Justine Baek
Biology and Medical Sciences, Western Ontario

The recipient of Western University’s National President’s Scholarship, Justine has demonstrated exceptional perspectives on life, academics, and her future plans. She fosters a passion for community empowerment and has worked the past seven years to further the road safety mission, and promote youth activism and education in her community. At Western, Justine founded and co-chaired the Western Student Research Conference, an experiential learning initiative that grants undergraduate students the opportunity to showcase their research, exchange ideas, and network.

Currently, Justine serves the Canadian Road Safety Youth Committee having presented as a TEDx speaker, coordinated nationwide conferences, and spoken to launch[...]

The recipient of Western University’s National President’s Scholarship, Justine has demonstrated exceptional perspectives on life, academics, and her future plans. She fosters a passion for community empowerment and has worked the past seven years to further the road safety mission, and promote youth activism and education in her community. At Western, Justine founded and co-chaired the Western Student Research Conference, an experiential learning initiative that grants undergraduate students the opportunity to showcase their research, exchange ideas, and network.

Currently, Justine serves the Canadian Road Safety Youth Committee having presented as a TEDx speaker, coordinated nationwide conferences, and spoken to launch Ontario’s Provincial RIDE Assembly. In 2014, Justine was Head of State for the Canadian delegation and an elected Secretary General for the G20 Youth Summit in Munich, Germany. She now works to inspire a greater sense of global awareness in Canadian youth as she helps spearhead the development of Connect, the first official online youth platform of the United Nations Association of Canada. Her achievements, she says, would not have been possible without the compassionate support and mentorship of her supervisors and teachers, her fellow executive team members, and her family.

Jason Earl
Education, Bishop’s University

Jason describes himself as an advocate for the promotion and celebration of all voices, with a specific focus on championing the marginalized through a deep commitment to social justice. As an educational leader, Jason sees himself as a facilitator, striving to create safe spaces, encouraging engagement and inclusion, provoking critical thought, and fostering new insight and deeper understanding through the exchange of knowledge and ideas. He seeks to “facilitate the kind of discussions that increase inclusivity and expand the boundaries of what may be held as unexamined norms in society,” aiming to empower his peers as agents of change, challenging[...]

Jason describes himself as an advocate for the promotion and celebration of all voices, with a specific focus on championing the marginalized through a deep commitment to social justice. As an educational leader, Jason sees himself as a facilitator, striving to create safe spaces, encouraging engagement and inclusion, provoking critical thought, and fostering new insight and deeper understanding through the exchange of knowledge and ideas. He seeks to “facilitate the kind of discussions that increase inclusivity and expand the boundaries of what may be held as unexamined norms in society,” aiming to empower his peers as agents of change, challenging the status quo and reshaping our communities to understand, affirm and celebrate human complexity and difference, and champion equality and social harmony.

In the many leadership roles of Jason’s past and present, he demonstrates that he is truly an “unflagging advocate for individual voice and the rights of all to lead dignified lives.” As a pre-service teacher and student of Education, as well as an active member in his community, Jason models transformative leadership, drawing upon his open and empathetic personality, and using his “infectious” enthusiasm to inspire positive change.

Emilie McIntosh
Business Administration Marketing, St. Lawrence College

Emilie has dedicated her time at St. Lawrence College (Kingston) to become a leader who is focused on implementing change and creating opportunity while acting as a support system that pushes individuals to take action. She believes in being a leader of today, not a leader of tomorrow.

Striving to become a facilitator of success through innovation, Emilie has worked with her teammates to develop and implement an award winning collaboration between food and financial literacy through two Enactus programs. Her philosophy that the application and allocation of knowledge is critical in the learning process has set her leadership apart[...]

Emilie has dedicated her time at St. Lawrence College (Kingston) to become a leader who is focused on implementing change and creating opportunity while acting as a support system that pushes individuals to take action. She believes in being a leader of today, not a leader of tomorrow.

