Joan Donaldson Scholars

2023 Joan Donaldson CBC News Scholarship recipients

Donaldsons for 2021
A group of smiling young people standing on a CBC News set behind the anchor desk.
(L to R) Charlie Brockman, Talia Kliot, Shlok Talati, Bogdan Lytvynenko, Trishla Parekh, Racy Rafique, Rukhsar Ali, Nishat Chowdhury, Taylor Holmes, Prapti Bamaniya, Aloysius Wong, Rianna Lim, Rachel DeGasperis (CBC)

Aloysius Wong
Bogdan Lytvynenko
Charles Brockman
Nishat Chowdhury
Prapti Bamaniya
Rachel DeGasperis
Racy Rafique
Rianna Lim
Rukhsar Ali
Shlok Talati
Talia Kliot
Taylor Holmes
Trishla Parekh

Aloysius Wong | Toronto Metropolitan University 

A photo of Aloysius Wong

Aloysius Wong is a Toronto-born and -based journalist with Filipino roots and an affinity for storytelling across several mediums. He entered St. Michael's Choir School at the age of seven, where he developed a love for the arts — especially music, photography, and the written word. Aloysius's passion for journalism became solidified when, in 2019, he saw the firsthand impact of The National's in-depth coverage of the mental health crisis at the University of Toronto, where he was an undergraduate student. There, he contributed to campus publications The Mike and The Strand, before graduating with an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Peace, Conflict and Justice studies with a minor in Computer Science. He then completed the Master of Journalism program at Toronto Metropolitan University, where he worked as a teaching assistant for undergraduate journalism courses, multimedia specialist for the stitched! live journalism lab, digital editor for The Otter, and senior editor for the Review of Journalism. Professionally, Aloysius has worked as an associate producer for As It Happens, photojournalist and community producer for The Green Line, and freelancer for CityNews, America Magazine, and J-Source. He hopes to tell stories that build empathy and solidarity between people and communities of diverse backgrounds. Follow Aloysius Wong on Twitter

Bogdan Lytvynenko | Concordia University, Montreal 

Bogdan Lytvynenko

Bogdan Lytvynenko is a multiplatform journalist originally from Dnipro, Ukraine, who is passionate about reporting on Canadian politics and world affairs. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism and Economics from Concordia University. Besides English, Bogdan is also fluent in French, Ukrainian, Russian, and Spanish — which he aims to apply in research and interviews for international reporting, both on camera and in writing. Bogdan's strong interest in journalism dates back to 2016, when he saw the power and responsibility that journalists hold while covering nationwide elections for an audience of millions. As a JHM Award winner in public health reporting, Bogdan also specializes in research-based science journalism. He has previously worked as a digital intern at CTV Montreal and was the News Editor and Managing Editor of The Concordian newspaper. As journalism and its media continue to evolve, Bogdan is also committed to fighting against mass disinformation around the Russo-Ukrainian war, with the help of investigative and fact-based reporting for the Canadian audience. Outside the newsroom, Bogdan can be found exploring other continents, skiing in the mountains, and reminiscing about his childhood career on Ballroom and Latin dance floors. You can connect with him on Twitter: @bogdan_reports.

Charles Brockman | UBC, Vancouver 

Charles Brockman

Charles Brockman is a multimedia journalist based in Vancouver, BC. With a degree in Creative Advertising, Charles held a career as a visual designer and animator for years. His interest in journalism began while working as a senior designer of news graphics at CBC Manitoba, where he discovered a passion for storytelling and the craft of journalism. That interest led him to pursue a Master's of Journalism at the University of British Columbia. During his time at UBC, Charles completed an internship at CBC's The Fifth Estate, where he helped in the early stages of a documentary about the predatory industry of international student recruitment. As a Joan Donaldson scholar, he is dedicated to diving further into public-service investigative journalism, and helping underrepresented stories of all kinds meet their full potential. In his spare time, Charles can be found baking bread, or volunteering at the Vancouver Tool Library, or on Twitter @CharlesBrockman

Nishat Chowdhury |Toronto Metropolitan University 

A photo of Nishat Chowdhury

Nishat Chowdhury is a Toronto-born multimedia journalist. She holds a Bachelors of Journalism from Toronto Metropolitan University. Nishat is passionate about storytelling, especially when it comes to community news, feature writing, and human interest stories. Growing up with Bangladeshi immigrant parents, her passion for journalism sparked at the ripe age of three when she would watch Peter Mansbridge on The National with her father on many evenings. During her time at Toronto Metropolitan University, she worked extensively in student media, frequently contributing to the school's independent newspaper The Eyeopener and served on the masthead at a number of campus publications such as CanCulture Magazine. She was one of CBC New Brunswick's Summer News Scholars in 2022, working as a producer and reporter in the Fredericton newsroom throughout the summer. Nishat has experience in audio and digital storytelling, covering a range of topics including arts and culture, housing, transit, food insecurity, finances, and protests. While on the web desk at CBC New Brunswick, she covered a high-profile story about a controversial plan to spray the Miramichi Lake with a chemical called rotenone. In her free time, Nishat enjoys reading novels, listening to music, and hanging out with her family and friends. 

