always sought new experiences and new people to meet. I hope to make the best of my time at the University of Toronto and learn from the amazing people who will surround me."


Lee Sheng

Hin Hua High School
Malaysia

Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, Civil Engineering

"Having grown up in a tropical, multicultural, and colourful country – Malaysia – I have no wonder shaped a warm and outward-looking nature. And here I am, as a typical friendly Malaysian, eager to Say Hi to all of you!

  • S is my interest in Science – I enjoy playing with scientific concepts to explain real-life situations, and that’s why I picked engineering – I want to solve real-life problems!
  • A is my active nature – I enjoy doing various sports and outdoor activities, especially camping in the forest!
  • Y is that I yearn to explore broadly about liberal arts – I love poring over books, joining new programs, and having conversations with people like you!
  • H is harmonica – my favourite instrument for more than 10 years, which I enjoy playing as it sounds really beautiful!
  • I is my aspiration to improve the community – I am passionate about improving my country’s urban-environmental system and the education system

Now, I guess, it’s time for you to Say Hi too – I believe we could be great friends and teammates in the coming years!"


Celine Simone

Nueva School
Hillsborough, California, U.S.A.

John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design; Architectural Studies

Celine Simone was born in Palo Alto, California. She is a member of the first graduating class of The Nueva School, an innovative Design Thinking school located in the heart of Silicon Valley. Nueva’s focus on project-based learning and integrated studies provided her with opportunities to explore and expand her academic interests. Celine is a founding member of the Feminism Club at Nueva and helped organize Nueva’s first and second annual Feminism Conferences, which included numerous TED-style talks by renowned feminists. In addition, she has spent six years volunteering at over a dozen philanthropic organizations through participation in National Charity League. For Nueva’s Quest Project, Celine completed a multi-year photography project to capture the street art and graffiti of San Francisco. During summers, she worked at an interior design firm in San Francisco and interned at Stanford University for Cloud Arch Studio to design an award-winning installation in San Francisco. Celine enjoys skiing at Squaw Valley, exotic cars, and heavy metal concerts. At the University of Toronto, she intends to pursue her love of design and commitment to social justice at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture and the Faculty of Arts & Science.


Deborah Emilia Solomon

Corpus Christi Catholic Secondary School
Indian student in Burlington, Ontario, Canada

Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, Chemical Engineering

"'When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favour,' said Elon Musk and that, perhaps, has been a guiding factor of my life. Even as a little girl of seven, I had forever been bent on pursuing my aspirations and this scholarship has brought me ever closer to my hopes of volunteering as an Engineer aboard the Africa Mercy Ship, enabled through study at the University of my dreams! Another way I would see myself is as a global traveller, having lived in countries like Singapore, China, India and currently, Canada whilst visiting a few others, thus being exposed to diversely fascinating cultures. At home, you'd find me pencil sketching, baking lemon bars (my absolute favourites!), writing poetry or even designing craftwork in my spare time. In my school and community, I enjoy serving others, participating in public speaking, team projects, presentations, volunteering and being a part of several clubs. Challenges intrigue me, helping develop a persistent pursuit of solutions. By nature, I love to inquire and question the way things work, never compromising or settling for second best."


Nicolae Stroncea

Tonbridge School
Moldovan student in the United Kingdom

U of T Scarborough, Co-op Computer Science

"I always strive to expand my comfort zone. It led me to create projects that target social issues, start practicing judo, and discover my passion, Computer Science. I am grateful that my hard work resulted in winning the Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship, and look forward to taking full advantage of the incredible opportunities the University of Toronto offers."

