Class of 2025
- Areas of Study: Finance
- Hometown: Kumasi, Ghana
Obed Antwi-Baidoo, from Kumasi, Ghana, is known for his vision and conviction.
Obed believes that a “Hi!” offers both an avenue for people to feel welcomed, and an encyclopedia into life's diversities of race, beliefs, and culture, among other things. His respect for different cultures and motivation to bridge differences led him to receive the Diversity Value award at the African Leadership Academy.
Majoring in Finance, Obed envisions creating a financial system that efficiently channels funds from individuals and larger corporations and organizations to those who need the funds for economic ventures. With this aspiration, he took a college-level course in Impact Investing to understand how best financing can be leveraged for a better world. The summer prior to freshman year at Notre Dame, Obed interned at an African fintech company that is improving transparency and efficiency in credit offerings as a Strategy Analyst.
Obed was actively engaged in his high school, working to reduce hierarchies as the Student Government president and serving as a role model to younger students as senior prefect.
- Areas of Study: Political Science
- Hometown: Ireland
- Areas of Study: English and Japanese
- Hometown: Concord, VT
Lily Barth, from Concord, Vermont, is a Hesburgh-Yusko Scholar, a QuestBridge Scholar, and part of the Glynn Family Honors Program.
Through her classes in high school, she fell in love with the Japanese language and culture and traveled to Japan her sophomore year. Lily is continuing her studies of Japanese language and culture as a Japanese and English major in the College of Arts and Letters at Notre Dame.
Additionally, Lily is currently working on her novel and readying it for publication. 'Til The Sun Drips Blood, an original manuscript inspired by David Bowie's 1974 studio album "Diamond Dogs," is an allegorical work of science fiction that explores themes of human purpose, independence, censorship, capitalism versus communism, reliance on big-tech companies, and living in a polarized political world.
In her free time, Lily enjoys writing, reading, knitting, crocheting, listening to various genres of music from David Bowie to The Cure, and snacking. Lily also enjoys spending time with her family and friends and teaching her Australian Shepherd, Katie, new tricks.
- Areas of Study: Mechanical Engineering
- Hometown: Hlotse, Lesotho
Akhente Borotho from Hlotse, Lesotho, graduated from the African Leadership Academy (ALA), with a diploma in Advanced Level Cambridge International Examinations in Physics, Mathematics, and Geography alongside his studies in ALA’s core subjects in Entrepreneurial Leadership, Writing & Rhetoric, and African Studies. Currently enrolled in the College of Engineering at the University of Notre Dame, Akhente is majoring in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Real Estate.
Before coming to Notre Dame, Akhente spent the summer interning with the United Arab Emirates-based company, ALEC Ltd, as an energy consumption management strategist.
Akhente is also very interested in international relations. He took part in a research class working towards understanding global diplomacy and politics, which culminated in the African Leadership Academic Model African Union (ALAMAU) conference.
Akhente is the Founder and CEO of GreenToolz, a for-profit student enterprise, focusing on employing technology in a purposeful manner to revolutionize agriculture on the African continent.
Outside of class, he is an active volleyball and soccer player. He is also very passionate about clean and sustainable energy, environmental protection, electronics, public speaking, and loves to dance.
- Areas of Study: Economics and Data Science
- Hometown: San José, Costa Rica
Caterina Calderón is a Hesburgh Yusko scholar from San José, Costa Rica. She graduated valedictorian from Lincoln School and is a student in the College of Arts and Letters, where she intends to major in Economics and Data Science.
During high school, Caterina participated in various academic and community-oriented clubs, acting as the vice-president of the National Honor Society and the Mu Alpha Theta chapter, as well as president for the Interact Club. Caterina has been a volunteer for the Foundation “Yo Puedo y Vos” since 2015, dedicating her time to spreading awareness about Down Syndrome and supporting the inclusion of all people in society and the workforce. Following her passion for helping others, Caterina founded a project known as “Chance en Chepe,” dedicated to the social integration of recovered addicts and those suffering from homelessness, partnering with an Oxford house and the Labor Ministry of San Jose. As COVID struck, she organized an initiative that fundraised over $3000, which was used to send provisions to an underdeveloped community.
Caterina hopes to spend her time at Notre Dame learning how to combine her love for academia and her passion for social change. She is eager to apply herself to helping those in need in a way that brings long-term results.
Jean Vladimir Colas
- Areas of Study: Biology
- Hometown: Immokalee, FL
Jean Vladimir Colas, the youngest of three children of Haitian immigrant parents, was born and raised in Immokalee, Florida, a rural, low-income agricultural community consisting of immigrant and migrant farm workers. Throughout his childhood, Haitian Creole was the primary language spoken in his household.
