Current Scholars

Makara Poy '24


Makara was born and raised in rural Cambodia. The daughter of a policeman, she is a top scholar from SHE-CAN (Supporting Her Education Changes a Nation)–a non-profit focused on helping young female scholars from post-conflict countries access educational opportunities that will give them the tools to be a force of change in their home country. When Cambodia's Minister of Education expressed concern that young people did not know enough about economics, Makara was nominated to write and publish a Cambodian Economics book in both Khmer and English. The book was recognized by the government and distributed to secondary schools throughout Cambodia. It has since been developed into an interactive website––on which Makara continues to contribute articles about Cambodian currency and the importance of microfinance opportunities. Makara is also a passionate advocate for gender and LGBTQ+ equity in Cambodia, which has a traditionally conservative culture around these topics. She hopes to address the lack of dialogue within her culture about these topics. She regularly conducts workshops in her community on gender-based violence and has presented at the US Embassy.


Muhammad Qaisar Nawaz '24


Qaisar is a first-generation student who cites a "deep connection with the educational crisis in Pakistan". Coming from a low-income family, he saw firsthand how the effects of educational inequality transformed into larger structural problems in Pakistan, including poverty. Qaisar hopes to influence education policy to make quality education more accessible so that other underprivileged high school students won't have to fight the same uphill battle he did. To this end, he has identified Entrepreneurship and Public Policy as professional goals. Academically, Qaisar has wide-ranging interests, from Physics and Computer Science to Government and Public Policy. He thinks Dartmouth, due to its unique liberal arts curriculum, is an ideal place for him to pursue all of them. During high school, Qaisarresearched poverty alleviation at the PIDE, attended multiple National STEM Makers camps, played cricket for his school team, and co-founded an NGO that documents and advocates against discrimination towards the transgender community in Rawalpindi. In his free time, he enjoys hiking and playing(and watching) cricket and table tennis.

Victor Gabriel da Silva Balbino '24


Victor is a first-generation Afro-Brazilian who wants to study economics and sustainability in order to improve sanitation in his hometown's favelas. He also possesses a proclivity for the performing arts, having written and acted in numerous plays throughout his high school career. After graduating from high school, Victor won the 22nd FIAT Education Award and attended the Argentina Leadership Bootcamp sponsored by the Latin American Leadership Academy, all while mentoring high school students to apply to U.S. colleges and universities through SuperMentor, a free and interactive mentoring platform.


Amittai Joel Siavava Wekesa '24


Amittai was born in a rural village in Western Kenya and recognizes the unique challenges that people in the rural world face. For example, sustainability is a big issue for most families in such communities due to an ever-growing population and the use of basic, inefficient methods of farming. He points out that such issues are interconnected. One implication of basic farming methods is that everything has to be done manually, which means most kids have to help their parents out before going to school. That affects their performance in school and eventually leads to high school drop-out rates. Out of his grade-one class of over a hundred, only three made it through high school. 

These are some of the problems that he hopes to solve. With his passion for science and technology, Amittai wants to explore how emerging technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence can be leveraged to accelerate development in third-world countries and ultimately improve the lives of millions, maybe even billions of people.

In the past, Amittai has applied his tech-savvy skills to provide technical support for polling clerks in the 2017 Kenya General Elections, the first-ever Kenyan election with electronic components. He has also taken part in a successful government drive to digitize civil records, among other endeavors.

Amittai hopes to use the opportunity offered to him by the King Scholars program to make a difference.

Mark Lekina Rorat '24


Mark is a first-generation son of farmers. An environmental advocate and self-taught coder whose experience working on his parent's farm has inspired him to coding Flutter apps that will allow farmers—most of whom have not received a formal education—to store all farm records digitally. He is leader of his school's Science Club and Engineering Fair, through which he directed research on sustainable energy and farming solutions for low-income communities, and he has a penchant for a good science fiction novel. Mark dreams of using his skills in coding to research and design computational models for applications in intelligent power systems and smart power grids for rural communities.

