Torch Scholars

Meet the 2028 Scholars

Yumiko “Yumi” Chow

Hometown: Quincy, MA
High School: North Quincy High School

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Yumiko Chow was born in Boston, MA, but raised in Fuzhou, China by her grandmother. In her scholarly life, she took AP and dual enrollment courses at her local community college. At that time, she discovered programming and found passion in how it interconnects with the idea of creation. As a result, Yumi is currently pursuing a combined major in Computer Science and Design. This interest stemmed from her involvement in doing art advocacy for non-profit organizations in her local communities. Additionally, Yumi was involved in Artists for Humanity, Boston Asian Youth Essential Service, and Sunrise Bluehills where she was able to showcase her art endeavors in digital and physical ways through posters, graphics, and presentations. Some of her hobbies include painting, designing, social advocacy, reading, and being with her cat! At Northeastern University, she hopes to do more community service by utilizing her prowess in design and joining clubs!

Fritzmael “Fritz” Dericin

Hometown: Dorchester, MA
High School: John D O’Bryant School of Math and Science

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Fritz was born in Haiti Port au Prince but moved to Dorchester, MA with his mother and his sister at the age of two. During his childhood, Fritz’s always had a passion for learning about new things and picked up a few hobbies on the way such as photography, journaling, and playing the piano. During his high school years, he participated in sports such as football, and wrestling, and threw at all the events for track and field. His coursework consisted of a AP classes which prepared him for the coursework he would endure at Northeastern. Following Fritz’s passion for learning, he will be majoring in Engineering. Although he doesn’t know what field of engineering, he loves the idea of solving problems through a mathematical thinking process and wishes to be in an engineering field that allows him to further his curiosity. 

Rebecca Haile

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

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Rebecca Haile was born in New Orleans, LA but her family moved to Las Vegas, Nevada due to being displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Her parents immigrated from Ethiopia where they raised her and her four siblings. Growing up Rebecca enjoyed taking photos, reading, and playing soccer. Throughout high school Rebecca was very involved in her school’s clubs and organizations. She was the Co-founder and President of her zoned high school’s Black Student Union and was appointed Student Body Historian. She was the Vice President of Outreach for Gen Z for Green, and the Co-Director and Lobbying Director of the Youth of Betterment of Black Education. Rebecca completed a congressional fellowship and internship where she explored her interest in civic duty. Rebecca is majoring in Computer Engineering and hopes to use and take advantage of the STEM resources at Northeastern. Rebecca is looking forward to participating in the EESA and Northeastern Black Engineering Student Society!

Matias Gonzalez 

Hometown: Gilbert, AZ
High School: Campo Verde High School

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Matias Gonzalez is from Phoenix, Arizona. His parents are from Colombia and Mexico and immigrated to the U.S. as adults. Matias identifies as a proud Latino and hopes to inspire the next generation of those wanting to improve the lives of themselves and their families. During his high school years, Matias found a passion for being involved with his community. He was very involved with a few nonprofit organizations that helped shape who he is, he still actively participates with the organizations. Matias hopes to take this opportunity at Northeastern University to help him grow to be the best version of himself he can only imagine. He is currently studying Behavioral Neuroscience with the goal of pursing medical school after his time at Northeastern. 

Lisbel Pena Gonzalez 

Hometown: Brighton, MA
High School: John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science

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Lisbel was born in the Dominican Republic and immigrated to Boston in 2012. Moving to the United States, she faced many challenges such as a language barrier and the difficulties that come with adjusting to an unfamiliar environment. Despite these challenges, she never lost sight of her goal, pursuing higher education. She attended John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science, an exam school in Roxbury. In 2022, she received her pharmacy technician license and is currently working for a non-profit organization that mainly focuses on providing care to the Latinx community in Boston. Lisbel plans to major in Civil Engineering with the hopes to go back to the Dominican Republic and build homes in underdeveloped communities. 

