Student Success Centre

2015 Scholars Scholarship Winners

Alexander Pearson

Alexander Pearson

Hometown

Toronto, Ontario

What is the greatest advice you've ever received?

Try to learn something about everything and everything about something. 

What motivates you?

The satisfaction that I derive from pursuing my goals and confronting challenges.

What is Western to you?

Western is my second home. During my time here, I have made some of my closest friends and have had many opportunities for personal growth. 


Andrei Enache

Andrei Enache

Hometown

Windsor, Ontario

What is the greatest advice you've ever received?

"Energy and persistence conquer all things." - Benjamin Franklin

What motivates you?

My parents. My success is a direct testament to their efforts, values and sacrifices. I profoundly appreciate their gift to me and hope to eventually pay it forward through my own family.

What is Western to you?

To me, Western is a place to be challenged. It's okay to try and even fail around here because there's a huge community of students who will keep you moving forward. It's the perfect place to get comfortable being uncomfortable and thus prepare for the future.


Cathy Chen

Cathy Chen

Hometown

Richmond Hill, Ontario

What is the greatest advice you've ever received?

"Don't sweat the small stuff. Certain things happen for a reason, and usually that reason is that something else better will come along."

What motivates you?

I'm motivated by seeing the positive effects and the reach of my actions and what I'm involved in. Being able to witness the community coming together, or someone landing an opportunity that I helped make possible is what keeps me going. I love that feeling.

What is Western to you?

Western is support. From the very beginning, Western has provided me with friends and mentors who have done everything that they could to support my growth and learning. The experience is second to none.


Chantal Phillips

Chantal Phillips

Hometown

Richmond Hill, Ontario

What is the greatest advice you've ever received?

Thus far, the greatest advice I have received and strive to live by is to love God, love yourself, and love others. Despite how whimsical this seems, it has never steered me wrong. Although it can be difficult to overcome obstacles that restrict effective execution of this principle, it consistently helps me realize what truly matters at this moment and in my future.

What motivates you?

Maya Angelou once stated that, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” Although your perspective is an important segment of this quotation, making a change within your community is the other very important half of this. I am passionate about issues of racial injustice, poverty, and inequality and the prevalence of these systemically-rooted issues motivates me to work hard as an advocate for those affected. Another significant motivation is failure. Although no one, including me, enjoys making mistakes, it is after making mistakes that I reach the highest peaks of success.

What is Western to you?

Western, along with many other post-secondary institutions, is one of the few environments in the world and in your life that you interact with high concentrations of great people with bright futures and open minds. Whenever I am on campus, I am reminded of the countless opportunities to gain knowledge and experience. With these opportunities come lifelong memories of sweat and tears, and quite a few of those tears are of joy. Western is also a stage of development in maturity and identity. Every year, I find myself learning more about who I am and the world I live in.


David Freedman

David Freedman

Hometown

Toronto, Ontario

What is the greatest advice you've ever received?

Be open to change. Whether in the context of new ideas, people or experiences, this advice has helped me continue to evolve and be transformed by the communities around me.

What motivates you?

The drive to live a fulfilling life. I want to make a unique positive change in society, and although it is currently unclear what that will specifically look like, I am hopeful that with new experiences I will eventually figure that out.

What is Western to you?

Western presents an opportunity to discover who I am and how I connect with my generation. Through courses and extra-curriculars, I find myself uncovering my passions and areas for growth. Moreover, by interacting with the people of Western, I better understand how and where I fit in.


Ishan Tikku

Ishan Tikku

Hometown

Brampton, Ontario

What is the greatest advice you've ever received?

Success doesn't come in leaps and bounds. It comes from having a goal, and doing the little things right on a day-to-day basis to achieve it. And it comes from recognizing that learning never stops, no matter how experienced or intelligent you are.

What motivates you?

