Diversity Scholarship Winners 2016

2016 Diversity Scholarship winners


Thao Atkinson

Thao lives in Midway and is graduating from Boundary Central Secondary School and is pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce at UBC. 

Thao believes in getting involved with supporting the community and has been actively involved in a number of volunteer activities. Here are just a few examples of her great work in the community:

  • At her school she was involved with the Spirit Club and was the President of her Student Council
  • She has been actively involved with Girl Guides of Canada for over 8 years
  • She has volunteered with Kettle River Lions Club and also at the Midway Elementary School to help students with developing their literacy skills  
  • She volunteered to help those impacted by the 2015 wildfires by helping at the evacuation centre at the Midway Community Hall
  • She also shaved her head to support fundraising for cancer patients

Thao, thank you for your great contributions to your community! 

Congratulations on your scholarship and we wish you all the best in your future!  

 

 


Harsuman Benipal

Harsuman is a graduate of Frank Hurt Secondary in Surrey and is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at UBC.  Following this degree, she plans to pursue a Masters degree and then attend Law School with the goal of becoming a Lawyer.

Harsuman has been very active in supporting her school and community.  Here are just a few examples of her numerous volunteer activities:

  • As a member of the Panorama YMCA Interact Club she was a key organizer of a fundraising gala that raised money to help Syrian refugees
  • Volunteering at the CareLife Fleetwood Residential Care Facility - spending time with the senior residents and helping them participate in various activities
  • In 2015 she traveled to Mexico to aid the less fortunate and delivered wheelchairs to disabled children 
  • In grade 10 she was one of the founders of the STRIVE Program, which helps make the secondary school transition more enjoyable for students.  They presented their STRIVE Program at a Surrey Leadership Conference and the entire workshop has been sponsored by the City of Surrey.

Harsuman, you are clearly doing great things to support your school and community!  Congratulations on your scholarship and we wish you all the best in your future! 

 

 


Olivia Ferrara

Olivia is a graduate of Saint Thomas More in Burnaby and is enrolled in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Victoria.  Her goal is to major in Economics, and minor in business to pursue a business degree with the career goal of working in Human Resources. 

Olivia believes in trying to make a difference in her community and has been involved in a number of volunteer activities.  Here are just a few examples of her volunteer work:

  • The Blessed Edmund Rice Team (BERT) – Olivia served as a leader coordinating events and inspiring junior members to get involved.  She also organized a special event at her school to raise awareness and donations to support Syrian refugees.
  • She collaborated with three peers to co-found Green Day at her school and later worked to transform and extend Green Day into Health Week
  • In 2014 she traveled to Florida and volunteered for a week at a youth camp to support children of migrant workers
  • Last summer she travelled to Lima, Peru, where she was part of a student team who volunteered in poverty stricken communities
  • She is also a proud volunteer with Canuck’s Autism Network teaching soccer, socialization and communication skills to autistic children

Olivia, thank you for your great contributions to your school and community!  Congratulations on your scholarship and we wish you all the best in your future! 

 

 


Tara Gholamian

Tara is a graduate of Carson Graham in North Vancouver and is enrolled in the Faculty of Sciences at UBC.  Her goal is to attend medical school so that she can work towards helping Global Health Organizations, such as Doctors Without Borders, to provide aid in countries with the greatest need of medical health.

Working with younger individuals, giving back to her community, and music are three of the most valuable aspects of Tara’s life.  In 2013 she partnered with her local Salvation Army to create a children’s choir that performed and raised money for The Salvation Army’s Christmas Hampers.

Tara has also been involved in a number of other volunteer activities including:

  • City Fest Student ambassador and leader
  • District Student Leadership Council member
  • Free the Children ambassador and leader
  • Volunteering with the Big Brothers and Sisters of Greater Vancouver
  • Fundraising and contributing to blood drivers with the Carson Graham Blood Committee
  • Doing presentations as a Speaker for “Beyond the Hurt Youth”, focusing on prevention and the dangers associated with bullying

Tara, thank you for your great contributions to your school and community!  Congratulations on your scholarship and we wish you all the best in your future! 

 

 


Ashleigh Giffen

Ashleigh graduated from Howe Sound Secondary and is planning to study in the field of Indigenous Studies and Theatre through the University of British Columbia.

Ashleigh has made a remarkable impact in her school and community through her extra-curricular activities, including:

  • Actor and Co-Director with Howe Sound’s Theatre Program
  • Volunteer Stage Manager for the summer music theatre camp for children
  • Student Council – Deputy Prime Minister and First Nations Representative
  • Member of Kenya Tuition Club, raising funds to support schools for children in Kenya
  • Model UN representative
  • Member of Eco-Club
  • Organizer of Earth Week
  • Volunteer and participant in Squamish ‘Safe and Sound’ Conference
  • Initiated a Diversity Club for the school
  • Presenter at SFU re: Aboriginal Initiatives
  • Playwright as part of the Vancouver Arts Club LEAP Program

Ashleigh, thank you for your great contributions to your school and community! 

