Meet the A&S 2020 Pearson scholars

September 25, 2020 by A&S News

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 2020 cohort of award recipients.

Headshot of Natalie Elaine Boehmer.Natalie Elaine Boehmer

Grosse Pointe South High School
Michigan, U.S.A.
Faculty of Arts & Science, Victoria College, Humanities

“I am Natalie Boehmer from Grosse Pointe, just outside of Detroit, Michigan, and I am planning on studying English during my time in Toronto. I am absolutely in love with literature of any kind, from poetry to drama to huge novels that take up too much space on your bookshelf. I started a Shakespeare Club at my school that helped to expose students to the full extent of Shakespeare’s works outside of a classroom setting through monologue contests and full performances. I am also a member of two Girl Scout Troops, one of which is the Mackinac Island Governor’s Honor Guard where 56 girls from across Southeastern Michigan volunteer for the Fort Mackinac State Park as informational guides. I love to learn about other cultures, my interests spanning from Celtic studies to Hispanic cultures, and sometimes it feels like I want to learn a new language every other week. I am so thrilled to be a Pearson scholar, and I look forward to exploring Toronto!”

Headshot of Niharika Burugapalli.Niharika Burugapalli

The Williams School
Indian student in Connecticut, U.S.A.
Faculty of Arts & Science, Victoria College, Life Sciences

“Hi, I’m Niha! I was born in India and grew up in the U.S. Apart from academics, I am very interested in visual art. I use my artwork to celebrate and foster cultural awareness and have had the privilege of displaying one of my paintings, expressing the joy of Holi, at the U.S. Capitol Building. I use my art as a form of activism, drawing attention to society’s pivotal problems to enact positive change and have exhibited my work in several art galleries.

Through art, I’ve even experientially demonstrated that it’s never too late to learn something new, challenging ageism and combating society’s negative perception of the elderly by teaching guided painting sessions to people in nursing homes who may not have painted since childhood. Art’s healing properties have led me to connect with patients in rehabilitation units of hospitals. Over the past year, I’ve had the humbling experience of painting alongside 250 people, from Vietnam veterans to cancer survivors to people recovering from traumatic brain injuries. Observing the positive change in a patient’s mood from the start to the end of a guided painting session, I conducted my own research project and wrote a research paper confirming the uplifting effects of art therapy, which has been accepted for publication. I was also selected as a speaker at an upcoming TEDx event, and I hope to empower others to find innovative ways to integrate their own talents into helping others.”

Headshot of Daniel Corredor Llorente.Daniel Corredor Llorente

Pearson College UWC
Colombian student in British Columbia, Canada
Faculty of Arts & Science, Trinity College, Social Sciences

Born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia, Daniel has committed himself to becoming part of the next political generation that will build peace and equality in one of Latin America’s most violent and unequal countries. As an active leader from an early age and an emerging activist for peace-building in his country, Daniel wrote a book on education for peace. He has also travelled extensively both with CISV — a global organization dedicated to building inter-cultural friendship and cooperation — as well as with the cultural immersion program the Experiment to share his nation’s experience on peace and conflict resolution, diversity, human rights and sustainable development.

While in Colombia, Daniel played a leading role in planning the International Day of Peace in Bogotá and founding Paz A La Calle — a social movement for minors to mobilize and express their support for a peace agreement in the country. Moreover, he was the president of his school’s student council and the conflict-mediation team, eventually becoming the president of the association of student councils in the city.

In 2018, Daniel moved to Canada after receiving a scholarship to Pearson College UWC, one of 18 worldwide United World Colleges, offering the International Baccalaureate Diploma program. At Pearson, he led the Global Affairs initiative, a co-curricular student club that hosted dialogue series with renowned Canadian and international speakers exploring major global issues, including climate change, reconciliation, and nonviolent social change. 

As a Lester B. Pearson scholar at the University of Toronto, Daniel is filled with optimism and commitment at the prospect of joining a cohort of diverse, talented, and driven young minds that will analyze the realities of the world as it is, to then re-imagine them as they could be.

Headshot of Sami El Sabri.Sami El Sabri

United World College Costa Rica
German student in Costa Rica
Faculty of Arts & Science, University College, Life Sciences

“My name is Sami El Sabri, and I am currently finishing my second year of the International Baccalaureate Diploma program at the United World College Costa Rica (UWC). I was born and raised in Germany, but my family are Moroccan-Berber immigrants. Therefore, I grew up between two very different cultures and the UWC experience made me appreciate and love intercultural and international learning even more. I am honored and thrilled to be trusted with this outstanding scholarship opportunity at U of T.

