2020 Graduate Award Recipients

Adam Lake

Adam Lake - Adam Lake is a Toronto born community activist and advocate, who has decided to use his voice as power when it comes to raising awareness about discrimination and the way various forms intersect. Adam graduated from York University with a Specialized Honours BA in Sociology and Certificate in Anti-Racist Research and Practice (CARRP). Adam founded “Books Breaking Barriers” in 2016 while at York University for undergraduate studies, allowing him to empower racialized and marginalized inmates through the experience of reading. Adam wants to make sure that detained and ethnic and racialized individuals have a positive attitude towards achievement, aspirations and educational attainment. Adam also wanted to continue to decrease the risk of reoffending and end the lack of community knowledge about services and legal rights for racialized youth and young adults.

As a Master of Global Affairs student at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, Adam wants to serve as an ambassador for African Canadian individuals within democratic institutions such as the Parliament of Canada, Canada’s Court System and lawmaking agencies. He wants to ensure that representations of racial, ethnic and sexual minority experiences are heard and represented within the Canadian legal systems. As a future Black policymaker, his key professional goal is to combat social injustice and work with law enforcement and grassroots programs to eliminate the lack of community knowledge surrounding legal services and rights for the African Canadians. Completing domestic and international justice reform work with various organizations that cater to racial, ethnic and sexual minorities has led to him being a positive influence upon Black youth and young adults throughout the General Toronto Area. He has decided to assist those traditionally marginalized within society and bring high-level change into the political sphere.

In the upcoming year, Adam plans to continue his education afterward and become a lawyer, challenging the status quo and empowering the Black community to take their chair if they are not given a seat at the table, so their voices can be heard, and presence is seen.

Aleksandra Redzic

Aleksandra Redzic - Aleksandra was born in Belgrade, Serbia before immigrating to Toronto in 2003. Maintaining close ties with her family and maintaining fluency in Serbian has been very important in her life. She attended McMaster University for an Honours Bachelor of Science degree with a specialization in Chemical Biology. Throughout the four years she maintained a Dean’s List standing and graduated Summa Cum Laude. Additionally, Aleksandra received the Senate Scholarship for a high academic standing and the F.P. Olsen Book prize for a promising researcher in the Chemical Biology program. Aleks is very passionate about biomaterials research with applications in healthcare and medicine. During her undergraduate degree she was a research assistant, and she aims to continue participating in academia. The projects she worked on covered a large scope ranging from organic synthesis and polymerization all the way to cell work. During her time at McMaster, she also worked as a teaching assistant in the Chemistry Department in the Introductory Chemistry and Organic Chemistry labs. After graduating in the spring of 2019, Aleksandra began her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree at the University of Toronto that Fall. Upon graduation her goal is to work in hospital dentistry to provide inclusive and accessible care.

Aleks has been involved in many charities and organizations over the years that are near and dear to her. She volunteered for the Canadian Kidney Foundation; this work includes volunteering for the Annual Kidney Walk for the Hamilton Chapter and participating in studies for the Hereditary Kidney Disease Clinic at Toronto General Hospital. During her undergraduate degree, she was involved with the Chemistry Department by providing tutoring services, giving tours to prospective students and volunteering at STEM events.

Currently, she is a member of a number of organizations related to dentistry, including the Ontario Dental Association, Xi Psi Phi-Omicron Chapter and Women in Dentistry. To maintain an active lifestyle, Aleks enjoys taking time to run, bike and play recreational volleyball. She is also an avid supporter of the arts in Toronto, especially the local jazz scene.

