Catching up with Arctic 2010 Alumna Aanchal Ralhan

Aanchal Ralhan joined Students on Ice for the 2010 Arctic Expedition to northern Quebec and Baffin Island. At the time she was a high school student in Newfoundland and Labrador whose interests ranged from dance to animals to school activities. Most recently she interviewed for the Rhodes Scholarship for post-graduate study at Oxford. While Aanchal did not advance past the finalist stage, she plans to continue her interest in biomedical ethics of genomics research.

Aanchal credits her Students on Ice experience with pushing her beyond her limits and encouraging her own adventuresome spirit. This approach has propelled her through several awards, countries, and projects.


Aanchal co-founded the Out of Province Student Association at UWO to build community among students such as herself.

After her expedition, in grade 12, Aanchal applied for the Loran Scholarship. This award acknowledged Aanchal’s well-rounded character demonstrated by her involvement in Student Council, her Rotary chapter and other activities. The Loran Scholarship supported Aanchal in attending studies at at the University of Western Ontatio (UWO), where she continued her strong community involvement with the creation of the Out of Province Students Association at UWO. The scholarship also allowed Aanchal to participate in summer internships that would help dramatically influence her course of study.

Through Students on Ice, Aanchal was able to meet Zoë Caron, an educator from her expedition who works with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). As her first summer internship as part of the Loran Scholarship, Aanchal and Zoë created a Global Campaign Internship through WWF. This internship brought Aanchal to Manila in the Philippines to learn from remote communities and integrate culture experience into the WWF campaign.

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Aanchal overlooks San Miniato in Tuscany, where she studied chronic care models.

In her second year, Aanchal spent the summer in Tuscany, Italy with the International Federation of Community Health Centres. This was another internship she helped create to look at chronic care practices in Tuscany versus Ontario. This interest continued in Aanchal’s third and final summer internship where she returned home to Newfoundland and Labrador. She worked with an adaptive physical activity program that was based on models she had seen in Tuscany. Aanchal managed volunteers running the program, which aimed to reform healthcare by targeting wider ranges of ability in physiotherapy.

Next for Aanchal is to continue her study of the biomedical ethics of genomics research in Newfoundland and Labrador. With many companies hoping to study genomics in Newfoundland, Aanchal sees the importance of providing sober outside thought to business hoping to capitalize. She hopes to eventually build on her substantial body of experience to pursue medicine as a step to work in public health in rural communities.

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