MAX Gala Scholarship 2017 Finalists 2017-10-02T22:55:29+00:00

MAX Gala 2017 Scholarship Finalists

MAX had seven independent judges for each scholarship. In total, there were over 60 judges involved in the scholarship process. The judges volunteered time away from their busy professional and personal lives for our promising and excellent high achieving youth.
We received over 200 applications for 21 MAX scholarships which were generously donated by members of the Muslim community. The finalists presented here are from:

    1. High School MAX Scholarships
    2. University and Graduate MAX Scholarships

All the finalists had very high marks combined with significant achievements in their extra-curricular and community activities. The finalists were all interviewed in person in May by a panel of four. We also asked each of the finalists to write a short bio of themselves which is presented here.
Good luck to all MAX Scholarship Finalists ! Congratulations on making it as a Finalist in a very competitive candidate pool. You help to show the positive side of Muslims youth in how you strive with your diligent hard work everyday in various disciplines, and in your efforts to advance and help society.

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MAX High School Scholarship Finalists

Aaqib Usmani
Aaqib Usmani
I’m Aaqib, I’m 18 years old, and I’ve spent every minute of my life minus 3 months inside Ontario. As far as experience goes, I have been Debate President, ranked internationally in business competitions, worked as Guest Experience Leader at McDonald’s and started software application development ventures. Though I’ve learned so much here, I’d like to expand my boundaries and pursue my passion of social entrepreneurship in the next chapter of my life at Western’s Ivey Business School. I’m excited to explore the world and myself by both traveling and researching; through my experiences, I hope to discover unique solutions to the most challenging problems of our generation. My true dream though is to change corporate culture so it finally becomes a beacon of hope for humanity, helping to create innovations, happiness, and fulfillment for every single one of us. I’d like to make that a reality alongside MAX.
Amna Khan
Amna Khan
Assalamoalaikum: Born to a Pakistani family, academics were highly valued as my parents endured hardships involved with immigrating to give me a quality education. This perception I grew up with changed as I discovered academics isn’t the only factor that’s essential- it’s one aspect. Therefore, I developed a new passion, to create a positive change in my life and others. By offering free tutoring service, I was allowed to share my knowledge, emphasize the importance and encourage our future generation to make a positive change in the community. This is one of my greatest contributions to society as it allowed me, a child who once received significant help from the community, give back. It shaped me into a leader, one who can lead everyone towards succession. A generous scholarship can better accomplish my future goals, which include becoming a Pharmacist and further creating a positive image of the Muslim community.
Ahmed Hamodi
Ahmed Hamodi
Asalamu Alaikum, my name is Ahmed Hamodi. I am a grade 12 student at Bluevale Collegiate Institute from Waterloo, Ontario. At Bluevale, I am a top student achieving a grade 12 first semester average of 98.67%, which followed a grade 11 average of 98.00%. Beyond academics, I am also a leader in multiple extracurricular activities including Bluevale’s prestigious Electric Car Club. I have contributed to designing, building, testing, and racing life-sized electric vehicles. Furthermore, I am an active member of the community, volunteering over 750 hours across numerous organizations. My two most prominent volunteer experiences are with the YMCA School Age Youth Development program and peer tutoring at Bluevale. In addition, I partake in various mathematics and computing contests achieving numerous top 3 finishes at Bluevale. Above all, I am a faithful Muslim and I thank Allah for everything I have been given.
Ayesha Khan
Ayesha Khan
I am a grade 12 student at Central Peel Secondary School, currently enrolled in the AP Program. While maintaining honour roll academic standing throughout high school,
I have also participated in numerous extracurricular activities to expand my knowledge including DECA, Mock Trials and the MSA. With an immense passion for math, science, technology and engineering, I have been especially involved in the school’s Robotics Team and have continually served as a STEM mentor for youth in my community.
My determination to make a difference is evident through the girls’ leadership program that I initialized, known as “Girls Night In”, which aims to encourage young female students to explore their interests in male-dominated fields of study. After graduating high school, I will be attending the University of Toronto Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering. My goal is to continue mentoring other youth and aid their growth as future leaders.