Prapti Bamaniya | Toronto Metropolitan University 

A photo of Prapti Bamaniya

Prapti Bamaniya is a Toronto-born journalist who graduated from Toronto Metropolitan University with a Bachelor's Degree in journalism and a minor in law. In the final year of her degree, she became a news editor for Toronto Metropolitan University's independent student newspaper, The Eyeopener. There, she reported on student news, like tuition fee change referendums, the Defence Minister being disrupted on campus, and provincial legislation advancements to further the school's renaming process. Her passion for journalism grew when she was one of CBC New Brunswick's Summer News Scholars in 2022 and reported on impactful local stories, from Indigenous language camps to lobster fishermen protests. She learned the ropes of audio and digital storytelling through her time in the Fredericton newsroom. Prapti also interned at The Globe and Mail working at the audience desk before starting her time as a Donaldson Scholar. She is interested in data journalism and works towards representation and diversity in her coverage. When she's not writing, she likes to crochet, go on hikes and try new food with her friends and family. You can find her on Twitter @praptibamaniya.

Rachel DeGasperis | Toronto Metropolitan University 

A photo of Rachel DeGasperis

Rachel DeGasperis is a Toronto-based journalist with a passion for audio storytelling, politics podcasts, and human-driven feature writing. Rachel graduated with a master's of journalism degree from Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) in 2023, where she developed an interest in investigative reporting and narrative journalism. Rachel holds a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Toronto. She is the co-editor of The Otter, a long-form narrative online magazine incubated at TMU's Journalism Research Centre, where she was also the research assistant. In 2023, Rachel was the Chief of Research for the Review of Journalism, a Canadian media criticism magazine. She has been an associate producer for 's Cross Country Checkup, and has worked on numerous podcasts, including The Big Story and On the Frontlines of Democracy. Rachel has written for Toronto Life, and has had poetry published in both The Hart House Review and The Trinity Review. You can follow her on twitter @rachdegasperis.

Racy Rafique | Toronto Metropolitan University 

A photo of Racy Rafique

Racy Rafique is a multimedia journalist and first-generation immigrant who grew up in Guelph, Ontario. She is a recent graduate from Toronto Metropolitan University's Bachelor of Journalism program with a double-minor in Politics and Philosophy. Rafique is driven by a desire to learn and try new things. After a strong beginning in hard written news for which she won the Len Coates Memorial Award for most promising journalism in her first year of university, Rafique shifted gears into broadcast journalism. She interned at CBC Dragons' Den in May 2022 as a programming intern and continued working in the Den as a freelance production assistant before joining the team full-time in January 2023. Rafique continued to work in news through On The Record News and The Eyeopener News, reporting on student housing and healthcare issues. She received the Yusra Javed Memorial Scholarship and the Linda Lewis Award for an Emerging Leader in Journalism in her final year of school. Racy strives to write about the intersections of identity within her diverse home of Canada.

Rianna Lim | Carleton University, Ottawa 

A photo of Rianna Lim

Rianna Lim is a multimedia journalist based in Toronto, Ontario. She's nerdy about the intersection of media and democracy, and enjoys exploring how political institutions and social issues impact everyday people. She is a graduate of Carleton University's combined honours program in journalism and political science, where she received the Peter Buckley Scholarship in Journalism and the K. Phyllis Wilson Scholarship. She worked as a reporter for the Investigative Journalism Foundation and as the editor-in-chief of Her Campus at Carleton, Carleton's online women's magazine. Her work has appeared in Her Campus Media, Maclean's and Capital Current. Rianna's love for journalism goes beyond reporting – she's dedicated to making our media landscape more equitable for all. She formerly worked as an intern at the Canadian Association of Journalists, where she worked on marketing and outreach for its annual Canadian Newsroom Diversity Survey. She also worked as a student partner helping with course design at Carleton's j-school. She is deeply interested in the development of journalism pedagogy and enjoys engaging with the way equity, diversity and inclusion studies are taught to the next generation of journalists. She can be found on Twitter: @RiannaLim02.