Catharine Herrera '23


Catherine is a first generation, public school student, whose single mother works as a receptionist in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In her Dickey essay, Catherine discusses wanting to better understand issues related to economic and educational inequality in her hometown.

Catherine is already involved with politics as she presented her idea for free public transit passes for public school students to the local government in her role as student council president. She is also a winner of the opportunity fund grant from the US department of state, which "provides funds to support students who demonstrate a strong academic background, great potential for succeeding at a U.S. institution of higher learning, and come from modest backgrounds" in order to cover the up-front costs of applying to university in the United States.


Dary Phen '23


Dary is the top scholar from SHE-CAN (Supporting Her Education Changes a Nation)–a non-profit focused on helping young female scholars from post-conflict countries access educational opportunities that will give them the tools to be a force of change in their home country. Dary was invited to the Palace of the Prime Minister after achieving the second highest score on Cambodia's national standardized test, which had over 100,000 test-takers. The daughter of a bus driver and a street market vendor,

Dary grew up in the capital city of Phnom Penh and is focused on the development and modernization of Cambodia's "dilapidated healthcare system," which has caused her family a lot of heartbreak.

Eyasu Lemma '23


Eyasu was born and raised in Chero, Eithiopia as the son of a nurse and a clergy member. After losing his aunt to a car accident, Eyasu wrote in his supplement about how he wants to become an engineer and a scientist to discover knowledge and create worlds that don't exist yet–like worlds free of car accidents.

Eyasu was the President of the Physics, Math, and Chemistry clubs at his high school. His physics teacher says he was a transformational leader in these roles as he brought a more inclusive approach helping members grow in understanding and see the importance of science for the benefit of humanity. The teacher said watching Eyasu mange the clubs and work with his peers was a highlight in his 9-year teaching career. Eyasu has a really powerful peer recommendation letter in which his best friend states: "Eyasu strives for what he believes in. He gives devotion and commitment to what he loves. And he cares about everything, including the birds that sweep the sky and the insects that crawl the earth. Whether it is through fighting for a cause or achieving a goal, Eyasu has been a tremendous inspiration to me and many of his peers."

Laxman Bist '23


Laxman was an education USA opportunity fund winner born to farmers in rural Nepal. Until 2012 Laxman's village did not always have electricity so he studied by the light of a kerosene lamp. Laxman is a scientist who loves philosophy. In his supplemental essay on intellectual curiousity he discusses the concept of relativity and its impact on what humans perceive as reality.

His school counselor calls him a once-in-a-lifetime student. In the village where he was raised there has been a rise in anti-intellectual passions as those with access to schooling are considered elitist. Laxman wants to improve access to education in rural communities similar to his in order to stem the tide of this anti-intellectual mentality.

Mubarak Idoko '23


Mubarak was born and raised in Jos, Nigeria as the son of two medical missionaries. Throughout high school he worked to support his family as a brick layer, and more recently, as an auto mechanic's assistant. In 2017 he was selected to participate in the Yale Young Scholars Program where he completed a Capstone Project on Artificial Intelligence. Every recommendation letter in Mubark's file glows. His counselor says he is the epitome of good virtue.

All of his teachers call him one of the best they have encountered in their careers. His chemistry teacher said he brought an infectious intellect and an impeccable reputation to the classroom each day. Mubarak's alumni interviewer gave him a perfect score and said that, "the defining characteristic in our conversation was his eagerness; he is a cheerful and delightful person; I enjoyed our conversation immensely, and let it run more than half an hour beyond the allotted time. The first interview I've ever given the highest rating."

Rocio Barrionuevo Quispe '23


Rocio is a graduate of COAR–a special IB boarding school for high ability, low income Peruvian children who attend public schools. She talks in her why Dartmouth essay about wanting to "solve Peru's prominent issue of economic development through research opportunities and programs at the Dickey Center." Rocio grew up in a community plagued by domestic violence and has been conducting sex education workshops with rural, indigenous communities outside her home city of Cuzco.

She was featured on the front page of the Peruvian Ministry of Education's magazine for her efforts in this space.

