Congratulations to our 2024 DHS Black Student Excellence Award winners

Bethlehem Teshome and Nyasha Chawanda
Bethlehem Teshome and Nyasha Chawanda

The Department of Health and Society is pleased to announce the winners of our 2024 Black Student Excellence Award.

The award celebrates Black students who are intellectually curious, academically accomplished, and who provide strong leadership in their communities through volunteer work, research, arts projects, or advocacy.

This year’s winners are Bethlehem Teshome and Nyasha Chawanda.

Bethlehem Teshome 

2nd year, Population Health 

The awards committee noted Bethlehem’s strong academic record and leadership in research. Bethlehem works with the Toronto Addis Ababa Academic Collaboration, an organization which addresses education and training challenges in Ethiopia. She has also worked as an intern for TeenToks, an organization that makes online content promoting mental health in teens, and has worked as a Research Assistant on a project creating videos to raise awareness of vascular diseases. 

“Being chosen for the Black Student Excellence Award overwhelms me with gratitude and humility,” says Bethlehem. “This recognition isn't just about me—it's about showing the world what's possible for underrepresented students. It's about breaking down barriers and proving that dreams can come true with dedication and perseverance. This award is a light guiding the way for fellow undergraduates, reminding us all that our potential knows no bounds.”

Nyasha Chawanda

2nd year, Human Biology and Health Studies

The committee recognized Nyasha’s leadership in volunteer work and strong academic record. Nyasha works with the Modern-Day Griot Project to help prepare Black high school students for postsecondary education. She also works with the Yayra-Si Youth Foundation (YSYF) at UTSC, an organization that advocates for the rights of women and youth in Ghana.

"I am deeply humbled and honoured to accept the Black Student Excellence Award as a personal achievement for myself and the Black community,” says Nyasha. “This award inspires me to further engage in my community and continue contributing, with the aim of creating opportunities and opening doors for the upcoming generation of Black leaders."