Alumni Profiles

MEET OUR CURRENT FELLOWS





Adam Beaudoin
Queen's University

I am working with clinicians in the Cook Islands to design a motivational interviewing program to improve the diabetic community's health status and quality of life. I will also work with the health promotions unit to design health behaviour campaigns and complete message framing knowledge transfer. Read More

Aissa Boodhoo-Leegsma
University of Ottawa

I will be working with a women's shea butter cooperative in Northern Ghana. The co-op has begun education and outreach efforts in neighbouring towns. I will support this by forming a women's training centre, expanding empowerment opportunities in shea butter production to a wider scope of women, and uniting those women's groups that are already established producers in a learning exchange. Read More

Alicia Mori
McGill University

There is currently concern that indigenous Maasai communities might be risking further loss of control of their grazing lands by joining newly formed Wildlife Management Areas. In partnership with Sauti Moja Tanzania, this initiative seeks to provide accessible information and opportunities that will help to mitigate concerns and build capacity among locals as they engage in land-use management issues. Read More

Rebecca Bishop
St. Francis Xavier University

I aspire to strengthen relationships among food businesses, producers/growers and those who have low access to healthy food. I hope to foster constructive dialogue leading to lasting connections between suppliers and consumers of food to reduce and redirect food waste, increase food security and help sustain our environment. Read More



Clare Hegge
McGill University

This initiative aims to increase availability and accessibility of traditional foods and communityheld food knowledge. A centrally located pantry will collect both community donations and purchases from Haida food producers to simplify the storage and acquisition of healthy, local foods for community programs. The pantry space will also be used for knowledge-sharing programs, driven by the requirements and desires expressed by the community. Read More

Jason Fitzpatrick
St. Francis Xavier University

Throughout the upcoming year I will help build on the efforts of active citizens in the Antigonish climate justice movement. There are many groups in the Antigonish area involved in various approaches to climate change. It is my hope to strengthen the connections between these groups while also opening up avenues for new voices to be heard in this essential movement. Read More

Jordan Bowden
McGill University

My initiative will connect people with physical disabilities to existing local Makerspaces, so they can create their own assistive devices according to their individual requirements. Makerspaces have emerged in most Canadian cities, and contain shared tools ranging from 3D printers to woodworking equipment. These tools hold huge, largely untapped potential to create assistive devices that would otherwise be very expensive and potentially inaccessible. Read More

Kai Thomas
McGill University

My initiative will engage a diverse group of high schoolaged volunteers of various skill levels to participate in the building of an ‘earthship'-inspired greenhouse on a farm used as a summer camp for inner-city Montreal youth. The greenhouse, built primarily with natural and recycled materials, will take care of itself year round by catching and filtering its own water, heating and cooling itself with passive solar technology, and generating its own electricity.
My hope is that the construction will serve as a catalyst for creating a unique, land-based learning community space that will then be shaped and used collectively for the remainder of my time in community and beyond. Read More



Katelyn Gunn
St. Francis Xavier University

When returning to Arviat, I hope to expand on a previous initiative I developed there to establish a positive and safe space for young women to engage in conversation and activity. This group will provide opportunities for dialogue and sharing of common challenges they have overcome, hopes and fears they have for their future and current struggles. Ultimately, the group will support their empowerment to ignite change in their own lives and community. Read More

Leslie Anne St. Amour
McGill University

My initiative is to support my community in developing programs based around mental wellness from a holistic perspective, based in traditional knowledge and culture. This will mean developing goals through collaboration with the community as to what these programs should include and ensuring that other community members are supported in order to enable them to maintain the programs on a sustainable basis. Read More

Nicole Towsend
Queen's University

The goal of my initiative is to support the development of a Youth Leadership and After- school Program at Samson Beardy Memorial so youth mentors can have space to develop leadership skills, self-efficacy, and opportunities for community engagement. I hope to design a program with cultural continuity that builds upon what students are learning in the classroom and creates a space for other areas of skill development through active community involvement. The initiative will help youth feel more connected to their advancement in school and in their own abilities, while making space for community members to be actively engaged and more aware of the school's programs. Read More
 

MEET SOME OF OUR ALUMNI



Click here for the 2015-16 Fellows' reflections from the field


Amy Brierley (2015)
St. Francis Xavier University

Through experiences in organizing around food over the past four years, I have had the opportunity to get to know the many committed and inspiring people who contribute to our community's food justice movement. I am humbled to have been involved in varied change-making efforts both in the community and on campus. It is these connections and others in the community that truly make this place my home.


