Torch Scholars

Meet the 2026 Scholars


Major: Computer Science

Hometown/High School: Harlem, New York/New Canaan High School

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Axel was born and raised in Harlem by his mother who is from West Africa. During his childhood he had limited economic and social resources. However, a trip to his mother’s family in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso’s capital, helped him to change his perspective on his status and his future. He realized that in comparison to his family and people living there, he had unlimited opportunities to change his status. Axel indicated that he is now “determined to take full advantage of these opportunities to become successful and to use his success to provide for his family.”


Major: Biology

Hometown/High School: Norfolk, Virginia/Maury High School

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Mark is from Norfolk, Virginia and comes to us from a large public high school where he has been a deeply impactful and fierce advocate for the LGBTQ community. President of his school’s International Thespian Society, fluent in French, and an accomplished cellist, Mark plans to study biology. The Torch committee was very impressed by his insightful, incisive, and inclusive contributions to Torch Interview Day, and we are so excited to have him join our community.


Major: International Business and Social Innovation

Hometown/High School: Miami, Florida/Miami Jackson Senior High Schoolh School

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Jessenia (or Jess) was born in the Dominican Republic, and came to the United States speaking only Spanish. She quickly emerged in her family and community as a leader who can be depended upon. Jess keeps up with a rigorous dual enrollment curriculum in school while leading the Future Business Leaders of America club as chapter President and participating in several diverse internships. Perhaps the most impactful experience has been with the Miami Urban Debate League, where she challenged herself to develop skills in public speaking and in doing so, tackled her fears head-on. As Jess prepares to enter Northeastern as an International Business and Social Innovation major, her positive and reliable influence will know no bounds as she continues to learn, grow and shine.


Major: Architecture

Hometown/High School: Hyde Park, Massachusetts/Catholic Memorial School

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Junior plans to study architecture at Northeastern. His interest in this field arises from the devastation to family members’ homes in the Dominican Republic, and he intends to build sustainable and resilient housing that will withstand significant weather events. Junior’s Spanish teacher describes him as “the best writer I have ever taught” and his nominator for the Torch Scholarship wrote that Junior is “one of the best students I have encountered in my career. His resiliency and compassion are unparalleled.” Junior is a founding member of the Students Against Destructive Decisions Club, dedicated to helping peers make healthy choices. Junior has also volunteered as a teaching assistant at his elementary/middle school and provided freelance graphic design work for clients using high-tech software to create building mock-ups.


Major: Health Sciences

Hometown/High School: Las Vegas, Nevada/Las Vegas State High School

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Kelly was born in Tracy, California, then moved to Las Vegas, Nevada where she attended secondary school at Nevada State High School. While there, not only was she an active member of her varsity swimming and wrestling team, but also conducted rigorous research at the University of Las Vegas. Her initial research project studied the age-old question “What is the best letter to guess on a test?” and her final research project studied how bioluminescent thrived in certain temperatures of water. Kelly also has a niche for public service. She has invested hundreds of hours into community service and political/social justice efforts through organizations such as Anytown Las Vegas, Make the Road Nevada, DACA, school-to-prison pipeline programs, and more. She often describes the discovery of her passion for public service as a coincidence; it all started with lobbying at the Nevada state legislative office to enact two bills, AB 490 and AB168, to reform the justice system and combat the school-to-prison pipeline in the Clark County School District. Now as a Torch Scholar, Kelly hopes to pursue studies within research methodology as it pertains to community development and youth empowerment initiatives.


Major: Criminal Justice and Political Science

Hometown/High School: Redwood City, California/Woodside High School

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Mariel hails from Redwood City, California and her parents immigrated to California from Mexico. She is doing a combined major in Criminal Justice and Political Science and looking into minoring in Psychology. Mariel graduated from Woodside High School with a heavy AP course load and several college courses under her belt. Mariel is an accomplished athlete and is very proud of being selected to lead the Unified Sports program at her high school, where she engaged students with disabilities in sports practices, events, and competitions. She is also an active community volunteer, teaching a young man with disabilities basketball, tutoring young readers, and leading an empowerment program for middle school girls. Mariel is described as intelligent and hardworking and has proactively prepared for college through participation in the AVID program at her school and Future Grads at the Boys & Girls Club. She is not afraid to seek help and regularly supports her peers in and out of the classroom.


Major: Behavioral Neuroscience

Hometown/High School: Buford, Georgia/Lanier High School

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Andreah intended major is Behavioral Neuroscience with a double minor in Nutrition and Business in hopes of attending chiropractic school post-grad and eventually becoming a chiropractic doctor! Her ultimate life goal is to own her own holistic chiropractic practice in a marginalized community and provide care plans for those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford the proper treatment they need. In high school, Andreah was president of the National Honors Society for Dance Arts at her dance studio and was also an inducted member of Beta Club, National Honors Society, DECA, and the school’s leadership team. Outside of school, her family has been fostering dogs for the past three years where Andreah would also volunteer as a CORE team small group leader at St. Benedict’s Catholic Church. Andrea also had an internship at a local chiropractic office where her passion for chiropractic and functional/holistic medicine sparked. Outside of academics, Andreah’s current passions include dancing in the styles of ballet, contemporary, ballroom, and belly dancing. Her other passions also revolve around music, as she loves playing violin and piano. Andreah’s new favorite thing to do is take the T around Boston and explore all the beautiful things the city has to offer.


