2021 - 2022
Jenna is Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre’s Indigenous Programs and Events Associate. Jenna has a background in Gender Studies and Social Service work, along with a Bachelor’s in Indigenous Studies from Trent University. Jenna is Two-Spirit from Kenhtè:ke and describes herself as a “lifelong learner”. They have been involved in Grassroots programming as a Curriculum and Evaluation consultant, which was formed to show the true story of Canada to Newcomers and Refugees. Along with honouring the legacy of Residential School Survivors and providing education and awareness related to Residential Schools and the intergenerational impacts. Jenna is passionate about learning their traditional Haudensaunee culture and language, when she is not working you can find her beading or practicing her pronunciation of Kanienʼkéha.
Ayden Adeyanju-Jackson (he/him/his) is a third-year Student-Athlete majoring in Global Development Studies. On-campus, he is the Outreach Initiatives Coordinator for the Queen’s Student Diversity Project, a student representative for the Ontario University Athletics Association’s Anti-Racism Project, and the Co-Chair of the Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Indigenization Task Force in the Athletics and Recreation Department. He is also a Student Assistant for EDI at the Yellow House, where he helped create the For Us By Us: Resources to Support QTBIPoC Student Success Toolkit to assist marginalized students at Queen’s in navigating the systemic and cultural barriers to accessing meaningful support at the university. Through these initiatives, he hopes to make the university a more equitable and safe space, so a diverse range of people can reap the benefits of the Queen’s experience. Overall, he is looking forward to contributing the perspectives gained from these EDI experiences to this year’s edition of the blog.
Yasmine Djerbal is an educational developer at the Centre for Teaching and Learning whose work focuses on anti-racist and inclusive pedagogies. She holds an MA in Gender Studies and a PhD in Cultural Studies from Queen’s University. She remains involved in research and teaching, where her interests lie in critical race studies, immigration, citizenship law, gender, and Islamophobia. Yasmine is also a community organizer committed to social justice and social change.
Tahmena Bokhari is an innovative, collaborative and highly skilled leader and subject-matter expert in Accessibility, Anti-Racism, Human Rights, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion. She holds a Masters in Social Work from the University of Toronto and has 20+ years of experience in leading, directing, and managing EDI organizational change. She specializes in providing strategic guidance and consults, developing policies and procedures, training and educational development, coaching for managers on how to manage a diverse team, program development and evaluation, human rights and harassment complaints, communications plans, building inclusive and equitable workplace cultures, and ultimately raising the bar towards personal and professional transformation. She has led EDII initiatives across a variety of public sector settings including municipal government, provincial government, and other provincial areas such as child welfare and legal aid. She has spoken about her experiences of being born and raised in Toronto as a child of immigrant parents, being a racialized and minoritized woman who is multilingual, and having worked in equity and humanitarian efforts in various countries. She is the inaugural EDI Director for the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University.
Susan Belyea writes: “I am one of the privileged ones – (white and employed, who has had the luck to spend most of this pandemic working in comfort from my home. Also, I got a puppy.) I joined the Ban Righ Centre as Director in March 2019. In 2018, I completed my PhD as a mature student in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queen’s, researching food insecurity in Canada and Cuba. It was during this time that I became a big fan of the Ban Righ Centre. I wrote much of my dissertation here, enjoyed many bowls of soup, and engaged with a community of mature women students I wouldn’t have found otherwise. In addition to my academic and work history, I bring to this position my experience as a food justice and anti-poverty activist, my love of travel, and my commitment to building a more just and peaceful world.”
Dr. Klodiana Kolomitro is the Associate Vice-Principal (Teaching and Learning) and cross-appointed to the Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences at Queen’s University. In her role, she facilitates academic program development and review, develops and implements policies that promote academic excellence, and provides leadership on teaching and learning initiatives that are based on inclusive approaches and evidence-informed principles. Her areas of interest and research include curriculum development, anatomical education, well-being, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. She has a PhD in Curriculum and Pedagogy from OISE/University of Toronto, and a MSc in Anatomy and Cell Biology from Queen’s University. Klodiana is the recipient of the 2019 Educational Developers Leadership Award from the Educational Developers Caucus in Canada.