Andrew Meehan

Andrew Meehan - Andrew grew up in Markham, Ontario. Throughout high school, Andrew loved playing sports and joined nearly every sports team he could. In the classroom, Andrew took an interest in the sciences and was eager to learn more about the human body. He combined these interests at the University of Ottawa, where he completed his Honours Bachelor of Science in Human Kinetics. In his second year, Andrew became involved in research with the Neurotrauma Impact Science Laboratory (NISL), studying the biomechanics of head injuries in sports. Andrew loved performing research and completed several projects during his undergraduate degree. He was recognized with the NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award and the University of Ottawa Thesis Prize for Excellence in Biomechanics. Andrew went on to spend two more years with the NISL while completing his Master of Science. His thesis investigated ice hockey helmet testing standards, and in the thesis he attempted to produce a testing protocol that was representative of concussive injuries in professional hockey. Andrew hopes that his research will inform international standards organizations to improve their helmet testing methods, in order to drive helmet innovation and make the sport safer for all athletes. Last September, Andrew, his wife and their two cats packed up and moved to Ireland, where Andrew is now studying medicine at University College Dublin. He is considering a career in either Family or Emergency Medicine and is excited to see how technology shapes medicine in the future.

In his spare time, Andrew loves staying active and spending time outdoors. His favourite sport is ultimate frisbee – he was a player and captain of the University of Ottawa men’s team and continues to compete in Ireland. In the summertime, you will find Andrew wakeboarding, stand-up paddle boarding, golfing, and spending time with friends and family. He also enjoys travelling and taking on many DIY projects around the house.

Angela Min Yi Hou

Angela Min Yi Hou - Angela Min Yi Hou is a Master of International Affairs candidate at the Graduate Institute of Geneva specializing in sustainability and trade. Originally from Shanghai, China, she completed her undergraduate education in International Relations and Contemporary Asian Studies at the University of Toronto. Her academic interests include development studies in the Asia-Pacific and Africa, plurilateral summitry, environmental externalities of foreign investment and international trade law. Having conducted field research in Myanmar, Tanzania and Taiwan, she aspires to a career in applied research, international civil service and diplomacy.

Outside of her academic and professional pursuits, Angela is passionate about Model United Nations and public speaking as mediums of youth engagement and English language learning. In her spare time, Angela enjoys learning different languages, traveling and singing. Angela is humbled and grateful to be selected as a recipient of the Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation Graduate Awards and expresses her sincere thanks for this opportunity.

Cathy Jiang

Cathy Jiang - Cathy was born and raised in Burnaby, British Columbia by two hard-working immigrant parents. Her passion for helping her community began at an early age as a visiting and musical program volunteer at her local care home for seniors. Cathy recently graduated from the University of British Columbia (UBC) with a BSc of Integrated Sciences: Genetics and Neuroscience, and a minor in Health and Society. During this degree she was an active member of the Science Undergraduate Society, UBC A Cappella and AMS Speakeasy, a student service dedicated to providing confidential peer support sessions and advocating for on-campus mental health awareness. In 2018, Cathy collaborated with classmates on a public health project that was published by Kelty Eating Disorders and the UBC Medical journal with the broad goal of improving availability and accessibility of eating disorder services for those with concurrent substance use.

Nearing the end of her first degree, Cathy decided to apply for nursing school upon realizing a deep desire to care and advocate for indigenous and non-indigenous individuals experiencing systemic barriers to optimal health care. This desire took shape overtime as she became increasingly aware of the appalling gaps in availability and accessibility to health services, speaking to individuals from all walks of life as a research assistant in MS & NMO Clinical Trials and a support worker at a crisis centre dedicated to empower self-identified women dealing with the impacts of violence.

Cathy is now in her final year of nursing school pursuing her BSN at UBC. Her clinical rotations have strengthened her appreciation and gratitude towards all health care team members. One of the highlights this year, has been serving as a volunteer coordinator for the ‘BC Nursing Student COVID-19 Response Team’, collaborating with over 200 like-minded students to provide additional support to working nurses during the pandemic. Currently, Cathy is working with faculty as a research assistant to explore health equity in the context of the emergency department and evaluate available tools to promote self-advocacy and leadership for those living with dementia. In the future, Cathy hopes to practice remote nursing as a Nurse Practitioner and advocate for policies that put safe and quality care for patients of all populations first.