Congratulations on your scholarship and we wish you all the best in your future! 

 

 


Harleen Hehar

Harleen is a graduate of Tamanawis Secondary in Surrey and is pursuing a Bachelor of Science at UBC with the career goal of going on to medical school to become an Ophthalmologist. 

Harleen believes in supporting the community and has been involved in a number of volunteer activities.  Here are just a few examples of her great volunteer work with various organizations:

  • Volunteering with the UBC iCON where she helped to distribute health resources to Punjabi residents in the community who can't speak English
  • Supporting the Canucks Autism Network (CAN) as part of I CAN Skate and I CAN Play Basketball Programs
  • Fundraising and event planning as part of the “Because I Am A Girl” Start-up Team
  • Volunteering with City of Surrey Nature Centre and Partners in Parks - helping out at various environmental special events  
  • Harleen has also volunteered with Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) and at the B.C. Cancer Foundation’s Ride to Conquer Cancer

Harleen, thank you for your contributions to your school and community!  Congratulations on your scholarship and we wish you all the best in your future! 

 

 

 


Alice Huang

Alice graduated from Moscrop Secondary School in Burnaby and will begin her post-secondary studies this Fall at UBC, focusing her studies in the Sciences.

Alice has demonstrated her care for her school and community through her involvement in such activities as:

  • Volunteering with the Courtyard Terrace Senior Home by creating a welcoming garden space and playing piano as part of the music therapy program.
  • Leading fundraising efforts to support Covenant House and Variety BC.
  • Founding a Cancer Society branch as part of her school to support fundraising efforts of the BC Cancer Foundation.
  • Supporting BC Parks with the removal of invasive species at Deer Lake Park.
  • Serving as President of the Burnaby Youth Sustainability Network, organizing an EnviroBlitz conference at her school to promote sustainable actions.
  • Initiated a school garden as Co-President of the Enviro Club and created an initiative, Green Your City, with other Burnaby students to start a garden at every Burnaby high school.

Alice, thank you for your contributions to your school and community! 

Congratulations on your scholarship and we wish you all the best in your future! 

 

 


Lejla Kajevic 

Lejla is a recent graduate from Robert A. McMath Secondary School here in Richmond, BC.  This Fall, she will begin studying towards a Bachelor of International Economics at the University of British Columbia.

 Lejla has been an active member of her school and local community, including the following activities:

  •  Vice President of the McMath Model United Nations Team
  • Chair of ‘Cancer Awareness Reaching Everyone’ Club at McMath
  • Peer Mentor for Grade 8 students having difficulty adjusting to life in high school
  • Initiator of the ‘Spring Soccer for All’ project, aimed at offering the chance for underprivileged children to play and receive professional coaching.
  • Technology Education Instructor for seniors at the Richmond Community Centre
  • Volunteer with Richmond Public Library as a tutor for elementary students in the field of mathematics.
  • WorkSafe BC Youth Ambassador
  • Member of Bosnian-Canadian Youth Folklore Group
  • Participant in the Minerva Foundation’s ‘Learning to Lead’ Program

 Lejla, your involvement is truly inspiring!  Thank you for your great contributions to your community!  Congratulations on your scholarship and we wish you all the best in your future!  

 

 


Jane Lee

Jane graduated from Heritage Woods Secondary School in Port Moody and will be starting university this fall at UBC in their Bachelor of Commerce program.

Jane has focused her diversity studies in the area of language – having lived in Korea, Switzerland and now Canada, she knows three languages and has used this knowledge to help international students and new Canadians develop their language abilities by starting the Kodiak Konversation club. 

In addition, Jane has contributed to her community by:

 

  • Volunteering with the Coquitlam Public Library’s French Club to support youth in developing their language skills.
  • Joining the school’s Business Club, collaborating with Kiva to provide funding to business people in developing countries
  • Serving as Logistics Director for miniEnterprize, a student-led organization that hosts annual business conferences.
  • Playing music in local seniors’ homes, building relationships and providing companionship to residents.

Jane, thank you for your great contributions to your school and community!  Congratulations on your scholarship and we wish you all the best in your future! 

 

   

 


Molly Yang

Molly graduated from Byrne Creek Secondary School in Burnaby.  She will be studying at the University of British Columbia this Fall in the field of Science, with the long term goal of pursuing a career in Medicine.

Molly has played a leadership role in supporting diversity within her school as:

  • President of the LEO Club, mentoring volunteers, organizing events, and serving the underprivileged.
  • Recipient of Top Citizenship and Service with Distinction awards.
  • Music therapy volunteer with Social Diversity for Children Foundation and Ronald McDonald House.
  • Organizer of a Midnight Vigil to raise funds for impoverished communities in Honduras.

Molly, it’s clear that you have a passion for supporting diversity and you have done some great work to serve your school and community.  Thank you and congratulations!