Daniel Akili '22

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Daniel is from a town in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, a region threatened by several militias and devastated by volcanic eruptions in 2002. As the oldest child in his family, he grew up with many extra responsibilities, including helping his parents with their small business. Despite these challenges, he excelled in high school and was admitted to Bridge2Rwanda, a gap year program in Rwanda where he learned English, leadership, and was introduced to the college application process and Dartmouth.

Daniel is excited about the opportunity to grow as a global citizen, learn about the numerous issues that our societies face, and explore his potential contribution to addressing these problems. He plans to study Computer and Engineering sciences and use the skills he gains at Dartmouth to help improve his community when he returns.

For Daniel, being named a King Scholar is the greatest college opportunity imaginable: "It is a door to tremendous possibilities, and I believe it is one of the programs that will make this world a better place. I now feel empowered and ready to fulfill my dreams."

Hana Ba-Sabaa '22


A witness to war and its aftermath, Hana is aware of the importance of education and its ability to make countries and communities rise and prosper: "I witnessed a whole country crumble because of ignorance, violence and poverty." In her senior year, Hana applied to the Diana Kamal Scholarship Search Fund, which helped her discover Dartmouth.

Hana was drawn to Dartmouth because of the sense of community it seemed to radiate: "Dartmouth gives students a sense of belonging, which is something everyone needs; it's nice to know that there are always people who are ready to help." Hana plans to major in Engineering modified with Studio Art, with a longer term goal of earning a professional degree in architecture. She is also interested in taking CS classes and making the most of rich opportunities a liberal arts education offers.

Honored and thankful to have been named a King Scholar, Hana recognizes the value of being part of this close-knit group, of being surrounded regularly by "amazing and empowered young people who retain that child's voice in their heads that wants to change the world."

Juliana Bastos De Mello '22


Born and raised in Itaborai, a town just outside of Rio de Janeiro, Juliana was greatly shaped by the social issues around her. Through her own personal experiences with poverty and lack of access to quality education, she became inspired to work for the social good in Brazil and throughout the rest of Latin America.

Juliana was immediately drawn to the supportive and welcoming community at Dartmouth: "I know how important it is for me to have a network of peers who will support me throughout my career, and I believe Dartmouth offers just that, combined with an unparalleled education." She looks forward to exploring languages and the arts while focusing on social sciences.

Juliana recognizes what an incredible privilege it is to be named a King Scholar and have access to both a Dartmouth education and the opportunity to give back to her communities. "It is a great responsibility that makes me slightly nervous, but I will do my best to make the most out of it for myself and for others!"

Elisa "Juliet" Giraso '22


Transitioning from the under-resourced public schools of her early education, Juliet earned a scholarship to attend one of the best all-girls high schools in her country for A-levels. Even while attending her dream school, she was aware of students at neighboring public institutions who were struggling without the same resources. She decided to join a tutoring club to work with local youth, who taught her to always be grateful and instilled in her a passion for giving back to the community around her.

At Dartmouth, Juliet plans to study engineering sciences and looks forward to the many opportunities to get involved with research. Though not yet sure exactly where her studies may lead, she is driven by the desire to contribute to her country's development, both directly and indirectly.

Juliet feels blessed, grateful, and humbled for the amazing opportunity of being named a King Scholar. It is an investment that she looks forward to capitalizing on as she grows as an individual and works to make the world a better place.

Janel Consuelo Perez '22


Janel was born and raised in Manila and witnessed how corruption - from the classroom to the highest levels of government - can stunt progress and cloud societal values.  After earning a scholarship to the International School Manila, she co-founded The Buting Elementary Support and Training Project (Project BEST) to provide previously inaccessible opportunities to students in a nearby public elementary school and bridge the gap between her school and the local community.

As a prospective Government and Economics major, Janel looks forward to opportunities to conduct research on economic policy and human capital development and to explore her many academic interests and the majestic natural environment around campus.  Eventually she hopes to earn a law degree and work at the intersection of business, policy, and development, in order to stimulate inclusive and universally profitable nation-building.