Sharmarke “SK” Khalid 

Hometown: Lewiston, ME
High School: Phillips Exeter Academy

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Sharmarke Khalid is a Somali refugee/immigrant from Nairobi, Kenya. He moved to the United States at a very young age with his family and mostly lived in Lewiston, ME. Growing up he faced difficulties being raised by an immigrant single mother that didn’t speak English. However, this strengthened and inspired him to work hard and be creative. Having to support his family, Sharmarke started investing and working at healthcare supporting people with mental disabilities. After graduating high school, he attended Phillips Exeter Academy as a Post-Grad where he played soccer and pursued higher academic goals. He takes pride in being Muslim growing up in a religious household. His favorite sports are soccer, track, and basketball. Continuing his passion with investing and business, he is studying Economics and Business, wanting to venture in law. Coming from a low socioeconomic background, he aspires to be a beacon of financial education to his people. 

JC Nguyen

Hometown: St. Louis, MO
High School: Mary Institute and Saint Louis Country Day School

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JC Nguyen was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, an urban city in the Midwest. After attending Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School (MICDS), he fostered his passion for writing, healthcare, education philosophy, and psychology. This led him to his combined major in Health Sciences & Psychology where he aspires to conduct psychological research on numerous urban and social issues. JC has built an extensive portfolio of extracurriculars and community service: he has volunteered as a pediatric oncology counselor, co-facilitated a daycare center for underserved communities in Fairfax, Virginia, and co-founded his high school’s chapter of the Learn To Be organization—all of which amounts to over 700 hours of volunteer work. JC is thrilled to attend Northeastern University and eager to explore a new environment, taking advantage of the resources that will help him pursue interdisciplinary learning and make an impact on the world. 

Roberto Matos

Hometown: New York, NY
High School: High School for Math Science and Engineering at City College of New York 

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Roberto Matos was born and raised in Harlem, New York by parents from the Dominican Republic where he was raised in a small household with five older siblings. These skills eventually became useful for the rigorous coursework offered at the specialized high school he attended. It helped him excel in the multitude of extracurricular activities he participated in. As a member of the student government at his high school, Roberto helped plan and organize various school-wide events. He notably coordinated a bake sale to raise money for humanitarian efforts in Ukraine. Witnessing the rampant gentrification in his community, Roberto strove to improve his surrounding communities. He partnered with an organization to modernize and make two NYC parks in underserved neighborhoods more environmentally friendly and carbon neutral. Roberto hopes to join the American Society of Mechanical Engineers to foster a connection with like-minded individuals. Ultimately, Roberto’s goal at Northeastern is to continue to support underprivileged communities.

Cristian Pineda Melendez

Hometown: Chelsea, MA
High School: Boston Latin School

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Cristian is an aspiring Computer Science and Business Administration student at Northeastern. He was born and raised in the city of Boston, MA, to Salvadoran immigrant parents and developed a close connection to his ethnic culture through his city and peers. Witnessing the hardships of his mother and family, Cristian began working at a young age, and grew a deep passion in pursuing financial literacy & freedom. During high school, he began a sneaker reselling business that propelled his interest in finance even further. As a young mentor to his immediate family and friends, Cristian is working on educating others on the opportunities of investing, building credit, and the dream of creating generational wealth.

Elizabeth Polche 

Hometown: New York, NY
High School: Harlem Village Academy High School

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Elizabeth Polche was born in New York City and currently resides in Harlem. She lives in a Haitian immigrant household with her mother and sister where there is a tight family dynamic amongst the three. She attended Harlem Village Academy High School where she was captain of her cheer squad and was very much engaged in the school entertainment community. She also participated in her school’s International Baccalaureate program where she was pushed to meet her full potential, redeem herself, and achieve high grades. During times of leisure, Liz finds joy in reading stories and being able to write her own unique stories that she plans to publish a book one day. Liz also intends to pursue a Business major in Accounting with an interest in Sociology as a minor. During the summer, she interned with the NAACP where she researched issues impacting society and politics. She is adamant about breaking generational curses and learning how to navigate life in a manner that will allow a pathway to success for her and her family.