Faizan Habibi
Faizan Habibi
What makes me stand out from the 7.5 billion people on Earth? Arguably, it could be my leadership experience coupled with my academic excellence. Or, it could simply be my mentality and outlook on life. I possess a mindset many people do not, which is: failure is the building block paving the way for success. In our society, failure is synonymous with weakness and must be avoided at all costs. If Thomas Edison, America’s greatest inventor, had this toxic mentality, a lightbulb would not exist. He said, “I did not fail 1000 times, the light bulb was an invention with 1000 steps”. In a society where competition is high, and perfection is scarce, I use Thomas Edison as a source of inspiration. Patience, perseverance, and persistence are just three of the elements which attribute to my personal identity. This personal identity is what makes me, Faizan Habibi, unique.
Hosna Sahak
Hosna Sahak
I am a twelfth grade student in my final year at Marc Garneau CI. I have founded many school initiatives, including the Announcement Team, Cancer Society, and Doctors Without Borders Club. I volunteered with the South Asian Diabetes Prevention Program, screening patients and performing seminars on diabetes. I have organized on my own, a Breast Screening Conference. I currently volunteer at the Revera Retirement Centre, community tutoring program and create many community murals. I will be attending University of Toronto where I will be studying Engineering Science, considered to be one of the world’s most advanced engineering programs. I want to major in the Biomedical Systems Engineering and aspire to be a general surgeon. My vision for the future is to start an organization called Help-to-Heal that will provide medical assistance in underprivileged areas. Additionally, I plan to organize a UN Medical Conference discussing international health development in developing Muslim countries.
Kandeel Imran
Kandeel Imran
My name is Kandeel Imran, a strong youth leader who is dedicated to advocating for commendable causes through my work at various non-profit organizations. Currently I am holding a position on the Board of Directors of Dr.Roz’s Healing Place. Previously, I have volunteered as a Youth Workshop Facilitator, an Environmental Advocacy Member and Events Coordinator. I hold strong leadership skills and am a team player who prospers in different environments.
Rida Shaikh
Rida Shaikh
My name is Rida Shaikh. I am a grade 12 student graduating from the Advanced Placement program at Stephen Leacock Collegiate Institute. I am passionate about my studies and making a difference in the community. My many extracurriculars include; being a regional lead for the Foundation of Student Science and Technology, representing my school at multiple science fairs, founding and leading two school clubs, being Vice President of Student Council and becoming a gene researcher for a week ambassador, this allowed me to explore my passion for the sciences and work towards achieving my goals. Volunteer placements at the hospital, community centre, masjid, soup kitchen and shelter highlight are a few of my commitments to creating a positive influence in my community. Furthermore, I lead classes and workshops that encourage children to pursue STEM fields. I encourage others to get involved, by leading endeavours like “Support the 6” which help a variety of people including refugees and the homeless.
Roxeana Akther
Roxeana Akther
My name is Roxeana Akther; currently attending my last year at Bedford Road. While in school I work part time at a retail store to help pay for minor expenses. Over the years I have begun putting time into the community, volunteering for different organizations. However, other than academics, work, and volunteering; I enjoy spending my time on art. For me I indulge with all types of mediums whether it’s paint, clay, henna designs, photography or the piano. Growing up I have come to realize I am a visual learner, and began appreciating the details in life. Growing a passion for creating pieces I would spend multiple hours practicing and improving and critiquing my pieces. I am a friendly and hardworking individual who enjoys learning new skills, I am extremely passionate about social justice and plan to work with a non-profit organization in the years to come. I enjoy socializing, interacting and working with the community.
Sara Ashraf
Sara Ashraf
My name is Sara Ashraf. I am a seventeen-year-old Canadian Muslim of Pakistani descent. I live in Brampton with my parents and younger sister. I am going to Guelph-Humber University in the fall to take Early Childhood Studies, a combined degree and diploma program. I have a passion for working with kids and gained a lot of experience from the 175 volunteer hours I earned throughout my high school summer breaks. I believe that no matter what I end up pursuing, I will inshallah contribute to the growth and development of children. As a Muslim, I eat halal, dress modestly, and read the Quran. When I witness other Muslims doing something haram, I pray for them to be guided on the straight path. Inshallah when I have children, I hope to teach them good morals and implement Islamic values in them, so that they can become contributing members of society.