On being selected as a King Scholar, she says, "I am deeply grateful to be part of this amazing program, and cannot wait to leverage the countless opportunities to grow as a person to empower fellow Filipinos, and to redefine the traditional path to success. So ready."

Dev Punaini '22


Dev grew up in a small industrial town in the Indian state of Haryana, earning a scholarship to attend an international boarding school. The immense difference between these two settings helped him understand the significant hurdles in education and achievement that living conditions can present. "I've always had a passion for social justice, and issues of gender, sexuality, and race, but my experiences at boarding school helped me relate that all back to class and wealth."

Dev was drawn to Dartmouth because of its strong foreign languages and economics programs, the emphasis on undergraduate teaching, and the small student body. During his time here, he hopes to gain tools to critically analyse and determine public policy, take his spoken languages tally up to nine, see snow for the first time, and learn how to ski.

Excited to be chosen as a King Scholar, Dev looks forward to undertaking projects that help him gain more field experience, particularly in the developing world. He says, "I feel extremely honored to be here, and my biggest hope is that I do well enough to be able to pay it forward somehow."

Huong Nguyen '21 (Bryce)


As a high schooler, Bryce began teaching English to underprivileged children in the outskirts of the city of Hanoi. During her hours of volunteering at the youth center, she came to realize that there was no structure in place to ensure the preschoolers' long-term education. Believing that quality education is key to ending the cycle of poverty, Bryce has made it her goal to find ways to financially support impoverished children's access to important resources.

Bryce was drawn to the friendly, welcoming atmosphere and focus on liberal arts education at Dartmouth. She is excited to explore courses ranging from astronomy to art history, but plans to focus on psychology and English literature. She will also continue her passion for dancing as a member of the school's open dance club, Street Soul.

Bryce was thrilled to learn she had been named a King Scholar, an opportunity she regards as both a privilege and a tremendous responsibility. She says, "My position as a King Scholar motivates me everyday to work harder and to overcome whatever challenges I may come across on my path towards success."

Sayuri Tais Miyamoto Magnabosco '21


During high school, Sayuri developed a biodegradable Styrofoam-like packing material using sugarcane industrial waste. Her project was aimed at helping both the environment and sugarcane workers in her country, as the trays can be easily manufactured and sold to complement family incomes. Sayuri's research earned her a place in numerous science competitions around the world, and she was recently named a finalist of the most prestigious award for outstanding women in Latin America, the Prêmio Claudia.

A young female scientist, Sayuri is keenly aware of the gender disparities in this field and the challenges facing her throughout her professional life. At Dartmouth, she plans to study Engineering along with Women's & Gender Studies in order to enhance her scientific abilities and to better prepare herself to address issues of gender inequality in STEM fields. She is also excited to continue her research with faculty at the Thayer School of Engineering.

Sayuri feels extremely grateful to the Kings for this opportunity to not only receive a top-notch education, but also "to better understand my identity as a female scientist, so in the future I will be able to create opportunities for girls, who just like me, belong in STEM."

Akwasi Akosah '21


Before arriving at Dartmouth, Awkasi founded a youth camp in his homecity of Kumasi that combines soccer and literacy drills to promote earlieracquisition of foundational language and reading skills. Citing illiteracy as one of the world's greatest problems, Akwasi sees himself as someone who can create change in his country and beyond by focusing on the education of African youth.

At Dartmouth, Akwasi hopes to study Engineering Sciences modified with Neuroscience, and is also interested in Biology and Chemistry. He hopes to eventually become a doctor in order to be in a position to give back to fellow Ghanaians and call on others to do the same.

As a King Scholar, Akwasi is grateful for the opportunity to build relationships with global classmates who are also concerned with poverty alleviation as he works towards future goals. He is also excited to be the first "King Scholar sibling," as he joins his brother Emmanuel Akosah '19 at Dartmouth.

Tyler Neath '21


Active in community service from an early age, Tyler was a member of his school's key club, environmental club, and ministry outreach club. He also served as a volunteer teacher in the student-run "Rise To Education" program, which offers free tutoring and personal development advice to children living in a dangerous urban area of Kingston.

Tyler was drawn to Dartmouth because he wanted to study in an environment that allowed him to explore both the arts and sciences freely, enabling him to determine the best pathway to his goals. Currently, he is interested in Engineering and how he can use skills from this field to effect positive changes in Jamaica.

On being named a King Scholar, Tyler says, "I feel extremely grateful; however, I am also extremely nervous, as I do have a great responsibility to fulfill."

Louis Murerwa '21


Louis was born in the low-income suburb of Mkoba in Gweru, Zimbabwe. Following the elections of 2008, he witnessed record-breaking hyperinflation and violence, and saw many friends drop out of school due to financial concerns. This traumatic period cemented his dream of becoming a game changer for his country and inspired him to begin working with disadvantaged youth to develop math, science, and computer literacy skills, which he believes can help revitalize Zimbabwe's industries.

Louis is excited to study at Dartmouth because he views it as a place where one can shape his or her own studies according to individual interests. For him, this means a major in Engineering, with room to take courses in Economics, Political Science, and French.

Louis views being named a King Scholar as an incredible chance to explore, challenge himself, and grow in unexpected ways. He says, "I will be forever grateful to the Kings for this opportunity they have granted me."

Jonathan Bonilla Toledo '21


Jonathan was born in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, a city known for having one of the highest crime rates in the world, but lived much of his life in the capital city, Tegucigalpa. His mother's death from cancer left him an orphan at age eleven and also gave him a close-up view of the deficiencies of the public health system in his country. Raised by his grandmother, aunt, and uncle, Jonathan has always been keenly aware of the advantageous opportunities he has been afforded. Throughout extensive missionary work and volunteering in Honduras' orphanages, he came to see that education can provide a pathway out of poverty.

Naturally curious, Jonathan is drawn to math and science fields, particularly Biology. At Dartmouth, he hopes to study Biomedical Engineering to fulfill his own passion for discovering and exploring the planet's unknowns, while also looking for new ways to help people and give back. His dream is to help others overcome health and educational obstacles to pursue their own dreams.

On being named a King Scholar, Jonathan says, "I am profoundly grateful to the Kings for giving me an opportunity to pursue my interests with more motivation and passion during the next four years, and to one day be able to give back some of the many things I have so selflessly been given."

Rafael Alves de Lima '20


Rafael was born in a poverty-stricken area of Osasco, Brazil and attended an "emergency school" made of corrugated tin for the first thirteen years of his life. A scholarship to a prestigious high school in a wealthy neighborhood of São Paulo afforded him the opportunity to not only receive a quality education, but also to understand the vast socio-economic disparities that define Brazilian society. As friends from Osasco were forced to drop out of school to work or raise children, Rafael became aware of the privileges he received and the responsibility to use them to better his community in the future.

Rafael plans to study science and government while at Dartmouth, a combination he hopes will help him develop the leadership skills necessary to promote the idea that positive change in Brazil is possible through technology and innovation.

For Rafael, being part of the King Scholar program is inspiring because it means building relationships with people who have vastly different backgrounds, yet share the same dream: tackling poverty. "Whether it is through Medicine, Engineering or Politics, each one of us has something to teach each other and this kind of community motivates me to work hard for those who didn't have access to the same opportunities I did," Rafael says. "The King Scholarship is hope, not only for me as an individual, but also for Osasco, hope for Brazil."

Internships & Projects: Itaú Unibanco, São Paulo, Brazil

Seerat Zahra '20


Seerat grew up in Gilgit, a village in a remote, impoverished and politically disputed territory in the north of Pakistan and later moved to the capital city of Islamabad. A witness to social violence and injustice from an early age, she was moved to action, working with local charities to empower women and underprivileged children in her community and participating in the G(irls)20 Summit which advised G20 leaders on issues concerning women.

At Dartmouth, Seerat intends to explore sociology, women and gender studies, computer science, and international relations. Undecided on her exact career path, she knows she wants to use her education to empower the oppressed, especially women and vulnerable children in Pakistan and throughout the world.

Grateful to the Kings and the college for the honor, Seerat sees the King Scholar program as an opportunity to not only study at a top school, but also to connect with an amazing group of people. "The King Leadership Scholarship is a huge blessing and a humbling privilege," she says. "It's a big opportunity to grow and to give back, the two things I believe life is all about."

John Mbugua '19


John is from Nairobi, Kenya, one of the fastest growing cities in Africa. Grateful for the opportunity to learn so much from the diversity of its people, he is interested in promoting awareness of the importance of mental health, a large issue he feels is not addressed in his community.

An economics and German major, John spent a summer teaching computer coding to residents of Kibera, Kenya's largest slum, and plans to take advantage of the opportunity to study in Germany for a term. Outside of class, he is also the events coordinator of the International Students Association, a member of the Great Issues Scholars Program, and enjoys playing soccer for fun.

As a King Scholar, John hopes to learn from the myriad opportunities offered here at Dartmouth, as well as to create a solid network from the internships and leadership conferences to which he has access. "A big responsibility lies ahead of me," he says, "but with the right guidance and attitude, I believe I am up to challenge. I grew up under the watch of a father who was very hardworking, and to him giving up was and has never been an option. That kind of attitude keeps me going."

Internships & Projects:

  • Tunapanda Computer Literacy Project, Nairobi, Kenya
  • Election intern, Kenya

Patrick Iradukunda '19


Growing up in Kigali, Rwanda, Patrick's parents emphasized the importance of education, in spite of limited resources. With their encouragement of hard work and perseverance, Patrick applied and was accepted to Bridge2Rwanda, an organization that helps promising students pursue pre-college gap-years abroad.

At Dartmouth, Patrick is interested in studying architecture, engineering, and psychology before returning to Rwanda to address developmental stagnation. "Infrastructure is key to the developing world. I am interested in finding a way to connect a country's infrastructure to its culture. Too often, I have seen infrastructure alienate the very people it is supposed to benefit."

As for being a King Scholar: "I am excited about having this educational experience. This opportunity and privilege is not just for me to enjoy; it translates into a responsibility to go back and give back, not in terms of just philanthropy, but also in enabling and establishing things that set the next generation up for success."

Internships & Projects:

  • Dalberg Africa, Nairobi, Kenya
  • Mass Design, Kigali, Rwanda

Linford Zirangwa '19


Linford was born in Mufakose, Zimbabwe, and raised by his grandparents. While in high school, he co-created Rehoboth, a group founded on the principle of the Hebrew word which means, "God has given me my own place," to provide other orphans with the support and funds necessary for success. Even when Linford had to leave high school for a year to support his family, he persevered in growing Rehoboth and pursuing his education on his own.

Linford is passionate about expanding employment and education opportunities for fellow Zimbabweans, especially in rural areas. He believes that while his country is currently dependent on others, "we have the minds and the people." He hopes to return and venture into education.

Through his time and experiences at Dartmouth and through the King Scholars Program, Linford hopes to be exposed to the ideas and people who can help shape Zimbabwe's future. For Linford, being a King Scholar "is about more than funding; it's about having family who is giving you direction and is just there with you."

Loveridge Bere '18


Born in the capital city of Harare, Zimbabwe, Loveridge was forced to drop out of school at the age of fifteen to help support his family. Reflecting on the experience, he recognizes how much difference any small gesture of help or knowledge would have made at the time and hopes to be able to offer this type of assistance to others who might find themselves in similar situations.

At Dartmouth, Loveridge appreciates the flexibility he has to choose what he wants to study. For him, that means a major in data science with a minor in international studies through the Dickey Center. Through his King Scholar connections, Loveridge has also been able to participate in a summer internship in Zimbabwe helping HIV patients and their caregiver, as well as in D.C. with the World Justice Project. Longer term, Loveridge wants to develop a youth empowerment movement in remote areas of Zimbabwe that are rarely served by the government, teaching young people about entrepreneurship and how to become more independent in spite of a struggling economy.

On being a King Scholar, Loveridge says, "Everyone in the program—the Kings and other King Scholars— have been so helpful; from my first day at Dartmouth I have felt like I'm part of a large, warm, extended family."