I'm motivated by a recognition that I am incredibly privileged to be at Western, to live in Canada, and to be born in a family that has been supportive in my journey thus far. To me, this serves as a reminder that I owe the world a lot for my sheer, dumb luck - and that I would like to have a positive impact in return.

What is Western to you?

Western is a community that allows people to grow exponentially. Right from orientation week as a first year, you're surrounded by fantastic mentors, and incredible opportunities to learn in and out of the classroom. That's something that no amount of tuition could buy.


Justine Baek

Justine Baek

Hometown

Richmond Hill, Ontario

What is the greatest advice you've ever received?

You can always find a way.

What motivates you?

"I believe what motivates me most is being able to see hard work and perseverance come to fruition, particularly alongside a team of driven and motivated leaders. Developing an innovative idea/vision with a team and being able to see it take form in reality to impact and reach a lot of people in the community- that experience is both rewarding and sets a fire under me.

At the same time, working with a team in such activities particularly motivates me. I have gotten to know many teammates who have become, to me, models of social responsibility and leadership. These people inspire me to continually improve, push my limits, and reach beyond my comfort zone. I am likewise motivated by those who I have mentored over the years. Seeing them grow and develop from for example, soft-spoken individuals into more assertive, confident speakers, has helped me grow as a leader and serves as a reminder for me to continue empowering and engaging my peers within my student community. I can say I am definitely a product of those I have been fortunate enough to get to know during my academic career."

What is Western to you?

Western is a home away from home for me. It is not just a place I can earn a high quality education or earn a piece of paper telling me I've graduated; it is a community in which I have been privileged to have met and worked with so many remarkable mentors, leaders, innovators and thinkers who have helped me grow professionally and personally. I think, in particular, the diversity and inclusiveness of Western's community allows anyone to find their niche and choose who they want to be. I am honoured to have been recognized in such a community and am proud to call Western home.


Juweiriya Ahmed

Juweiriya Ahmed

Hometown

Richmond Hill, Ontario

What is the greatest advice you've ever received?

Never let self-doubt prevent you from accepting opportunities that present themselves to you. Instead, use those opportunities to prove to yourself that you are capable and that nothing can stand in your way if you work hard enough, are passionate, and if you believe in yourself and your abilities.

What motivates you?

My motivation in all that I do is rooted in my desire to learn and to apply the knowledge that I gain to make a difference in the world around me. It is a desire that stems from a culmination of factors; my parents who have taught me to patiently preserve through every obstacle that I may face, teachers who have cultivated my curiosity and inspired me to pursue my passion, and my friends who have encouraged me every step of the way. My intrinsic desire to help those around me has served as a catalyst that has propelled me forward to pursue countless opportunities that have helped me to grow as a person and give back to the community.

What is Western to you?

Western to me is a place where I am free to explore the vast expanse of knowledge in all of its capacities. It is a place where I have had the opportunity to discover my passions and meet a multitude of individuals, each of whom have impacted my life by imparting to me the lessons that they have learned and the wisdom that they have gained. It is where I have realized my own potential and surmounted the inexplicable limits that I had placed on myself. Western to me is a community where ideas and innovation are embraced and a place that I am glad to call my home away from home.


Levi Hord

Levi Hord

Hometown

London, Ontario

What is the greatest advice you've ever received?

"Do things that terrify you. If you fail, you'll come out of the experience as a better person having learned something about yourself. If you succeed, you'll realize how much you're truly capable of.

Also, stretch while you study!

What motivates you?

My greatest motivation comes from a desire to understand concepts and ideas that have the potential to improve people's experience of the world. Academic achievement is something to strive for, but these concepts mean nothing unless they can be understood and applied in a way that is accessible to everyone, especially those groups that are actively being oppressed and silenced, who could benefit from them the most.

What is Western to you?

Western, to me, is an endless stream of opportunities. The people I've met here are not only amazing, passionate and driven, but they are willing to put responsibility and initiative in the hands of students and let them run with it. This has helped me realize my potential to bring together disciplines and issues that interest me into one cohesive, transformative Western experience.


