Mohammad Asadi Lari
Cellular, Anatomical and Physiologial Sciences, University of British Columbia

Mohammad believes in utilizing social entrepreneurship and youth engagement to address challenges in education and healthcare. Mohammad moved to Canada when he was in grade 12, having grown up in the UK and his native Iran. He grew up in a family that deeply valued education. He attributes his thirst for knowledge to his parents, and considers his grandmothers to be his greatest inspirations. Mohammad is a co-founder and Managing Director of STEM Fellowship – a youth-led federal non-profit organization providing mentorship and experiential learning opportunities primarily in scientific communication and date science. SF boasts a team of over 300[...]

Mohammad believes in utilizing social entrepreneurship and youth engagement to address challenges in education and healthcare. Mohammad moved to Canada when he was in grade 12, having grown up in the UK and his native Iran. He grew up in a family that deeply valued education. He attributes his thirst for knowledge to his parents, and considers his grandmothers to be his greatest inspirations. Mohammad is a co-founder and Managing Director of STEM Fellowship – a youth-led federal non-profit organization providing mentorship and experiential learning opportunities primarily in scientific communication and date science. SF boasts a team of over 300 young leaders on almost two-dozen campuses across Canada. He has advised youth engagement initiatives for the Canadian Red Cross, the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, BC’s Science World and Hootsuite’s League of Innovators. An aspiring clinician-researcher, he is currently finishing his Honours BSc. in Physiology (CAPS) at UBC, and is an alumnus of UBC’s interdisciplinary Science One program. He plans on pursuing the MD/PhD program at the University of Toronto. Mohammad is a recipient of the Governor’s General Bronze Medal, a finalist of the RBC Top 25 Immigrant Awards and a UBC Faces of Today Leader.

Amy Blanding
Multidisciplinary Leadership, University of Northern British Columbia

Amy Blanding is grateful to live, work and play on the Traditional Territory of the Lheidli T’enneh in Prince George, British Columbia. Amy is an educational developer, facilitator, musician, writer, actor, and CrossFit trainer, and is currently pursuing her Masters of Education in Multidiciplinary Leadership at the University of Northern British Columbia. With a passion for indigenization and interculturalization, teaching and learning diversity, and interactive facilitation, Amy brings deep empathy, humour, and creativity to her work. Through her work in the university Senate, Amy has championed the student voice, and worked to break-down the traditional power hierarchies that exist in[...]

Amy Blanding is grateful to live, work and play on the Traditional Territory of the Lheidli T’enneh in Prince George, British Columbia. Amy is an educational developer, facilitator, musician, writer, actor, and CrossFit trainer, and is currently pursuing her Masters of Education in Multidiciplinary Leadership at the University of Northern British Columbia. With a passion for indigenization and interculturalization, teaching and learning diversity, and interactive facilitation, Amy brings deep empathy, humour, and creativity to her work. Through her work in the university Senate, Amy has championed the student voice, and worked to break-down the traditional power hierarchies that exist in post-secondary governance. As a facilitator, Amy helps participants see the value in their lived experience and to collaborate with each other to create innovative solutions to complex social problems. As an educational developer, Amy provides the time and space for educators to engage in reflective practice. As a representative on various committees throughout the university community, Amy advocates fiercely on behalf of the voiceless, with a goal to increase accessibility to education for traditionally marginalized populations. Grounded in place, with deep respect for the land and traditional territories that sustain and support her work, Amy’s commitment and energy are remarkable.

Michael Graeme
Anthropology and Environmental Studies, University of Victoria

Mike Graeme grew up on Sinixt tum’xula7xw in Nelson, BC. When Mike learned that he lived on unceded territory, it was a transformative and “unsettling” moment. Soon after, he glimpsed his complicity in the oppression of the Sinixt people when being flown in helicopter over a Sinixt-led blockade to help lay out a logging road on their sacred mountain. This struck a deeply disconcerted chord within him and he changed paths to explore his responsibilities as a settler. His journey of reconciliation began at Selkirk College where he started building bridges with Sinixt community members, volunteering with Aboriginal Services, learning[...]