Rukhsar Ali | Carleton University, Ottawa 

A photo of Rukhsar Ali

Rukhsar Ali is a multimedia journalist from Calgary, Alta. with a passion for audio and video storytelling covering issues of race, justice, arts and culture. She's previously reported for The Globe and Mail and CBC Arts and produced for CBC and The Conversation. Rukhsar discovered her passion for journalism over the years – first in writing while she completed her Bachelor of Arts Honours in English, followed by her communications work in Nairobi, Kenya, and then in 2020 amidst the coverage of protests in response to the murder of George Floyd. She holds a Master of Journalism degree from Carleton University where she received the Ontario Graduate Scholarship and the Peter Stursberg Award in Conflict Journalism to support her audio documentary on responses to hate crimes against Black and Muslim women in the Prairies. A dedicated journalist with language skills in English, Urdu and Hindi, Rukhsar is frequently drawn to reporting on marginalized communities, applying a trauma-informed approach and an intersectional lens to the stories she tells. She is also interested in foreign affairs, science and politics. Outside of journalism, Rukhsar dabbles in painting, graphic design and all things science fiction. Find her on Twitter and Instagram: @rukhsarxali.

Shlok Talati | University of King's College, Halifax 

A photo of Shlok Talati

Shlok Talati is an Indian-born multimedia journalist based in Halifax. Talati came to Canada in the fall of 2021 to join the University of King's College as a master's student, and soon hit the ground running to report for his university's publication, the Signal. In India, Talati worked as a reporter for a local news network during COVID-19. A day at work, then, would include witnessing and reporting on hundreds of deaths in his home city. In Canada, Talati worked as an intern reporter for New Canadian Media to report on immigrant issues; his new-found interest in data journalism methods to create visualizations using Python found a home here. Talati received the Nova Scotia Graduate Scholarship this year for his long-form story on the relationship between Canadian universities and international students. As a Donaldson Scholar, he would like to report on systemic inequities and ask questions of the accountable. Outside of journalism, he follows football (refuses to call it soccer), chess, and cookbooks. Find him on Twitter: @ShlokTa

Talia Kliot | Concordia University, Montreal 

Talia Kliot

Talia Kliot is a multiplatform journalist who enjoys telling stories that make people smile. Born and raised in Montreal, she fell in love with journalism when she stumbled across a flyer for her high school newspaper. Since then, she has worked as an Editorial Intern at Reader's Digest Canada, a teaching assistant for Concordia's Radio Newsroom class and the video editing lab, Assistant Commentary Editor for The Concordian, and Voices Editor for The Plant. While completing her degree in Journalism and Creative Writing, she also conducted research on how print journalism addresses the hype and misinformation surrounding synthetic vaccines. Talia was nominated for a JHM Award for her reporting on the challenges of being non-binary and speaking a gendered language and is the two-time recipient of the Frank B. Walker Award for excellence in writing. From exploring the unique history of cheese bagels to crafting a documentary about fostering baby squirrels, she highlights human quirkiness and people who are working hard to bring about important social change. In her free time, she can be found playing basketball, skiing in the trees, reading next to a sunny window, or on a long walk with her dog.

Taylor Holmes | Mount Royal University, Calgary 

Taylor Holmes

Taylor Holmes is a Calgary-based multimedia journalist. She received her Bachelors of Communications in Journalism and Digital Media with Honours from Mount Royal University in 2023. Growing up, Taylor had a love for the natural world fed by walks with her Nana in Fish Creek Provincial Park and rewatching her Planet Earth DVD set, a passion which stills fuels her reporting. Taylor has always enjoyed exploring science and sharing her findings with others. This insatiable curiosity has led Taylor to cover a wide array of subjects as a journalist with the Calgary Journal, but she is particularly passionate about nature, sustainability, linguistics and fashion — and where these subjects intersect. Taylor also has a love of the natural world and winged creatures, which figure prominently in her work. Photo and video journalism are Taylor's strengths, which she uses to bring the world to the viewer, and make complex topics interesting and accessible to broad audiences. Her love of the arts and sciences combined with her technical skills make Taylor a strong voice, which she strives to use to help others, both human and not, tell their stories. In her free time Taylor enjoys birdwatching, painting, drawing, writing and dancing. Find her on Instagram @taylor.theyellowbird

Trishla Parekh | Western University, London ON

Trishla Parekh

Trishla Parekh is a multimedia journalist from Vaughan, Ontario. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Toronto, followed by a Master of Media in Journalism and Communication from Western University. In the past, Trishla worked as a Digital Storyteller for the Student Life department at UofT, creating promotional Instagram and TikTok videos and representing the face of their brand. She also ran a feminist podcast to spark conversation on gender-based issues and guide listeners through stories of some of the most influential women of our time, from Lady Gaga to Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Along with her fiery passion for social justice, Trishla is a huge music nerd — always in the know about upcoming artists and trends in entertainment. She'd love to one day, become an interviewer and find her own, distinctive voice on-air. For her, conversations with others help to not only gain new perspectives but uncover beautiful, unexpected points of connection. Find her on Twitter @parekhtrishla.