Three Queen's grads accepted as fellows for new leadership program
By Rosie Hales, Communications Officer
Asad Chishti (Sci’14) likens his time in Kingston to an Easter egg hunt.
“There were so many opportunities to get involved at Queen’s and in Kingston. I felt like there were Easter eggs hidden across the city and I loved being able to run around and collect all these ‘eggs,’” says Mr. Chishti, who was involved in TEDxQueensU, the Queen’s Journal and the Yearbook Design & Services. He also began the “Humans of Kingston” photo project.
After leaving Queen’s, cycling across Canada and looking for somewhere to put down roots, he has found himself taking on a fellowship position in MaRS Discovery District’s (MaRSDD) newest program, Studio [Y]. He credits his new position to his involvement and experiences at Queen’s.
Mr. Chishti’s participation in Studio [Y], along with Martina Marsic (Comm ’13) and Emily Finnie (Artsci ’08), makes Queen’s one of the most highly represented universities in the program.
Located in Toronto, MaRS Discovery District is one of the world’s largest innovation hubs. Studio [Y] is a nine-month program for 18-29 year olds to develop the skills they need to thrive in today’s job market while positively contributing to a research area of their choice. Twenty-six young people from across Ontario were selected for the program this year.
As part of the program, each fellow chooses an area of concentration and develops a plan for projects and research.
Ms. Finnie’s project focuses on space and gender roles with a feminist lens regarding how systems are built.
“Generally, I’m exploring how social innovation can or do impact the lives of girls and women,” says Ms. Finnie. “I wonder how innovation is being used to build resiliency, dismantle barriers, change systems, challenge perceptions and transform society through a gender and equity lens. I’m interested in girls’ and women’s leadership roles in change, spaces where diverse women and girls are supported as drivers of innovation, and the gender gaps in political and economic participation.”
For his project, Mr. Chishti chose to focus on the concept of “home” after spending much of his past year travelling across Canada.
“I woke up in a different place every month so I wanted to take a look at what makes a home,” says Mr. Chishti. “I’m also trying to focus on developing the concept of a digital home, since some social media sites don’t feel like home to me yet.”
Ms. Marsic is concentrating on the intersection of digital technology and sustainable food systems in North America, specifically Canada and the Greater Toronto Area. She is currently exploring the technical and logistical development of an online marketplace that would connect regional farmers and producers with urban and suburban consumers in order to socially and transparently source local food.
“I want to examine how technology and e-commerce can facilitate greater market access, opportunity and alternative sales channels for consumers and local sustainable producers. Consumers are increasingly online and on-demand, and local food systems are growing in North America – there is an opportunity to build on this revitalization,” says Ms. Marsic.
Despite having a large host of mutual friends, the three fellows never met during their time at Queen’s; however, all three felt that their involvement at Queen’s helped them prepare for their work in Studio Y.
“My time at Queen’s was a transformative experience,” says Ms. Marsic. “Being a part of such a small community, you can tap into high levels of support and interaction. Getting involved at Queen’s offers you chances to develop personally and professionally via exposure to and collaboration with a great number of people creating and doing."
For more information on Studio [Y], follow this link.