The Rotary Club of Toronto
Scholarship Winner 2023
Sawjana Rafique
At: The National Club
Thursday Lunch, September 14, 2023
Time: 12:00 Noon to 1:15 PM
The Rotary Club of Toronto awards $60,000 in university scholarships to Toronto high school students.
A grade 12 student from Westview Centennial Secondary School in North York joins the group of 12 previous winners whose lives have been changed by this award.
The club is celebrating more than a decade of awarding this scholarship to an outstanding student graduating from a Toronto High School who will be attending college, or university in the Greater Toronto Area.

Sawjana Rafique is the recipient of the 2023 Rotary Club of Toronto scholarship. She is a graduate of Westview Centennial Secondary School, North York. She will be attending the University of Toronto in the Fall.  Her future academic plans include a double major in Neuroscience and Molecular Biology and Genetics, complemented by a minor in either Forensic Science or Computer Science.  Her  aim is to address critical medical issues in underserved communities.

Sawjana has worked recently as a cancer researcher at the esteemed University Health Network. This shed a light on the difficulties caregivers of cancer patients face. The profound loneliness and vulnerability that many of these individuals endure silently have sparked within her a passionate determination to develop impactful podcasts for Princess Margaret Caregiver programs. Through these endeavours, she seeks to dismantle the stigma surrounding cancer and address the challenges patients face throughout their journey, from diagnosis to treatment.


Guest Speakers: Previous Scholarship Winners:

2022 Veronica Luo, 2021 Rachel Ma, 2020 Gabrielle Cuff and 2019 Hshmat Sahak
Thursday Lunch, September 14, 2023 - Time: 12:00 Noon to 1:15 PM
In Person at: The National Club, PREREGISTER BY MONDAY SEPT. 11, 2023
with Sarah Olsen at:
Rotary Virtual Meeting via Zoom! Click LinkedTree Link:
Topic:  Scholarship Award Winner for 2023
Host:  Champion, Scholarship Team, Pauline Lyons 
Views and Opinions Expressed Disclaimer:  The views and opinions are those expressed by the Speaker and
do not necessarily reflect the official views or opinions, policy or position of The Rotary Club of Toronto or its Members.
Previous Year Winners Guest Speaker Bios
Rotary Toronto Scholarship Winner 2022 Veronica Luo


Veronica Luo is the recipient of the 2022 Rotary Club of Toronto scholarship.

She has completed her first year at the University of Toronto Mississauga pursuing studies in psychology. She achieved a Cumulative GPA of 3.6 and received a Dean’s List Scholar notation for high academic achievement. 

Outside of her academic endeavors, Veronica is active in a total of 7 clubs - 5 of which she was selected to serve in executive positions. Most notably, as the new co-VP of Membership for the University of Toronto Women’s Student  Association empowering women to achieve their own goals. 

 This past Summer she had  the wonderful opportunity of working with Pride Toronto in their operations department. This role gave her a deep insight into the logistics of organizing Canada’s largest pride event.
Scholarship Winner 2021, Rachel Ma


Rachel Ma is the recipient of the 2021 Rotary Club of Toronto Scholarship.  She completed her second year of undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto this Spring as a Dean's list scholar with a 4.0 GPA.
Rachel is exploring a career in the non-profit space with a goal to help alleviate the burden on the underprivileged  children and immigrants. She spent part of her Summer volunteering at a Junior Achievement fundraiser. 
Apart from her scholastic achievements, Rachel is a member of a dragon boat team called Liquid Assets. She was awarded the University College Leadership Award this year for her commitments to her clubs.
The Rotary Club of Toronto
Scholarship Winner 2021, Gabrielle Cuff

Gabrielle Cuff is the recipient of the 2021 Rotary Club of Toronto Scholarship. 

She is currently in her fourth and final undergraduate year at the University of Toronto in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Gabrielle has been recognized as a Dean's List Scholar for the third year in a row. She has also been awarded the Ruth Kirkland scholarship from the University of Toronto based on merit and community involvement. 
The highlight of her third year was working as an assistant for the university, where she participated in enriching campus community and resources with the goal of prioritizing the mental health of students and creating initiatives that improve equity, inclusion, and access.
Gabrielle will be taking the LSAT exams in October 2023 with a goal to apply to Law School.  She plans to pursue a career as a lawyer. 
The Rotary Club of Toronto
Scholarship Winner 2019, Hshmat Sahak


Hshmat Sahak is the recipient of the 2019 Rotary Club of Toronto scholarship. He has completed 3 years of his undergraduate degree in the highly competitive Engineering Science program, pursuing a Major in Machine Learning and a Minor in Robotics and Mechatronics. He has maintained a cumulative GPA of 3.99 and a 95% overall average.

Last year, he had the privilege of  working as a student researcher at the Google Brain team in Toronto.  His work involved developing machine learning models for robust image super-resolution using state-of-the-art computer vision and image generation techniques. The culmination of his efforts resulted in a first-author research paper, and is being used as a foundation for further work by senior research scientists to improve the field.
In addition to his academic pursuits, he remains committed to his extracurricular activities at the university.  Hshmat participates in weekly training sessions working towards the Putnam competition. He maintans his executive role at NSight, a club devoted to providing academic, social and personal support for first and second year students in Engineering Science, easing their transition from high school to university.

His goal after graduation in 2024 is to obtain a PhD degree in the intersection of Computer Science and Robotics.
Host to the Scholarship Students

The Rotary Club of Toronto

Scholarship Team Chamapion, Pauline Lyons