Torch Scholars

Meet the 2024 Scholars


Major: Architecture

Hometown/High School: Houston, Texas

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Howdy! Crystal was born and raised in Houston, Texas. The city is her home and will forever be her playground. It holds a special place in her heart, where she has fond memories of hot summer days running the trails, doing yoga, and family parrilladas in the brilliant sun. Crystal has big dreams. In this life, she’d do it all, be a ballerina, astronaut, park ranger at Yosemite; but for now, she will choose to be study architecture. Thoughtful and deliberate architecture has the power to uplift the human spirit to greater heights. Jim Rohn said “whatever good things we build end up building us.” Crystal is forever grateful for her mother and father, who taught her that there is no limit to one’s potential except the ones we place on ourselves, and to Linda, who has proven that unconditional love makes the strongest bonds of sisterhood. Crystal believes we have a duty to give back all has been provided for us. Torch has given her the opportunity to make that happen.


Major: Bioengineering

Hometown/High School: Oakland, California/Aspire Golden State Preparatory Academy

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Estefan was born and raised in Oakland, California. He attended Aspire Golden State Preparatory Academy beginning in 6th grade. His school’s resources were extremely limited, so when his school offered an Anatomy and Physiology class, he didn’t hesitate to enroll. There he discovered his interest in STEM, specifically the way the body operates. He secured an opportunity to shadow a mechanical engineer at NASA’s Ames Research Center, and during the experience, he explored the world’s largest wind tunnel. Despite the enormous tunnel, the bioengineering labs were what caught his eye, and once he returned home, he immediately began research on bioengineering. His research sparked an interest in regenerative medicine. He was intrigued by stem cells and salamander’s ability to regenerate entire limbs. Estefan is currently striving to become a bioengineer and hopes to one day unearth a way to regenerate entire limbs on humans.


Major: Psychology

Hometown/High School: Chattanooga, Tennessee/Baylor School

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Jalen was born and raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he and his older sister were raised by their single mother. He attended Baylor School, a private college-preparatory institution located in his hometown. In high school experience, Jalen led a club that brought together people of diverse backgrounds and opinions to examine important social, economic, and political issues in his community and the wider world. He had the honor of leading a tutoring group dedicated to helping inner-city children and ministering emotional aid to orphans and the elderly in Kingston, Jamaica. He knew early on that he truly enjoyed providing assistance and companionship to support people. He appreciates one-on-one connections and the relationship-building aspects of civic engagement since this presents the opportunity to teach, but more importantly, to learn from others. He intends to major in psychology to fulfill his dream of positively impacting the world one person at a time.


Major: Computer and Electrical Engineering

Hometown/High School: Mountain View, California

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Jasmine is from Mountain View, California, better known as Silicon Valley. She grew up in a single-income household. In high school, Jasmine was involved with AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), a program for first-generation and low-income students to better understand the college process. During the past summers, she worked teaching kids about STEM, a program aimed for students that come from low-income backgrounds. While at Northeastern, she wishes to study Computer and Electrical Engineering to advocate for minorities within STEM, and she will create ethical and innovative technology.


Major: Health Science and Psychology

Hometown/High School: Baltimore, Maryland/Bard High School Early College

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Jerimiah is from Baltimore, MD, and attended Bard High School Early College. From his high school, he earned an associate’s degree in addition to his diploma. He wants to continue his ambition for academic excellence by planning to pursue a combined major of Health Science and Psychology on a pre-med track. He also has a great passion for science and medicine but hopes that whatever career path he chooses will impact people positively. On top of this, he is a strong advocate for changing his community on important issues. This includes advocating for equitable access to healthcare resources. Another dream is to help change the education system in his hometown of Baltimore, as he recognizes the lack of resources in underprivileged communities. To start this, he has taught classes about obesity and nutrition to various ages as a form of preventive medicine. For now, he plans to go into Northeastern ready to learn and advocate for his new community here!


Major: Accounting and Finance

Hometown/High School: Cambridge, Massachusetts/Community Charter School of Cambridge

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Jeremy is from Cambridge, Massachusetts, and attended the Community Charter School of Cambridge. Jeremy is described as determined, charismatic, and ambitious in all aspects of his life. Because of the hardships he experienced in high school, such as a devastating fire that destroyed his home of seven years and caused him and his family to be homeless for a month, Jeremy learned the value of community and realized the importance of compassion. Jeremy excelled in High School and became a powerful advocate for his peers. He plans to do a combined major of Accounting and Finance so he can help others become financially literate. In the future, Jeremy would love to create his own college scholarship fund to close the achievement gap within the minority community. As he begins his education at Northeastern, he hopes to touch the hearts of many as he continues to reach his full potential.