I am not only fond of intercultural learning, but also interdisciplinary learning. I enjoy geography, human biology, linguistics, anthropology, psychology, politics and urban development. Combining my very wide array of interests has been a difficult task, but at this point, I envision my future in the field of public health, as I see it as the interdisciplinary sweet spot. Through my enrolment at U of T, I aim to become the agent of change I always wanted to be and combine everything I will have learned to make a long-term positive impact.”

Headshot of Ana Ferreira Meletti.Ana Ferreira Meletti

Colégio Interativa
Faculty of Arts & Science, Woodsworth College, Social Sciences

“Hello! My name is Ana Meletti, and I am a student from Londrina, Brazil. Ever since the eighth grade, when I started attending my school, Colégio Interativa, I found myself exploring the most incredible opportunities. At Interativa, I found my passion for history, sociology, and geopolitics, which led me to crave a career in international relations. I hope to one day be involved in global politics and to help marginalized minorities in the world. I spent my three years of high school researching the education of Haitian immigrants in Brazil, playing the piano, working as a member/president of a fundraising junior company, and writing short stories with female protagonists. All these passions have granted me national and international awards in research and creative writing, and now I can say I am a 2020 Pearson Scholar! I cannot find ways to describe what this opportunity means to me — all I can say is I am eager to be a part of U of T’s Class of 2024 and to explore all the amazing opportunities the University has to offer.”

Headshot of Paridhi Goel.Paridhi Goel

Indraprastha World School
Faculty of Arts & Science, Trinity College, Mathematical and Physical Sciences

“A Homo sapien who loves to deeply understand how different things and ideas work. My areas of interest include mathematics, computer science, physics, astronomy and philosophy. In high school, I made eleven preliminary asteroid discoveries under the All India Asteroid Search Campaign. I worked with a research group, studying the effects of climate change on the Antarctic glaciers.

Apart from being the usual STEM nerd, I am also a black belt in Taekwondo and a National medalist. After eight years of practice, I have learned to live by the five tenets of Taekwondo: courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and indomitable spirit. Taekwondo has taught me to advocate equality and freedom with actions rather than words. The ultimate purpose of any martial art is to eliminate fighting by discouraging oppression over the weaker or less privileged and to build a more peaceful world based on humanity, wisdom and justice.

I am honoured to receive the Lester B. Pearson Scholarship, and I am extremely grateful to the University of Toronto for considering me a worthy recipient. I take it as my responsibility to make the most of this opportunity.”

Headshot of Molly Elizabeth Graham.Molly Elizabeth Graham

Wellington College Belfast
United Kingdom
Faculty of Arts & Science, University College, Life Sciences

“Hello! My name is Molly Graham and I am a student from Northern Ireland who has recently completed her studies at Wellington College, Belfast. I firmly believe there is no greater cause in life than empowering communities to have the freedom to make responsible decisions and choose a life they value. Therefore, I would like to pursue a career in global health policy which focuses on social justice: maximising welfare, promoting freedom and rewarding virtue. I was chosen as Head Girl of my school in 2019-2020, which was an amazing opportunity for leadership skills, communication and responsibility. Among other roles, I have been part of the Christian Union committee, school council leadership, a principal organiser of the student school concert and a founding member of the Eco-Club — which most notably introduced biodegradable cutlery, food bins and removed single-use plastics from the canteen. In my free time, I love to be active in nature and particularly enjoy hiking and camping in the beautiful Mourne Mountains. I am incredibly honoured to have been awarded this scholarship. I will endeavour to integrate fully into the U of T learning community, where I can build the skills necessary to achieve my goals and be inspired by the diversity around me to push back the horizons of my hopes.”

Headshot of Colin Sanh Huynh.Colin Sanh Huynh

Skyline High School
Washington, U.S.A.
Faculty of Arts & Science, New College, Mathematical and Physical Sciences

“My name is Colin Huynh and I grew up in Washington State. As an avid pianist and a competitive swimmer, I strive to achieve my highest potential in every aspect, which in turn has ignited my innate and competitive nature. Through participation in demanding extra-curriculars, I have become accustomed to balancing my academic ambitions alongside my musical and athletic passions.