Tooba Khan
Tooba Khan
I am currently enrolled at Emery Collegiate Institute. In September I will be attending McMaster University for their Life Sciences program. My dream is to go to medical school and become a doctor. I have been involved in various extracurricular activities. I am the secretary of Student Council, and am responsible for creating meeting briefings that include meeting minutes as well as take notes during the meetings. Additionally, I am a member of the Athletic Council. I take part in sports such as volleyball, badminton and swimming. I am very active in the community. I am the co-leader of a youth lead organization known as “Students Working as a Group”. It is an organization that creates community events such as the “Jane’s Walk” and “Clean Toronto Together”. Furthermore, I also volunteer at the Humber River Hospital where my time is dedicated to helping patients, guests and staff.
Zainab Vajahath
Zainab Vajahath
My name is Zainab Vajahath, I am 18 years old and a student at Simon Fraser University where I am pursuing a degree in Mechatronics Systems Engineering. During high school, I was the Vice President Communications of the Global Issues Club , a member of student council, and planned numerous events including raising funds for Syrian Refugees, and the BC Children’s Hospital.

Furthermore, I have volunteered on the guest hospitality team at the first Being ME Conference in Vancouver and I have been a volunteer with The BC Muslim Association since 2001, where I worked with the youth and helped implement events including Women’s Soccer tournaments, and International Women’s Day Celebrations. I had the honour of representing the Muslim community at Vancouver City Hall for an Eid Celebration and was nominated for a Service above Self Award for Community Service, in Surrey, BC. I have maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout high school and won a BC Nature Award for my regional science fair project, exploring environmentally friendly ways to contain oil spills in 2015.

Zain Jafry
Zain Jafry
I grew up in Oshawa, Ontario, largely distanced from my native Shi’a Muslim community. As a high school student, I was an executive committee member of my school’s multicultural club, working to lead a group of students determined to raise awareness for ethics surrounding race and religion, such as cultural appropriation. I will begin my undergraduate studies at UOIT in the Life Sciences program. I enjoy playing soccer and running in my free time.

MAX University/College Scholarship Finalists

Ahmad Sidiqi
Ahmad Sidiqi
I was born in Afghanistan, and I moved to Canada with my family as an eight-year-old refugee. I have mostly lived around the Greater Toronto Area (go Markham!) and I have completed my Bachelor and Master of Science degrees at Ryerson University and the University of Toronto, respectively. I am currently a second year medical student at the University of British Columbia and one of the first active member of BC’s MMAC. I am excited that for the first time, we are able to learn from and provide mentorship to students in the West Coast. In addition to my classroom obligations, I pursue my academic research interests in eye disease, my passion for local community service efforts with students and refugees, my love for sports and the great outdoors in beautiful Vancouver BC, and my desperate attempts to win my nephew’s affections with shameless bribes.
Amna Hyder
Amna Hyder
My name is Amna Hyder and I am an aspiring Neuroscientist working to map out the human brain by combining neuroimaging with cutting edge computational models. After completing my undergraduate degree in Integrated Science with a specialization in Physics from McMaster University, I joined the Action-Perception lab at the University of British Columbia as a Masters student. My work includes: developing diagnostic tools for concussions, uncovering how the brain behaves during social interactions, and understanding how chemotherapy affects the brain.
When not in the lab, I am working to advance education around the world, particularly the education of women in Pakistan through The Citizen’s Foundation. A passionate teacher myself, I founded Students Teaching Students, an organization that provides guest lectures to students from elementary to high school on topics in integrated science. To support those that I could not teach myself, I have started a scholarship that sends two students from Pakistan to university each year.