Vladimir's many high school accomplishments include first chair trombone, Key Club treasurer, and co-captain on the debate team. As a high school junior, Vladimir enrolled full-time in the Accelerated Collegiate Experience (ACE) program at Florida Gulf Coast University. There he made the President's List and entered the ACE Honors College.
Vladimir composes and plays music on his trombone. He is a self-taught trombonist and began playing and writing music in seventh grade. He has composed hundreds of songs, each of which shares one thing in common: the major 7th interval to symbolize strength, unity, and fulfillment.
At Notre Dame, Vladimir is interested in pursuing a Biology major while continuing his study of French. He is a member of the Band of the Fighting Irish and Jazz Ensemble. Vladimir envisions himself working professionally to help cure anemia, a prevalent condition among Haitians.
- Areas of Study: Computer Science and Engineering
- Hometown: Lagos, Nigeria
Bright Dikko is a Hesburgh-Yusko scholar from Lagos, Nigeria, and an alumnus of the African Leadership Academy. He has interests in STEM, entrepreneurship, and the arts, and is passionate about problem-solving. He enjoys identifying issues in his community and working towards providing innovative and sustainable solutions and will be majoring in Computer Science and Engineering.
In high school, Bright co-founded Innovative Minds, a student-led company that provides a creative way for small-scale entrepreneurs to advertise their businesses. The company emerged as the Junior Achievement Nigeria Company of the Year (COY) and represented the country at the African COY program. Bright also served as the senior prefect at his high school and the clubs and societies representative in the student government. He was an active member of the Junior Engineers, Technicians, and Scientist (JETS) club, education lead for Launch-X club, and director of research and program development for the Union for Business and Entrepreneurship Development in Africa (UBEDA).
Bright is a self-taught multi-instrumentalist, music producer, and visual artist. In the creative scene, he is passionate about helping others discover and unleash their inner talents and pushing them to become the best version of themselves. At Notre Dame, he hopes to continue developing his problem-solving skills.
- Areas of Study: Science Preprofessional
- Hometown: Cape May County, NJ
Lena Dougherty, from Cape May County, New Jersey, graduated from Wildwood Catholic Academy and is majoring in Science Preprofessional Studies at Notre Dame.
Lena proudly founded Thespian Troupe 8938 and served as the troupe’s president while also serving as a student officer on both the New Jersey state and International Thespian Boards. Lena used these positions to advocate for inclusion in the arts, especially for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Communities. Lena enjoys teaching American Sign Language through workshops and youth camps and hopes to soon bring hearing technologies and access to language to those born Deaf in developing countries around the world.
Lena has been awarded for her distinguished academics, musical talents, and her dedication to service by the Soroptimist Organization, NJ Elks, Inspirasian International, the Ocean City Pops, the Cape May Bar Association, the Emerald Society, the Off Broad Street Players, the Educational Theatre Association, and the Sertoma Scholarship Organization.
Lena is honored to be a part of the Hesburgh-Yusko Scholars Program at the University of Notre Dame.
- Areas of Study: Political Science
- Hometown: Lagos, Nigeria
Chizoma Duru is a Hesburgh-Yusko Scholar from Lagos, Nigeria. Her passions include feminism, politics, pan-Africanism, youth empowerment, and community service.
As a recent graduate from the African Leadership Academy, some of her leadership roles included serving as the president of the DREAMEQUAL association, the entertainment representative for Student Government, the director of marketing and awareness for the INTERACT organization, and peer tutor for literature and essay writing. During her time at ALA, she was privileged to win awards including the Excellence Award in 2020 and 2021, and the Literature award in 2021.
One of her proudest achievements is being chosen as a Bezos Scholar for the 2020/2021 cohort and having the opportunity to serve as the director of administration for the South African Ideas Festival (an annual youth empowerment festival for young entrepreneurs around the continent). Her passion for community service started from her time at Corona Secondary School, Agbara, where she served as the head girl in 2019. Since then, she has orchestrated numerous community service campaigns, including the Food for All, Quality Education, and Clean the Catholic church campaign, with teams she often put together.
At the University of Notre Dame, Chizoma will be pursuing a degree in Political Science coupled with either Economics or Global Affairs. She hopes to continue growing her passions during her time at Notre Dame.
