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2024 Martin Luther King, Jr. Finalists

Julie Canuto-Depina
Julie Canuto-Depina
Winner
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Julie Canuto-Depina

Julie Canuto-Depina

Winner

Julie Canuto-Depina (Brockton, MA) is a Junior at Boston College pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She has served as a member and trip leader for the Jamaica Magis Service trip, she is a Montserrat Ambassador, a Montserrat Student Leader, a Thea Bowman Student Ambassador, a Keys to Inclusive Leadership Menor, a Bowman Advocate, and an Options Through Education Council member. She serves as the secretary for the Cape Verdean Student Association and the Co-Student leader of the Black Excellence Gala. Richard Paul, Assistant Director of the AADS Program, remarks, "What I admire most about Julie is that she is always empowered by her overlapping identitites, i.e., Options Through Education Scholar, First-Generation Student, Montserrat Student, Black, and Woman. She uses any benefits/opportunities derived from those identities to either help others directly or indirectly through awareness." Julie admires Dr. Kings' emphasis on the role of education to "give one not only the power of concentration, but also worthy objectives on which to concentrate." Immersing herself in her nursing education, Julie's objective is to be a change agent for progressive social awareness in healthcare, especially in terms of recognizing social determinants of health. She wishes to work as a Registered Nurse, where she will bring awareness of social determinants of health to her healthcare team.

Tracy Aggrey-Ansong
Tracy Aggrey-Ansong
Finalist
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Tracy Aggrey-Ansong

Tracy Aggrey-Ansong

Finalist

Tracy Aggrey-Ansong hails from Atlanta, Georgia and is a double-major in Neuroscience and Theology. She serves as Co-President of the Black Christian Fellowship and participated in the Dominican Republic Service and Immersion Program. She is a member of several organizations on campus, including the African Student Organization, SACNAS, and the First Generation Club. She is a Questbridge Scholar, a McNair Scholar, and a Gateway Scholar, and was awarded the Unsung Hero Award by Residential Life. Tracy is a Resident Assistant and Teaching Assistant on campus. Associate Professor of the Practice Holy Deak Ph.D praises Tracy's work as a student and tutor, writing that she "has a clear vision of a future as a health care provider and how each of her experiences fit onto this path... Her sensitivity to others and their needs is truly exceptional." Tracy is inspired by Dr. King, remarking that his "ability to reach the hearts and minds of everyone, even some oppressors, proves that his peacefully delivered message was not just a message of equality but unity and love." Tracy's long-term goal is to become a clinical research scientist in the field of neurology, focused on minoritized populations. She also aspires to be an educator and advocate for minoritized populations in the healthcare system.

Joy Babalola
Joy Babalola
Finalist
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Joy Babalola

Joy Babalola

Finalist

Joy Babalola hails from New York City. She is a Neuroscience major, and her minors is in Medical Humanities. She is the creative designer, as well as a dancer, for the PATU dance team, the even coordinator for Black Student Forum, and the Outreach Coordinator for the Black Christian Fellowship... She also serves as a Resident Assistant. Joy works as a researcher for Dr. Caroline Smith's Neuroscience Lab, and her reseearch concerns the adverse effects of pollution on microglia and social behavior. Joy notse the "significant importance for minority, low-income, and Black communities" of this research. Dr. Caoline Smith, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, writes that Joe is "academically brilliant, a natural leader, and she has demonstrated an exemplary commitment to community service... She has a true talent for research." Joy feels connected to Martin Luther King through their common thread as "olojukokoros," individuals "daring to dream big" and "harboring an insatiable hunger to defy odds, change minds, and exhibit passion in our pursuit of equality and diversity." Joy wishes to continue pursuing research in the field of medicine, where she aspires to break down the intersectional boundaries between medicine and humanity, dostering a connection between patients and physicians.

Temidayo Lukan
Temidayo Lukan
Finalist
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Temidayo Lukan

Temidayo Lukan

Finalist

Temidayo Lukan hails from Malden, MA. He is a Philosophy major, with a minor in Managing for Social Impact and the Public Good. He serves as a member of the Student Conduct Board, is a Resident Assistant for the Fr. Rutilio Grande Intercultural Experience, is a mentor for the Paul Robeson Institute, and is a Project Leader for Bridge the Gap. He also participated in the Arrupe South Africa Immersion Trip and works as a research assistant for the Social Change and Social Influence lab. Karl Bell, Director for Mentoring and Academic Achievement at Pine Manor Institute for Student Success, writes that "Dayo's selfless commitment to others, couples with his leadership abilities, are unmatched... I am unequivocal in my belief that Dayo is a 'drum major for justice.'" Temidayo finds inspiration in Dr. King's charge to "make a career out of humanity" and hopes to pursue a career at the intersection of education and technology in order to promote equity in education. He has worked at the educational start up Fitalyst, a platform that helps to bridge the gap of first-generation students, with this goal in mind. After graduation, he wishes to complete graduate work in educational policy to help create a more inclusive educational system.