Anam Qudrat
Anam Qudrat
My name is Anam and I am currently completing my Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto. My research entails programming mammalian cellular cells for therapeutic delivery. I hope to pursue academia in the future. Being an advocate for STEM outreach, I proactively volunteer with Let’s Talk Science and Science Rendezvous. Through my teaching and mentorship, I aspire to empower young women to pursue lofty ambitions thus becoming an impetus of positive change in the global community. Most importantly, I strive to identify myself as a visible Muslim woman and proclaim the beauty of Islam through my actions. In all domains of my life, I strive for excellency as it is certainly the mark of my faith.
Fatma Zourob
Fatma Zourob
My name is Fatma Zourob and I am entering third year of Electrical Engineering at Western University. My pursuit of this field has grown from my interest in electric power systems and energy transformations. I am an active member of Women in Engineering and take part in the “Big Sister/Little Sister” program where I assist my little sister to academically succeed in her first year of Engineering. I also serve as the representative of Western Serves Network and educate students about the importance of community engagement and volunteering to tackle social issues. Additionally, I am working at Hydro One in the Telecom Engineering department, developing circuit design standards and configuration settings. In my spare time, I participate in workshops and seminars to empower more women to pursue Electrical Engineering. I enjoy motivating female engineers to fulfill their ambitions and become trusted role models who lead with integrity and honesty.
Hamzah Naeem
Hamzah Naeem
My name is Hamzah and I’ll be entering my second year at the University of Calgary , pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. I am passionate about serving my community and giving back to create a positive impact. My free time is spent; volunteering, playing hockey, and traveling. I’m committed to raising awareness about the issues that face the Muslim community through research. In particular, Islamophobia and Discrimination and the implications it has on Muslims.
Harris Sheikh
Harris Sheikh
I am currently enrolled in the Biomedical Sciences program at Brock University seeking to further my insight and understanding in the natural sciences, to ultimately improving human health through fundamental research; I’m excited to have the opportunity to complete an Honours thesis during my upcoming fourth year. Beyond my enthusiasm for learning, I actively volunteer to strengthen my community and help those without a voice. Grateful for the support of my family and friends and the experiences that I have been provided with, I continue to assist my fellow math and science students reach their full potential through research events, volunteer opportunities and peer tutoring. I am a strong proponent of multiculturalism, evident by my fluency in 4 ½ languages (English, French, Urdu, Punjabi, and written Arabic) which also serves as a testament to my devotion to embracing diversity. As a true connoisseur of fine cuisine, my fitness journey persists in being my eternal nemesis.
Inaara Hasmani
Inaara Hasmani
Since the age of 15, I’ve always been motivated to make a change in the world and in the future become a social entrepreneur. I’ve always been a dreamer but also put my words into action. After participating in the Global Encounters Program in Kenya I’ve been inspired to educate myself in global issues and others as well. Currently, I’ve been involved with the Corporate Social Responsibility Society at Schulich as the Conference Development Director and the Human Resources JDCC Delegate. In the past, I’ve started two clubs of my own; Amnesty International and Story of Syria at my high school. In these clubs I’ve spread awareness about challenges we’re currently facing. My passion for change and development has led me to succeed even in times of failure. One thing I truly live by, is to make the world a better place as the urgency for action increases by day.
Iqra Khan
Iqra Khan
Assalamu Alaikum: My name is Iqra Khan and I am currently a first year student at the University of Saskatchewan working to attain a degree in Physiology Pharmacology, to enroll into the College of Medicine. In university, I volunteer with the Best Buddies Organization, where I work with students who have intellectual disabilities, to create a bond that promotes friendship and diversity. Through my experience working with the MSA, I have gained leadership skills that allow me to address issues within the Muslim Ummah and spread Islam through my Dawah work. I also volunteer with ICNA and MCNA, where my education gives me the ability to communicate with non-Muslims, to spread the message of Islam. Hence, moving forward, my goals are to use my studies to raise the status of the Muslim Ummah. With this scholarship, I can continue my education and if Allah is willing, use it for a greater purpose.