Dahila Horlick

Dahila Horlick - Dahlia Horlick was born and raised in Thornhill Ontario. She graduated with distinction, receiving an Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Guelph, in Philosophy. Dahlia consistently made the Dean’s List and was recognized in second year with the Jay Newman Scholarship for maintaining the highest cumulative average in her department, and again with the Jacob Amstutz Prize upon graduation, for achieving the highest cumulative average in the Philosophy department. She has always excelled academically, graduating high school with both the History and Rabbinics awards.

Throughout her undergraduate years, Dahlia was very involved in Jewish life on campus and was a member of the Hillel and Chabad organizations. She helped plan multi-faith events in conjunction with the Muslim Students Association. She has always been passionate about co-existence between different faith groups. She strongly believes that events such as these are first steps in enabling students from diverse backgrounds to enjoy cordial relations on campus and beyond. As the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, Dahlia has always been dedicated to Holocaust education. She took a leadership role in planning programming for Holocaust Education week on campus.

Dahlia combined her love of philosophy and Jewish studies in her fourth-year thesis focusing on Martin Buber and post-Holocaust theology. She examined the problem of evil and looked at the responses of several Jewish philosophers, including Emile Fackenheim and Ellie Wiesel, with respect to how the Holocaust affects faith. Her project, culminating her time in Guelph, was a representation of her desire to combine Jewish learning with secular academic studies.

Dahlia completed her final semester of undergraduate studies at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She then studied at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies until the pandemic forced her to return home at the end of March. Dahlia loves adventure and travel and has been to Israel 8 times! Her most meaningful trip was in 2016, volunteering at Save a Child's Heart. There she worked with children from developing countries suffering from congenital heart defects. She found the experience deeply moving and upon her return to Guelph, organized an on-campus fundraiser which became an annual event. She is also grateful to have traveled to a variety of countries including Turkey, Poland, Slovenia, Greece and Bulgaria.

Dahlia will be pursuing a lifelong dream of fighting for justice by joining the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto in the fall.

Dan Sobieraj

Dan Sobieraj - Daniel Sobieraj was born and raised in Toronto, where he graduated from the Lawrence Park Collegiate Institute in the French immersion program. His diverse interests in art, technological innovation and sustainability led him to pursue a career in architecture. He graduated from Ryerson University’s Bachelor of Architectural Science Co-operative Option program with Distinction. He is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Architecture at the Technical University of Delft in The Netherlands, one of the top architecture schools worldwide.

During his undergraduate studies, Daniel spent two years as a research assistant and co-authored three papers which he presented at international conferences and that were published in renowned international architectural and technological journals. Daniel also received several awards for his academic work and was a finalist in the Stratasys Extreme Redesign 3D Printing and Canveda Vapourizer Design competitions, while making the Dean’s List every year and working at two major architecture and engineering firms during summers.

His most notable project is the tiny house on wheels that he designed and built with three university friends as an innovative alternative and sustainable housing prototype in response to the housing crisis caused by the unaffordable housing markets in many Canadian cities. The 22 meter square tiny house is built on a 15 meter square trailer situated in Victoria, BC and has both on-grid and off-grind capabilities. This project led Daniel to partake in policy discussions with Vancouver and Victoria City Councillors, give talks about alternative housing at multiple international American Institute of Architecture Students conferences and be a consultant for an alternative housing design-build course at Northern Secondary School, Toronto. Media outlets like CTV News have featured the project, along with Yulio for the innovative use of Virtual Reality.

Outside of his studies, Daniel volunteered over 120 hours to help design an elementary school in Timo, Haiti; a project initiated by ARUP, an international engineering firm, in partnership with the Haiti Health Initiative. Daniel was also involved as an Architecture Team Leader in the Future-Living Lab, an organization at the University of Toronto, leading a team of six students on two pro-bono projects. Firstly, the design of an eco-friendly prefabricated straw-bale house in Callander, Ontario, up until its construction. Secondly, he led the design for a community orphanage in Guyana, in partnership with the Oaks of Righteousness Orphanage. Currently, Daniel is the project architect for Team SUM (Symbiotic Urban Movement), a student organization at TU Delft that is competing in the 2021 Solar Decathlon Europe Competition.

