Skip to main content
On July 30 we announced the recipients for the 12 annual RBC Students Leading Change scholarship.

The recipients were selected based on their passion to lead and inspire positive change in their communities – and they have really set the bar for all of us!

As part of our commitment to youth, the 15 winners will get $10,000 towards their post-secondary education. To apply, we asked students to submit a short essay telling us: What is one issue you are most passionate about changing globally or in your community? How are you involved in seeing this change through and how would you inspire others to join your cause?

Let’s see why a few of these students have won…

Category 1 (Graduating High School or CEGEP)

  • Ashley Muir
  • Sarah Jejo
  • Lucas Penny
  • Taryn Magee
  • Nikisha Thapar
  • Joy Brailean
  • Juliana Zadarko
  • Ekaksh Khurana

Ashley Muir

Bowmanville, Ontario

Ashley will be starting her Psychology degree at Trent University in the fall. She is a fierce advocate of accessibility within her community and has dedicated her time to create events at her school to make it a more accessible place for her peers. As an instigator of positive change, she will speak at her school board conference with the theme “Be a Change Maker” to widen the scope of her actions.

Sarah Jejo

Mississauga, Ontario

With the hope of bringing awareness about challenges linked to hearing impairment to her peers, Sarah has started a Sign Language (ASL) group at her school . Her ambition is now to take her action outside her school to the rest of her community by organizing a festival that features ASL song interpretations, ASL crash courses and artwork from deaf artists. Sarah will be attending the University of Waterloo to pursue Mathematics this fall.

Lucas Penny

Grimsby, Ontario

Lucas is passionate about helping people through science. He has channeled this passion to improve breast cancer diagnosis and has founded “The Youth Science Network” to empower youth to see the power of science and laboratory research in the fight against cancer. Lucas will be enrolled in the Life Sciences program at University of Toronto in the fall where he will be able to pursue his passion further.

Taryn Magee

Ardrossan, Alberta

Taryn will be pursuing Architechtural Studies at the University of Toronto this fall. She is passionate about addressing the issue of homelessness in her community. As an aspiring Architect, she hopes to inspire the solutions to affordable housing within her community to help build safer, interconnected and productive communities in Canada.

Nikisha Thapar

King City, Ontario

Nikisha is involved in organizations like Can You Hear Me? and Autism Ontario and has developed a strong interest in children and disability rights. She plans to raise awareness by enlisting the help of social justice and humans rights groups, and start a social media campaign around these issues. Nikisha will attend Trent University as a law and sociology student in the fall.

Joy Brailean

Regina, Saskatchewan

Joy believes that providing a sound education to Aboriginal children is the key to ending poverty in their communities. She works tirelessly to fundraise and is actively involved in projects at Kitchener Community School in Regina to advocate for the needs of the children. Joy will be pursuing an engineering program at the University of Calgary this fall.

Juliana Zadarko

Mississauga, Ontario

Juliana will be starting a Software Engineering Program at University of Waterloo in the fall. Her enthusiasm for the STEM field and an awareness of the lack of women in this field has inspired her to start the Technovation club at her school. The club encourages women to develop a mobile application centred on social action. She believes this will give other students like herself an opportunity to explore STEM and gain confidence in their abilities.

Ekaksh Khurana

Calgary, Alberta

Ekaksh devotes his time to the Equalearn Foundation, an organization that provides free tutoring and school supplies to students. He believes providing quality education to children of immigrants, refugees and low-income family is key in helping them set up a successful future. Ekaksh also works with other non-profit organizations in Calgary that champion this cause. He will attend the University of Calgary as a Biochemistry student in the fall.

Category 2 (Undergraduate or Graduate Degree or Diploma)

  • Maya Singh
  • Sukhi Brar
  • Meagan Bristowe
  • Rashida Rajgara
  • Natalie Boros
  • Olivia Ganescu
  • Chase Valiant

Maya Singh

Thompson, Manitoba

Maya is dedicated to improving safety on public transit in her community. As a university student, she works with her peers to raise awareness in her community on safety by educating school children and their parents. Maya will pursue Pharmacy studies at the University of Manitoba this fall.

Sukhi Brar

Abbotsford, British Columbia

Sukhi is currently a BA student in Adult Education at the University of Fraser Valley and will return in the fall. She helped develop and implement UFV ‘Prevention, Education, and Response to Sexualized Violence’ policy at her university and is a strong advocate of sexual assault survivors. Sukhi is also on the board of two non-profit organizations and is committed to employing this approach to leading change in women’s activism in her community.

Meagan Bristowe

Calgary, Alberta

As a Community Health Science student at the University of Calgary, Meagan considers healthcare as a top priority in her community. She is particularly concerned with vulnerably housed and street-affected communities struggling with substance use in Calgary. Meagan helped open a one of the first Safe Consumption Sites in Alberta and volunteers tirelessly in emergency shelters to help affected individuals and bring awareness to this issue within her community.

Rashida Rajgara

Ottawa, Ontario

Rashida believes that there is a generational gap between the elderly and the youth that leads to the discrimination of the former. She proposes the development of a community-based after school program that enables youth to help seniors with new technologies while the younger generation benefits from valuable life skill lessons from seniors. In the fall, Rashida will continue her PhD in Medicine at the University of Ottawa.

Natalie Boros

London, Ontario

Natalie is currently enrolled in a History degree at Huron University College. She is passionate about environmental issues facing her community. Natalie is a strong advocate of recycling and networks with companies who specializes in this area to support her mission of inspiring other students like her to take initiative towards this cause.

Olivia Ganescu

Montreal, Quebec

Olivia works to combat the issue of drug addiction in her community. She believes fighting the stigma around this disease is the first step towards combatting this issue and is part of the Addictions Medicine Interest Group at her university. Olivia currently studies Medicine at McGill University.

Chase Valiant

Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

Chase is a Cape Breton University Student enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts in Community Studies with a major in Psychology and a minor in Anthropology-Sociology. He advocates for inclusion and believes that sports is the perfect medium to achieve it. To promote this, Chase works with an organization in his community that focuses on providing safe and positive supportive athletic environment for gender non-conforming youth aiming to build a sense of coherence and acceptance in his community.