 

 


Zoe Thompson

Redlands School
Australia

Faculty of Arts & Science, Life Sciences
Trinity College

Zoe Thompson is coming to the University of Toronto from Redlands School in Sydney, Australia. Whilst in Sydney she studied the International Baccalaureate, at school Zoe was School Captain, Captain of Bands, on the First XI Football team and also participated in dance, musicals and swimming. As well as her school life Zoe represented Australia in two different International Science Olympiads, the only female student in Australia to have done so. At the IESO 2015 (International Earth Science Olympiad), Zoe was awarded a gold medal, the first for Australia in nine years, and was ranked 5th in the world. The following year at the IBO (International Biology Olympiad) 2016 Zoe again represented Australia and was this time awarded a silver medal.

"The olympiads were so rewarding, not only because of the academic challenge we faced but also the social aspect. Meeting like-minded people from across the world in another country and culture is truly such an amazing experience, one that has given me life-long friends spread across the continents."

Zoe is extremely excited to be attending the University of Toronto next year pursuing a life sciences degree as part of Trinity College. She hopes to expand her knowledge in biological and chemical sciences and attend medical school in the future.


Katharina Vrolijk

Sevenoaks School
Belgian student in the United Kingdom

John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design; Architectural Studies

Katharina is inquisitive, energetic and always ready for a challenge. As a Belgian national, born and raised in Switzerland and attending school in the United Kingdom, she speaks three languages fluently which has shaped her international and open-minded outlook. Katharina is currently taking the IB diploma and has diverse academic interests, studying Physics, Art and German at Higher Level. Passionate about the environment, sustainability and equality, she has experience in leading fundraising activities, as well as giving speeches motivating others to make a difference. She will be pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Architectural Studies, with the ambition to develop sustainable and respectful design solutions for urban development problems she cares about and working with organisations such as the Open Architecture Collaborative.


Ece Yucer

Galatasaray High School
Turkey

Faculty of Arts & Science, Social Sciences
Trinity College

"I am Ece Yucer, a Model UNer, musician, humanist, inventor and much more. I am currently planning to double major in political science and economics, and perhaps pursue a law degree afterward. I am coming from the top public high school in Turkey, Galatasaray High School. Living in Istanbul gave me an opportunity from first hand to comprehend the fight against human rights violations and different ideologies causing political tensions. With this regard, I have served as an office volunteer in Amnesty International, Istanbul and analysed different cases regarding refugee and human rights. I have established an online fundraising for a refugee family, helping them get a second chance at life. In addition, I have participated in over 25 university level conferences during my Model UN journey, and along with receiving many awards as a delegate, I mostly partook in conferences as a committee director or an academic team member. I have started the Model UN conference at my high school and served as the Secretary-General in 2016. Even though I want to major in social sciences, my interest in pure sciences is evident from my high school curriculum, taking physics, chemistry, and advanced mathematics even in senior year, and from the water purification device that I have designed and won international awards. I believe in the correlation between social sciences and analytic skills required for sciences and value the ability to use them both. After leading numerous clubs and activities at high school, maintaining a high academic standing, and enjoying school traditions, I am honoured to be named a Lester B. Pearson Scholar and am looking forward to my new unique journey at Trinity College, University of Toronto."


Sonia Daniela Zaldana Calles

Academia Britanica Cuscatleca
El Salvador

Faculty of Arts & Science, Computer Science
New College

"My name is Sonia Zaldaña and I come from El Salvador. I am deeply passionate about Computer Science but I am also a wholehearted social activist. Having grown in a country with a complicated social scenario, I feel strongly about equality and humanity. My hobbies include (but are not limited to) keeping up with the latest technological advances, teaching myself cheesy songs on my guitar and watching every single documentary on Netflix. During the next four years, I hope I can continue learning about my existing interests and unfold my curiosity for new ones. Simply put, I am very excited to join U of T this fall and experience temperatures below 15º for the first time!"


Mubtaseem Zaman

Mirzapur Cadet College
Bangladesh

Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, Engineering Science

"I am Mubtaseem Zaman, a simple boy who is often lost in his thoughts of crazy parallel universe theories and who likes to spend his leisure fiddling with bunny robots or appreciating poetry. I love basketball and one can find me joyfully giggling in the company of children."