In addition, his passion for music, travel sport, and self-improvement has led Daniel to be a candidate for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award. He is a certified advanced open water scuba diver, ski instructor, an RCM Level 6 piano player and speaks fluent French and Polish. In his spare time, Daniel likes to indulge in water (windsurfing, sailing) and snow sports, photography, recording multi-instrument tracks, baking and long-term adventures (such as his recent exchange in France and working as a farmer in Australia). He also enjoys gardening and has completed several commissioned landscaping projects.

Franchesca Dizon

Franchesca Dizon - Franchesca Dizon, is a proud Filipina-Canadian, born in Toronto after her parents immigrated to Canada from the Philippines. She graduated from the University of Toronto Scarborough in 2019 with an Honours Bachelor of Arts with High Distinction, specializing in Psycholinguistics with a minor in French. Franchesca loves learning languages (French, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, AS) and has always been interested in linguistics and psycholinguistics. She particularly enjoys analyzing syntactic structures of languages, phonetic qualities of various dialects and comparing similarities and differences between human languages. Growing up as a child of an immigrant and lower socioeconomic status family, Franchesca has a passion for helping and working with children of similar situations. She’s been a mentor for children at the Rogers Raising the Grade program, tutor for children in grades 3-8 in various academic subjects and a shadowing Speech-Language Pathologists at elementary schools and the Scarborough Health Network’s Child Development program. She values meeting people of all cultures, abilities, and backgrounds, and always strives to create positive and optimal environments for those she works with by being enthusiastic, culturally sensitive and compassionate to their unique situations. In September, Franchesca will be pursuing her long-term dream of becoming a Speech-Language Pathologist at the University of Toronto’s Master’s Program of Speech and Language Pathology, allowing her to combine her passions with a profession.

Apart from Franchesca’s passion for helping others, she has always been committed to excelling and going above and beyond in her academic career. Upon applying to her undergraduate studies, Franchesca was one of the recipients of the University of Toronto Scarborough Admission Scholarship, as well as the University of Toronto Scholar prize, achieved on the basis of high academic achievement in high school. Throughout her undergraduate studies, she stayed on the Dean’s List for all four consecutive years and received various awards and recognitions. Franchesca received the Centre of French & Linguistics Recognition of High Achievement in her second year for placing among the top 10 students in an Application of Linguistics course, as well as the Norman F. Brown Humanities Scholarship due to her high academic achievement in her third year. Most notably, she was presented the University of Toronto Scarborough Graduation Prize in Humanities for being the top student of the graduating class from the Centre of French and Linguistics, something that she is truly proud of. Franchesca’s financial stresses for graduate studies had become a problem as the coronavirus pandemic affected her source of income as well as her father’s.

Grace Loten

Grace Loten - Throughout her life Grace has been actively involved in the disability community, whether in advocacy, 1-on-1 youth tutoring or in support work. During her undergraduate degree she sat on the McGill Advisory Committee for Students with Disabilities, Beyond Me club, the Arts and Science Student Council and the Mcgill Mental Health Committee, all while completing two independent research psychology projects. As president of McGill’s Beyond Me club, she initiated the university’s first Disability Awareness Day as well as McGill Spread the Word to End the Word campaign, to raise awareness and promote inclusive speech for people with disabilities on campus and in the Montreal community. During the summer months, she worked and volunteered at a camp for adults and children with intellectual and physical disabilities, where she discovered a passion for Occupational Therapy. Ever since, she has dedicated her efforts into pursuing this passion as her career. After completing her undergraduate degree with a double major in Psychology and World Religions, she worked at L’Arche International in Sydney, Australia while at the same time pursuing a Disability Management Diploma from Dalhousie University. She now lives in Victoria, volunteering in family centres and rehabilitation clinics for Vancouver Island Health. In fall 2020 Grace will be starting a Master’s in occupational therapy at University of Toronto. This degree will allow her to not only follow her passion but to continue to advocate for a more inclusive society for people with disabilities within Canada.

