Zakiya Abdulaziz

Rabiah Dhaliwal: A Trailblazer in Science and Diversity Advocacy


In the ever-evolving landscape of technology and innovation, certain individuals stand out not only for their groundbreaking contributions but also for their commitment to creating a more diverse and inclusive world. Rabiah Dhaliwal is one such trailblazer. Rabiah graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Science and has a remarkable blend of expertise, leadership, and advocacy for diversity.


Undergraduate Highlights: Getting Started

Rabiah Dhaliwal’s journey began with a thirst for knowledge and a passion for people. Raised in a multicultural environment, she grew up embracing different perspectives. Rabiah has used her passion and experiences to promote inclusion. She founded a mentorship program called UBC Disabilities United Collective (UBC DUC) that matches undergraduate students who have disabilities with staff and alumni. She is also the co-founder of Voices for Hope Foundation, which provides mental health empowerment work for people of marginalized communities.

Rabiah has received much recognition for her work, including the city of Surrey’s 25 under 25, 2021 Miss Canada’s first Runner-up, and the B.C. Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Inclusion, Democracy, and Reconciliation.


Advocacy for Diversity and Inclusion: A Lasting Impact

A highlight of Rabiah’s undergraduate journey was a marine life and algae class she took in the final year of her degree. During the class, she wrote and illustrated a children’s storybook called Algae and Me, a story of a girl and her grandmother that discover the world of algae in a pond. She felt the tale really personified her undergraduate journey, from uncertainty and nerves to discovery and growth. She is exploring publishing options to promote diversity in science for children. The project brought together her love of science and art, and she is proud of the result.


Post Graduation: Paving the Path

Her educational journey is a testament to her dedication and brilliance. Rabiah excelled academically and demonstrated a profound passion for humanitarianism. She is applying for medical school in the fall and in the meantime doing the things she loves and helping the community around her. Rabiah received a grant from the UBC Faculty of Medicine and is currently a Student Researcher at BC’s Children’s Hospital. Her research focuses on patients with mental and psychological complexities to improve quality of care. She is also working with a local art gallery to organize an art exhibit for those with sensory issues. Although she is staying busy, Rabiah was able to enjoy a graduation dinner party with her family and friends.

Rabiah’s story is a testament to the fact that the world is evolving, driven by individuals who understand that progress isn’t solely measured by metrics, but also by the lives touched and the barriers shattered. Rabiah Dhaliwal’s impact stands as a guiding light, illuminating the path toward a more diverse, inclusive, and innovative future. We look forward to see what she accomplishes in the future.

2017 Recipient Biography

Rabiah Dhaliwal is from Surrey, British Columbia and will be studying Biology and playing soccer at Capliano University in fall 2017. Rabiah is extremely thankful to be a part of the Terry Fox Scholar community. A year ago, lying in a hospital fighting for her life, she would have never imagined herself in this position. The trauma she has faced caused her to develop Major Depressive Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Surviving such adversity caused Rabiah’s outlook on life to change. She wanted to make a difference. She did not want to let what had happened to her to define her, but rather use it to strengthen herself and others. In her grade 12 year, Rabiah founded a club in partnership with the Canadian Blood Services which serves as an organization where students could sign up to donates blood and stem cells every week at the local clinic. Through this club, over 152 new donors were recruited and over 70 new people were added into the national stem cell registry. Moreover, Rabiah also volunteered for the new Medical Behavioural Unit for patients with Dementia at Surrey Memorial Hospital where she created a video outlining the needs of patients which helped win a $70,000 and go towards supplies and renovations for the new unit. Rabiah also volunteered as a facilitator with the Surrey Leadership Youth Council, planning forums and overnight conferences which focused on giving young citizens a voice in the city.