From 6,000 applicants across Canada, 30 students starting their first year of university were chosen as 2021 Loran Scholars – and one of them is at the Faculty of Health Sciences.

Tasneem Alnahhas is a first-year BHSc student from Ottawa who started at McMaster University in September.

“I was shocked and extremely grateful that I received a Loran award,” said Alnahhas, who attended high school in Kanata.

“I feel it is important for me to keep giving back to my community, because the one we have here at McMaster is very tight-knit and supportive, looking out for us and willing us to succeed.”

Valued at $100,000 over four years, Loran scholarships are awarded to students who, through a rigorous selection process, demonstrate strength of character, a deep commitment to service, evidence of courage and compassion and an entrepreneurial spirit.

At high school, Alnahhas started a community outreach club helping new students to connect with their community, such as through painting workshops for Alzheimer’s patients.

Alnahhas has also been an avid coder, learning under the guidance of a computer science teacher who pushed her to master new skills she never thought possible.

The result was Symphony, a video chat app that connecting immigrants with volunteers, helping them develop their language and communication skills for job interviews.

Further afield, Alnahhas was involved in a United Nations (UN) initiative to create a five-year plan for providing 25,000 Cambodian women with the skills they need to join the digital economy. She is also a UN sustainable development goal ambassador.

“No matter what skill or hobby you enjoy, you need to start somewhere and just build yourself up to where you want to be,” said Alnahhas.

Of the more than 700 past and present Loran Scholars, 35 have attended McMaster over the last three decades, including Sheiry Dhillon, who became a Rhodes Scholar in 2012.

To learn more about the Loran Scholars Foundation, visit their website.


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