THE TORONTO TEAM
Hi everyone! My name's Serena Yuan and I'm a grade 11 student at Bayview Secondary School. My passions lay within the sciences, particularly biology and climate science. As a huge environmentalist, I hope to conduct research as a professor and later present my findings as an activist. Throughout my life, I've collected hobbies from snowboarding to drumming, to reading. My favourite books are The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood and The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill. They are dystopian and historical fiction novels; I enjoy the lessons and meanings found in such personal accounts.
Hi everyone! My name is Jenny and I am a grade 11 student at Bayview Secondary School. My love for reading and debating has developed into an interest in psychology and politics. Aside from these academic interests, I have a passion for art and you can frequently catch me doodling or calligraphing in my spare time! My favourite books range from autobiographies such as The Girl With Seven Names to historical fiction novels such as Memoirs Of A Geisha. I love how these books can bring different lifestyles and cultures from the other side of the world to our fingertips! Along with the rest of the Inspire Teen Reads team, I hope to help others explore the depths of literature to find an invaluable passion for reading!
Greetings everyone! My name is Cissy (pronounced “see see”) and I am currently a grade 11 student at Richmond Hill High School. I have an interest in the sciences, and although I can’t seem to narrow it down more than that, I hope to one day pursue a career in this broad field. Some of my favourite books are The Color Purple by Alice Walker and I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson. They both opened my eyes to the struggles of people from different walks of life and the importance of meaningful connections. In addition to reading, I enjoy most everything from dancing to playing the harp to skiing. I look forward to working with the Inspire Teen Reads team to bring teens events that will inspire their passion for literature!
Hi, my name’s Jack. Starting this fall, I’ll be a senior at Bayview Secondary. I enjoy creative writing, trips to the supermarket, and the corrosive mouthfeel of dill pickle chips. I will read any book, but I’ve got a soft spot for disturbed protagonists and lurid, unconventional imagery. My dream is to write for The New Yorker, but if that doesn’t pan out, I will write for—literally—anywhere else.
Karen is a Life Sciences student at the University of Toronto. She is passionate about science, arts, and literature. Some of her favorite books are The German Lesson by Siegfried Lenz, 1984 by George Orwell, and The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. She believes in the benefits of reading for leisure and joined Inspire Teen Reads with the goal of promoting literature among youths. As an Events Coordinator, she looks forward to organizing the book pitch with a team of inspired individuals who share the same vision.
My name's Cindy and I'm one of your event coordinators for the 2018-2019 year! I am currently a grade 12 student at Bayview Secondary School who loves theatre and literature. One of my favourite books of all time is Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo because each character has such an unique arc. I'm also a big fan of Brooklyn 99 and the musical "Hamilton"!
Hey everyone! My name is Evan Qi and I am currently in grade 11, attending Bayview Secondary School. I’m interested and involved in STEM, and wish to pursue a career in engineering. Outside of school, you can find me reading anything from the news to comic books, binging netflix, playing sports such as badminton, and hanging out with friends! Considering my passions, some of my favourite books are sci-fi: 1984 by George Orwell and the Red Rising Trilogy by Pierce Brown. Working with the rest of Inspire Teen Reads, I’m looking forwards to inspiring youths all across the GTA to discover a love for books!
Hi everyone! My name is Rita Chen and I am currently a grade 10 student at Bayview Secondary School. Since I was very little, I have wanted to “become an artist when I grow up”, and have been pursuing that dream ever since, no matter how fruitful the results may turn out to be. I also have interest in the very specific field of prop design as well as media and TV production, being that I watch a lot of daytime talk shows (whoops) in my free time. When I’m not letting my life waste away on the internet, I like to read! My favorite books are Turtles All The Way Down by John Green, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, and a recent one I’m just finishing called All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. These books all carry stories that feel tangible, and I find it very fascinating to explore different points of view in our society. I’m very excited to be part of the Inspire Teen Reads team, and contribute whatever I can to help people discover their passion for reading!
Hey everyone! My name is Jenniffer Meng and I’m a grade 11 student from Bayview Secondary School. I have a huge passion for art, reading, and writing poetry and hope to become an author or children’s book illustrator in the future. Over time, I’ve developed strange interests in fashion documentaries, urban sketching, computer programming, and k-pop (no regrets!). I am also obsessed with Studio Ghibli movies. My favourite books are Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick and Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami. I love character driven books and strange but fantastical situations, as it is often these things that let us learn and live our lives just that much better.
THE philadelphia TEAM
Hi, my name is Harsha Santhanam. I'm a senior at Methacton High School, which is located in a suburb a Philadelphia. As a freshman in high school, I lacked the motivation to read. However, my passion for reading was rekindled in 10th and 11th grade. My favorite novel to this day is Just Mercy, which takes a unique perspective on social justice in the modern era.
Hi, my name is Jason Qiu and I am a senior at Methacton High School. While my interests lie within STEM fields, specifically computer science, I always find time to engross myself in a good read. Some of my favorite books are Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and Lord of the Flies by William Golding. I am open to reading anything someone recommends to me, but the books that stick with me are those with a captivating narrative, complex characters, and a powerful message.
THE pRovidence TEAM
Divya Santhanam is a third year student at Brown University studying Human Biology and English. She noticed that with high school came homework, social media, and extracurriculars leaving no time for teenagers to read for pleasure. This propelled her to create the first Inspire Teen Reads hosted at the Toronto International Book Fair. Her favourite books include Asar Nafizi's Reading Lolita In Tehran, Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns and of course Harry Potter! Outside of Inspire Teen Reads, Divya's passions have led her to explore both the sciences and the arts- from serving as a research student at Sick Kids to winning several short story competitions. After a successful first year, Divya is more than thrilled to oversee Inspire Teen Reads' third year at The Word on the Street.
Joy Wang is a student at the University of California, Berkeley. After hearing about Inspire Teen Reads in 2015, she was thrilled to participate as a competitor in an event that seeks to foster a love for reading amongst teenagers, in a world that increasingly neglects this valuable passion and aspect of our lives. Her own favourite novels are those of Jane Austen, for the breadth of the human experience Austen manages to illustrate with constant wit, creativity, and nuance. Outside of literature, her interests include politics and global affairs, and a penchant for community service. She deeply enjoyed working with the ITR team, and recommends it to those with a passion for reading!
Natasha is currently a second year student and avid reader studying at Brown University. She was motivated to join the founding Inspire Teen Reads team to promote a love of literature among high schoolers like herself. As Sponsorship Director, she helped organize and run its first book pitch competition. Some of Natasha's favourite books include I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb, and Fall On Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald. Aside from literature, Natasha's interests include classical violin performance and biology. In the coming year, Natasha hopes to continue the success of Inspire Teen Reads by engaging an even wider audience at the Word on the Street book festival as Co-President of Inspire Teen Reads.
Natalie Ngo is a third year student at Western University studying Engineering. She is passionate about business, science and literature. Natalie joined Divya to create the first Inspire Teen Reads. An event planning guru, Natalie has organized everything from TEDx to medical conferences. You can catch her volunteering and working at a variety of different places, from hospitals to summer camps to extra-curricular math programs. As an involved member of extracurricular clubs such as DECA, Model UN, wellness and yearbook committee to name a few, she hopes to bring perspective to Inspire Teen Reads and bring forth an amazing event for interested high school students. Natalie is very excited for the second year of Inspire Teen Reads.