2021 BANYAN SCHOLARS

NILANGA GUNARATNA

Nilanga, whose family is from Sri Lanka, was born and raised in Howard Beach, New York. She attended Scholars Academy High School, where she developed a passion for medicine and helping others. During high school, Nilanga was a member of the Sophie Davis Biomedical Program, volunteered at her local senior center, and volunteered at Mount Sinai Hospital. Nilanga is currently a freshman at Adelphi University, where she is part of their nursing program and Adelphi's honors college. Nilanga plans to become a Nurse Practioner with a focus on either Psychiatric Mental Health or Women's Health. During her free time, she enjoys listening to music, painting, swimming, and gardening. 

BUSHRA ISLAM
Bushra, whose family immigrated from Bangladesh, was born and raised in Queens, New York. She attended Stuyvesant High School, where she discovered her passion for medicine and
serving underprivileged and underserved communities through multiple research programs, Red Cross, and ARISTA National Honor Society. She is currently a freshman at St John’s University
pursuing a major in Biomedical Sciences with a minor in finance, in hopes of becoming a
physician. After college, she is planning to join a MD/PhD program with a focus on Heme-ONC
research. Outside of her studies, Bushra currently enjoys training to be a certified EMT, tutoring
children in underserved communities, sewing, and, of course, watching Netflix.

SIAM SULERI

Siam was born in Bangladesh and grew up in Queens, New York. He attended Bard High School Early College Queens, partaking in extracurriculars such as the ACE Mentor Program and MOMA's Teen Programs, and graduated with an Associated in Arts degree. He is currently an architecture student in CCNY's Spitzer School of Architecture and is a First-Year rep of its AIAS Chapter. He hopes to run his own architecture firm in the future and aspires to be a Pritzker Architecture Prize Award Winner. In his free time, Siam goes thrifting, explores the city, and builds model kits.  

AIMA ALI

Aima was born in Pakistan and moved to Brooklyn, NY when she was a little over a year old. She attended Brooklyn Technical High School where she majored in Law and Society and was the Editor-in-Chief of her school newspaper. She is currently pursuing a major in Industrial and Labor Relations with minors in Migration Studies and Crime, Prisons, Education, and Justice while on a pre-law track at Cornell University.  Aima writes for Cornell's student newspaper and hopes to use journalism to engage with her community. She also serves on the executive board of Building Ourselves through Sisterhood and Service, an organization that uplifts women of color by pairing them with mentors.  She intends to attend law school and use her degree to become a civil rights attorney. In her free time, Aima enjoys reading, skateboarding, and watching movies with her two younger sisters. 

GURLEEN KAUR

Gurleen was born and raised in Queens, New York. She graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School majoring in Software Engineering. She is planning to affiliate as a Computer Science major in the College of Engineering at Cornell University. She hopes to apply this degree to artificial intelligence and machine learning. When she isn't holed up at a desk, she loves to read fantasy fiction, any form of creating art, and casually play badminton.