Jade Delaronde

Jade Delaronde - Jade was born in Toronto and currently resides in Caledon, Ontario. She has recently graduated from York University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance, specializing in choreography and performance. She is currently working towards a Bachelor of Education degree, focusing on the Intermediate/Senior Division. During her time at York, Jade has been on the Dean’s Honour list every academic year. In addition to her academic achievements, she has also performed at the American Tap Festival and is the two-time world champion of the adult solo category. Most recently, Jade has performed at the Commonwealth Cup in Sun City, South Africa, where she won the silver medal and placed fourth overall. Furthermore, she has travelled to South Africa, Poland, Germany, New York and Niagara Falls to compete internationally with the Canadian National Dance Team and has won three world titles at the IDO World Championships. Jade is also a co-founder and artistic director of CREO Dance, which has an aim of nurturing a student’s love for the performing arts, by giving them an outlet to express their passion for dance and the opportunity to compete internationally.

Jade has always had diverse passions and interests, ranging in dance, music, teaching and academics. Throughout her degree, Jade took great pleasure in embarking upon various community involvement opportunities, such as volunteering at the Brampton Caledon Community living centre and the Well community church. Having always been drawn to the arts, Jade is incredibly excited to become an educator and to help students develop awareness, focus, responsibility, communication and teamwork skills throughout her classes. As an arts advocate, she strongly believes in arts integration because it enables students to explore a variety of subject areas through the use of movement to embody concepts. With this different approach, students are using different learning strategies and styles. Jade’s passion for teaching is rooted in helping children grow, embracing their individuality and creating a lifelong passion for learning by giving students the tools they need to succeed.

Karim Manji

Karim Manji - Karim is a first-generation Canadian, born and raised in Toronto, by parents who immigrated to Canada from Nairobi, Kenya. Having grown up in a neighbourhood densely populated by immigrants, Karim has witnessed the many barriers immigrants face as they begin to adapt to Canadian society. For this reason, Karim has taken great pleasure in supporting his community by helping pave way for new programs to assist others, particularly low income and immigrant families.

Karim recently graduated from McMaster University with an Honours Bachelor of Science Degree in Life Sciences. During his time at McMaster University, Karim co-founded a university wide organization, Breakfast Club McMaster. The club addressed the issue of children going to school without a breakfast, which ultimately affects their ability to concentrate and learn. The organization aimed to empower every child to realize their full potential by fundraising to support breakfast programs in various elementary schools across Canada. IT simultaneously shares resources to affordable healthy breakfast options and occasionally provides free breakfast on campus for students among the McMaster community. Losing a loved one to a lung condition encouraged Karim to join the McMaster Lung Society, where he served as President. He led an executive team in promoting and facilitating access to lung health resources and fundraising to support lung health research. Karim hosted several lung health research seminars among the McMaster community, informing students of research being conducted on campus. He was the lead organizer of the university’s first Cystic Fibrosis run. In addition to his university involvement, Karim also served as president on Mac Vitality, a club that encouraged students to instigate a healthy lifestyle and promoted body positivity. He was also an active volunteer mentor to international students from China in graduate programs, assisting with the transition to a new school and a new country. Having discovered a passion for teaching, Karim served as a Teaching Assistant to multiple first year classes.

Karim’s passion for health care and mentorship led him to a volunteer position at a long-term care and retirement facility in Hamilton Ontario as a Fitness Assistant. Karim led exercise classes for seniors over the age of seventy and supported the facility as a research assistant, where he studied the impact of resistance exercise on the mental, social and physical health of very frail adults. Karim also organized the facility's first computer program, teaching residents how to surf the web and connect with their loved ones through social media.

