UTSC 2020 Pearson Scholars
Eight of this year's cohort of Pearson Scholarship awardees are joining U of T Scarborough this fall.
Thursday, July 23 - 2020
Rachel Samson

We're excited to welcome our 2020 Pearson Scholars this September!

The Lester B. Pearson International Scholarships at the University of Toronto are awarded to exceptional students from around the world. Awarded annually, this is U of T's most prestigious and competitive scholarship for international students. The scholarship will cover tuition, books, incidental fees, and full residence support for four years. 

We asked each of our scholars four questions to get to know them a little better.

Slava Gulyamov

 

Slava Gulyamov

Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Co-op Management and Quantitative Finance

What inspired you to choose your field of study?
I chose to do finance because I am a firm believer that for many countries like my own, financial and economic reforms can be the leverage point for reducing poverty and raising the quality of life of the denizens. Economics and finance are a versatile tool that I hope to use to combat income inequality, poverty as well as use it to diversity the heavily agriculture-oriented economy of my country.

How many languages do you speak?
Two languages fluently — Russian and English and for the past four years, I've also been learning Spanish!

What's your ultimate comfort food?
I enjoy both the national dishes of Uzbekistan like plov as well as foreign delicacies including sushi!

Share a fun or interesting fact about your hometown.
I am from Tashkent — the most populous city of Uzbekistan and all of Central Asia! Uzbekistan is one of the two double landlocked countries in the world (the other is Liechtenstein).

Emily Kuik

 

Emily Kuik

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Co-op Psychological and Health Sciences

What inspired you to choose your field of study?
Four years ago, I read 'The Science of Mind' and found myself intrigued by the exploration of human behavior and the studies outlined in the book. I decided then that I wanted to study psychology at university. (There is also the added bonus that psychology will be useful for all the future careers I am currently considering!)

Languages?
I am fluent in English and Mandarin, and I also speak a bit of Malay, French and Teochew/Hokkien.

Comfort food?
Anything cooked by my mum!

Fun fact about your hometown?
Greater KL (Kuala Lumpur) is a multicultural area! Because of this, we get to celebrate many different festivals (and have lots of holidays)!

Mars Lomtakul

 

Mars Lomtakul

Bangkok, Thailand
Co-op Management and International Business

What inspired you to choose your field of study?
I believe that studying Management and International Business will give me a holistic understanding of the inner workings of a business and will give me the opportunity to apply theories learned in classes to real-world work experiences in the industry as part of the Co-op program. The international work and study experience that is unique to MIB is particularly interesting, and will give me the flexibility to pursue whatever I want in the future. I cannot wait to learn and work in a different cultural setting and to be empowered by business professionals around me. 

Languages?
Four. My mother tongue is Thai but I picked up English at school at a very young age. When I was 5, my family and I moved to Singapore for three years where I studied Chinese in school. In secondary school, I also enjoyed studying Spanish for five years. I hope to be able to find opportunities to practise speaking Chinese and Spanish at UTSC as well.

Comfort food?
Any type of Thai dish is my comfort food. From Masaman curry to Miang Kham, I love the combination of strong flavours Thai food embodies. Every dish has its own story and is rich in history. There is so much variety and there's definitely a dish for everyone, If you ever have the opportunity to explore Thailand, one thing you cannot miss out on is oysters with seafood sauce and crispy fried shallots!

Fun fact about your hometown?
Bangkok actually has the longest city name in the world! But in Thai, we just call Bangkok, Krungthep Mahanakorn or Krungthep for short.

Ifunanya Nwankwo

 

Ifunanya Nwankwo

Lagos, Nigeria
Psychological and Health Sciences

What inspired you to choose your field of study?
My inspiration to study psychology comes from the wonderful people that have surrounded me as well as multiple experiences I have faced in the course of time. At a time of national insecurity, my leadership roles as a high school prefect taught me the power of motivation towards a positive mindset and its multiplying effect. I hope to touch many lives for the better as well as discover new dimensions of mental health and awareness.

Languages?
Two languages I speak fluently are: Igbo (my native language) and English. However, I have a flair for French, Spanish, and Japanese with limited expression.

Comfort Food?
My ultimate comfort food is Shawarma.

Fun fact about your hometown?
Lagos (a state in Nigeria) has the tallest building and the longest bridge in Africa. Nigeria is also known as the "GIANT OF AFRICA" due to its large population.

