Three new Loran Scholars joining Queen’s

Queen’s University is welcoming three Loran Scholars amongst the Class of 2024.

Alaa Khalaf of Toronto, Ayden Harrison of Lillooet, B.C., and Leilani Pearson of Richmond, B.C. were selected as three of the 36 recipients out of more than 5,100 applicants from across Canada to become 2020 Loran Scholars. They are a part of the foundation’s largest cohort to date and are receiving Canada’s largest and most comprehensive undergraduate merit-based award.

The Loran Scholars Foundation is committed to identifying and supporting high-potential young Canadians to realize their full potential. The selection process supersedes grades and is based on strength of character, a deep commitment to service, evidence of courage, compassion, and an entrepreneurial spirit.

2020 Loran Scholars

Ayden Harrison created a group for young girls to feel empowered, focusing on girls in the fifth grade and giving them a safe and positive space. She also volunteered at Mountain View Lodge Long Term Care Home for over three years, working one-on-one with patients, talking, reading, or playing board games. She will be studying biochemistry, with hopes of becoming a trauma surgeon. When asked why she chose Queen’s she commented on the university’s “astounding medical program.” 

Alaa Khalaf arrived in Canada three years ago as a Syrian refugee and challenged herself to learn English in three months. Alaa also focused on helping newcomers in her high school, George S. Henry Academy, as a Student Newcomer Ambassador and peer tutor, and also through her involvement at Afghan Women’s Organization, in which she developed and led English Language Conversation Circles. She shares what it was like visiting Queen’s for the first time: “I liked the small town feel I had always heard about – it felt like home.” She is enrolled in the Bachelor of Nursing Science program and is “thrilled to spend the next few years at Queen’s and build memories and experiences.”

Leilani Pearson attended Hugh Boyd Secondary and while there, was a main organizer of Extended Learning Time, a free after-school tutoring program. She was a dedicated member of First Responders and provided basic first-aid at her school. As vice president of the Greenthumbers, she helps organize fundraisers and cleanups in the community. When asked why she chose Queen’s to study science and biology, she says it’s “because I had heard really good things about the school and its community from some of my peers and teachers. After looking into it further, I realized that it would be a perfect fit for me and I'm also incredibly excited to go because I have only been to Ontario once or twice and I would love to explore a different part of Canada.”

Of the 696 past and present Loran Scholars, 83 have chosen to attend Queen’s University over the past three decades, including Claire Gummo (Applebanks Loran Scholar ’13) and Iain Sander (Loran Scholar ’13), who both went on to become Rhodes Scholars. 

Applications for the 32nd class of Loran Scholars will open in early September:

To learn more about the Loran Award and how you can support the Loran Scholars Foundation, visit

Note: This article originally appeared in the Queen's Gazette.