Karim is now pursuing a Master’s degree in Physical Therapy at Queen’s University and aspires to work as physiotherapist in a Community Health Centre upon graduation, allowing him to continue to give back to his community.

Krystal Stewart

Krystal Stewart - Krystal was born and raised in Miramichi, a small region in northern New Brunswick. Having been raised by a single mother with limited financial resources, she learned from a young age the value of hard work and determination. Being the first in her family to pursue a formal education through university, Krystal attended Dalhousie University where she studied Medical Sciences and graduated with distinction. Through her own personal experiences, she was able to gain a perspective for those who are in a great need of help. This concern for helping others, curtailed into her pursuit of a career in medicine. After a traumatic spinal injury followed by neurosurgery, Krystal had her first major exposure to the healthcare environment; this experience helped solidify her vocational ambitions. She has always been an active member of her community, beginning with her involvement at the local hospital in her hometown, providing geriatric patients emotional support. Throughout high school, she was involved in the student government as treasurer and an active member of the Rotaract Club, along with other committees.

During her undergraduate degree, Krystal took part in numerous organizations, both on and off campus. Most notably was her contribution to the MEDLIFE Chapter on the Dalhousie campus, where she held the executive position of treasurer for three years and took part in a mobile clinic that was located in the rural mountains of Ecuador. While volunteering at this mobile clinic, she had the opportunity to assist healthcare professionals in providing quality care to patients in these impoverished communities. Global health equality has become a central topic for Krystal through her ongoing commitment to raising awareness for global health initiatives. During her third year, she founded her very own society called Holiday Helpers, in affiliation with both the Ronald McDonald House and the IWK Children’s Hospital. The main objective of this society was to provide holiday-themed events for the in-patient children, allowing them to escape the bounds of their illness. As the society grew, so did the objective, through raising awareness for childhood illnesses and fundraising for local organizations. The creation of this society continued to fuel Krystal’s passion to pursue a career that ultimately helps others, specifically in the healthcare setting.

While conducting research at Dalhousie University, Krystal gained a considerable amount of exposure in the field of oncology, specifically its immunological benefactors through the treatment of cancer. As she delved deeper into the field of onco-immunology, her interest in this particular field of medicine grew. Krystal will be attending medical school at Dalhousie University in the fall, as part of the Class of 2024. She plans to gain clinical exposure in the field of oncology while attending medical school, with the hopes of becoming an oncologist in the future.

Olivia Rotondo

Olivia Rotondo - Born and raised in Montreal, Québec, Olivia recently graduated from Concordia University with a Bachelor’s degree in Honours Psychology (with distinction). With the intent of helping individuals with special needs reach their full potential, she will be pursuing an M.Sc.A in Speech-Language Pathology at McGill University in the fall.

Olivia was raised by two hard-working parents who constantly encouraged her to reach for the stars and dream big. This ethic instilled a drive to constantly be the best version of herself, a drive which would result in her maintaining a high GPA and being on the Dean’s list in multiple semesters, all while being actively involved in her community.

Throughout her undergraduate degree, Olivia engaged in both volunteer and research activities. Her Honours thesis focused on the role of responsibility and fear of guilt on reassurance seeking behaviours in individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder. This experience allowed her to understand the importance of research in leading to real-life changes in treatment. However, it was the hands-on volunteering experience that Olivia enjoyed the most. Notably, it is her volunteer and work experiences with individuals with special needs that has shaped her life goals and passions. She plans on becoming a Speech-Language Pathologist to address the ever-growing need for these professionals in Montreal. Specifically, she aims to work in both the English and French Montreal School Boards with the hopes of being able to provide young individuals with early intervention.