Isis Ramirez Rea 

Hometown: Piscataway, NJ
High School: Piscataway High School

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Isis Ramirez Rea was born and raised in Piscataway, New Jersey. Isis is a proud Latina, with an Ecuadorian mother and Mexican father. She was raised with Spanish as her first language then learned English as a second language when she started school. Isis attended Piscataway High School where she was often involved in community service with the Air Force Junior ROTC program, SGA, NHS, and World Language Honors Society. Isis intends to follow the college ROTC program to join as an officer after graduation. Isis’s parents often encouraged her education which led her to strive toward taking Dual Enrollment and AP classes such as anatomy and chemistry. Outside of school, Isis often helped her peers through tutoring and initiating a financial aid seminar for students at her school and mentoring elementary students. She loves spending time with her family, specifically her younger brother, Ian.  Isis intends on majoring in a combined major, Cybersecurity & Criminal Justice due to her interest in the intelligence field

Taisiia “Stacy” Solop

Hometown: East Hanover, NJ
High School: Academy of Saint Elizabeth

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Taisiia “Stacy” was born and raised in Odesa, Ukraine. When Russia invaded Ukraine and the war began, she was forced to leave her motherland and immigrate to the United States to seek a safer environment. Stacy began her education path in the USA at an all-girls Catholic school in New Jersey. Since ninth grade, Stacy has had a passion for medicine. She wants to pursue a career in medical research or clinical genetics as her ultimate goal is to help people and provide medical help for those who cannot access it. All her life Stacy has been an active member of her community helping and supporting people around her. She is grateful for the opportunity to be part of the Northeastern community and the ability to grow as a person.  

Ayah Soltany 

Hometown: Revere, MA
High School: Revere High School

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Ayah Soltany was born in Boston, MA and was raised in Revere where her parents immigrated from Morocco in the early 2000’s. Ayah graduated from Revere High School and is heavily involved within her community. She takes pride in being Muslim American and residing in a low-income community. Her background inspired her to take action and help those in need, as she wished someone did for her. The love of medicine and helping others is stemmed from seeing family members from Morocco struggle with not being able to afford healthcare. Ayah has completed many internships in different fields, varying from working as an anesthesia technician, to social activism. She hopes to study Behavioral Neuroscience and Computer Science, bridging the gap between medicine and technology, making it accessible to all. Ayah strives to find equality and bring awareness to the struggles faced by disadvantaged communities that is usually hidden by the media.

Jahnia “Nia” Thompson 

Hometown: Redwood City, CA
High School: Castilleja School

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Nia was born and raised in Redwood City, CA. Growing up in the Bay Area, Nia was surrounded by technology and innovation. Going to high school in such close proximity Standford University, Nia developed an interest in medicine. This interest was only further developed through a summer pathology program where they participated in autopsies and a month-long volunteer program in the Philippines where they assisted in a mobile clinic. They will be completing a combined major in Behavioral Neuroscience and Philosophy on the pre-medical track. During their time in high school, Nia served as president of their school’s Black Student Union and as a peer tutor and mentor on the Robotics team. Outside of the classroom, Nia enjoyed volunteering at a local senior center to support patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Additionally, Nia also enjoyed volunteering to assist in providing academic support to 5th-grade girls in various subjects with different learning needs. Nia is excited to explore the academic resources and programs that Northeastern has to offer and hopes to continue to develop their love of medicine and volunteering further.

Rau-Shawn “Shawn” Tribuce

Hometown: Worcester, MA
High School: Saint John’s High School

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Shawn was born in Boston, MA but moved to Worcester at 10 years old. Over the years, Shawn witnessed Worcester dramatically change from a low-income area into the gentrified city that it is today. This big change pushed Shawn to serve people in his community that are underrepresented and later become an advocate for affordable healthcare by participating in many clubs and activities. He is striving to become a general surgeon and will be majoring in Biology during his time at Northeastern. Shawn attended the Nativity School of Worcester which filled his drive to serve his community, and later on went to Saint John’s High School where he was able to take courses that interested him like Anatomy and Physiology. In addition to being a peer mentor for incoming freshmen as a part of the National Honor Society, he also assisted in providing food for minority communities in Worcester with the Saint John Food Pantry downtown. Shawn is excited to embark on his journey at Northeastern and interact with a wide array of students from diverse backgrounds on campus this year!