Torch Scholars

Meet the 2027 Scholars


Major: Chemical Engineering

Hometown/High School: Revere, Mass./Revere High School

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Meryem was born and raised in Morocco until the age of 16, when she happened to immigrate to the United States. She spent her sophomore year in Haverhill High school before moving to Revere High School to complete her junior and senior year. Throughout high school she was heavily involved with a non-profit organization where she volunteered as an Arabic/French interpreter, assisted refugees/immigrants navigate through the US system, and tutored students. Additionally, she dedicated her time during the pandemic to serve Revere citizens by volunteering at the food bank, senior center, and helping with elections. Serving her community helped her find a sense of belonging. And made Revere her second home. She would love to continue helping communities in Boston during her time at Northeastern. In school, Meryem was a part of the science team where she discovered her keen interest in science, in particular chemistry. For that, Meryem wants to pursue a career in STEM and pave the way for future first-generation students.


Major: Data Science and Behavioral Neuroscience

Hometown/High School: Dover, N.H./Dover High School

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Seamus was born and raised in the small city of Dover, New Hampshire. Growing up in a low-income neighborhood, Seamus developed his desire to help others, eventually guiding him to medicine. This interest was only further piqued through summer programs and an internship under a general surgeon. He will be completing a combined major in Data Science and Behavioral Neuroscience as a pre-medical student. During his time at Dover High School, Seamus participated in a rigorous curriculum, consisting of numerous AP and dual-enrollment courses. He also served as president of his school’s Latin Club and as a peer tutor, mainly in the English and science departments. Outside of school, Seamus found his place in volunteer work at a local after-school program, where he completed extensive work to support students from a wide array of backgrounds. Additionally, Seamus enjoyed volunteering to support a local community program’s food pantry. Seamus is excited to explore the academic resources and programs that Northeastern has to offer and hopes to continue to develop his aspirations and goals in the coming years.


Major: Computer Science and Physics

Hometown/High School: Millburn, N.J./Millburn High School

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Arthur born in Crimea, Ukraine, where he spent the biggest portion of his life. After Crimea was occupied by the Russian government and thousands of Ukrainians lost their homes, his family had to relocate to the United States in search of a safe environment. Lacking knowledge about the American school system and barely speaking any English, Arthur entered his sophomore year of high school with a motivation to begin his life from scratch, using the opportunity his parents gave him to succeed. Over the course of three years, Arthur has put all his effort into succeeding both academically and personally. He has taken several AP and Honors classes, while staying loyal to his community by volunteering for the local elementary schools. Continuing his passion for science, Arthur is planning to pursue a Computer Science & Physics combined major at Northeastern and hopes to find a community he can connect with on campus.


Major: Nursing

Hometown/High School: Los Angeles, Calif./Mary Star of the Sea High School

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Celeste Garnica is from Los Angeles, California. Her parents are from Mexico and immigrated to the U.S. at a young age. Celeste identifies as a proud Latina woman and hopes to inspire the next generation of education seekers. During her high school years, Celeste loved to play sports and be involved within her community. She was very involved with a few nonprofit organizations that she still actively participates in and is still a part of her life today. Celeste hopes to take this opportunity at Northeastern University to grow out of her comfort zone and become the best version of herself. She is currently studying to become a nurse.


Major: Behavioral Neuroscience

Hometown/High School: Lake Forest, Ill./Lake Forest Academy

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Ferdoss Ibrahim was born in raised in Chicago, Illinois, by her mother and father who immigrated from Eritrea. Growing up, she loved playing sports which grew into her hobby of weightlifting today. Ferdoss plans on majoring in behavioral neuroscience and plans to go to medical school after completing her time here at Northeastern. In high school, she was involved with the student government and was the junior class president as well as the student body president and she hopes to get involve at NU’s SGA. Outside of school, Ferdoss enjoys being with her friends and journaling in her free time!


Major: Computer Science

Hometown/High School: Nashville, Tenn./University School of Nashville

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Mariam is currently studying Computer Science here at Northeastern! She comes from a small town in Nashville, Tennessee originally hails from Egypt. She grew up in a lot of different areas and from that experience, she has learned a lot through years. One of the passions Mariam picked up along the way was her love for language. She learned how to communicate with different people in Arabic, English, and Spanish. Throughout the years, she’s been adamant about helping and connecting to the communities around her. Whether it is through leading community action initiatives or food drives, Mariam has made sure to connect resourceful communities with others in the area. She hopes to continue expanding her love for language and communication, whether it be through a computer or in the communities of Boston!


Major: Cell and Molecular Biology

Hometown/High School: Los Angeles, Calif./King Drew Magnet High School Medicine and Science

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Donte’ Lewis is from south central Los Angeles, California. He is currently majoring in Cell & Molecular Biology. In high school, Donte’ was the president of the HOSA—Future Health Professionals chapter at his school and that is when he realized he wanted to devote his future to helping people. Donte’ came to Northeastern because there are endless opportunities for him to immerse himself in science and medicine. His goal is to become a doctor and take what he has learned back to south central to let more kids with his similar background know they can succeed too!


Major: Business Administration

Hometown/High School: New York, N.Y./Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics 

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Khadiatou (or Kade) was born and raised in New York City by her parents who are from Mali and Senegal. During Khadiatou’s time in high school, she spent most of her time balancing schoolwork/activities, and home life. In her scholarly life, she took many AP classes and joined several programs including a medical one called “Medachieve” where she got the opportunity to learn about human anatomy and study a cadaver. In her homely life, she was a caretaker for her two younger sisters and helped with their time in school. As Khadiatou grows, she aspires to be a leader in the business world and help challenge the current inequities faced.