Rami Hamoudeh

Rami Hamoudeh - Rami Alexander Hamoudeh is a recent graduate of the University of Ottawa’s Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Science with a Minor in Psychology. Being a scientist and advocate for health care initiatives, he believes one of the most valuable qualities in life is the desire to help those who cannot help themselves. Research aimed at alleviating pain and suffering has been a source of inspiration for Rami and is also the reason why he hopes to one day become a physician and help advance treatments for those that suffer most from mental and physical disability. While growing up, Rami often found himself fascinated by healthcare involving the human mind and body, and this motivation led him down a path to becoming a lifesaving instructor with the City of Ottawa, as well as involving himself in school immunization clinics and hospital care. Rami later found himself signing up to join medical charities and relief organizations that aimed at providing the basic resources to those who needed it most around the world. He has been involved with the Global Brigades International Charity for several years now, with whom he has travelled abroad and collaborated with numerous physicians to provide emergency medical and dental treatment, public health and clean water projects, as well as teaching youth about the importance of self-hygiene. Coming back to Canada, Rami was eager to apply his skills and dedication inside his local community. He joined with Swimming with a Mission Ottawa to raise funds for swimming lessons tailored towards children with special needs, and he joined with the Ottawa Food Bank and Meals on Wheels to provide necessary food and resources for the vulnerable populations during the COVID19 pandemic.

Rami was recently accepted to begin his Masters in Neuroscience at the Royal Ottawa Mental Hospital, under the supervision of Dr. Pierre Blier M.D., Ph.D. The Blier lab’s current research project lies in the improvement of novel strategies regarding the treatment of depression and depressive symptoms. As of now, available medications for depression are ineffective in about a third of the population and take several weeks to show any impact. Rami will be assessing the non-competitive N-methyl-D-aspartate’s (NMDA) receptor antagonist Ketamine, a novel agent with rapid antidepressant actions. The team’s focus will be on the mechanisms underlying the immediate, yet short-lasting effects of Ketamine in comparison to traditional drug treatments. These findings may be the key to advancing future interventions aimed at ameliorating the rapidity and sustainability of medications for treating those suffering from depression.

Rosalyn Kish

Rosalyn Kish - It began in grade 11 Evolutionary Biology, when Rosalyn found her curiosity for environmental research and action. After high school, she headed to York University for an undergraduate degree in Environmental Science. Over the course of her studies, Rosalyn received many recognitions for her academic achievements. One of which was the York University International Mobility Award, received for travelling abroad to complete a geography field course in Iceland. Little did Rosalyn know that she was headed on an inspiring and transformative trip, and that she would win an award for it in the process. Her heart was captured by the “Land of Fire and Ice”, where everything is geothermal. Rosalyn hiked active volcanoes, sledded down glaciers, soaked in geothermal springs and observed the Aurora Borealis and spouting geysers. It was in Iceland that her curiosity for soil studies crystalized, and to this day, she lets this interest guide her in both her hobbies and academics. In her fourth year, Rosalyn embarked on her Honours Thesis project where she quantified the carbon content of the five major storage compartments of terrestrial forests: above-ground biomass, below-ground biomass, woody litter, leaf litter and soil. She brought her research findings to a geography academic conference in Waterloo, Ontario where she won the Best Student Poster Prize for effective and captivating scientific research. Rosalyn loved the fieldwork component of both her Iceland field course and Honours Thesis and hopes to one day fulfill her pre-pandemic plans of working with the Smithsonian Institution’s Forest Global Earth Observatory (ForestGEO) census in Haliburton, Ontario. In this position, she will contribute to updating the tree-growth dataset, facilitating research into the consequences of global change on terrestrial forest processes. She is grateful to be a part of a world-wide project studying forests, terrestrial carbon storage and global change.

At York University, Rosalyn participated in a variety of environmental clubs and initiatives. She helped raise awareness about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals set for 2030. She encouraged fellow students to get hiking in Toronto Parks and galvanized support for local vegetable and honey farms. Rosalyn served as a science ambassador, helping potential future students pursue their interests by informing and expressing her appreciation of the Environmental Science field. During the summers, Rosalyn helped keep Toronto pristine by gardening at Evergreen Brickworks and assisting the City of Toronto take action on effective waste diversion. Born in Toronto, and raised in the Scarborough Bluffs, Rosalyn is blessed to have the wonders of nature around her. She loves keeping her eyes peeled for new species that come along her path. In the age of isolation, she will utilize her proximity to wildlife as inspiration to keep her spark through her Masters Degree in Environmental Science at the University of Toronto Scarborough. She aspires to study how the world’s terrestrial forests can act as carbon sinks to limit further atmospheric greenhouse gas increases.

