‘This has opened a lot of doors for me’: Four international students awarded full scholarships to Arts & Science

November 10, 2022 by Christine Elstub - A&S News

Emily Hospedales was enjoying an ordinary day at home in her native Trinidad and Tobago when she received life-changing news — she had been awarded a full scholarship to the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Arts & Science. “I had to read the email multiple times,” she says. “I called my parents and my dad cried on the phone. It was a good moment and I was filled with gratitude.”

Hospedales is one of four inaugural recipients of the Arts & Science Global Scholarship, valued at full international tuition for four years. The students were selected from top U of T applicants from around the world in recognition of their academic achievements and demonstrated leadership.

“On behalf of the University of Toronto, I would like to congratulate the first cohort of Arts & Science Global Scholars,” says Melanie Woodin, dean of the Faculty. “These students are among the most accomplished and academically outstanding in the world. I am proud to welcome them to the Arts & Science community and look forward to seeing their continued success.” 

Meet the 2022 Arts & Science Global Scholars

Yagmur Yenilmez

Headshot of Yagmur Yenilmez
Yagmur Yenilmez plans to study medicine and continue her social activism. Photo: Christine Elstub.

Yagmur Yenilmez is used to making headlines. As a high school student in Istanbul, she gained national news coverage for founding Callisto Youth. With more than 400 student volunteers from high schools across Turkey, the group organizes humanitarian and environmental projects, such as collecting donations for people displaced by the country’s wildfires, planting trees and donating school supplies to impoverished students.  

Yenilmez was also a member of the Women’s Assemblies of Turkey, where she co-founded a youth branch of the feminist organization and led high school students in a national march against femicide and other forms of gendered violence. In recognition of her efforts, she was named a National Gender Youth Activist by the United Nations Women in 2021. 

Asked what motivates her, Yenilmez says, “I feel like I’m only alive when I fight for people. Until my last day, I will do everything to make my voice heard and make a change.”

Her desire to have a positive impact extends beyond social activism. She dreams of becoming a neurosurgeon and developing treatments for incurable diseases like Alzheimer’s. Her interest in both medicine and social issues drew her to the Faculty of Arts & Science, where she will have the ability to explore many subjects.

She recalls crying happy tears when she discovered she had been awarded a full scholarship, an achievement that will continue to motivate her as she begins her first-year studies in life sciences as a member of University College. “I feel like I can push myself a bit harder to achieve my goals. It reminds me that I’m on the right path.”

Beyond academics, she’s excited about meeting other likeminded people at U of T. “There are so many opportunities for me to build my network and develop my activism. I think I can do things with members of this community that will have a great impact.”

Ishaan Shetty

Headshot of Ishaan Shetty
After founding his high school’s Model United Nations club, Ishaan Shetty looks forward to studying international relations. Photo: Kemeisha McDonald.

Passionate about international relations and eager to discuss global issues with his peers, Ishaan Shetty brought Model United Nations — an educational simulation where students assume the roles of international delegates and address real-world challenges — to his high school in Mumbai.

That was five years ago and it has since become the leading Model United Nations club in the city. “My school continues to take it forward, so it’s something I’m really proud of,” says Shetty. “If I visit my school 10 years from now, I’ll see something that I created.”  

In addition to international relations, his hobbies include music and judo. His well-rounded profile and stellar academic performance earned him an Arts & Science Global Scholarship.

“I was very happy,” he says. “Being recognized for my achievements and seeing my hard work paid off — it was really rewarding to share that experience with my family.”

Shetty, who belongs to Innis College, is currently enrolled in first-year studies in humanities, with a varied course load that includes history, journalism, economics and math classes. The flexibility to explore many interests is what attracted him to Arts & Science. “I saw it as this breeding ground where I could take courses that interest me and decide for myself what I want to study in the future.”

In the meantime, he is excited about meeting new people from U of T’s diverse community. “Academics is more than what you learn in the classroom,” he reflects. “It’s about getting to know people and learning through their perspectives.”

Ulis Bertin

Headshot of Ulis Bertin
Ulis Bertin hopes to hone his creative writing skills and become a published author. Photo: Christine Elstub.

Having prolific authors like Margaret Atwood and Malcolm Gladwell among its alumni made the Faculty of Arts & Science a natural choice for aspiring writer Ulis Bertin. “From my research, I got the impression it’s a very diverse, welcoming and creative place full of people in pursuit of different interests,” says Bertin. “I thought it would be a great hub to pursue what I want to do.”

He was pleasantly surprised when he discovered he had not only been admitted to the Faculty but had also been awarded a full scholarship. “I called my friends who had also just been accepted to university and we raved about it for a while.”

“Global scholar” is an apt designation for Bertin, who has lived and studied in Australia, France, Singapore and, most recently, Germany. In addition to his exceptional grades, Bertin’s application stood out for his extracurricular activities, which ranged from writing music, to participating in a sustainable cycling initiative, to picking and pressing 100 litres of apple juice with his friends to raise money for charity. Of all his accomplishments, he is most proud of leading his school’s Model United Nations club.  

Currently studying humanities as a member of University College, he looks forward to honing his writing skills and meeting other creative types. Ultimately, he hopes his studies in Arts & Science will establish a solid foundation upon which to launch a career in writing and publishing. “I hope I can make this scholarship and U of T part of my ‘once upon a time.’”

Emily Hospedales

Headshot of Emily Hospedales
Passionate about giving back to the community, Emily Hospedales plans to focus her studies in the social sciences.  Photo: Ksenia Pavlyuchenkova. 

Emily Hospedales originally planned on a career in medicine, but after taking a gap year, decided to follow her passion for community service. She is now studying social sciences as a member of St. Michael’s College, with plans to enrol in ethics, society and law or peace, conflict and justice at the end of her first year.

It’s a fitting path for Hospedales, who has been involved in humanitarian work from a young age. At eight years old, she began volunteering at an orphanage. “At the time, I wasn’t aware of the impact these interactions would have on my life,” she says of her early volunteer work. “It wasn’t until recently that I came to realize how these experiences shaped my conviction to make an impact.”

She continued volunteering throughout high school, working with various non-profit organizations. Outside of her charity work, she was captain of her high school track team, a member of the choir and an avid photographer and scuba diver, all while maintaining top grades.

Even with her well-rounded profile, she did not expect to receive a full scholarship to U of T. “I applied anyway, because without the scholarship I would not have been able to go away for university.”

Now, as she begins her undergraduate studies with her tuition covered, she is glad she took the chance. “This scholarship has opened a lot of doors for me; it’s now up to me to take advantage of all of the opportunities this school has to offer.”