Mike Graeme grew up on Sinixt tum’xula7xw in Nelson, BC. When Mike learned that he lived on unceded territory, it was a transformative and “unsettling” moment. Soon after, he glimpsed his complicity in the oppression of the Sinixt people when being flown in helicopter over a Sinixt-led blockade to help lay out a logging road on their sacred mountain. This struck a deeply disconcerted chord within him and he changed paths to explore his responsibilities as a settler. His journey of reconciliation began at Selkirk College where he started building bridges with Sinixt community members, volunteering with Aboriginal Services, learning from his dad’s example, and leading an educational outreach project. Mike is currently finishing his BA in Anthropology and Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria. As an executive leader of UVic’s Environmental Studies Student Association and editor-in-chief of its semiannual publication, Essence, Mike sees his leadership role as one of hosting inclusive environments and connecting people across difference and perceived divides. Believing that the complex problems facing the world today require a matching complexity of human perspectives and abilities, Mike seeks to bring a diversity of people around the same table to collaborate for a just and thriving world.

Yahlnaaw / Aaron Grant
First Nations Studies, University of Northern British Columbia

Jah! Xaaydaga ‘las! – “Hello! Wonderful People!” Yahlnaaw / Aaron Grant is Skidegate Haida from the Islands of Haida Gwaii and was born and raised in Lax Kxeen (Prince Rupert, BC) on Ts’msyen territory. Come September 2018, Yahlnaaw will begin her Master’s Degree at UNBC in First Nations Studies. Yahlnaaw’s name broadly translates to “leads an exceptional life”. By advancing her education in First Nations Studies with a focus on Indigenous Language and Story Revitalization, she aims to fulfill the meaning of her name. Yahlnaaw’s work also revolves around Decolonization, Indigenization, Reconciliation, and the importance of introducing these concepts to[...]

Jah! Xaaydaga ‘las! – “Hello! Wonderful People!” Yahlnaaw / Aaron Grant is Skidegate Haida from the Islands of Haida Gwaii and was born and raised in Lax Kxeen (Prince Rupert, BC) on Ts’msyen territory. Come September 2018, Yahlnaaw will begin her Master’s Degree at UNBC in First Nations Studies. Yahlnaaw’s name broadly translates to “leads an exceptional life”. By advancing her education in First Nations Studies with a focus on Indigenous Language and Story Revitalization, she aims to fulfill the meaning of her name. Yahlnaaw’s work also revolves around Decolonization, Indigenization, Reconciliation, and the importance of introducing these concepts to children. In a joint effort with Edōsdi / Dr. Judith Thompson at UNBC, they presented their work, Decolonizing our Colonized Minds, at Provincial, National, and International levels. Yahlnaaw is aware of what it is like to be an Indigenous person growing up in a colonized world and wants to aid in creating a pathway for upcoming Indigenous brothers and sisters in academia. Yahlnaaw believes that her work at UNBC’s Centre for Teaching, Learning, and Technology, Campus Cousins Student Leadership Program, and various other community and academic based platforms will aid in her goal of encouraging growth for our future Indigenous leaders.

Deborah (Debbie) Jenkins
Environmental and Life Sciences, Trent University

Debbie is an ambitious scientist, a highly trained Arctic ecologist, and a committed conservation biologist. Grateful to have lived and learnt on the traditional territory of Mississauga Anishinaabeg and the traditional lands of Inuit in Nunavut, she is not content to merely document the decline of nature. Debbie is committed to conveying environmental science to a broad audience with the goal of informing and engaging the public, and protecting nature. Her enthusiasm for science and the natural world is contagious. She shares her knowledge at conferences, but also as a public speaker and organizer. Cofounder of Imagine the Marsh, 2nd[...]

Debbie is an ambitious scientist, a highly trained Arctic ecologist, and a committed conservation biologist. Grateful to have lived and learnt on the traditional territory of Mississauga Anishinaabeg and the traditional lands of Inuit in Nunavut, she is not content to merely document the decline of nature. Debbie is committed to conveying environmental science to a broad audience with the goal of informing and engaging the public, and protecting nature. Her enthusiasm for science and the natural world is contagious. She shares her knowledge at conferences, but also as a public speaker and organizer. Cofounder of Imagine the Marsh, 2nd Generation, the student-led Biodiversity Monitoring Program, and Trent Students for Responsible Development, she organizes public lectures, introduces people to conservation themes and best practices, runs community monitoring programs, and helps to inform and implement conservation policies and practices. Debbie is an avid traveler and outdoor adventurer, with a strong connection to the North. Her doctoral research – Islands, ungulates & ice: the response of caribou and muskoxen to a changing environment – focuses on two legendary species that are both ecologically and culturally important. Collaborating with communities and scientists around the globe, she endeavours always to make a difference.