Maham Bushra

Maham Bushra

Hometown

Mississauga, Ontario

What is the greatest advice you've ever received?

The dreams worth pursuing are those that continually challenge you, while easing the challenges of those around you.

What motivates you?

I am motivated by the great potential I see within myself and all human beings, but also by the injustices that often prevent us for reaching that potential. I aim to set goals that contribute to making the vision of an entirely safe and just world closer to reality. I am also continually motivated and inspired by the incredible leadership, ambition and perseverance of the people I am surrounded by.

What is Western to you?

Western represents opportunity to me – the opportunity to grow, create and serve. Western’s emphasis on academics, community service and leadership allows me to pursue experiences that not only provide me with the knowledge to overcome challenges, but also foster the development of transferable skills that perpetuate lifelong learning. My time at Western has shown that the most precious lessons taught and above all learned are found just as often in conversations as in notebooks. Above all, Western is a safe haven through which I am able to explore myself, my community and the colossal world around me.


Michael Kryshtalskyj

Michael Kryshtalskyj

Hometown

Toronto, Ontario

What is the greatest advice you've ever received?

Pursue your passions to the full. In the words of John Wooden, success is a peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable. Be yourself, and wring out every last drop of pleasure and happiness from life along the way!

What motivates you?

I am motivated by people’s joy. I love the sense of satisfaction and happiness I get in helping others in my community, or just by making others smile—after all, sometimes laughter is the best medicine.

What is Western to you?

While Western is indeed a very large school, it certainly doesn’t feel that way. My Western experience embodies a very close, tight-knit community that has nurtured my academic interests and ambitions, while also promoting a very well-rounded lifestyle incorporating athletics and a diverse array of hobbies.


Robert Nanni

Robert Nanni

Hometown

Toronto, Ontario

What is the greatest advice you've ever received?

"I hate when people say 'you can do it.' Sometimes you can't do it, and that's okay."

What motivates you?

Knowing I can make an impact motivates me. Being able to positively contribute to a situation makes me want to do even more to continue the trend. There's a sort of high I get from being able to do something that makes a difference.

What is Western to you?

Western is community, if I had to sum it up. It's a place of acceptance, relationship building, motivation, and betterment. Western is more than just a school - it's a home.


Ruilin Guo

RuiLin Guo

Hometown

Barrie, Ontario

What is the greatest advice you've ever received?

"This above all: to thine own self be true" ~ William Shakespeare

The prose may be a half-century old, but its meaning still resonates with me today. I've heard various iterations from friends, family, and mentors: be comfortable in your own skin, accept who you are, be yourself. It is so easy in our quest for greater things to lose sight of ourselves and envy others - but if I can stay faithful to my values, confident of my own worth, and in control of my happiness, then I would count that as a success."

What motivates you?

I am motivated by curiosity and sheer determination. I've always held a sense of wonder about the world, asking questions and searching for clarity. I also look up to the movers and shakers who stretch our understanding and create innovation. Finally, I have a passion for learning and try to constantly push myself to discover the world, improve my knowledge, and help others.

What is Western to you?

Western is a community, with an exciting diversity of students, staff, and faculty to meet. Western is an opportunity, with countless ways to learn, improve, and prepare for the future. Finally, Western is an experience - an unforgettable journey that has shaped my mind, attitude, and actions for the better.


Sanasi Jayawardena

Sanasi Jayawardena

Hometown

Waterloo, Ontario

What is the greatest advice you've ever received?

Keep your head where your feet are.

What motivates you?

I am motivated by the community in which I was raised and the one in which I now live. Moreover, I am motivated by a constant desire to improve myself and contribute to my corner of the universe.

What is Western to you?

To me, Western is a community that constantly pushes me to become a better version of myself. It is a place where I can expect to learn just as much outside of the classroom as I do inside the classroom.