Major: Cybersecurity and Mathematics

Hometown/High School: Rogers, Arkansas/Rogers New Technology High School

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Miguel is planning to major in Cybersecurity and Mathematics at Northeastern. Miguel is from a small Mexican village called Atlixco. His parents recognized that his academic abilities would not be challenged at his local school so the decision was made that Miguel would move to Arkansas to live with his Aunt. He arrived in the U.S. in sixth grade without knowing how to speak English. With hard work he exited the ESOL program in eight grade and was successful in all English language classes. After mastering English, he joined the French club where he went on to serve as Secretary for three years. Miguel founded and became president of the school’s chess club and participated in robotics and community service. In another example of his determination, Miguel chose to learn how to play the violin and by senior year he was selected as first violin in the school orchestra. His counselor described him as one of the most mature and responsible students that she had ever worked with.


Major: International Affairs and Political Science

Hometown/High School: Brooklyn, New York/Harlem Village Academy High School

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Michaella is a student who takes advantage of learning opportunities. She is enrolled in all IB courses this year, and has earned credits in summer programs at the University of Maryland, Brown, and the City College of New York. She’s been a cheerleader and volleyball player throughout high school, has mentored juniors just entering the IB program, and has found time to volunteer at the Harlem Children’s Zone and Covenant House. Her nominator says, “Michaella is the walking poster child of resilience, grit, tenacity, perseverance, and diligence.” She looks forward to using those traits and her academic skills to become a civil rights and constitutional lawyer.


Major: Mechanical Engineering

Hometown/High School: Thomaston, Maine/Maine School of Science and Mathematics

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Shawn is from Thomaston, Maine and is majoring in Mechanical Engineering and Physics, with a minor in math. He is also thinking of double minoring and adding philosophy. He attended the Maine School of Science and Mathematics where Shawn served as a resident advisor. In high school, he was also part of Cubing Club, VEX Robotics, Astronomy Club, and some intramural sports too. Some of Shawn’s goals during his time here at Northeastern include taking part in community outreach here in Boston and conducting undergraduate research. In his free time, Shawn likes to play basketball, read, write, watch movies, and hang out with friends and family. Shawn has overcome the loss of hearing in his left ear as a result of cholesteatoma that he contracted as a child. He has expressed an eagerness to be part of a challenging but supportive academic community.


Major: Computer Science

Hometown/High School: Boston, Massachusetts/Boston Latin Academy

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Bich attends Boston Latin Academy and is from Dorchester, Massachusetts. Bich started to hone her leadership skills by participating in the Pure Leadership Institute, where she learned how to lead a group and motivate others. She has been able to put this to use by working her way up from member to officer to president of the Recycling Club at BLA! Bich has also served as a Big Sister at Big Sister Little Sister Boston, and an intern at Square Tech. Bich’s counselor says that she is excited to see Bich as a “shining light in the classroom and on her college campus” and so are we!


Major: Undeclared

Hometown/High School: Boise, Idaho/Boise High School

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Nicole is from Boise, Idaho and attends Boise High School. Her major is currently undecided although she is leaning into the Environmental Engineering and Environmental Science fields. Nicole has been a force of leadership at her high school, serving as Student Body President and lacrosse captain. Her school counselor calls her a “natural born leader”, which came through in the way that she worked compassionately with her peers on interview day. Nicole was also the recipient of a scholarship through the YES abroad program to spend her 11th grade year in Indonesia and was able to live there for eight months until COVID-19 brought her back to the U.S. a bit earlier than planned. Closer to home, Nicole has also worked with Boise’s city council on their arts and history commission board to collaborate with local leaders and make improvements to her home city. Nicole’s future goals are to graduate with a degree in something she’s passionate about and to work for a nonprofit specifically focused on environmental and humanitarian causes. In her spare time, Nicole likes to do anything outdoors, whether that be going for a walk at a local park, rock climbing, or backpacking in the Sawtooth Mountains. Growing up in raw Idaho nature significantly developed her passion for the outdoors and the environment.


Major: Health Sciences

Hometown/High School: Groveland, Massachusetts/Brighton High School

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In the summer of 2019, Love shadowed a cardiac surgeon at Boston Children’s Hospital. He watched as the doctor spoke to patients, offering them comfort, learned how to administer an echo scan, and even viewed surgery in the operating room. This experience cemented his desire to become a cardiothoracic surgeon, and do all he could to prepare. In addition to his slate of AP and Honors courses this year, he is part of a men of color group who work on social issues, is a religious instructor teaching others about the Hindu religion. His interviewer said “talking with Love was incredible and a conversation that I will remember for quite some time. Based on our conversation, I can see that he will develop into a great leader in any community he becomes part of.”


Major: Health Science

Hometown/High School: Eden Prairie, Minnesota/Eden Prairie High School

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Iqra plans to major in Health Science at Northeastern. She was raised in a traditional Somali immigrant family. She discussed starting high school as a black Muslim girl in traditional clothing in a predominantly white suburban high school. By her perseverance and strength of character, Iqra became actively involved in student government. She was ultimately elected to the position of student council president in her senior year. This marked the first time that a student of color was elected to the highest position in school government. In addition to her role in student council, Iqra was a member of DECA, YMCA Leaders Club and the Black Student Union. Iqra has stated that she is excited to participate in various social justice activities while she is attending Northeastern.


Major: Nursing

Hometown/High School: Flushing, NY/John Bowne High School

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Victor has taken a number of AP and college level courses throughout high school and he intends to major in nursing. He is currently part of the Learn & Earn community-based organization and has been highly involved in multiple dance organizations through his school and community. In addition to training and dancing in a number of competitions, he has also taken numerous leadership positions through choreographing, casting, and developing trainings. In addition, Victor has worked as an office assistant at a law firm, a teacher’s assistant in the Chinese American Parents Association’s summer camp, and a barista. Victor has shown immense maturity and perseverance throughout his life, from helping his family recover from a house fire to navigating online learning while not having reliable WiFi or a fully functioning computer at home. In addition, he has been vital to his parents by providing translating services, technological support, and assistance in filing for unemployment.