Alexandra Meikleham
Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, University of Calgary

As an MSc student in Mechanical engineering, Alex actively seeks to improve educational processes and advance engineering practice by equipping engineering students with skills to tackle the 21st century’s complex challenges. Alex is developing innovative pedagogies that promote collaboration and effective communication so that students may become community leaders and effective problem solvers. She has created project-based learning experiences which develop professional skills in tandem with technical acumen and is an advocate for the advancement of responsible and ethical practice in engineering, having collaborated with institutions across Canada to establish and implement the Global Engineering Initiative in partnership with Engineers[...]

As an MSc student in Mechanical engineering, Alex actively seeks to improve educational processes and advance engineering practice by equipping engineering students with skills to tackle the 21st century’s complex challenges. Alex is developing innovative pedagogies that promote collaboration and effective communication so that students may become community leaders and effective problem solvers. She has created project-based learning experiences which develop professional skills in tandem with technical acumen and is an advocate for the advancement of responsible and ethical practice in engineering, having collaborated with institutions across Canada to establish and implement the Global Engineering Initiative in partnership with Engineers without Borders. Alex has been active in promoting diversity in STEM through her efforts in the Graduate Female Leadership Circle and as a graduate student leader to the Grace Hopper Women in Computing Conference. She has recently become interested in the power of data visualization to communicate and promote change and is currently investigating ways it can be used to improve curriculum design. She hopes to continue into a career where she can make use of her passion for engineering design and education through hands-on, practical experiences which encourage young engineers to consider the global impact of their practice.

Maxwell Nicholson
Economics, University of Victoria

Maxwell is a leader in education who has continued to apply innovative solutions to some of the biggest issues students face. Having a diverse skill set in business, economics, programming, activism, cake decorating, and more, Maxwell brings a wide range of perspectives to approach problems. Studying Economics at the University of Victoria, Maxwell recognized that the rising costs of textbooks across Canada are a major problem and was elected as an executive onto the UVic Student Union with the promise to address it. After considerable research, he identified open textbooks as a viable alternative to expensive publisher’s books. Since 2016,[...]

Maxwell is a leader in education who has continued to apply innovative solutions to some of the biggest issues students face. Having a diverse skill set in business, economics, programming, activism, cake decorating, and more, Maxwell brings a wide range of perspectives to approach problems. Studying Economics at the University of Victoria, Maxwell recognized that the rising costs of textbooks across Canada are a major problem and was elected as an executive onto the UVic Student Union with the promise to address it. After considerable research, he identified open textbooks as a viable alternative to expensive publisher’s books. Since 2016, Maxwell has become a national advocate for open textbooks. Leading a provincial social media campaign and lobbying efforts that resulted in a $250,000 increase in funding, Maxwell’s efforts have substantially advanced the cause of textbook affordability. Maxwell also led the development of the UVic Principles of Microeconomics open textbook, that has saved students nearly $100,000 to date. Maxwell will be working this summer as a consultant at McKinsey & Company and hopes to pursue digital consulting after graduation. His dream is to become a technology entrepreneur and build a company that makes a positive impact on the world.

Martha Paynter
Nursing, Dalhousie University

Martha Paynter’s academic, professional and volunteer work aims to advance reproductive justice in Atlantic Canada and nursing leadership in political advocacy. Ms. Paynter is a PhD Student in Nursing at Dalhousie University and a staff nurse at the IWK Health Centre Family Newborn Care Unit. Ms. Paynter holds a Master of Development Economics (2004, Dalhousie) and Master of Science in Health Research Methodology (2007, McMaster). Ms. Paynter’s doctoral dissertation is a mixed-methods project examining the health outcomes of women in Canada who have experienced criminalization and incarceration during pregnancy, birth and postpartum periods. Ms. Paynter is the founder and chair[...]