Mohammed Nasir
Mohammed Nasir
My name is Mohammed Nasir, a freshman at MIT, double-majoring in Aerospace Engineering and Business Management. Also, the founder of “Drones For Humanity”, a social venture for rapid aid delivery in third world countries—currently deploying their system in Indonesia and Kenya, through invitations from the respective governments. My natural curiosity drove me to start this project back in Grade 10, and have since then received numerous accolades for my work, including receiving over $35,000 in grants from MIT, being chosen as a finalist for the Not Impossible Awards from the UN Foundation, as well as receiving four out of the five awards at the Catapult Incubator.
During my spare time, I can be found inventing various widgets in my workshop, one of which is the world’s most energy-dense gas generator, packing in the same power output at one-twelfth the weight. Fun-loving yet hardworking, I seek to change the world through technology.
Moiz Hafeez
Moiz Hafeez
I am Moiz, I have been involved in extensive community engagement and humanitarian endeavours within the community of Calgary and beyond. I have served as the Vice President of Genetic Jungle Run, Rare Genomics Institute, as the Director of External Affairs for the Muslim Students’ Association and in 2015, co-founded Student Refugee Initiative (SRI) which is the first of its kind non-profit organization dedicated towards raising awareness and funds for global humanitarian crises. Through this, I, alongside others have helped raise significant amounts of money for causes ranging from medical research to providing humanitarian relief in disaster stricken countries. In recognition of this, I was awarded several prestigious accolades including the Immigrants of Distinction Award, an appreciation award for social activism from Alberta Ministry of Human Services and the distinguished Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers, formerly known as the Caring Canadian Award by the Governor General of Canada.
Naheda Sahtout
Naheda Sahtout
My name is Naheda Sahtout. I am a Palestinian who was born in Kuwait but grew-up in Malaysia. I immigrated to Canada in 2007 with my family. I am currently a full time student in my 4th year of my PhD program in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Saskatchewan. I completed my Bachelors of Science (Honours) degree from the University of Waterloo and my Master’s degree from the University of Guelph. I came to Saskatoon to pursue a PhD and I wanted to be closer to my brother, who is also completing a PhD at the University of Saskatchewan. Coming from such a diverse upbringing, it is sometimes difficult to know where ‘home’ is; but, I am thankful to my parents for raising us up in Malaysia and bringing us to Canada and feel fortunate for everything I have ?and everything that I have and will accomplish.
Roshion Ishaque
Roshion Ishaque
I have just completed my third year of study in Molecular Biology and Population Health at the University of Toronto. Since high school, I have been involved in creating dialogue in my community on local and global social, political and economic issues. I founded a club called Youth for Truth in high school that focused on bringing students together to discuss and debate pressing current issues. I am also an organizer with Thorncliffe Reach-out Teach-in (TRT), a grassroots community organization that, among other initiatives, conducts community workshops and discussions on topics like Islamophobia, the Israel-Palestine conflict, the Syrian conflict and the importance of being aware of one’s civil and employment rights. I am interested in pursuing a career in medicine and working within a critical framework of healthcare; a framework built around the socioeconomic determinants of health. Finally, when my head is not buried in books, you can usually find me covered in acrylic paint, painting my worries and concerns away.
Salwa Farooqi
Salwa Farooqi
My name is Salwa Farooqi, currently a student at McMaster University completing my Health Research Methodology Masters in the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics. My interest is in preclinical and clinical research with a focus in renal disease progression and reducing drug-related harm in oral anticoagulant usage. During my academic career, I advocated for global initiatives in alleviating kidney disease progression through research presentations in Cape Town, South Africa, Mexico City and Montreal. I am constantly seeking out opportunities to give back to the scientific community. My hope is to utilize my research skills to complement my additional role as a future healthcare provider. Furthermore, I published a book in 2016 titled: Yours in Writing, which is a compilation of my poetry, prose and short stories. Additionally I am a co-founder of McMaster Golden Z, which is an organization that seeks to advance the status of women both locally and worldwide.
