In 2020, Mohammad Asadi Lari (3M National Student Fellow 2018) was one of the individuals who lost his life on flight 752, shot down near Tehran, Iran. At that time, Mohammad was in his second year of an eight-year MD/PhD program at the University of Toronto. When Mohammad’s 3M NSF cohort think of him, the words compassionate and dedicated come to mind. In memory of Mohammad, the Council of Fellows established the Mohammad Asadi Lari Council of Fellows Scholarship of $1,000.00 to cover the cost of registration* and other expenses for one recipient to attend Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE) annual conference (cost and location vary each year).

Guidelines:

  • You must be a past 3M National Student Fellow award recipient;
  • You must demonstrate involvement in education advancement initiatives since receiving the 3M National Student Fellowship;
  • You must not have received the Mohammad Asadi Lari Council of Fellows Scholarship previously; 
  • Preference will be given to those who demonstrate a commitment to breaking down barriers to higher education.

Recipients of the Mohammad Asadi Lari Council of Fellows Scholarship

2022

Karen Young

My name is Karen Young or Míng (she/her; they them). With funding from the Canada Graduate Scholarship, I am currently pursuing a Masters of Arts in Immigration and Settlement Studies at Toronto Metropolitan University. I completed an Honours Bachelor of Science at the University of Toronto Scarborough with a double major in social psychology and health policy. 

In the examples below on storytelling, mentorship, and intersectional empowerment, three personal and collective themes thread through my lived and professional experiences. These endeavours presume that socially-made marginalized learning communities already have a voice and with relevant support, can help to (re-)structure siloed systems that better reflect collective compassionate intentions on the ground.

(1) Convening educational and community conversations in local contexts. As a first year undergraduate student, I wondered how to help bridge institutionally holistic conversation on campus on mattering issues, I initiated the inaugural campus-wide TEDx event at the University of Toronto, garnering global engagement with over 5000 viewers in 20+ countries viewing our livestreaming, trending nationally on Twitter, with all videos from all years totaling over 1.5 million YouTube views. Since becoming a 2015 3M NSF, I served as a member of the very advisory board that I created to strategize the organizational sustainability into its eighth year running, one of the longest-organized TEDx university conferences in Canada.

(2) Destigmatizing and improving access to institutional and community support systems. As a peer, I co-created the first interdisciplinary student mental health magazine offered by students in Canada with over 45,000 views in 1500 cities across the world. With experienced mentorship from faculty / staff, I spearheaded the first two issues engaging with students from over 11 institutions across Canada, as well as created a needs-oriented resource navigator to help UTSC students navigate structural stressors related to personal, academic, financial matters, with a dedicated section for international students. Thereafter, I would accept over 11 speaking opportunities to speak about broadening the conversation about mental health from personal, academic, and institutional perspectives. 

(3) Organizing and advocating for policy changes on these issues. After graduating, I assisted in organizing one of Ontario’s largest healthcare conferences focused on interprofessional-based primary care with over 800 attendees towards a patient-centered system. Noticing similarities between this and student-centered learning in higher education, I co-facilitated discussions with seven other youth from various regions in Ontario to draft, edit and analyze survey responses of over 200 Ontarian youth on addressing service gaps for youth mental health services in Ontario. Three months after releasing our youth-driven policy recommendations, Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliot announced an additional $172M in additional funding poured into mental health over the next ten years, focused on community support, especially in education. My intention for being involved was to help support youth with marginalized backgrounds to have a better self-determined chance to make it into higher education. 

Currently, I’m collaborating with COSTI Settlement Services to research service gaps for newcomers experiencing challenges related to gaming, addictions across the spectrum, and trauma. As a first generation graduate student myself,  As lead of Peer Support at the Teaching Assistant and Graduate Student Advancement (TAGSA) at STLHE, I co-launched the TAGSA quick guide series in offering concise topic introductions relevant to those navigating graduate student and teaching experiences possibly for the first time in their immediate support groups. I also participated in the StOries Project: Strangers to Ourselves, a federally-funded literary writing program that explored the complexities of identity within multi-generational migration histories in the in-between spaces.

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