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.


See the full list of Rhodes Schol­ars:

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