Meet the 2024 Summer Abroad Inclusion, Diversity and Excellence (EDI) Award recipients

May 7, 2024

The Summer Abroad Inclusion, Diversity and Excellence (EDI) Award was created to recognize exceptional students at the University of Toronto who are contributing to the advancement of equity, diversity and inclusion. We are pleased to announce these outstanding Summer Abroad participants as members of the 2024 cohort of Summer Abroad award recipients.

If you have any questions you would like to ask about awards granted through Summer Abroad, please contact the Summer Abroad team at

Picture of Rayan Award Alim

Rayan Awad Alim

Canterbury, England | IRE332Y0 - Historical British Industrial and Cultural Influences on the Contemporary Workplace

Berlin, Germany | CSC396Y0 - Designing Systems for Real World Problems

Faculty of Arts and Science, St. Michael's College - Computer Science, Bioinformatics, Statistics

Rayan has a strong track record of championing equity initiatives at the University of Toronto. She founded and is President of the Black STEM Network and the Sudanese Student Union and served three terms as the Equity Director for the Black Students Association. Rayan spearheads numerous initiatives to promote greater inclusion on campus, including shaping the annual Black History Month programming. She established events such as the annual Black History Month Ski Trip and Poetry Night, in collaboration with St. Michael’s College, which featured  Canada’s most prominent Black spoken word artist. Additionally, she organized Art Exhibition visits and assisted in the running of the Black Graduation Ceremony for the last couple of years. As the Founder and President of the UofT Sudanese Students Union, Rayan pushed fundraising efforts that raised over $15,000 for medical supplies and food for those displaced by the war in Sudan. She has hosted numerous events, panels, and workshops across campus, demonstrating her commitment to building a strong community at the University of Toronto.

Rayan is a dedicated advocate for students at all university levels. She has been a mentor, an orientation leader, and a council member of the Faculty of Arts and Science governing council and has served four terms as a Board Director at the University of Toronto Students Union. Her guiding pillars remain to be equity, transparency, accountability, and inclusion for all students.

Hey advocacy extends beyond the campus. At the Toronto Youth Cabinet, Rayan served as the Media Lead of the Urban Health Working Group, spearheading a media campaign co-led by the Urban Health and Education working groups. This campaign highlighted the need for better mental health resources for students in the province and called for solid frameworks around mental health literacy in school board curriculums across Ontario. As well as hosting workshops in the community to empower youth and women around financial literacy and entrepreneurship to take ownership of and transform their lives.

With a drive to shape responsible AI and Human-Computer Interaction research, Rayan is participating in the Summer Abroad course in Berlin titled “Designing Systems for the Real World” where she looks forward to leveraging her Computer Science education with her drive for equity to build innovative and inclusive technology. In Canterbury, she combines those interests with a stronger foundation on the historical contexts influencing contemporary Industrial Relations. 

Picture of Eleanor Love

Eleanor Love

Oxford, England | PSY306Y0 Disability: Culture and Inclusion

Faculty of Arts and Science, Victoria College - Psychology and Global Health

Lea’s goal is to work in reducing worldwide disparities in healthcare, and her work in EDI reflects her passions for global health. She is the current president of the U of T chapter of the Canadian Feed the Children charity. This role includes recruiting executive and general members, planning events, and fundraising. These proceeds go towards increasing food security for Indigenous communities and underfunded schools in Canada, and promoting health and awareness of issues regarding food insecurity for children in Canada and around the world. She is also the current undergraduate student representative on the Canadian Bioethics Society (CBS) board. In this role, she represents diverse student interests and brings forward issues that students in Canada are facing, and works to create an inclusive environment and interesting events for the CBS students. Through the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, Lea has volunteered to provide piano lessons for children living with vision impairment or blindness. She creates her own materials and lesson plans tailored to each student’s needs. This gave children access to musical training and fun experiences tailored to their specific situation that they otherwise would not have been able to afford. 

Lea plans to research innovative and collaborative solutions to barriers that exist for those with disabilities. Her time in the Summer Abroad program will provide her with a global perspective on various aspects surrounding healthcare and how disability is treated differently throughout the world. 


Minyoung (Jen) Oh

Oxford, England | PSY306Y0 Disability: Culture and Inclusion

Faculty of Arts and Science, Woodsworth College - Psychology and Linguistics

Jen has worked on EDIA initiatives across various areas, including aspects of mental health and neurodiversity. She participated in the inclusivity research as part of The Mindful Project (TMP), which is a student-founded club focusing on the advocacy of neurodiversity within campus. Her role included promoting opportunities focusing on the enhancement of diversity, and analyzing research papers that focused on cultivating a neurodivergent-inclusive environment within campus. She volunteers at Kids Help Phone as a crisis responder, supporting texters in crisis to reach their calm. 

  Her experience with individuals facing exclusion led her to participate in PSY306, a course discussing the social and historical factors that affect the experience of a disability. Jen’s experience in the Oxford Summer Abroad program will deepen her understanding of the experience of individuals with exceptionalities. 

  One of the achievements that Jen’s most proud of include her music compositions, which are inspired by various video game soundtracks. She received various commissions from the age of fourteen, being asked to reflect the commissioner’s experience and thoughts into a piece of orchestral music. Throughout her musical journey, Jen was able to interact and immerse herself with life outside of her own. This has been the initial motivation for Jen to contribute to EDIA, out of the desire to interact actively with those whose lives are different from her own. The photo reflects her music, and how she connects herself to the world: A keyboard, a DAW screen and her stuffed owl that she squeezes when her work does not seem to progress. Her experience at Oxford and its environment will be reflected on the sound of her music, and enrich the listening experience of those who encounter them. 



Picture of Teya Oliver

Teya Oliver

Oxford, England | PSY306Y0 Disability: Culture and Inclusion

Faculty of Arts and Science, St. Michael's College - Critical Studies in Equity and Solidarity, Anthropology, Women and Gender Studies

Teya’s contributions to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (EDIA) are far ranging and exemplify the ways she is dedicated to generating a more diverse and inclusive world. Her journey in EDIA includes actions such as volunteering in a children’s rehabilitation hospital and being the only student representative on a hiring committee for a new accessibility administrator at U of T. Her EDIA involvement within academic, health, and social spheres reflects her commitment to establishing a more equitable, care-based, and inclusive society that embodies all intersecting identities. As a volunteer at the Holland Bloorview Rehabilitation Hospital for Children, Teya is continuing her focus on accessibility, inclusion, and disability awareness. In this role Teya actively engages with children, assisting them in developing social, behavioral, and creative skills through care-based techniques and activities. Additionally, she is an intern there, researching the health disparities endured by adolescent LGBTQ2S+ minorities with disabilities. 

 Her advocacy for a better, more accessible, and diverse world has also included participating in the Special Olympics, creating a podcast at U of T where she interviewed students to understand the physical and social differences of disabled/abled-bodied lived experiences at university, and working as a personal care assistant at a non-profit organization in her home state of Vermont. 

 Teya is also involved in numerous U of T clubs and committees that are centered around disability awareness, accommodation, and inclusion: the University of Toronto Accessibility Awareness Club; the U of T faculty-student mentorship program; the U of T Accessibility Student Committee, and more. 

  Her rationale behind selecting the Summer Abroad program stems from her desire to gain a global perspective on disability education, inclusion, and culture. Teya hopes to implement the skills she developed at U of T and as part of the Oxford Summer Abroad program into her future as a healthcare lawyer working and fighting for children with disabilities.