Rachel Garbary (2015)
St. Francis Xavier University

My connection with Radio Ada grew out of a call and response partnership program between Radio Ada and CFXU, StFX's campus radio station. Since then, I have worked with Radio Ada as an intern, a research assistant, a collaborator, and a friend. Having spent two rainy seasons with the Radio Ada volunteer team, our work together has focused on indigenous knowledges and natural resource based livelihoods.


Faduma Gure (2015)
University of Ottawa

While conducting a Master's research project in Mogadishu, Somalia, I had the opportunity to explore the reproductive health needs and experiences of women in the country. As a Somali Canadian, I have always been passionate about discovering ways in which I can be of benefit to my community, specifically in working towards helping to improve Somali women's health outcomes.


Jessica Jaja (2015)
University of Ottawa

I am connected to the Bequia community in many ways, including through my Master's research, participatory filmmaking, and working with senior high school students. I have been blown away by the commitment and willingness of the community, in particular the youth, to be active agents of change. I am excited to continue contributing to their on-going efforts and successes.


Aaron Thornell (2015)
St. Francis Xavier University

I had the opportunity to work with members of the Chilanga region, a geographical community composed of several dozen villages in central Malawi, in the summer of 2014. As part of an experiential learning course with Bishop's University, I contributed to a community campus that sought to realize several desires identified by the community. It aims to encompass aspects such as education, health, agriculture, and sport.


Grace Sheehy (2015)
University of Ottawa

In the summer of 2014, I spent ten weeks in Yangon conducting research on reproductive health in the city's peri-urban townships. My time in Yangon allowed me to get to know women in the community and forge close ties with my community partner, the YWCA. My research provides some of the sole data on women's reproductive health needs in this area, and OceanPath is allowing me to bring this research into action.


Odessa Sherbaniuk (2015)
McGill University

In 2012, I interned with women's groups in the communities of Labor de Falla, Cerro Alto, and Bola de Oro. I was hosted by local families and welcomed into many community events, such as weddings, religious services, and Mayan ceremonies. Every invitation to participate in community life came as a great honour. I am forever indebted to the women and families who shared their lives with me during this time.


Asia Van-Buuren (2015)
St. Francis Xavier University

The community of artists at Hearts & Hands has allowed me to reconnect with my creative being, challenges my perceptions about those living with exceptionalities and has ignited passions to promote inclusivity in my communities, and to discover the power of using art to strengthen relationships. The simultaneous growth that is facilitated and complete acceptance of who I am makes this program feel like a second home.


Jennifer Langill (2015)
Queen's University

My connection with this community has grown over the past several years. I travelled to Laos for the first time in 2010, and have spent time living there and visiting ever since. I have gotten to know community members and families in many contexts, including professionally, socially and culturally. My work began in Na Som and I am now working to expand my reach into other villages that I have connected with.


Siobhan "Chevy" Lazenby (2015)
McGill University

It often happens after you mistake an "E" for a "B" or an "F" for a "P". You lean forward until a robotic structure lands on your nose. You focus and try again. Lenses slide until you can read the itty-bitty font that you'd mistaken for ellipses moments ago. You can see. My connection to this community began with an eye exam. At 14, I found myself gripping Snellen charts while shadowing one of the first female ophthalmologists in East Africa.


Jannika Nyberg (2015)
McGill University

My connection to this community is layered and multifaceted. I have worked with the youth community through my time at the local neighbourhood house, as a contract facilitator within their high schools and through programs I coordinate through the arts based non-profit ArtQuake. My role in this community changes with the needs of the community; I am an educator, mentor, collaborator and facilitator.


Madeleine Pawlowski (2015)
McGill University

Growing up in Alberta I was always really passionate about youth empowerment. And, after completing my degree in International Development and Geography at McGill, I was hoping to find a way to give back to my home community.



Iman Amin (2014)
University of Ottawa

Iman's project aims to help the Board and staff of the only domestic violence shelter in the Kivilliq region of Nunavut keep their shelter open and operating by empowering the organization to build sustainable policies, procedures and practices that will improve their program's impact.
Iman graduated with a Juris Doctor in English Common Law Program in 2014 from the University of Ottawa and also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in philosophy.


Melody Lynch (2014)
McGill University

Melody's project aims to facilitate the development of a women's cooperative in the Indonesian fishing village of Sama Bahari where women will run a handicraft enterprise to build social cohesion, develop skills, and diversify livelihoods. This economic opportunity will lead to increased bargaining power for women in the household and reduced dependency on local marine resources.
Melody Lynch graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Joint Honours in Geography and Environment and a Minor in Economics in 2014 from McGill University.