Major: Psychology and Criminal Justice

Hometown/High School: Boston, Massachusetts

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Born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, Maxiel has always been a city girl. Having lived in many areas of Boston, she is enriched by what the city has to offer. Her Dominican heritage has fueled her personality and attributed to her bubbly and exciting personality. As her ethnicity is a major part of her identity, sharing her culture with others brings her incredible joy. Coming from a small high school, Maxiel has always enjoyed having a close-knit community that she can lean on. Building relationships is very important to her as she enjoys meeting people, making her life richer and more interesting. She enjoys analyzing situations and creating valuable solutions. She hopes to use a combined major of Psychology and Criminal Justice to create innovative solutions to current problems.


Major: Environmental Engineering

Hometown/High School: Miami, Florida

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Melanie is daughter to Nicaraguan parents and is from Miami, Florida. Growing up near the coast, she was taught to care about the environment and the interdependency living things have between one another. It is no surprise that Melanie grew up aspiring to help others. In her community, she was part of numerous grassroots organizations that focused on systematic change, where she exposed herself to different local and national issues. This involvement inspires her to study Environmental Engineering. She plans on using her degree to provide people with basic necessities, such as clean water, by creating water-sustainable systems and ecological clean up in underdeveloped countries.


Major: Behavioral Neuroscience

Hometown/High School: Cairo City, Egypt

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Merna is originally from Cairo City, Egypt and moved to the United States when she was ten-years old. She moved with her family in hopes for a better education and opportunities. Because of her passion and love for being active in her community, she was involved in student government to help people voice their opinions. Additionally, she played volleyball, tennis, softball, and track and field, which enabled her to value team-work. She hopes to inspire people, especially children, because she believes it’s essential to invest in children’s education and resources to shape their viewpoint about the world. She deeply believes that the foundation to building a dedicated, functional society comes from investing in children; they are the key to solving issues in the future. Merna strives to help as many people as possible, which is the reason why she wants to become a doctor. She believes that a doctor’s responsibility goes beyond prescribing medicine and doing check-ups; it’s also about the responsibility of working towards providing free healthcare. She hopes to major in Behavioral Neuroscience to become a doctor to help support her community and the world.


Major: Business Administration

Hometown/High School: Republic of Moldova/Deerfield Beach High School

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Nicoleta was born and raised in the Republic of Moldova by an amazing and independent single mother. When she was sixteen, Nicoleta and her mother moved to Deerfield Beach, Florida, with the hope of receiving better opportunities. Although transitioning to a completely different culture and language was a challenge at first, Nicoleta managed to excel academically at Deerfield Beach High School. In addition to focusing on her studies, she also used her passion for helping others by volunteering with the City of Deerfield Beach’s Community Development Department. Through her volunteering activities, Nicoleta’s primary focus was to help create a program that connected high school students and local government, to encourage young people in Deerfield Beach to get involved in the community as early as possible. While at Deerfield Beach High, Nicoleta took many challenging classes and was actively involved in student organizations such as Cultural Connection, YMCA 21st Century, Academy of Finance, BRACE Ambassadors, Mentoring Tomorrow`s Leaders. At Northeastern, Nicoleta plans to major in Business Administration with a goal to someday hold a leadership position at a non-profit organization whose mission is to encourage and support students in their pursuit of higher education.


Major: Bioengineering

Hometown/High School: Minneapolis, Minnesota/Patrick Henry High School

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Tejlim was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota in a family of ten. She attended Patrick Henry High School in North Minneapolis, which included many low-income students. During this time, Tejlim participated in performances after school, dual enrollment in community college her senior year, and a college prep program called TRIO Upward Bound. For the summers, she attended 5-6 week programs that focused on building skills and STEM knowledge. At Northeastern, she plans to try out bioengineering to focus on prosthetics. Her dream is to work in underdeveloped countries to provide sustainable, affordable, and efficient prosthetics to those in need who experienced trauma.


Major: Finance

Hometown/High School: New Orleans, Louisiana/McDonogh #35 High School of New Orleans, Louisiana

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Tomme was born in the heart of southern hospitality, New Orleans, Louisiana. He attended McDonogh #35 High School of New Orleans, Louisiana where he participated in various activities in his school, such as Student Government, Student Ambassadors, and Student Trailblazers. Outside his civic engagement with his school, he has participated in Junior Varsity and Varsity Football, Track and Field, and Cross Country. During the Summer after his Sophomore year, Tomme and four of his peers took the challenge of studying Eight-Dimensional Geometry and Abstract Algebra as a research team. After they had finished their research, they reported their findings to the American Mathematical Society (AMS) where they were then invited to speak on the topic “The Unknown Subgroup of Aut(E8)” at the University of North Texas. After their lecture the group asked a question which inspired them to dive deeper into their research. They later presented at Northeastern University at the following year’s AMS meeting. Tomme plans to major in Finance to study and master how business and financial stability works. He also plans to Minor in Music so that he can continue his career as a pianist and guitarist. With both his major and minor, Tomme wants to create a school of music for students from lower-income backgrounds who share the same passion for music as he does. He learned the value of giving back to others as he too is from a lower income household, and did not have access to many resources.