Salwa Hasan
Salwa Hasan
My name is Salwa, and I’m a first-year medical student at the University of Toronto. Prior to starting my medical studies, I studied Public Health at the graduate level and Life Sciences at the undergraduate level. I have wanted to pursue medicine for much of my life, with the intent of serving the community and caring for individuals by helping to improve the health and well-being of individuals. I have lived in different parts of the world growing up and during my adult life, all of which have given me a perspective on the health of populations across the world, especially in areas that are less underprivileged than where are. As such, I am deeply inspired to try to make a difference in the lives of such populations through medicine, both at home and abroad.
Sara Raza
Sara Raza
My name is Sara and I am a 2nd year History student at Western University. My passions include poetry, getting involved in the local community, and entrepreneurship. I would describe myself as an ‘ideas’ person and love to get creative and innovative. As a result, I co-founded FuturFund, an organization dedicated to promoting finlit to high school students. In the past year I was busy spending my time on the National Business and Technology Team which sparked my interest in Fintech, this summer I am working in Payments Innovation with CIBC to further explore the ideas I have. When I am not at work, I will be hanging out with friends, watching television, reading the news, or doing something outdoorsy.
Sarah Hanafi
Sarah Hanafi
My name is Sarah Hanafi, a medical student at the University of Alberta with a hope for healing that extends beyond the doctor’s office: My work is upstream and across sectors, to create healthier communities and address systemic challenges to wellbeing. I have served Edmonton as an Executive with the Islamic Family and Social Services Association (IFSSA), navigating stakeholder relations, change management, and family violence and preventative youth programming. As a Director with Canadian Doctors for Medicare (CDM), I advocated for the evidence-based innovation of Canada’s healthcare system. I lobbied government for policies such as Pharmacare, and established a national network of students. Further, I have promoted the cause of mental health and notably, pioneered Portraits of Mental Health, a photo campaign to highlight medical students’ diverse experiences in mental health. My vision is for a more connected and healthier community – one that is inspired by a genuine passion for serving others.
Sidra Hasnain
Sidra Hasnain
I completed my undergraduate degree in Honors Life Sciences (B.Sc.) from McMaster University and then subsequently completed my Medical Doctorate degree from University of Toronto. I am now pursuing my Family Medicine residency. My hope and vision is to help individuals overcome the challenges they face so that they can create a compelling, healthy future, and become the best version of themselves.
Tarek Bin Yameen
Tarek Bin Yameen
My name is Tarek Bin Yameen, a medical student at the University of Toronto. Under the supervision of Dr. Myrna Lichter, I have been able to launch the Syrian Refugee Eye Clinics, a partnership between St. Michael’s Hospital and Mes Amis. To date, four clinics have been organized and have provided vision screening to 577 Syrian refugees, 325 of them children. As well, I am the Volunteer Director and a board member of the Muslim Medical Association of Canada. In this capacity, I participate in organizing community educational workshops, blood pressure screening clinics, and interview preparation workshops for students considering a career in medicine. Prior to medical school, I obtained my master degree in Biotechnology degree at the University of Toronto, researching biomarker integration in clinical trials, which was published in a peer-reviewed journal. Finally, I have worked in the pharmaceutical industry in sales and marketing roles at AstraZeneca, promoting and launching products for cardiovascular and respiratory disease.”
Tarun Rahman
Tarun Rahman
My name is Tarun Rahman and I am a Muslim medical student at the University of Ottawa and the National Officer of Partnerships for the Canadian Federation of Medical Students. I hold a Master in Public Health, with a specialization in Epidemiology, from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. Being passionate about global health, in particular refugee and migrant health, has led me to work in Gaza, Zambia, Jordan, as well as Uganda. My leadership spans various fields and themes – including networking and mentorship, social entrepreneurship, musical productions, and much more. During my free time, I’m a committed story-teller – through writing and photography – highlighting issues of culture, identity and health.
Yasmeen Mezil
Yasmeen Mezil
I am a PhD candidate in the Child Health and Exercise Medicine Program at McMaster University. In recognition of my research contributions in exercise and bone physiology, I received the Alexander Graham Bell Canada Scholarship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. I am also the Director of Creative Engagement at Industry Link, which is a novel academia-to-industry bridge initiative dedicated towards connecting graduate students to industry opportunities.