DHS announces winners of 2022/23 Black Student Excellence Award

Hodman Abukar, Tala Lumbu, and Siham Mohamud
L-R: Hodman Abukar, Tala Lumbu, and Siham Mohamud

The Department of Health and Society is proud to announce the winners of the 2022/23 Black Student Excellence Award.

The award is given annually to exceptional Black students in a Health and Society program (BA, BSc or Co-op). The Black Student Excellence award recognizes students who display excellent academic skills and who are leaders in their community and show engagement in projects in advocacy, education or other community building projects.

This year three students were recognized with an award of $200 each, plus a gift card for the UTSC bookstore.

The three winners are:

Hodman Abukar

Hodman is a fourth year Health Policy Major and has taken part in a wide range of community activities, including working at the Justice and Equity lab at MAP, and mentoring Black students interested in law and policy, and providing prospective students assistance navigating the postsecondary application process.

“I am honoured to be a recipient of the DHS Black Student Excellence Award,” said Hodman. “This would not have been possible without the support of my mentors. I hope to continue my involvement in community work in the years to come and make advocacy a core tenet of all my future endeavours.” 

Tala Lumbu

Tala is a fourth year majoring in Health Studies: Population Health (Co-op) and Neuroscience. She has been involved in a number of community initiatives including as a member of the Youth Board for the Durham Family & Cultural Centre, and as a Youth Advisor for the Durham Regional Police Service.

“To be recognized by the University of Toronto through the Black Student Excellence Award is truly an honour and a privilege, one that I wish to share with my fellow peers,” said Tala. “This award is for every Black student who struggles and overcomes the countless discriminatory barriers in this education system. My community has taught me valuable lessons, I could never learn in a lecture hall. As I invest in my community, my community also invests in me and reminds me that I am excellence in this moment and excellence in the making.”

Siham Mohamud

Siham is a Fourth Year student majoring in Health Studies (Population Health) and double minoring in Biology and Psychology. Her community involvement includes work for ScholaRLY, and mentoring Black students navigating the post-secondary application process with the MOR Initiative.

“I am very honoured to have been awarded the Black Student Excellence award,” said Siham. “I come from an equity-deserving neighbourhood that is constantly neglected. I've worked to provide experiences and opportunities that I did not receive. Being recognized for my community involvement is a great source of motivation to continue to work toward creating positive change. I hope this inspires others to bring change within our communities to tackle the systemic barriers in place.”

Students who missed out on applying for this opportunity should check out the Winter 2023 Essay Award Competition.