Manintorn (Mars) Lomtakul, a student in Year 13 at Bangkok Patana School, has been awarded the prestigious Lester B Pearson scholarship to the University of Toronto. Only 37 or 38 students are awarded this four-year, full scholarship each year; this year alone there were about 1900 nominations from around the world. This is the second time within three years that the scholarship has been awarded to a Bangkok Patana School student.
“I am extremely honoured and humbled to receive such a prestigious scholarship. The Pearson Scholarship requires a school nomination and the completion of four essays ranging in length. Being heavily involved in school life through the Interact Club, teaching English at the Pong Ploy School, organising activities for the Thongbai Daycare children and being an event coordinator for the Youths for SDGs conference, I was able to combine my interest in reducing inequalities in my local community with my passion for studying and applying business theories. During the summer before Year 13, I also participated in the International Trade Challenge Asia Pacific Finals in Malaysia, which allowed me to showcase my critical thinking and business pitching skills in a competition setting,” said Mars.
Janine Raftopoulos, Integrated Communications Advisor at the University of Toronto, said that Mars’ commitment to her community made an impact on her selection, “Our committee weighs many factors when assessing applications and awarding these scholarships. Some of these factors include academic performance, personal achievements, proven leadership, extra-curricular involvement, and contributions to the wider community. Manintorn is an exceptional student and we’re honored she has accepted our offer of admission and scholarship and wish her continued success.”
Mars is excited about entering the Business Management co-op programme at the University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus. “Business is interdisciplinary in nature and this will give me the flexibility and the necessary skills to pursue anything I want in the future. Having set up mini enterprises with my friends for Junior Enterprise and being the president of the Interact Club at Bangkok Patana for two years, I am inspired to be an entrepreneur and start my own business,” explained Mars, ““The Co-op programme allows me to work and study whilst I am at university. I am able to have three work terms as well as complete my studies in four years. This enables me to gain paid work experience and work with different companies in the fields that I am interested in. Not only does this give me valuable work experience at different companies, but I am also able to explore different functions of business in real-world settings before I graduate.”
Bangkok Patana School’s robust Careers and University department has six counsellors to help students through the careers and university process. Over 80% of students receive offers to their first and second choice universities, which most often include top ranked and highly competitive programmes in Canadian, UK and US universities. Andrew Haughton has been a university counsellor at Bangkok Patana for nine years. “The Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship is one of the most prestigious and highly competitive merit-based awards in the world and only two students under my wing have ever received it. The criteria are daunting: Demonstrate exceptional academic achievement and creativity and be a recognised leader within your school. Most students would give up at this point, but Mars didn’t,” he said.
Andrew went on to commend Mars for her get-up-and-go attitude. “Mars has a strong business head on her shoulders and a vibrant entrepreneurial streak running through her veins. Her enthusiasm for learning goes beyond the four walls of the classroom….Mars took the initiative to carry out several self-organised internships which included working at The Nation Multimedia group and at Dutch Milk. Through these placements, Mars has been able to see business theory applied to real world situations and allowed her to further develop her maturity and interpersonal skills. I believe she will use her strengths in Business and Marketing to promote ethical actions and engage in projects of global significance. Congratulations Mars!”
After spending her 18 years in Thailand, Mars is expecting big changes living in Toronto. “…The city of Toronto is incredibly vibrant, multicultural and diverse. I hope to take advantage of the numerous networking activities and career development support that the University of Toronto offers. Moving to Toronto will definitely be a huge weather change but I am beyond excited to experience six-month-long winters!” she said.