Tianne Pane

 

Tianne Pane

Doha, Qatar
Computer Science, Mathematics and Statistics

What inspired you to choose your field of study?
I've always loved maths but never thought of pursuing it until my junior year of high school. I was leading several teams and organizations and thought: "It would be so much easier to make a decision right now if I could quantify the factors!" When I was unsure about its prospects, the movie Hidden Figures showed me how versatile the skills in the mathematical field can be. It made me believe that my passion will take me somewhere because if I enjoy it, isn't that itself more than enough reason to make the choice?

Languages?
Four! I speak English, French, German (slowly but surely fading) and my mother tongue: Indonesian.

Comfort food?
Chicken congee and crispy fried chicken eaten together make the ultimate comfort combo for me — especially if they were made by my Mama!

Fun fact about your hometown?
Depending on where you go, it looks like completely different worlds. Places like Villagio, the Pearl and Al Hazm look like Italy; but Arab heritage is still preserved in Souq Waqif and the Katara Cultural Village, just to name a few!

Sapolnach Prompiengchai

 

Sapolnach Prompiengchai

Ratchaburi, Thailand
Life Sciences (Biological Sciences and Neuroscience)

What inspired you to choose your field of study?
I love neuroscience and playing the piano and I would like to become a physician-scientist! Because neuroscience and psychology are so interdisciplinary, where brain, music (as medicine), and sophisticated medical instrumentation are all involved, I became inspired towards these chosen fields to cure neurological diseases with the help of music.

Languages?
I speak English and Thai proficiently. I've studied Hindi, French, Spanish, and Chinese as a foreign language and therefore, can speak with limited working proficiency. So in total, I know 6 languages.

Comfort food?
Salmon Carbonara

Fun fact about your hometown?
I'm from Ratchaburi province, which is an approximately 2-hour drive from Bangkok, Thailand. We have an ancient Thai cultural treasure or heritage call Nang Yai Wat Khanon. 'Wat' means temple in Thai while 'Nang Yai' is a traditional performing art that utilizes leather puppets to represent characters during shadow show. This temple is one of the rare venues for shadow play where the cowhide leather is meticulously designed so that when presented between the big screen and the light, the characters inscribed on the leather can come to life. One story narrator, one dialogue narrator, along with traditional Thai music and the shadow leather puppet dance, narrate beautiful stories about 'Ramakien' (Thai version of the Indian epic 'Ramayana').

Libertad Rojas

 

Libertad Rojas

La Paz, Bolivia
Physical and Environmental Sciences

What inspired you to choose your field of study?
I spent all of my childhood in a city surrounded by nature and would always spend my afternoon rolling on the grass and making mud pies. It was this exposure to nature that led me to love science and have a deep curiosity about everything in our universe and beyond it. These events of my childhood inspired me to pursue a career in the field of science.

Languages?
I can fluently speak English and Spanish, but I also know the basics of Portuguese and French.

Comfort food?
My ultimate comfort food would be caracoquesos. It is similar to mac and cheese, but the difference is the pasta used. Instead of macaroni, we use pasta shaped like rounded shells. It never fails to cheer me up after a stressful day!

Fun fact about your hometown?
In my city, La Paz, we have an annual fair where you can find miniature replicas of every item you can think of. From mini houses to mini phones and from mini driving licenses to mini cars. In this fair, you are supposed to buy a miniature of what you desire that year and then ask the god of abundance, called Ekeco, to make your wish come true.

Anais Shalita

 

Anais Shalita

Kampala, Uganda
Co-op Arts: Humanities, Social Sciences

What inspired you to choose your field of study?
Most of the activities I participated in during my time in high school ultimately led to my growing interest in the humanities and social sciences. I held a program named “Intricacies” in Rwanda with some of the most phenomenal girls I have ever met where we conducted workshops that sought to develop an understanding of the advancement of ideas concerning the empowerment of women in our society. I then went on to pursue my interests in law by attending the immerse education summer program and participating in a moot court competition. One of the most fundamental and influential experiences was writing my senior extended essay on my favorite novel, Roots by Alex Haley, examining the repercussions of racial subjugation on the psychological development of the African diaspora, colour hierarchy complexes, cultural erosion, and systematic oppression. I found myself very much interested in almost all of the humanities programs but decided to focus on my passion for Women’s and Gender Studies, and Sociology — an interdisciplinary area that would encompass my vast passions.  

Languages?
I speak two languages, English and my mother tongue; Kinyarwanda. 

Comfort food?
Matooke — the main staple food of Uganda made from East African Highland Bananas that is versatile in its preparation. 

Fun fact about your hometown?
Uganda is one of the few countries in Africa that domestically designs and assembles its own vehicles. The Kiira motor cooperation developed Africa’s first electric vehicle and solar-powered bus.