Graduating High School Senior: Steven Peng
Born in 2005, Steven Peng moved from Shanghai, China to British Columbia, Canada, attending a large number of schools before ultimately graduating from Mount Douglas Secondary. Upon first arriving in Canada, Steven was involved in many activities hosted by the Immigrant and Multicultural Services Society (IMSS) of Prince George, helping him to understand and appreciate the diverse range of cultures found in the country. Steven eventually found a passion for public speaking and drama, a place where he was able to share impactful stories.
In 2014 when he was around 10, Steven moved to Victoria, where he continues his passion for speech arts to this day! When he is not sharing stories, Steven enjoys biking, spending time with friends and family, and listening to music.This year, Steven is excited to attend the University of Victoria where he will be studying at the Gustavson School of Business. He hopes to use his expertise and passions in the future to keep storytelling, whether in the workplace or in front of an audience! Steven is ever grateful for the hard work and sacrifices his family has made to immigrate to Canada—providing him with a solid foundation to grow and thrive.
Undergraduate Student: Moora Paw
Moora’s journey began following her family’s displacement due to the civil war in Myanmar. She grew up in a Karen refugee camp located on the Thai/Myanmar border. Raised by her maternal grandmother, Moora was taught that the only way out of a life of manual labour was through education. She excelled academically, earning a teaching degree from Pu Taw Memorial College in Thailand’s Mae-La refugee camp. In 2014, she received a scholarship through the World University Services of Canada (WUSC) for her undergraduate studies at the University of Victoria, where she obtained her B.A. degree.
Moora’s first-hand experiences with discrimination, racism, and human rights violations have inspired her to advocate on the behalf of marginalized communities. Driven by her dedication to empowerment and advocacy, she started her legal education within UVic’s Faculty of Law four-year Juris Doctor/Juris Indigenarum Doctor. Currently in her third year of studies, Moora continues to advocate for the disenfranchised, marginalized, and oppressed.
Her ambition is to become Canada’s inaugural female Karen refugee lawyer. She hopes to inspire and motivate individuals from similar backgrounds to reach for new horizons. Moora remains committed to advocate for marginalized individuals through policy reform and legal representation.
Graduate Student: Jie Li
Jie Li was born and raised in Yinchuan, China until age 19 when she moved to Hong Kong for her undergraduate studies. She was the first-generation college student in her family and received her Bachelor of Social Sciences degree from the University of Hong Kong with first-class honors in 2019.
After graduating, she worked at a local non-profit organization in Hong Kong providing casework services to refugees and undocumented immigrants. This experience exposed Jie to the profound mental health challenges these communities face and their urgent need for culturally sensitive interventions. Motivated by these insights, Jie decided to pursue graduate studies in clinical psychology and began her Master’s degree at the University of Victoria in 2020.
Jie is currently a PhD student in clinical psychology at the University of Victoria. During her graduate studies, Jie has actively engaged in both research and community initiatives to address inequalities and promote prosperity for historically neglected and vulnerable groups.
She hopes to become a clinical psychologist, providing culturally sensitive mental health services, contributing to research, and advocating for policies that promote well-being and inclusion for immigrant and refugee communities.
Dr. Chandra Paul Singh Scholarship Fund: Subrahmanya Palavajjhala
Subrahmanya was born in Hyderabad, India, and moved to Canada at the age of 3 in 2008. In his spare time, Subrahmanya enjoys playing basketball with his friends, watching TV shows, and learning about space. Recently graduating from Spectrum Community School, Subrahmanya will be attending the University of Victoria to acquire a Bachelor of Engineering Degree. With hopes of pursuing a career in software engineering, Subrahmanya plans to use his skills in coding to improve healthcare applications and software.
He understands the difficulties with the pace of healthcare in Canada as he has been in and out of hospitals due to his Crohn’s disease. In an attempt to advance the speed with which patients can contact their physicians, Subrahmanya aims to develop better ways to deliver diagnostics, treatments, and patient care. From predictive analytics that identify potential health risks early on to telemedicine platforms that bridge geographical gaps, he is committed to creating technology that can progress the medical system as much as possible.