Inaugural York World Scholars program attracts top students from around the globe

The York World Scholars (YWS) program is attracting extraordinary international students for a unique experience in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS).

Designed for international students of exceptional merit, the program offers the opportunity to pursue a double major — a combination of two programs resulting in a distinctive degree.

“Our goal is to attract exceptional individuals who are motivated to explore their academic passions, lead global change and pursue unique career aspirations,” says LA&PS Dean Ananya Mukherjee-Reed.

For its inaugural year in 2016-17, YWS recruited four outstanding students who chose specific double-major programs: Mariam Elzeiny from Egypt, taking Cognitive Science and Political Science; Zhuldyz Alimbek from Kazakhstan, in Cognitive Science and Information Technology; Nachiket Jain from India, for Financial and Business Economics; and Laiba Rizwan from Pakistan, in English and Professional Writing.

Front row: From left, York students Laiba Rizwan, Mariam Elzeiny, Zhuldyz Alimbek and Nachiket Jain. Back row: From left: Peter Avery, associate dean, Students; Bruno Ritacca, international engagement coordinator; Narda Razack, associate dean, Global & Community Engagement; Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies Dean Ananya Mukherjee-Reed; Mathew Harper, director, Enrolment Management; Sandra Whitworth, associate dean, Graduate Studies & Research; and John-Justin McMurtry, associate dean, Programs.

Front row: From left, York students Laiba Rizwan, Mariam Elzeiny, Zhuldyz Alimbek and Nachiket Jain. Back row: From left: Peter Avery, associate dean, Students; Bruno Ritacca, international engagement coordinator; Narda Razack, associate dean, Global & Community Engagement; Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies Dean Ananya Mukherjee-Reed; Mathew Harper, director, Enrolment Management; Sandra Whitworth, associate dean, Graduate Studies & Research; and John-Justin McMurtry, associate dean, Programs.

The newly arrived World Scholars join a Faculty that is already home to students from 127 countries, immersed in a global experience right on campus.

“Above and beyond their academic achievements, the World Scholar applications were very impressive,” says Narda Razack, associate dean, Global and Community Engagement. “The students demonstrated leadership, community engagement and a vision of themselves in five years. They also applied strategic sophistication and presented a compelling rationale in choosing their double major.”

The YWS application is competitive, assessing academic success and students’ motivations and goals for studying their specified majors. “The application process was intended to be an invitation to ignite their imagination, and we were fascinated by the responses we received,” says Mukherjee-Reed. “We would like to build up to a core of 30 World Scholars by 2020 who would choose double major combinations in the humanities, languages, social sciences and professional programs. We encourage all our students to explore combinations of subject areas which can help them distinguish themselves from their peers. As I like to say to our students, ‘we accept no boundaries in the world of knowledge. Neither should you.’”

The World Scholars attend a retreat at the end of their second year to reflect on completing the first half of their degrees and to gain advice and insights for success in the second half.  As part of the Dean’s Circle of Scholars, the World Scholars will be mentored continuously to seek out research or experiential learning opportunities available at York.

“This year was a soft launch of the program and we were delighted with the response we received. I am very grateful to Carol Altilia, and her Registrarial team and my own administrative team for launching it so quickly,” says Mukherjee-Reed “For the next academic year, we are planning a bigger rollout and expecting an even greater response from international students of exceptional merit.”

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