Media Releases

Two University of Toronto students awarded 2015 Rhodes Scholarships

December 4, 2014

TORONTO, ON — University of Toronto undergraduates Moustafa Abdalla and Caroline Leps are heading to Oxford University next year for postgraduate studies as two of Canada’s 11 students named 2015 Rhodes Scholars.

The prestigious Rhodes Scholarship program is the oldest, postgraduate award program supporting outstanding, all-round students at Oxford. Rhodes Scholars have gone on to become Pulitzer Prize winners, heads of state or government and Nobel Laureates. Among the well-known Rhodes Scholars: Bob Rae; from U of T President David Naylor; Bill Clinton; and Rachel Maddow.

“It hasn’t settled in yet. It’s really exciting. I can only imagine the kinds of opportunities I will have [at Oxford],” said Leps, currently studying global health and international relations. She will be pursuing a master’s degree in comparative social policy, with aspirations to become a paediatrician working in global children’s health in low- and middle-income settings.

Abdalla, a student of Victoria College at Victoria University at U of T, is studying biochemistry and physiology and also works as a youth director at Flemingdon Park Parents Association. He plans to study computational biology and computational medicine research at Oxford, and hopes to one day contribute to the advancement of medicine through the ethical use of technology and artificial intelligence.

“We are currently developing artificial intelligence that is capable of teaching itself, and teaching other artificial intelligence,” said Abdalla. “The stock exchange is an example of computers teaching other computers how to trade stocks. We don’t realize the implications of this.”

So far, just 69 students from around the world have been awarded Rhodes Scholarships this year; however, a total of 83 scholarships are expected to be announced.

“On behalf of the U of T community, I congratulate Moustafa Abdalla and Caroline Leps on being selected Rhodes Scholars,” said President Meric Gertler. “I would also like to thank them for their example. Each has an outstanding record of multifaceted excellence, and both are determined to use their talent and learning to benefit individuals and communities, here and around the world. In this they demonstrate brilliantly the highest ideals of the University of Toronto.”

Last year, two alumnae from the U of T’s Innis College – Aliyyah Ahad and Chloe Walker – were named Rhodes Scholars. And, in 2012, the university had three Rhodes Scholars.

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See the full list of Rhodes Scholars:  http://www.rhodeshouse.ox.ac.uk/rhodes-scholars-elect-class-of-2015.

To arrange interviews, please contact:

Dominic Ali
Media Relations Officer
University of Toronto
21 King’s College Circle
Toronto, ON M5S 3J3
Tel: 416-978-6974
d.ali@utoronto.ca