Esther Udoakang
Esther Udoakang
Finalist
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Esther Udoakang

Esther Udoakang

Finalist

Esther Udoakang is a Nursing Major from Boston, MA. She is the Vice-President of the African Student Organization, a mentor for Keys to Inclusive Leadership, a member of Black Christian Fellowship, and a volunteer for the Student Admissions Program. She is the winner of the Harvard Book Prize as well as the English Scholar Award. She was a participant in the Arrupe Service Immersion trip to Quito, Ecuador, and she currently serves as a Montserrat Ambassador. Dr. Krithika Vachali, Assistant Professor of the Practice in the English Department, remarked on Esther's "impressive interdisciplinary work alongside her participation in research that is motivated by both academic interest and her commitment to service and the public good." Esther is inspired not only by Dr. King's selflessness, but also by his recognition of his own fragility: "He understood that he had to work in a system that already rejected him and would continue to make clear that they would reject him... When fragility and selflessness are incorporated, one gives way to a guided purpose, with love being the goal." Ether is pursuing a career in nursing with a focused on healthcare's disparities regarding Black people, and Black women specifically, with a goal of providing equitable healthcare.

Cultural Clubs on Campus

Cultural OrganizationPresident(s)
African Students OrganizationSena Deressa ('24), Maame Twum-Barima ('24)
Black Student ForumMiles Shester (‘24), Kaylee Briele (‘24)
L'Association HaitienneChristie Louis (‘24)
Ethiopian Eritrean Student AssociationCaleb Alebachew (‘24), Yosan Tewelde (‘24)
Cape Verdean Student AssociationYara Da Silva (‘24), Alexis Silva (‘24)
Caribbean Culture ClubAsiana Taniya (‘25), Jaida (‘25)
Asian CaucusKristen Kim (‘25), Caitlin Park (‘24)
Korean Students AssociationEdward Jeong (‘24), Eunice Ham (‘24)
Chinese Students AssociationJoyce Wu (‘24), Claire Huang (‘24)
Vietnamese Students AssociationAndrew Pham (‘25), Minh Dinh (‘25)
Japan ClubJake Han (‘24), Aoi Nishimura (‘25)
Philippine SocietyVictor Isidro (‘24), Isa Decurtis (‘24) 
Southeast Asian Student AssociationDavid Chieco (‘24), Jonathan Lu (‘24)
South Asian Student AssociationVikram Bail (‘24), Anushka Fernandes (‘24)
Taiwanese Cultural OrganizationRyan Gurewitz (‘24), Hsiang En Lu (‘24)
Hawaii ClubLily McDermott (‘24), Brandon Lai (‘24)
Organization of Latin American AffairsValentina Ochoa Saldarriaga (‘24), Jacob Bojito Rios (‘24)
Brazilian Club 
Central American Student Organization of Boston CollegeMonica Michelle Mendez (‘24), Kathy Umanzor (‘24)
Cuban-American Student AssociationEmilia Boggs (‘24), Nina Spillis (‘24)
Puerto Rican Student AssociationJacob Bojito (‘25)
Mexican Association of StudentsKevin Avila (‘25), Veronica Garza (‘24)
Dominican AssociationAngie Rosa (‘24), Reyshell Encarnacion (‘24)
FACES 
International ClubEdith Baert (‘24), Leya Samhoun (‘24)
Slavic Club 
Arab Students AssociationSalim Sultan (‘24)
Armenian ClubTaline Deukmedjian (‘24), Sona Bardakjian (‘24)
Lebanese Club of Boston CollegeJaret Farhat (‘24)
Hellenic SocietyChristos Dimitriadis (‘24)
Irish Society 
French ClubMarcel Bouchesiche (‘24), Louisa Baum (‘24)
Il Circolo ItalianoKayla Armetta (‘24)
German AcademyCatherine Brewer (‘24)