Striving to become a facilitator of success through innovation, Emilie has worked with her teammates to develop and implement an award winning collaboration between food and financial literacy through two Enactus programs. Her philosophy that the application and allocation of knowledge is critical in the learning process has set her leadership apart from others. In just one year, Emilie had dedicated over 1000 hours to Enactus Canada – St. Lawrence College, developed the program Slow Cookers for Kids, published and printed 11,000 copies of Recipes for an Empty Wallet, spoke at the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada’s National Conference for Financial Literacy, developed and integrated multi-campus food sampling days, maintained an internship at Spark SLC, and collaborated Food Cents and Manage Your Money (Regional Capital One Financial Education Challenge Champions). Emilie will be the General Manager for Enactus St. Lawrence next year and looks forward to continuing making a difference in her community.

Nicola Paviglianiti
Honors in Health Sciences and Italian Language and Culture Minor, Western University

Originally from Calgary, Nicola is a 3rd year Health Science student at Western University incorporating Italian Language and Cultural studies into her degree. On campus, Nicola is a catalyst for change and takes collaborative action to create inclusive empowering environments for diverse populations. Nicola recognized a need to support out of province students in post-secondary education and she is the co-founder and director of Western’s Out of Province Student Association (OPSA) providing social and academic programming across campus. As a Health Studies student, she is also actively involved in random acts of kindness initiatives and is researching kindness as an[...]

Originally from Calgary, Nicola is a 3rd year Health Science student at Western University incorporating Italian Language and Cultural studies into her degree. On campus, Nicola is a catalyst for change and takes collaborative action to create inclusive empowering environments for diverse populations. Nicola recognized a need to support out of province students in post-secondary education and she is the co-founder and director of Western’s Out of Province Student Association (OPSA) providing social and academic programming across campus. As a Health Studies student, she is also actively involved in random acts of kindness initiatives and is researching kindness as an innovative evidence based means to foster student and community mental health and wellbeing.

Nicola is a well-travelled individual, and her passion for global health led her to create her own internship with the United Nations in Thailand in their HIV/AIDS Health Promotion Unit. Through her involvement she discovered the value in learning beyond the textbook, and she now actively incorporates this into her leadership practices and position on student council. Nicola eagerly mentors other students and facilitates opportunities for them to fully engage in their education, and is co-chairing Western’s first university-wide Multidisciplinary Research Conference.

Piper Riley Thompson
BA Canadian Studies and Sociology, Mount Allison University

Driven by a genuine desire to effect positive change, Piper has undertaken leadership roles within her school community and beyond. She has an abiding interest in positive public policy, civic engagement, and good governance. Piper has served as a dynamic member of Mount Allison University’s Senate for the past two years, and her efforts have included advocacy for a Fall Reading Break which will be implemented in 2015. In the summer of 2013, Piper worked as an Assistant to a Cabinet Minister in Manitoba’s provincial legislature and in the summer of 2014, Piper was honoured to work as a Jaimie[...]

Driven by a genuine desire to effect positive change, Piper has undertaken leadership roles within her school community and beyond. She has an abiding interest in positive public policy, civic engagement, and good governance. Piper has served as a dynamic member of Mount Allison University’s Senate for the past two years, and her efforts have included advocacy for a Fall Reading Break which will be implemented in 2015. In the summer of 2013, Piper worked as an Assistant to a Cabinet Minister in Manitoba’s provincial legislature and in the summer of 2014, Piper was honoured to work as a Jaimie Anderson Parliamentary Intern in Ottawa. Piper has been inspired by these experiences as she has a passion for bringing young people into political processes.

Piper recognized early on in her post-secondary education that student mental health and mental health awareness are critical issues at universities and colleges across Canada. She has been working as a mental health advocate and ally to remove the stigma that so often surrounds mental illness and has spoken publicly on the topic at Bishop’s University and Mount Allison University.

Piper brings balance into her life by volunteering in the community and enjoying music and theatre.