2020 - 2021
Alana Butler (Ph.D.) is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. In 2015, she graduated with a Ph.D. in Education from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. She teaches the at-risk concentration in the Faculty of Education as well as a graduate course called Social Inequality in Education: A Global Perspective. Her research interests include the academic achievement of low-socio economic students, race and schooling, equity and inclusion, and multicultural education. In 2019, she was awarded an Insight Development Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for a study entitled Beating the Odds: An intergenerational examination of cultural barriers to postsecondary education for low income Ontario youth. She is currently the co-Chair of the University Council on Anti-racism and Equity (UCARE) and a member of SEEC (Senate Educational Equity Committee).
Ann Deer (she/her) is the Indigenous Recruitment & Support Coordinator for the Smith Commerce program and the Faculty of Law. She is Mohawk from the Wolf Clan, of Akwesasne. Ann brings her professional Indigenous network and living traditional Haudenosaunee knowledge. She is passionate about lifelong learning, plants as medicine, cultural foods, and its ties to sovereignty, building community and supporting our young leaders. Ann completed her Bachelor of Arts with Honours in both Native Studies and Canadian Studies at Trent University and a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership at St. Lawrence University.
She provides culturally appropriate teaching for student(s) to understand Indigenization of space that they can carry with them into their professional career.
Yara Hussein is an Egyptian immigrant student who’s lived in Kingston for most of her life. She’s currently completing her second year as a biochemistry major with a minor in global development.
Yara is currently involved with the Queen’s Student Diversity Project and the Queen’s Muslim Student Association. In these positions, Yara works with the clubs’ teams, university staff, and the greater Kingston community to coordinate various initiatives that help teach on cultural and/or religious topics, celebrate different identities, and raise awareness and donations on current issues. Yara is also a LIT Facilitator for the Human Rights and Equity Office.
Lavonne Hood has been the University Ombudsperson at Queen’s since August 2019. As the Ombudsperson, she works to ensure that university policies and procedures are fair, transparent, and accessible for all students, faculty, and staff at Queen’s.
Throughout her career, Lavonne has been deeply committed to fairness, equity, diversity and inclusion. Before joining Queen’s in October 2018 as Senior Legal Counsel, she worked as Legal Counsel for the Department of Justice, where she served as the Co-Chair of the Advisory Committee on Visible Minorities. This work garnered her both the individual and team National Awards for Employment Equity and Diversity Leadership from the Department of Justice.
Lavonne is grateful to serve the Queen’s community as the Ombudsperson, and hopes to be able to make a real impact on the university for the good of its students, faculty and staff.
Heather Aldersey is an Associate Professor and Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Disability Inclusive Development in the School of Rehabilitation Therapy. She is also the Scientific Director for the International Centre for the Advancement of Community Based Rehabilitation (ICACBR). Dr. Aldersey’s research studies the strategies and services that empower and integrate people with disabilities in society.
Jenny Lee Northey is a career counsellor at Queen’s Career Services who supports and empowers students in crafting their career stories. She is passionate about helping individuals navigate work and career, particularly through the lenses of anti-racism, equity, and inclusion. Jenny is a first-generation immigrant to Canada, and has lived and worked in 3 other countries in various roles in the education sector for over ten years. She continues to be an advocate in higher education, serving as an active member of the Queen’s Women’s Network, as well as part of the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Community of Practice of the Canadian Association of College and University Student Services (CACUSS). She is also a member of the Marketing, Communications, and Web Services Committee of CERIC, helping to advance career development in Canada.
Outside of work, Jenny enjoys hiking trails with her family and getting immersed in a good book with a cup of tea in hand.
Dr. Fahim Quadir is the Dean and Vice-Provost of Graduate Studies and Professor of Global Development Studies at Queen’s University. Prior to Queen’s he served as the Interim Dean and Associate Vice-President Graduate in the Faculty of Graduate Studies at York University. The recipient of many awards and fellowships, including Fulbright, Killam, SSRC, and SSHRC, Dr. Quadir held academic positions at several other universities in the USA, Canada, and Bangladesh and published extensively on Civil Society, Democracy, Development, Economic Reforms, Regionalism, Emerging Donors, Good Governance, and South-South Cooperation.
Alex Pedersen (she/her) holds a PhD in Geography and is a current staff member and adjunct professor at Queen’s University. Alex is an active member of the Queen’s University Association for Queer Employees (QUAQE), a newly established employee resource group for 2SLGTBQ+ employees. When not engaged in her staff role, teaching, or community organizing, Alex can be found working in the apiary or pollinator garden.