Luke Harding Bradley
- Areas of Study: Finance
- Hometown: Dublin, Ireland
Luke Harding Bradley is a Hesburgh-Yusko Scholar from Dublin, Ireland. In high school, Luke enthusiastically served as secretary-general of the Model UN organization and prefect of the boarding community, graduating from St. Stephens International School with honors. He is currently a student at the Mendoza College of Business, intending to major in Finance.
With a passion for public health in developing nations, he founded A Voice for Others, a non-profit organization that works to establish health and nutrition programs in rural communities in Sub-Saharan Africa. Since its inception in 2014, Luke has raised over $60,000 for the organization, sustaining community programs in seven nations across the continent.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, he conducted an international study on the impact that social isolation was having on the mental health of high school and college students, ultimately compiling and publishing his research in the Journal of Student Research.
At the University of Notre Dame, Luke hopes to continue his work in research and philanthropy and to explore how business and finance can stimulate economic development in developing nations.
- Areas of Study: Neuroscience and Behavioral Studies
- Hometown: Louisville, KY
Ethan Harned is a first-year student from Louisville, KY, majoring in Neuroscience and Behavioral Studies on the pre-medicine track. Professionally, Ethan hopes to become an oncologist. He hopes he can use his degree to gain an elevated understanding of brain function and emotional understanding so that he can emphasize the importance of spiritual and mental health alongside physical health for cancer patients.
In his free time, Ethan enjoys volunteering as a small group facilitator for Inheritance of Hope, a nonprofit organization serving the families of terminally ill patients. Ethan specifically works in a team that creates resources and builds community for young children facing the loss of a parent due to a terminal illness.
He is an avid swimmer and was a competitive swimmer for 12 years and a coach for 3. He enjoys staying active through all kinds of fitness and is excited to partake in fitness activities with his new classmates.
Throughout his high school career, Ethan was involved in several forms of philanthropy. He served as vice president of fundraising for the teen board at Norton Children’s Hospital, overseeing fundraisers generating over $30,000, and created a custom wristband fundraiser for Inheritance of Hope. Outside of fundraising, Ethan served as a communications manager for a local group trying to show appreciation to physicians in the Louisville area during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Areas of Study: Political Science and Global Affairs
- Hometown: Stevenson Ranch, CA
Eric Luo is a passionate activist looking to bring social change to both the people and the environment around him. He graduated from West Ranch High School in Santa Clarita, CA, and intends to major in Political Science in the College of Arts and Letters and Global Affairs in the Keough School. Throughout his four years of high school, Eric was a member of his Speech and Debate team, participating in both Parliamentary and Lincoln-Douglas Debate.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, he co-founded Six Feet Supplies, a nonprofit organization that delivers groceries to at-risk communities. His organization was featured by a multitude of news organizations, including The LA Times, Newsweek, and CNN International.
As part of his drive to always serve others, Eric also worked with West Ranch High School students and administration to revise the school curriculum as well as build a more sustainable and inclusive campus culture through a new student and teacher handbook: Guidelines for a Restorative Justice Board.
- Areas of Study: Biological Sciences
- Hometown: County Offaly, Ireland
Lauded as a young woman who “enriches people’s lives,” Gráinne Malone represented County Offaly, Ireland, at the world's first National Youth Assembly on Climate Change. She was leader of the climate branch of Comhairle nan ÓG, her local youth government, where she worked to produce a Gender Equality and Women’s Rights Policy to be adopted by Offaly County Council and a video on exam stress.
In high school, Gráinne organized weekly visits to her local nursing home for a group of her peers while she was a student in her high school, Banagher College. She served as Chairperson of the Student Council and she was also leader of her Green Schools Committee. She also started a fundraiser to mark World Down Syndrome Day, which has now become an annual event at her school.
Gráinne is the youth coordinator for the Irish peace and justice organization AFRI (Action from Ireland). In May 2021, she served as a keynote speaker at their virtual famine walk event. She also produced a series of educational videos centered on climate change and justice to be shown in schools across Ireland.
Gráinne believes in living her one wild and precious life to the fullest. She loves nature's energy, greenery, and the ocean. She remains hopeful that we can work together to create a better world, one person at a time. Gráinne knows she is just one person, but she lives by the mantra that "just one person can make a world of difference"
- Areas of Study: Global Affairs, Arabic, and Peace Studies
- Hometown: Evansville, Indiana
Tavin Martin is Hesburgh-Yusko Scholar and Lilly Endowment Scholar from Evansville, Indiana. Tavin joined Indiana YMCA Youth and Government, a mock-state government program, in 2017. She was elected as the speaker of the house and was the first woman to be elected as the Indiana youth governor twice. She helped establish the National Youth Governors’ Association and served as the first youth member of the Southwestern Indiana YMCA Metro Board. She contributed to fundraising more than $300,000 for the nonprofit's annual expenses and made regular trips to the Indiana State House and Washington, D.C., to advocate for nonprofit legislation. In 2020, Tavin was recognized as a YMCA National Changemaker.