Wali Shah
BA Sociology, University of Toronto at Mississauga

Former at-risk student, to one of Canada’s Top 20 Under 20, Wali Shah is a 20 year old Canadian musician/poet from Mississauga, Ontario. An honours graduate from Cawthra Park Secondary School, he is currently a student at the University of Toronto studying Social Sciences. As a speaker, Wali has spoken to high profile corporate groups such as TD Canada, General Mills, BMO and more, he has raised over one million dollars for United Way’s community building efforts and has shared the stage with Craig Keilburger, Spencer West, and Dr. Stephen Sroka. As an artist, he has featured on MTV with[...]

Former at-risk student, to one of Canada’s Top 20 Under 20, Wali Shah is a 20 year old Canadian musician/poet from Mississauga, Ontario. An honours graduate from Cawthra Park Secondary School, he is currently a student at the University of Toronto studying Social Sciences. As a speaker, Wali has spoken to high profile corporate groups such as TD Canada, General Mills, BMO and more, he has raised over one million dollars for United Way’s community building efforts and has shared the stage with Craig Keilburger, Spencer West, and Dr. Stephen Sroka. As an artist, he has featured on MTV with Selena Gomez, freestyled with Kendrick Lamar, and opened for Sarah McLachlan. Wali uses music and poetry as an outlet to spread awareness about social issues in our backyard and abroad. His anti-bullying video, King of The Castle has garnered over 90,000 views on YouTube.

Navarana Smith
BSc. in Biology and Environmental Studies, University of Victoria

Like others, Navarana sees universities as a place where ideas start, habits form, and practices can be exemplified. Universities gather tremendous knowledge and capacity, and there is immense potential to better harness students’ efforts towards social and environmental change. Navarana sees providing opportunities for students to develop and sustain their passion—even after long hours spent under library florescent lights—as one critical component of this shift.

Communities have been the bricks of Navarana’s education. Coordinating the Victoria Sierra Club’s field trips— hiking, bird watching, and workshops for students and community members—brought opportunities to contextualize classroom learning. At the 2013 World Student[...]

Like others, Navarana sees universities as a place where ideas start, habits form, and practices can be exemplified. Universities gather tremendous knowledge and capacity, and there is immense potential to better harness students’ efforts towards social and environmental change. Navarana sees providing opportunities for students to develop and sustain their passion—even after long hours spent under library florescent lights—as one critical component of this shift.

Communities have been the bricks of Navarana’s education. Coordinating the Victoria Sierra Club’s field trips— hiking, bird watching, and workshops for students and community members—brought opportunities to contextualize classroom learning. At the 2013 World Student Environmental Summit, Navarana and fellow University of Victoria delegate reflected on both the student and university responsibility in campus engagement. Space for advanced sustainability conversations was made while working with the organizational teams of the University of Victoria Environmental Round Table (UVERT) and environmental magazine publication (ESSENCE). Navarana has been involved as an intern for WWF in southwestern Madagascar, and as a trip leader for remote backpacking and canoe trips. These experiences continue to inform her perspective on how we can bridge the gap: with classroom effort that is relevant to students and surrounding communities.

Vrindy Spencer
BA Arts and Science, (Psychology, Anthropology, and Sociology), Quest University

As a student at Quest University Canada in Squamish, BC, Vrindy Spencer strives to innovate within and beyond her education. Her academic interests revolve around the question “What conditions optimize a sense of belonging?” Even before determining this question, she found passion in community and connection. In her second month of arriving on campus she founded a Community Wellness Club. The following year she created a health and wellness executive team to run initiatives.

Vrindy consistently aims to empower others. She added two new ministerial positions to the Student Representative Council: Minister of Health and Wellness and Minister of Human[...]