While I am recognized for successes within extra-curriculars, I have pride for humanitarian community work. Using my musical talents, I have been able to root connections within my community. The majority of this work has resided at local memory care centers, in which I have developed a fondness for both residents and staff members. The COVID-19 pandemic has taught me that life is precious and one must live it to the fullest by sharing what you have to offer as an individual.”

I am grateful to become one of the recipients for the Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship. U of T provides boundless opportunities and resources that will shape my foreseeable future in actuary science. I am eager to become a part of Toronto’s diverse community and join the class of 2024.”

Headshot of Ichiro Kubozono.Ichiro Kubozono

Magee Secondary School
Japanese student in British Columbia, Canada
Faculty of Arts & Science, Victoria College, Social Sciences

“Hi! My name is Ichiro Kubozono, and I am sincerely honored and happy to be selected as a Lester B. Pearson Scholar this year.

After moving to Vancouver in 2016 as an international student, the amazing students and teachers I have met during my years at Magee Secondary School have made Canada the first place I truly felt accepted for being who I am, therefore giving me the chance to thrive and be my best self. I was able to explore my passion in areas such as theatre and filmmaking while gaining confidence to challenge myself to run for leadership positions within the school and the community.

As I was born in Vietnam, and raised in four different countries I knew that I wanted to be in a diverse, multicultural and accepting college setting, and I knew the U of T was just the right place to be. Studying in the most multicultural city in the world, I am excited to meet people from all around the globe with vastly diverse backgrounds and beliefs during my years at U of T. As an aspiring journalist, I hope to major in international relations while exploring a wide range of study options that U of T has to offer as a world-class institution. By sharing and listening to different viewpoints and human experiences, I hope to connect people and develop a community where diversity is praised and individuals feel safe to express themselves.

I would like to thank the incredible community of Magee Secondary School and the City of Vancouver for teaching me the importance of being in an accepting environment and providing me with endless opportunities to re-discover myself and grow. I would also like to thank the University of Toronto for providing me with this incredible opportunity and cannot wait for my next four years as a U of T student!”

Headshot of Anuj Manchanda.Anuj Manchanda

NIST International School
Faculty of Arts & Science, University College, Rotman Commerce

“Hi, I am AJ from NIST International School of Thailand. I am incredibly humbled and honored to be a recipient of the Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship Program. Having lived in Bangkok and interacted with an international community my whole life, I continue to appreciate and cherish the diverse array of opinions and talents to which I am exposed. I am particularly passionate about the power of social enterprises and microfinancing, which I have fortunately been able to explore throughout high school. As such, the prospect of studying business subdisciplines like finance through the lens of social entrepreneurship and justice in the Rotman Commerce program excites me deeply. Outside of the classroom, I find joy in taking advantage of opportunities to explore my interests and connect with various communities through the student and service councils, environmental initiatives (even though I’m afraid of bugs) and musical performances (although most of them take place in my shower).

I am eternally grateful for this opportunity and I look forward to finding my role and bringing my voice to U of T’s vibrant, diverse, and talented community.”

Headshot of Elena Maria Manzella.Elena Maria Manzella

Newton North High School
Massachusetts, U.S.A.

Faculty of Arts & Science, Victoria College, Humanities

“Hello! My name is Elena, and I am thrilled to be welcomed to U of T's class of 2024! I look forward to a comprehensive and engaging liberal arts education, pursuing my passion for linguistics and education while continuing to study French, Spanish, Arabic and Modern Greek. Having been lucky enough to go on formative exchange programs to France and Mexico with my high school, I enjoy exploring the world and am grateful for the opportunity to live in the remarkably diverse city of Toronto. I love to dance and have been studying ballet since I was young. I am confident that my time at U of T will equip me to serve the public good, and I will work to honor Lester B. Pearson’s legacy of peace and leadership.”

Headshot of Aamyneh Amyn Mecklai.Aamyneh Amyn Mecklai

Bombay International School
Faculty of Arts & Science, Trinity College, Rotman Commerce

An aspiring lawyer and social entrepreneur, Aamyneh hopes to study economics and finance. In 2018, she started “Speak To Lead,” through which she taught conversational English, global awareness and public speaking skills to students from low-income families enroled at government-run schools to help students think critically, globally, and inquisitively. Speak To Lead birthed an extraordinary family of 250 students united not by income-brackets, race, background or language, but by their determined pursuit of knowledge: a desire to speak in order to lead.