In her junior and senior years, Tavin worked with the national nonprofit When We All Vote as an Ambassador Fellow. She managed youth voter registration in 16 states, and she was invited onto the Conan O’Brian show to be recognized for her dedication to voter advocacy by the show’s host and Michelle Obama. After her work with WWAV ended, she became a co-founder of Rhizome, a youth civic engagement organization. In 2020, Tavin founded the Evansville Youth City Council to create policy changes and encourage civic engagement at all ages. She is now the college advisor for the program.
At Notre Dame, Tavin seeks to continue her community involvement through activism in student government. Tavin was selected for the highly competitive Notre Dame Student Government First Undergraduate Experience in Leadership (FUEL) program. She is currently a leader in the departments of Diversity & Inclusion, Gender Relations, and University Policy. When she is not studying at the university, Tavin is a barista at Honey+Moon Coffee Company in Evansville.
- Areas of Study: Economics and Global Affairs
- Hometown: Apac, Uganda
Brian Olemo is a fellow of the Obama-founded Young African Leaders’ Initiative (YALI) and a graduate of the African Leadership Academy from which he graduated with a diploma in Entrepreneurial Leadership. Currently the organizer of Uganda's only TEDxYouth conference TEDxYouth@Naguru, he extols the value of education and mentorship as the means through which young people can be equipped to radically shape Africa’s growth trajectory. Cognizant that most of Africa’s challenges find their root in bad politics, he sees public sector leadership as his vehicle of impact. To broaden his understanding of the global political economy, he will be majoring in Economics and Global Affairs with a minor in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE).
Brian is the founder of New Flame, a community service project working on replacing the use of charcoal in his district in Apac with briquettes made from carbonized corn cobs. He also hosts "The 4th Generation Podcast" through which he aims to equip his generation with the ideological tools to understand and change political leadership on the continent. During his personal time, Brian can be found reading a book, playing badminton or soccer, or watching Manchester United play.
- Areas of Study: Sociology and Philosophy
- Hometown: Tampa, Florida
Bella Pawloski is a Hesburgh-Yusko Scholar from Tampa, Florida. Bella graduated from Calvary Christian High School with honors and over 500 hours of community service, where she helped create a statewide movement for food security.
With the knowledge that more than 150,000 people and one in four children were found to be food insecure within her county, Bella took the initiative to work alongside her church to create local, 24/7 accessible food pantries. Made from recycled newspaper dispensers, these pantries, dubbed “Blessing Boxes,” are designed to be self-sustainable. With the phrase “take what you need, leave what you can,” the pantries are filled and maintained by the community. Within the year, Bella’s pantries were estimated to be accessed by over 5,000 families.
As these pantries increased in popularity, people across the state started their community pantries in hopes to join in Bella’s mission: to assist in ending the cycle of poverty by removing barriers and providing pathways so families have opportunities to succeed and thrive.
Bella’s high school endeavors have influenced her college studies and she is currently studying at the College of Arts and Letters. Double majoring in Philosophy and Sociology, her main studies surround ethical theory and social stratification, assisting in her pursuit to become a family law attorney. Through both her undergraduate studies and her future goals, Bella hopes to increase the percentage of adults and children who are financially secure while meeting their needs through investments in food, housing, and other essentials.
- Areas of Study: Political Science
- Hometown: Alexandria, Egypt
Zeina is passionate about education and pedagogy as tools for social transformation and elevating consciousness. After she graduated from the African Leadership Academy (ALA) in 2020, Zeina took a gap year in which she interned in the Global Scholars Program and taught two courses of seminal readings to young people aged 15-19 that stimulated critical discussions about global and local challenges. Zeina also taught children English, math, and sciences. During summer 2021, she served as an apprentice in the first cohort of ALforEducation 2021. During this apprenticeship, she studied the philosophy of education and learning as well as the challenges facing education around the world.
Zeina is a passionate feminist who is dedicated to the cause of women’s liberation. She conducted a one-year humanities study where she traced the history of feminist movements in Egypt in the 19th, 20th, and 21th centuries and examined their intersection with modernism, Islamism, colonialism, and the state. She also conducted research about sexual harassment in schools. As a result of this research, she designed and taught a short course about healthy relationships, boundaries, consent, and sexual harassment. As a youth camp facilitator for the National Council of Childhood and Motherhood in Egypt, Zeina raised awareness about children's rights related to abuse and neglect. She also participated in a campaign against FGM.