Major: Explore Program for undeclared students

Hometown/High School: Irvine, Calif./Arnold O. Beckman High School

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Cassandra was born in Anaheim, California, but she later experienced moving around several times within the county of Orange. Coming from a Hispanic household and being one of the youngest children, she witnessed from family members the unfortunate events and limited opportunities that came with staying home. This further encouraged her to continue with higher education. The prevalence and exposure of diverse communities from a young age has prompted keen interest in languages; as such, she will be minoring in Spanish & Mandarin. During her time in high school, she was active with school clubs, tutoring, mentorship, working part-time to help with finances. Though uncertain of her major, she is highly oriented towards International Relations and Environmental Studies and is considering adding Human Services as a minor. She finds these subjects to be valuable for helping and giving back to the community, in either a local or global manner. During her time at Northeastern, she is hoping to build lasting relationships, life-long knowledge, and memorable experiences. 


Major: Computer Engineering

Hometown/High School: Brooklyn, N.Y./Science Technology Research High School at Erasmus

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Basilia Oferbia is a proud African leader who has opened her community to resources in tech and mental health. As Founder of the Women in STEM Club, Basilia empowers POC girls to pursue their passions in STEM. She also participates in the Google Code Next Program. During the summer, Basilia interns at the Lift and Shift Foundation where she helps veterans suffering from PTSD through robotic problem-solving therapy. Additionally, Basilia volunteers at the 9/11 Memorial and shares stories about 9/11 victims & heroes. Lastly, school involvement is very important to her. She served as Vice President of Student Council & Captain of the Volleyball Team. Basilia plans to pursue Computer Science and hopes to work at Google.


Major: Political Science

Hometown/High School: Dorchester, Mass./Charlestown High School

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Jaden Pinet is from Boston, Mass. Jaden will be entering Northeastern University with an intended major in Political Science and also has an interest in law. As a high schooler they were very passionate about improving the education system for their community which is where their love for social justice and education grew. As school president, student cite council representative, and a student representative for the Boston Teacher Union, Jaden fought on a local, city, and state level to speak up for the rights and needs of their friends, family, and community. A few other interests of Jaden’s include, debating, reading, playing video games, hiking, and finding new music. As a student at Northeastern University, they intends to use their passions as a guide towards a degree that will allow them to help build a safer, stronger, and more equitable world for themself, their family/friends, and their future family to live in. 


Major: Nursing

Hometown/High School: Denver, Colo./Cherry Creek High School

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Joshua is from Denver, Colorado, and has an intended major of Nursing. Josh was interested in nursing because it has been in his family for generations, and he enjoys bringing comfort to those that need help. Throughout high school, Josh would join his school’s student government. During his three years in the SGA, Josh would become the first Inclusion & Equity Coordinator and first Latino Student Body President. He hopes that throughout his time at Northeastern he can take advantages of all the opportunities it has to offer. 


Major: Bioengineering

Hometown/High School: Revere, Mass./Revere High School

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Michael comes from Revere, Mass., (about 20 minutes from the Boston Campus, from a Colombian immigrant household. He is currently pursuing a major in Bioengineering with a focus on advanced prosthetics and bionics. Although he did take multiple rigorous AP and Dual Enrollment courses, his biggest pride comes from active involvement in 10+ extracurriculars, being a representative of his robotics team, and giving 300 hours of community service. Michael has always believed in the importance of giving back to his community and for that reason he loves visiting senior centers, playing the keyboard at healing groups, and hopes to now come back to his high school to mentor his old robotics team.


Major: Biology

Hometown/High School: Manhattan, N.Y./Beacon School

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Waziha was born in Bangladesh and moved to Manhattan, New York. She attended Beacon High School where she was able to grow as a person and hone her academic skills. Waziha speaks Bengali, Hindi, Urdu, Arabic, and Spanish. Waziha’s intended major is Biology here at Northeastern where she aspires to be a pediatric physician in her future career. This stemmed from her involvement in the Cancer Kids First program where she was responsible for making and distributing care packages and digital cards to encourage and support pediatric patients with cancer. That is was where her passion for healthcare and being a pediatric physician stemmed from. One of the quotes Waziha stands by would be “The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease.” One of Waziha’s hobbies is dancing. She likes to dance to Bollywood music, contemporary, and ballet dances. When she was in sixth grade, Waziha was scouted to be a dancer in a choreography presentation for the American Ballet Theater. She plans to join dance programs throughout her time here at Northeastern like NUKaliente and No Limits Dance Crew. Waziha look forward to creating new memories here in Boston with her fellow torch cohort and making use of every resource to accomplish her future goal of becoming a successful pediatric physician. 


Major: Computer Science

Hometown/High School: Brooklyn, N.Y./Brooklyn Technical High School

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Richard Zhao was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He attended Brooklyn Technical High School where he majored in Law & Society. As a part of this major, Richard took rigorous courses like AP Calculus AB, AP Government and Politics, and Criminal Procedure. At such a rigorous high school, he was immediately immersed in a high-pressure environment, however, it did not stop him from participating in a multitude of extracurricular activities – becoming a catalyst of change. All throughout high school, Richard participated in Key Club, a non-profit service organization, where he was assistant lieutenant governor. Alongside Key Club, Richard was also involved in their school’s sustainability club where he was responsible for overseeing the club’s budget and aiding at events. Outside the boundaries of his school, Richard founded a non-profit organization called AZNActivists where he oversaw their social pages with over 15,000 followers and raise funds to support the Stop Asian Hate movement. At Northeastern University, he hopes to major in both Business and Computer Science. Using his past experience in advocacy and leadership, Richard is so excited to explore different mediums of extracurricular and academic involvement. Go Huskies!