The Egyptian tattoo that circles Nasha Sigalov’s wrist means “my coming into being.” The tattoo is a decade old, but is still relevant to Sigalov, 28. She has just started undergraduate studies at U of T after earning a prestigious Bank of Montreal National Scholarship, awarded to students entering their first year of university who demonstrate superior academic performance, creative thought and exceptional achievement.
This spring, Sigalov graduated from the Transitional Year Programme (TYP), an intensive year of studies designed for adults who don’t have the formal education to qualify for university admission. Before entering TYP, Sigalov worked with Toronto Public Health to help high-risk families learn parenting skills and how to tap into community resources. She decided she wanted to make changes to welfare policies and the laws intended to protect children. “I want to be a stronger fighter for what I would like to prevail,” says Sigalov, who left home at 13 and never finished high school.
Sigalov is now enrolled in the professional writing and communication program at the University of Toronto at Mississauga, and plans to apply for law school at U of T. Everything she does serves as a model for her own five-year-old daughter, says Sigalov, a single mother. “She went into junior kindergarten at the same time as I went into university. Now it’s, ‘How was your day at school, honey?’ and she asks, ‘How was your day at school?’”