Shania Bhopa

Shania Bhopa - Shania is a first-generation Canadian, born and raised in a small town outside of Toronto. Herparents immigrated to Canada from Trinidad and Tobago. Shania recently graduated from McMaster University's Communication studies program with a minor in Health and Aging (with distinction). She is passionately returning to McMaster to pursue a Master of Science in Global Health. Shania is an active citizen within her university community and beyond, from being the Student Representative of her program aiding the faculty in enrolment, to being an active volunteer in global NGOs.

Shania is the Founder and Executive Director of The Canadian Courage Project, a non-profit that aims to provide resources to the homeless youth community in the GTA. Her passion for social change and community involvement has allowed her to raise funds to donate goods to the homeless youth community. Shania has an eye for design, and owns Shania Captures, a digital marketing and photography company. Shania aides start-up companies to create their digital footprint and stimulate awareness in the community. Shania’s passion for health communication stems from her childhood role as a science co-host alongside Robert Erwin at the age of 14 years old. Throughout her formal education, she has been engaged in various roles in the medical and health community from knowledge translation, to being a clinical volunteer. She has implemented her understanding of health communication in her undergraduate research. In her most recent independent study project, Shania examined her University’s wellness center and the accessibility of online platforms in relation to neighbouring Universities. Shania is pleased to be writing a novel alongside her mother and sister, focused on how to discuss health and wellness as a young teen in the south Asian community.

Shania has a passion for fitness as a certified personal trainer, a passion for photography and health and traveling when she can. Shania will be combining her passions to create change in the Global Health program as an active global citizen completing her Master's program in the fall.

Vanessa Pennacchio

Vanessa Pennacchio - Vanessa Pennacchio is proud to have been born in the diverse and beautiful city we know as Toronto, Ontario. While she is devoted to her academics, she also emphasizes the importance of balanced living and enjoys engaging in physical exercise, exploring the city's food scene and visiting new places. Vanessa has a variety of interests in many different subjects, and so she admits that deciding on a major was difficult. However, certain obstacles and life altering experiences led her to pursue an undergraduate degree in Psychology with an emphasis in Justice Studies.

During her undergraduate studies, she was fortunate to have been selected as one of the only students in her program to obtain a placement at the Ontario Correctional Institute in Brampton, Ontario. Vanessa maintained the role as a forensic research assistant, where she assisted with collecting meaningful data that could provide insight on how to improve treatment programs for offenders in order to promote successful community reintegration and public safety initiatives. Vanessa also participated in a Human Right's Focus Group at Humber College which involved reviewing the Gender Diversity Policy and identifying ways it could be enhanced to promote inclusion and address issues such as discrimination and violence. Her experiences in these roles introduced her to skills of advocacy and accountability. Interestingly enough, it also guided her towards discovering that a legal education is something she would pursue.

After graduating with Distinction and in the top 10 percent of the Psychology program at the University of Guelph, Vanessa began to study diligently for the LSAT with hopes to attend law school. Commitment, resilience and a strong work ethic granted her acceptances to multiple Canadian Law Schools. She has ultimately decided to attend Ryerson University Faculty of Law in September; a brand-new law school that will set precedents in the legal community, guided by innovative methods and a dedication to strengthening access to justice. Vanessa is motivated to think creatively about how technology can assist in improving legal services and reducing systemic barriers across various fields of law. She is particularly interested in health law, intellectual property law and insurance defense litigation. She is thankful for this opportunity and is looking forward to innovating the legal landscape and establishing positive change.