Grady Arnott (2014)
University of Ottawa

Grady's project is scale-up initiative to expand a safe abortion referral project to Chiang Mai on the Thailand-Burma Border. The intended outcome was to reduce the major public health issue of unsafe abortions which is the co-leading cause of maternal mortality and also to build capacity among local community based organizations.
Grady completed a Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Health Sciences and an Honours Bachelor of Health Science from the University of Ottawa.


Hasina Daya and Gabrielle Armstrong (2014)
Queens University

Hasina and Daya are implementing an income generating project in Piave, Kenya by providing basic accounting and project management education followed by the development of a large-scale chicken farm. Income generated by this community participatory project will create a fund to support people living with HIV/AIDS and orphans and vulnerable children in the community.
Gabrielle holds a Bachelor of Arts and Science in Global Development Studies and Hasina holds a Bachelor of Arts and Science in Global Development Studies and Religious Studies, both from Queen's University.



Erik Delaquis (2013)
McGill University

Erik Delaquis's project was designed to improve plant material resource bases in communities by establishing two local plant propagation nurseries and by training local farmers on modern nursery and seed saving techniques in Senegal and The Gambia. The project also setup networks to enable farmers from different communities to share best practices. This was intended to improve and multiply vegetable and tree species to support sustainable food security. Erik worked with a local NGO, REAP to use their expertise, their network of farmers, and their community-run learning farms to implement this project.
Erik holds a Master's Degree in Agricultural and Environmental Sciences from McGill University and a Bachelor's Degree in Biology from the University of Victoria.


Sarah Cheng and Stephanie Rudyk (2013)
Queen's Univeristy

Sara Cheng and Stephanie Rudyk implemented the Students Responding to Students cross-cultural education empowerment program in Shanghai, China from September 2013 to May 2014. The project aimed to address education inequalities faced by migrant school children by engaging them in a daily after-school programs lead by mature high school volunteers from the international school system. The program involves educational and leadership building activities with an emphasis on cross-cultural relationships between the migrant students and high school students.
Stephanie holds a Bachelor of Arts in Science with a major in Political Studies and a minor in Global Development studies, and Sarah holds a Bachelor of Arts and Science with a major in Psychology and a minor in Global Development Studies, both from Queen's University.



Lindsay Walthert (2013)
University of Ottawa/h4>

Lindsay Walthert implemented a Capacity Building through Small Scale Agriculture project in Tentapiao, Bolivia July 2014. The project aimed to increase the financial and social capital of the community residents through egg production. Approximately 30 families were provided with chicks, a chicken coop, and the appropriate agriculture and business training to create small-scale sustainable agriculture businesses.
Lindsay Walthert holds an Honours Bachelor of Social Sciences with a major in International Development and Globalization Studies with a minor in Business Administration from the University of Ottawa.


Lauren Pochereva (2012, 2013)
McGill University

Lauren's project was to build a vegetable garden at St. Monica Elementary School in the borough of Notre-Dame-de-Grace (NDG) in Montreal as a way to improve youth health and education and build community involvement. NDG is one of the most culturally and economically diverse neighborhoods in the city andSt. Monica School serves some of the less privileged families of the community where food insecurity often poses a real challenge. After a succesful first year, Lauren partnered with a local organization, Action Communiterre, to build a social enterprise that offers the creation and facilitation of educational gardens for social organizations across Montreal.
Lauren holds a Bachelor's Degree in World Religions and an undergraduate Diploma in Environment from McGill University.



Rebecca Gibbons (2012)
Queen's University

Rebecca's project aimed to develop and deliver formal and informal education on health through a local team called Action for Health (A4H). A4H aimed to improve people's health and hygiene behaviours by targeting their knowledge, attitudes and skills and helping to foster an enabling environment. In addition to this, menstrual hygiene, a neglected topic in Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) initiatives, was a priority. The goals of A4H tied into the broader goals of the Green City Initiative, a Nepali national priority to make the municipalities and villages more green and sustainable places for people to live.
Rebecca holds an Honours Bachelor's Degree in Health Studies from Queen's University.


Trevor Hirsche (2012)
University of British Columbia

Trevor's 12-month project aimed to improve food security in tropical Bolivia through irrigation, ecological sanitation, and small-scale agriculture. The project started by building COBAGUAL's (local partner which has expertise in installing BioSand filters to purify drinking water and providing hygiene training) capacity in well drilling and small scale agriculture. Through a participatory community development approach, the project installed composting latrines, water wells, and community garden plots in Limoncito.
Trevor has a Master of Science in Hydrogeology and Geochemistry from the University of British Columbia and a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Environmental Science and a Geology specialization from the University of Calgary.



