Faculty of Health Sciences alumna named Western’s 22nd Rhodes Scholar

Western alumna Saumya Krishna, BHSc’13 & Scholar’s Electives, has been named among 11 Canadian members of the 2014 class of Rhodes Scholars. With 83 new members from around the world named this year, Rhodes is the world’s pre-eminent graduate student award, offering two years of all-expenses-paid postgraduate study at Oxford University. Its 110-year tradition includes three Nobel Prize winners, as well as former Canadian Prime Minister John Turner and former U.S. president Bill Clinton.

Western’s 22nd Rhodes Scholar, Krishna was named a Gold Medal Winner at the Spring 2013 Convocation for highest average of any graduating Health Sciences student in an Honors Specialization Scholar’s Electives module.

“I am very humbled by this honour. It is a tremendous gift. I feel very fortunate to have been selected for it. I know a lot of responsibility comes with an opportunity, a privilege such as this. I am still thinking about how to live up to it,” says Krishna. “This Rhodes Scholarship would not be possible without the people in my life and I am so grateful to the individuals who have supported me at Western.”

Western President and Vice-Chancellor Amit Chakma believes that becoming a Rhodes Scholar is one of the most recognized, singular accomplishments any student can achieve in higher learning.

“In offering our congratulations to Saumya, we are proud that Western has provided the appropriate environment for her to earn this incredible recognition,” says Chakma. “I trust it will serve as an inspiration to current and future Western students to set their ambitions high in pursuit of a complete and satisfying educational experience.”

Awarded Western’s prestigious Richard and Jean Ivey Family President’s Entrance Scholarship, Krishna holds the title of a Western National Scholar. She was president of the student group Rebuilding Health in Rwanda, a member of the Faculty of Health Sciences Students’ Council, production manager of the Western Undergraduate Research Journal and a volunteer facilitator for the Violence Prevention Program. Named among Canada’s Next 36 in 2011, she was a co-founder of the Youth Social Innovation Capital Fund, helping provide early-stage financing to young social entrepreneurs.

Krishna has also mentored FHS National Scholarship recipients and students in the Scholars Electives program in incoming classes behind hers, as well as participated in Alternative Spring Break. She worked as a community service learning leader, responsible for coordinating large scale civic engagement opportunities on campus, and as a residence don.

“On a personal level, I think finding purpose is important,” says Krishna. “My philosophy has been to regularly set goals that excite me and that can eventually contribute to public impact, and then put 200 per cent into achieving them – there is no substitute for discipline and hard work. I also think enthusiasm, positivity and kindness are always in fashion.”

Arguably the world’s most prestigious and best known student award, the Rhodes Scholarships were initiated after the death of Cecil Rhodes in 1902, and bring outstanding students from many countries around the world to the University of Oxford. Currently, 11 Rhodes scholarships are awarded in Canada, two of which are designated for the province of Ontario.

Western has seen 22 Rhodes Scholars in its history:

Saumya Krishna, BHSc 2013
Brian Coulter, BESc, HBA 2009
Joelle Faulkner, BESc, MBA 2004
Maureen Hogan, BSc 2001
Samir Sinha, MD 2000
Dilip Ninan, BA 1998
Richard Pan, BA 1997
Javed Siddiqi, BSc 1984
Andrew Sean Nevin, BSc, MA 1980, 1981
Stephen Kevin Burley, BSc 1980
John Alexander Stilborn, PhD 1979
Jonathan Michael Borwein, BA 1971
Colin Gordon Andrew Brezicki, BA 1970
David Michael Grace, MD 1964
James Montague Farley, BA 1962
John Hugh MacLennan, DLitt 1952 (honorary degree)
Benson Andrus Wilson, BSc 1948
Ramsay Willis Gunton, MD 1945
James Frederick Grandy, BA 1941
The Rev. Kenneth Elder Taylor, BD 1933
Angus Duncan McLachlin, MD, MSc 1932-1933
Dalton Gilbert Dean, BA 1931

You can follow Krishna as she prepares for her Oxford experience @Saumya_Krishna