After graduating from Notre Dame, Zeina hopes to establish a research university for women, so that she can utilize her passion for education to empower women to contribute radically to the construction of knowledge in all disciplines. In her free time, she loves to read, research, and engage in dialogue.
- Areas of Study: Political Science
- Hometown: Sacramento, CA
Born in San Francisco as the son of Indian immigrants, Isa Sheikh is a Hesburgh-Yusko and QuestBridge scholar. He graduated from The Met Sacramento High School and is majoring in Political Science.
During high school, Isa managed various projects including implementing drip irrigation to the school garden, organizing field trips, and coordinating graduation and various fundraising efforts. Through internships at Davis Media Access and the California State Library, he produced a news radio show, interviewed local experts and national figures in different areas of policy, as well as researched 1970s California political history. He served for three years on his district’s Student Advisory Council, striving to promote student voice within the district and bring attention to issues that students face.
In his senior year, Isa had the privilege of serving as the student board member for the Sacramento City Unified School District, representing almost 45,000 students on the Board of Education. As a trustee, he passed legislation to address the plights of students during distance learning, advocated for mental health support, and took on Sacramento’s notorious politics. During his tenure, he also took an active role as a region lead in the California Student Board Member Association, where he worked to create a curriculum for other Student Board Members. There, he helped organize an amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court case Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L.
- Areas of Study: Political Science and Economics
- Hometown: Morristown, MJ
Patrick Smart is a Hesburgh-Yusko and Glynn Family Honors Program Scholar from Morristown, New Jersey. He graduated from the Delbarton School, and seeks to study Political Science and Economics at Notre Dame.
Although Patrick was raised in rural New Jersey, he moved to his more urban hometown, Morristown, in high school. Seeing the disparities between these two communities motivated Patrick to better understand how government policies impact social mobility, economic inequality, and educational outcomes.
In high school, Patrick was the editor-in-chief of his school’s newspaper, led his school’s community service and spiritual life as a campus minister, and organized his school’s Current Events Forum. Outside of the academic realm, Patrick was the captain of his school’s Cross Country team, and acted in and wrote plays for his school’s theater department. During the summer of 2020, Patrick was one of 39 rising New Jersey seniors selected to participate in the New Jersey Scholars Program (NJSP), a fully-funded, interdisciplinary intellectual summer experience, where he discussed, debated, and completed a research paper on the program topic, "Mind, Body, and the Future of Being Human." At the end of the program, Patrick’s classmates voted him to represent the class of 2020 on the NJSP Board of Trustees.
- Areas of Study: Business Analytics and Psychology
- Hometown: Shanghai, China
Charles Wang, a Hesburgh-Yusko and Greater China Scholar, was originally born in Atlanta, Georgia, but grew up in Shanghai, China. He is double majoring in Business Analytics and Psychology at the University of Notre Dame.
Charles spent the summer prior to his freshman year at Notre Dame conducting research on breast cancer and working on automating the breast cancer screening process. Charles designed a breastplate that can be used during breast cancer testing procedures to promote privacy, making these procedures more acceptable across different cultures.
In his free time, Charles loves spending his afternoons playing basketball and hanging out with friends.
Maria Fernanda Zamora
- Areas of Study: Political Science
- Hometown: Managua, Nicaragua
Maria Fernanda Zamora is a Hesburgh-Yusko Scholar from Managua, Nicaragua, majoring in Political Science. As the youngest opinion writer in the only impartial newspaper in her country, Maria is a human rights advocate and defender. Advocating for unity, freedom of speech, and justice, her articles have served as a symbol of empowerment for Nicaraguan women and youth. She has also worked with FUNIDES, one of the largest think tanks in Central and South America, which specializes in analyzing the political and socio-economic policies of the most vulnerable regions in Nicaragua. Through FUNIDES she has learned from large business owners and economists, gaining insight used on her social media platform “PickNic” which supports small local entrepreneurs who flourished after the 2018 socio-political crisis.
During high school, Maria created and led the first bilingual education community service club in Managua. Through fundraisers and activities, Maria and volunteers were able to sponsor the education and school supplies for multiple low-resourced elementary schools.
In her free time, she enjoys painting and drawing, as she has used her talent to address social issues. In the future, Maria hopes to return to Nicaragua, reforming the education system and being part of a political change.