Yancy Ochoa Gutierrez (2012)
Queen's University

Yancy's project aimed to create a Mobile Library Lending Program for a rural community in El Salvador. To do so, Yancy partnered with local church groups, SALVAIDE and the Hester J. Hogdson Foundation to collect books. She then also established a partnership with the Ministry of Education, the municipal government and the National Public Library to ensure community ownership, in addition to securing a primary physical space for the new library at the local school. From here the mobile library was able to take flight, as it visited a total of six schools on a bi-weekly basis, offering reading activities and book lending. It was the only book-lending program in the region and was highly valued by the students, school staff, parents, local government, and the entire community.
While library services were the primary objective, Yancy also developed other programs and services to enhance literacy and raise awareness about arts, culture and heritage of the country, including setting up aerobics classes for girls, violin lessons (volunteer violin teacher and donated violins), and an artisanal learning group to teach skills such as hammock, purse, and bracelet making to students having difficulty in school.
Yancy, who is originally from El Salvador, has a Master's Degree in Industrial Relation from Queen's University. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Psychology and a minor in Business from the University of Victoria.


Rebecca Love (2012)
Queens University

Rebecca's goal was to the address the lack of policies and information for the protection of children in sports in the Caribbean. During her 8-month project, Rebecca developed and implemented a training model on good practices, child protection and ethics in sports for coaches, in collaboration with the Caribbean Sport Development Agency. Furthermore, she built education resources on how to identify abuse and what to do about it.
The follow up to Rebecca's project, Beyond Us, aims to sustainably match up the resources of Canadian sports clubs with Caribbean sports club to ensure the safety and quality of sport for Caribbean youth.
Rebecca graduated with a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Kinesiology from Queen's University.



Adriana Paz Ramirez (2012)
University of British Columbia

Adriana's project aimed to build community-based transnational support and advocacy networks for migrant farm workers in Canada and Mexico. The networks brought together members from 5 related community organizations to create a team with a common objective using shared resources. The team itself developed outreach material for workshops and forums to share information about rights, health and safety standards, and main issues facing workers. They also hosted community forums to allow workers to share their experiences and the consequences and impacts.
Thanks to her work, these groups were able to join a well-established network called Accion Migrante (mostly centred on the US) who then adopted this coalition's agenda for lobbying and advocacy. This collaboration led to a proposal for legislative changes to the Mexican-Canadian Temporary Workers Program to be presented to the Mexican Senate. Furthermore, once a more solid network was established, she helped to develop and facilitate popular education trainings on community organizing.
Adriana has a Master's Degree in Sociology from the University of British Columbia and a Bachelor's Degree in Social Communications and Journalism from Del Valle University in Bolivia.


Bob Samuel and Laksh Puri (2012)
Queens University

Bob and Laksh's project aimed to provide informal business education to those living under $1.25 per day in two regions of Uganda. By offering access to relevant business knowledge and skills, they hoped to empower individuals to start or improve their own businesses (or find employment) and to generate a sustainable income for themselves and their families.
To accomplish this, they interviewed 150 households across two communities to assess education needs and demands, as well as completed a Market Analysis Report providing detailed relevant data for creating the Education Seminars. They then collaborated with two local organizations and supported the local staff to deliver the program to 68 recruited participants. Once the education component was complete, each participant received a small loan to improve or start their own business. To measure their impact, the team conducted interviews, and the participants noted learning the importance of easy saving techniques, the marvel of being able to record all revenue and expenses to monitor losses and gains, and the benefit of customer service.
Bob holds a Master's Degree in Economics from Queen's University and a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Economics from the University of Alberta. Laksh holds a Master's Degree in Economics from Queen's University and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from McGill University.



Erin Aylward (2012)
University of Ottawa

Erin's project objective was to improve Ghanaian female farmer's access to agriculture extension services (information, expertise and technology). Erin used two complementing approaches. Firstly, she worked with agriculture colleges and with Engineers Without Borders (EWB) to develop organizational strategies and policies to better address gender issues within their work. Erin also developed the Gender Action Fellowship (GENDAF), a unique and powerful space for EWB staff and partners to co-create a gender-sensitive learning community whose members work to promote gender equality in their professional and personal lives. Fellows from GENDAF have gone on to start gender initiatives in their own communities and have credited the Fellowship for giving them the confidence and networks to put their ideas into action.
Erin holds a Master's Degree in Globalization and International Development from the University of Ottawa. She also holds a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and Spanish from Memorial University.