As a student at Quest University Canada in Squamish, BC, Vrindy Spencer strives to innovate within and beyond her education. Her academic interests revolve around the question “What conditions optimize a sense of belonging?” Even before determining this question, she found passion in community and connection. In her second month of arriving on campus she founded a Community Wellness Club. The following year she created a health and wellness executive team to run initiatives.

Vrindy consistently aims to empower others. She added two new ministerial positions to the Student Representative Council: Minister of Health and Wellness and Minister of Human Rights. She became the first Minister of Health and Wellness and created a sub-committee to allow others to take larger roles on campus.

Vrindy works as an Ambassador for Admissions, and helps with Orientation and integrating first years into the community. She was the sole Quest representative and then facilitator at the first and second Canadian Student Mental Health Innovation Summit and was the first undergraduate exchange student at a partner school in India. This upcoming year she was elected as a floor representative to work with the residence council in spreading and promoting community and peer support on campus.

Karen Young
Psychology and Health Studies, University of Toronto

Born in Scarborough and raised by immigrant parents, Karen is raised in one of the most multicultural campuses in Canada – the University of Toronto Scarborough. Empowered by listening to untold stories, Karen sought to create platforms that would highlight the potential of the UTSC and broader community.

Karen co-founded & co-chaired TEDxUTSC, the first campus-wide TEDx event at the University of Toronto. To minimize the academic disparity that exists with UofT’s outstanding mental health research and suffering student mental health, Karen founded Minds Matter Magazine (MMM), UofT’s first mental health magazine by students for students, their friends, and family.[...]

Born in Scarborough and raised by immigrant parents, Karen is raised in one of the most multicultural campuses in Canada – the University of Toronto Scarborough. Empowered by listening to untold stories, Karen sought to create platforms that would highlight the potential of the UTSC and broader community.

Karen co-founded & co-chaired TEDxUTSC, the first campus-wide TEDx event at the University of Toronto. To minimize the academic disparity that exists with UofT’s outstanding mental health research and suffering student mental health, Karen founded Minds Matter Magazine (MMM), UofT’s first mental health magazine by students for students, their friends, and family. In partnership with the Arts & Science Co-op Office and the Department of Psychology, Karen is working towards fulfilling her second and final co-op term with MMM. Representing UTSC at the tri-campus level, Karen currently serves as a Board of Director on The Varsity – Canada’s largest student newspaper catering to over 80,000 students. Concerned with making the right decisions, Karen is currently investigating cognitive biases underlying strategic decision-making under the thesis supervision of Drs. Gerald Cupchik and Michelle Hilscher.

Aniqah Zowmi
Neuroscience, Brock University

Aniqah Zowmi is a second-year Neurobiology student at Brock University. Driven by the mission to empower youth, she co-founded BrockU Talks, a speaking event held at Brock University that provides youth leaders a platform to speak about their passions. Her drive to help youth also led to the conception of The ReConnect Movement to bridge the gap between university students and marginalized youth in the Niagara region.

Following her first year of university, Aniqah was awarded a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Undergraduate Student Research Award, a feat rarely heard of for a first year student, to fund research[...]

Aniqah Zowmi is a second-year Neurobiology student at Brock University. Driven by the mission to empower youth, she co-founded BrockU Talks, a speaking event held at Brock University that provides youth leaders a platform to speak about their passions. Her drive to help youth also led to the conception of The ReConnect Movement to bridge the gap between university students and marginalized youth in the Niagara region.

Following her first year of university, Aniqah was awarded a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Undergraduate Student Research Award, a feat rarely heard of for a first year student, to fund research into the effect of antioxidants on the human body. She is also a National Youth Ambassador for Passages Canada, an organization that works to project immigrant stories to the public. Aniqah serves as the eighth and youngest Youth Ambassador nationwide.

In her free time, she curates her own writing blog, and spends her days haunting neurobiology labs at Brock University. Aniqah hopes to pursue a career in International Human Rights Law, with a concentration on work in the Middle East. She hopes to inspire youth around the world to break barriers and obstacles to inclusion, and create an accepting society.

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