Martha Paynter’s academic, professional and volunteer work aims to advance reproductive justice in Atlantic Canada and nursing leadership in political advocacy. Ms. Paynter is a PhD Student in Nursing at Dalhousie University and a staff nurse at the IWK Health Centre Family Newborn Care Unit. Ms. Paynter holds a Master of Development Economics (2004, Dalhousie) and Master of Science in Health Research Methodology (2007, McMaster). Ms. Paynter’s doctoral dissertation is a mixed-methods project examining the health outcomes of women in Canada who have experienced criminalization and incarceration during pregnancy, birth and postpartum periods. Ms. Paynter is the founder and chair of Women’s Wellness Within (WWW), a non-profit organization that provides volunteer support to criminalized women who are pregnant or parenting young children in Nova Scotia. WWW’s mandate includes support for individuals, political advocacy for the health human rights of prisoners, and education about the intersections between health and criminalization. For her dedication to activist nursing, knowledge translation and community volunteerism, Ms. Paynter has received numerous honours, including the Governors’ Award from Dalhousie University, the Rising Star Award from the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia, the Senate of Canada Sesquicentennial Medal for volunteer service to the country.

Cara Samuel
Clinical Psychology, University of Victoria

Cara’s passion for advocacy began while working in child protection and community mental health where the impact of systemic oppression is pervasive. After beginning as a volunteer sexual assault counsellor, she quickly became involved in many other advocacy and mental health programs as a staff sexual assault counsellor, crisis counsellor, trainer and supervisor of volunteers, and coordinator of a project to end human trafficking where two of her roles were to develop and manage a provincial 24/7 counselling and resource line for trafficked persons in Manitoba, the first in Canada, and sit on multiple working groups and taskforces, including a[...]

Cara’s passion for advocacy began while working in child protection and community mental health where the impact of systemic oppression is pervasive. After beginning as a volunteer sexual assault counsellor, she quickly became involved in many other advocacy and mental health programs as a staff sexual assault counsellor, crisis counsellor, trainer and supervisor of volunteers, and coordinator of a project to end human trafficking where two of her roles were to develop and manage a provincial 24/7 counselling and resource line for trafficked persons in Manitoba, the first in Canada, and sit on multiple working groups and taskforces, including a provincial trafficked persons response-team. Through this journey Cara became aware of her own privilege and how it could be used to give those who have been oppressed and ignored a voice. These realizations continue to guide her ambitions, as evident by her current projects developing workshops on intimate partner violence for immigrants and refugees, her research on complex trauma aimed to more compassionately and thoroughly address issues related to chronic and interpersonal traumatic experiences, and plans to continue her advocacy work after graduating as a clinical psychologist by working with community mental health agencies and Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières.

Chloé Soucy
English Literature, Bishop’s University

Chloé is in her final year of her studies in English Literature and Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TESL) at Bishop’s University, located on the traditional territory of the Abenaki First Nations and Wabenaki Confederacy. Her involvements include a diverse array of pursuits. She is a co-founder of Bishop’s Bees, a beekeeping initiative on the Bishop’s campus, which has since grown into both a small business and student club and of Bishop’s University Outdoor Adventures, a program that aims to make the outdoors more accessible to students, faculty, staff, and community members. In 2018, Chloé was the coordinator of[...]

Chloé is in her final year of her studies in English Literature and Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TESL) at Bishop’s University, located on the traditional territory of the Abenaki First Nations and Wabenaki Confederacy. Her involvements include a diverse array of pursuits. She is a co-founder of Bishop’s Bees, a beekeeping initiative on the Bishop’s campus, which has since grown into both a small business and student club and of Bishop’s University Outdoor Adventures, a program that aims to make the outdoors more accessible to students, faculty, staff, and community members. In 2018, Chloé was the coordinator of QUEUC (Quebec Universities English Undergraduate Conference), the largest undergraduate humanities conference in North America. Other involvements include chairing the English Department Advisory Council, running the communications for the Bishop’s Teaching and Learning Centre, and working on both an academic publication and a magazine publication. In each of her pursuits, she advocates for sustainability, accessibility, and authenticity. During the summer, Chloé works with children with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, which inspires her to critically examine accessibility and human rights. After graduation, Chloé hopes to work in the field of educational policy, to bring authentic learning and experience into every classroom.

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