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Meet Victoria College's 2024 John H. Moss Scholarship Finalists

Apr. 04, 2024

By Minh Truong

The John H. Moss Scholarship at the University of Toronto is awarded annually to one graduating student pursuing a second degree for their exceptional academic achievements and extracurricular involvement. It is the oldest of U of T’s prestigious Awards of Excellence—a collaboration between the University of Toronto Alumni Association (UTAA) and the university since 1921.

This year, three of the four designated UTAA Scholars of 2024 are Victoria College upcoming graduates. They are also the finalists of the prestigious Moss scholarship. 

Here are their stories: 

Jonathan (Jon) Angell 

Jonathan Angell at Victoria University.

Jonathan Angell’s goal is to pursue a career in helping major cities respond to climate change and environmental displacement. The fourth-year student is finishing his double major in human geography and peace, conflict and justice. Angell is passionate about migration and displacement, as reflected in the U of T group he founded called the Asian Institute Migration Analysis Society. He was also a mentor for the Munk School’s Global Ideas Institute and a researcher for the Reach Alliance on HIV testing and treatment access for young mothers in Zimbabwe. 

Angell feels privileged to be part of Vic U’s academically challenging yet enriching environment. "I am very grateful for how Vic has shaped me as a student and as a person,” he says. "I would like to carry on the values that Vic holds into my academic and professional career.” 

For his master’s degree, Angell wants to pursue his interest in how cities play a role in migration processes. He was recently accepted for the M. Phil. Degree program in planning, growth and regeneration at the University of Cambridge. After that, Angell dreams of working for international organizations or NGOs with a similar focus. 

Maggie Chen 

Maggie Chen at Victoria Univeristy.

For Maggie Chen, Victoria College is like her second home. This is where the Vic One graduate found her closest friends during the pandemic, played intramural volleyball and was a part of Vic’s Athletics Association. This is also where Chen was able to pursue her dream of connecting neuroscience and technology—being able to do her research work at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne and Stanford University, with help from Vic’s Registrar's Office. 

After Vic, Chen plans to pursue graduate programs in bioengineering, where she believes she can “create novel technology that empowers patient recovery from neurological disorders.” The fourth-year student is finishing her double major in neuroscience and computer science. Her extracurricular work involves research at the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Toronto and NeuroTech at U of T. She recently accepted an offer from the PhD program in Bioengineering at Harvard University. 

Victoria College Principal Angela Esterhammer was among the many mentors who helped Chen prepare for her Moss Scholarship interviews and her graduate applications. “Whenever I have a question, [Vic mentors] are always there to reply and give me insightful guidance,” says Chen.

Vedika Jha 

Vedika Jha at Victoria Univeristy.

One of Vedika Jha’s goals is to make genomics research and clinical care more diverse, equitable and accessible. The fourth-year molecular genetics and evolutionary biology student dreams of being a clinician scientist, and plans to pursue med school and a PhD program in genetics. 

Jha has participated in multiple genetics research projects at U of T, including qualitative work on patients’ perspectives on genetic testing, quantitative computational work on reproductive isolation and medical-based work on the genetics of diseases like cerebral palsy and Parkinson’s. 

Outside of academics, Jha is a lifelong dancer and is president of the Victoria College Dance Club. She has choreographed multiple musicals and theatre productions across U of T. “Vic has been a wonderful community where I was able to explore my passions for dancing,” says Jha. 

Jha is grateful for the support she received from Vic throughout her undergraduate journey and graduate application process. Her most cherished memory of Vic for Jha is her lifelong friends, whom she met in her first year at the Lower Burwash residence. 

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