LFS Alumna Wins Prestigious Rhodes Scholarship
When Aditi Sriram was growing up in North York, Ontario, in a neighbourhood bursting with immigrants but short on community amenities, she never dreamed that she would ever leave her province or work in the financial sector. Now, as a 2022 Canadian Rhodes Scholar-Elect, she is accustomed to setting bold goals and excited at the prospect of opening doors for underrepresented people.
Sriram is one of 11 Canadians heading to Oxford University next October, and among more than 100 standout scholars from around the world who won fully-sponsored graduate Rhodes Scholarships. For Sriram, her humble beginnings living in a low-income area close to Jane Street and Finch Avenue will shape her career trajectory.
“I grew up in a racialized community in Toronto and I remember seeing disparities between our neighbourhood schools compared to others,” Sriram says. “I’m a child of immigrants and it was clear to me that our community didn’t have the same things to offer as others in Toronto.”
She is interested in financial regulation and economic policy and has her eye set on moving to New York, the heart of the financial sector. She wants to better understand wealth accumulation and inequality, so that she can address systemic issues that perpetuate the cycle of poverty.
“I hope to dedicate my career to realizing a world where the benefits of our financial system are accessible to all.”
At Oxford, she plans to enroll in the Masters of Public Policy and Masters of Science in Public Policy Research, and hopes to complete her law degree afterwards.
Sriram is currently working as an analyst at Good & Well, an impact investing firm that provides equity investments of up to $500,000 in early stage businesses that demonstrate social purpose.
Earlier this year Sriram graduated from LFS’ BSc in Global Resource Systems program. It was a program that interested her when she was a high school student. However, travelling to the west coast to attend UBC wasn’t even a consideration for Sriram until she won a Loran Scholarship valued at $100,000 over four years.
“UBC was not on my radar until the Loran Scholarship opened up my world and encouraged me to look beyond Ontario,” she said. “I had to push myself out of my comfort zone. UBC had stellar programs across the board and provided a balance of a big university, with lots of resources, with the opportunity to join niche communities.”
She spent first year in Science One at UBC as her parents encouraged her to see if the pure sciences were a good fit, but she switched into LFS when she was accepted into its competitive Global Resource Systems (GRS) program in second year.
In GRS, students begin with a solid basis in academic sciences, then they design their course of study with relevant academic, volunteer, and international internships, with the goal of learning how to contribute to global equity, says Professor Les Lavkulich, GRS program director.
“Aditi is an exemplary alumna who represents the dedication we share for fostering student interests,” says Lavkulich. “Our GRS program begins with the motto, ‘follow your passion and you will make a difference.’”
Sriram says GRS allows students to develop their own worldviews as they strive to create change: “GRS is a community of bridge builders. Whether our students are interested in economics and political science, Indigenous peoples, or food and nutrition, we are united by our mission to make the world better.”
She’s gained many international experiences during her time at UBC – working for non-profits in Africa and the U.K., travelling to France to learn French, and to Japan to present at the International Students Summit on Food, Agriculture and Environment.
Through travel and school, her passion to bridge the gap between socioeconomic classes both locally and internationally has grown stronger.