2019 - 2020
Lauren is a Kanien’keha:ka student at Queen’s with her roots in Tyendinaga. Lauren is currently completing the 3rd year of her JD degree at Queen’s, having completed her undergrad with a major in History and minor in Indigenous Studies at Queen’s. In her times at Queen’s Lauren as served as president of the Queen’s Native Student Association, Deputy Commissioner of Indigenous Affairs for the AMS, member of the Aboriginal Council of Queen’s University, and the Indigenous Law Students’ Alliance. Moving forward, Lauren will be completing her articling requirement at Hensel Barristers, a litigation firm that is dedicated to changing Canadian Law for Indigenous peoples.
Kevin Collins is the Student Development Coordinator and has also worked as the Community Engaged Learning Coordinator here at Queen’s. He holds a Master’s Degree in International, Comparative & Development Education and Curriculum, Teaching & Learning from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. He sits on the Senate Educational Equity Committee and is an active member of the Queen’s University Association of Queer Employees.
In addition to facilitating leadership development and skill-building workshops for students, Kevin coordinates the Queen’s Reads program, which aims to foster dialogue around equity, diversity and inclusion. Previously, Kevin planned local and global community engagement opportunities for students, putting an emphasis on community partnership and ethical engagement.
In his spare time, Kevin likes to boat around the Thousand Islands with his partner, go for walks with his dog Harry, and play the ukulele.
Dr. Andrew B. Campbell (DR. ABC) is a graduate of the University of Toronto, with a PhD. in Educational Leadership, Policy, and Diversity. He is presently an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Queens University in the Professional Master of Education (Online) and the University of Toronto, in the Master of Teaching (MT) program, in the Department of Curriculum Teaching and Learning (CTL). He is an Ontario Certified Teacher (OCT) and has taught at all levels of the education system for the last 23 years, in Jamaica, Bahamas, and Canada. He has authored two books: “Teachable Moments with DR. ABC: A Spoonful for the Journey (2015)” and “The Invisible Student in the Jamaican Classroom (2018)”
His research and teaching focus on issues of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Educational leadership, LGBTQ Issues, and Teacher Performance Evaluation. Since 2006, he has presented at more than 14 peer-reviewed academic conferences and has delivered more than 30 presentations as a guest speaker, keynote, and workshop facilitator. He loves people, food, fashion, and travelling.
Xin Sun is a recent Queen’s graduate from the Gender Studies program with a certificate in Sexual and Gender Diversity. Xin is an active member of the Queen’s & Kingston communities as a Disability and Social Justice Advocate, Blogger and Motivational Speaker. Xin’s passion for advocacy work is driven by her lived experience with vision loss and chronic illness. She has founded The Invisible Vision Project which uses storytelling through blogging and motivational speaking to raise awareness and promote diversity and equity. Xin also dedicates time to community initiatives such as being a volunteer ambassador for CNIB and a Board Member for the Ban Righ Foundation. In recognition of all of her work, Xin was awarded the Student Affairs: Equity, Diversity, Inclusion Impact Award by Queen’s University in 2018.
Asubpeeschoseewagong nindoonjibaa. I am an emerging conservator in the field of cultural heritage preservation with an interest in archaeological and ethnographic material. I am Anishinaabe and ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐤ (Cree) registered with Grassy Narrows First Nation, ON and raised off-reserve in Timmins, ON, Canada. I have a passion for the preservation and conservation of cultural artifacts from my own background as well archaeological material from pre- and proto-contact North America. I am currently a doctoral candidate with department of Art History and Art Conservation at Queen’s University. I volunteer a part of my time at the Agnes Art Hive, to promote arts and wellness, and with Four Directions Indigenous Student Center to carry out cultural safety training within the university.
Mofi is a student advisor, podcast host, bookstagrammer and an I’ll-watch-anything-realitytv superfan. As an advisor she channels her passions to support the successes of International students utilizing anti-racist, equitable and inclusive lenses. As a Black woman born in Nigeria currently living and working in Kingston, she finds multiple channels to keep engaged with anti-racism work and discourse, which led to the founding of Black Luck Collective, a community group to bring together new and seasoned Black Kingstonians through social gatherings and events. