New College Leaders Awards

Leadership comes in many forms – and we could not be more proud of the three individuals who have won this year’s New College Leaders Awards! These awards are given to New College students who, in addition to academic and personal achievements, have made notable contributions to the New College, U of T, and local communities. Please join us in celebrating their achievements and sending our congratulations! 

Gold – Shreeyaa Ramana

Shreeyaa Ramana worked hard to create the same opportunities for others that she created for herself. Growing up in Southern India where opportunities for women were scarce, Ramana was determined to further her personal development. During her time at New College, she became deeply involved in the community, acting as a mentor for other students, taking leadership positions within the Residence Council and Orientation team, joining the First-Year Learning Community, and playing intramurals basketball.

As the President of three U of T clubs, StrengthIN, Team Up Against Concussions, and iCure, Ramana is able to promote causes important to her—such as mental health, concussion awareness, and illness prevention among youth. She has spearheaded support programs for both the community at U of T and for high schools across the GTA. Additionally, she has founded a social media initiative called The Science Revolution to improve scientific literacy and encourage critical consumption of information. This work is closely connected to another cause that Ramana is passionate about—her advocacy for gender equity, which ultimately drew her to work at Dr. Gillian Einstein’s Lab for Cognitive Neuroscience. Over the past 3 years, she has worked on numerous projects focused on filling in the gaps in sex and gender research and mentored undergraduate students. She also works with Dr. Asaf Gilboa at Baycrest to uncover the mechanisms of human memory and to research interventions for individuals with traumatic brain injury.

Ramana is a Neuroscience Specialist and a Psychology Major, a Dean’s List Scholar, a U of T Scholar, and winner of a New College Council In-Course scholarship.

Silver – Kehkashan Basu

Deciding to become an Environmental Studies student at the University of Toronto came naturally to Kehkashan Basu, M.S.M.—it was so intrinsically aligned with the work she was already doing. Basu had already founded Green Hope Foundation with the goal of providing women and youth with a platform through which they could engage in environmental conservation, social justice, and sustainability. In the span of ten years, it became a United Nations accredited global social innovation enterprise operating in 26 countries.

In addition, Basu has founded a Green Hope Foundation Club at U of T, held sustainability awareness conferences, and partnered with the Toronto District School Board to provide environmental education. She is a United Nations Human Rights Champion, a Councillor at the World Future Council, and the youngest Trustee on the Board of the Parliament of the World’s Religions. At last year’s COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, she was chosen to represent Canada as its youth delegate.

Basu majors in Environmental Studies with a dual minor in Physical & Environmental Geography and Women & Gender Studies. She is a Dean’s List Scholar, recipient of the Glenn H. Carter Scholarship in Forestry/Environmental Studies, and the New College Council In-Course Scholarship. Outside academics, she has been named a Forbes 30 Under 30 and received the Governor General’s Meritorious Service Medal of Canada.

Silver – Eric Che

Since his first year, Eric Che’s goal has been to make a genuine impact on the student body. He is passionate about bettering the New College community as a leader and a mentor, constantly thinking of creative ways to help students transition. As an active and involved member of the New College Orientation team for the past three years, Che was always welcoming new students into a supportive community through fun and informative programs. As a coordinator this year, he prioritized student growth in areas beyond academic success.

Che has served as a mentor for New College students during the school year in many ways, including as a commuter don. In 2020, Che was the New College Student Council Sustainability Commissioner, where he formulated sustainability initiatives such as awareness campaigns and gardening initiatives, while also acting as a student voice in the Wilson Hall renovations and Dining Hall focus groups. Outside of New College, he has been a research assistant for a cognitive psychology lab housed in Sidney Smith for two years, as well as a mentor for the physiology mentorship program. Che has been a member of U of T’s Varsity Blues Track and Field team since 2018, finishing 5th in the Canadian USPORTS Championships for long jump in 2020. Recently, he joined the Hart House Symphonic Band, where he plays clarinet.

Che majored in Physiology and has received the Nicholas G and Olive M Kinsman Award, the Viola Lobodowsky Scholarship in Science Scholarship for academic performance, as well as a New College Council In-Course Scholarship.