Apart from teaching, Aamyneh dances ballet, plays the piano and enjoys being a Virginia Woolf aficionado. She writes about the art of volunteering for India’s first weekly newspaper for children and spends her free time diversely: researching about securities and financial markets; designing an e-mobile platform for rural India to help re-skill nurses in the field of oncology; or working on a documentary, “Bridges & Barriers of the English Language,” which aims to raise awareness about the inequality in educational opportunity in correspondence with India’s Right To Education Act, 2009.

She is honoured to represent her school, the Bombay International School, which she led as Head Girl and Captain, as part of the Lester B. Pearson Scholars cohort.

Headshot of Khushil Nimesh Nagda.Khushil Nimesh Nagda

Oshwal Academy Nairobi — Senior School
Faculty of Arts & Science, Woodsworth College, Computer Science

“Hi! My name is Khushil and I am from Nairobi, Kenya. I am incredibly honored to be a recipient of the Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship.

My vision is to design, build, and implement technological systems that will solve problems and improve people’s welfare in my country. I can often be found experimenting with Arduino micro-controllers and building cool devices with them. Studying computer science at U of T will not only bring me a step closer to achieving my goal but will also give me the opportunity to collaborate, learn and build friendships with talented students from all walks of life.

In my free time, I love playing piano and drums and I have dabbled in music production. My passion lies in making things and that has been the driving force behind my interests. I look forward to exploring Toronto and embracing what it has to offer.”

Headshot of Ana Laura Noda Gonzalez.Ana Laura Noda Gonzalez

Centro Universitario Anglo Mexicano Preparatoria
Faculty of Arts & Science, Woodsworth College, Life Sciences

“Hello! My name is Ana Laura Noda. I was born in Cuba and grew up in the beautiful city of Cancun, Mexico. I am an avid learner with a great passion for science, especially chemistry and biology. I have developed independent research projects including one on skin cancer, represented my state in the National Chemistry Olympiad, and have been actively involved in my community through volunteering. In 2017, I joined the Power of a Nickel organization and have participated in their medical missions in Mexico since then. I currently lead and coordinate the translation team for the missions.

I am also passionate about human rights and social issues. I love debate and public speaking and have participated in several Model United Nations conferences, both as moderator and delegate. I also find joy in singing and drawing.

Words cannot describe how honoured and grateful I am for being chosen as a Lester B. Pearson Scholar. I truly appreciate the immense opportunity that this award offers me. I aim to become a physician-scientist and there would be no better place for me to start that journey than U of T.”

Headshot of Claire Love Parish.Claire Love Parish

Forest Hills Eastern High School
Michigan, U.S.A.
Faculty of Arts & Science, Trinity College, Social Sciences

“Hi! My name is Claire Parish and I’m from Grand Rapids, Michigan. I spend my free time reading, running, listening to music, and trying to get my cat off my computer. I love learning about animals, humans, and the world around us. I volunteer at a local humane society and the World Affairs Council of Western Michigan. I also started and am part of my school’s mock trial team, and am on our Model UN executive board. As a member of the Episcopal Church, I have been part of youth group events, mission trips, and church governance throughout high school. I am also a long-time participant in the National History Day competition, a five-time national finalist with a focus on political and environmental issues. My most recent project, focusing on Michigan PBB contamination in the 1970s, was published in Michigan History magazine and a local newspaper. I plan to go to law school and hope to work in environmental or animal law, teaching, interpreting and upholding the laws protecting animals and the environment. The many opportunities and resources at U of T bring me one step closer to that goal. I am honored to receive the Lester B. Pearson Scholarship, and I am excited to become part of and contribute to the U of T community.”

Headshot of Krish Sanjiv Sanghvi.Krish Sanjiv Sanghvi

Aditya Birla World Academy
Faculty of Arts & Science, Woodsworth College, Rotman Commerce

“Hello! My name is Krish Sanghvi and I am from Mumbai, India. At U of T, I plan on exploring the business world by synergizing my interests in finance, international relations and innovation. Moreover, I am interested in the intersection between business and social improvement, and therefore aspire to participate in the discipline of impact investing.

Beyond academics, I enjoy debating, playing football and listening to music. I am a huge Manchester United fan and am always ready to have a football discussion. With the driven and multicultural student body at U of T, I aim to get involved in different clubs and student associations. I am honored to be a Lester B. Pearson scholar and look forward to my experience over the next four years!”