Christian Scott Martone Donde (2012)
McGill University

Christian's project aimed to empower citizens of Santa Tere, Mexico and regenerate the trust-networks and sense of community in a working-class neighborhood of Guadalajara. Three strategies were used: public space recovery of the Santa Tere park, popular education and revitalization of the Market-Church area. The project facilitated the physical and social recovery of the initially dangerous and run-down neighborhood park; created space for neighborhood participation, community engagement and networks; attracted the attention and engagement of the local government; and used diverse media as a way to improve the neighborhood's overall reputation. The project generated inertia and desire to change things for better in the community, in a grassroots non-partisan fashion.
Christian, who is from Guadalajara, holds a Bachelor's Degree in International Development Studies and Sociology as well as a Master's Degree in Sociology from McGill University.



Erika Bennett (2011)
Queen's University

Erika's project objective was to contribute to improved health outcomes for migrant workers by developing and implementing a peer education project in partnership with a local grassroots NGO in Shanghai, China. Due to minimal access to healthcare in their temporary homes, migrant women face higher rates of unwanted pregnancy and STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) transmission.
Following a community health assessment, Erika worked with university student interns, the Xintu Community Health NGO, New Citizen Life Centre Sumin, local doctors and migrant women ambassadors (peer educators) to develop and deliver a series of workshops on nutrition, oral health, sexual health, mothers' health, immunization, children's' rights, healthy relationships and leadership skills training. As the assessment revealed that women migrant workers already had basic knowledge about reproductive health, Erika included confidence and empowerment building activities in the workshops.
Erika has an Honours Bachelor's Degree in Global Development Studies and Political Studies from Queen's University and following the Fellowship pursued a Master's Degree from University of Ottawa's School of Public and International Affairs.


Nicole Leakey (2011)
Queen's University

Nicole's project aimed to lower the barriers to occupation for people with disabilities in Moshi, Tanzania over an 8-month period. The project started with a needs assessment, which eventually highlighted that children were the most affected and that business education was the most predominant way to address the situation. From here Nicole implemented a poultry rearing program which trained children with disabilities and their mothers to build and manage 8 poultry coops. The project shifted approach mid-way through to consider the time constraints around offering adapted training for the children with disabilities. She found by working with the mothers to further their skill-set, the families' overall income earning potential increased, which ultimately benefits the quality of life of the children with disabilities.
Nicole holds a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from Queen's University and an Honors Bachelor of Science, in Human Kinetics from the University of Ottawa.



Nisha Toomey (2011)
University of Ottawa

Nisha's 12-month project objective was to set up a training program for Youth Connect's Picturebook Guesthouse in Mae Sot, Thailand. The project built capacity in the realm of customer service and hospitality, as well as developed and implemented the marketing of the guesthouse in the community. Starting in November 2011, Nisha designed a specialized, adaptable and culturally appropriate curriculum (teaching materials, exams, etc.) for all guesthouse training needs. These included customer service, accounting and hospitality, and was operationalized through the training of over 60 students and all guesthouse staff. Since the project, the Guesthouse has become the number one place to stay in Mae Sot and many staff have gone on to use their skills training to pursue other employment opportunities.

Nisha holds a Master of Education from the University of Ottawa. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts from Bishop's University with a major in liberal arts and a minor in religion.


Magda Baczkowska (2011)
University of Ottawa

Magda's project objective was to address the mental health risks stemming from pre-, migration and post-migration struggles for female and male children and youth from conflict zones that have experienced involuntary migration by implementing an art- and play-based counselling program.
With the collaboration of the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization (OCISO), Magda implemented 5 groups at 3 different schools. Although the curriculum at each school was different based on the needs of the students, the strategy was the same: using youth and children-focused activities, such as visual art, creative expression, body movement, storytelling, games, role plays, group discussions and rituals, as therapeutic practice to address mental health issues. In total, she worked with 45 youth aged 7 to 18 from Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. Her project also contributed to building awareness in the community on the issues faced by refugee youth as well as building capacity and partnerships for OCISO and the schools.
Magda is a University of Ottawa graduate with a Master of Education with a concentration in Educational Counselling, a Graduate Certificate in Community Economic Development and a Bachelor of Arts, Psychology. The fellowship inspired her to pursue a PhD in Social Work focusing on refugee experiences.

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