Zinta Zommers and Thom Ringer are heading down a new academic road. The Trinity College students are the two winners of this year’s $100,000 Ontario Rhodes Scholarships, which allow them to pursue graduate studies at Oxford University in England.
Zommers, 23, plans to use the scholarship to earn a degree in development studies. In the past, she has worked with children of sex-trade workers in India and developed an environmental education program in Yaoundé, Cameroon, in Africa. She is also an accomplished figure skater and rower. “My philosophy is to keep all the doors open and try everything that comes your way,” she says. “I believe it is important to participate in shaping your life.”
For Ringer, 22, the scholarship is more than another academic accolade – it is affirmation that personal struggles can be overcome. His family faced many challenges when his father died a few years ago; Ringer started a tutoring service to pay for tuition and helped look after a younger sibling while his mother worked. He is a member of the Varsity Blues cross-country and track-and-field teams, and has had his poetry published in student journals.
Ringer has been accepted into the comparative social policy program at Oxford and hopes to return to Canada to study law. “I want to help make Canada a democracy in which people from all classes, ethnic backgrounds, religions and sexual orientations are actively involved in decision-making,” he says.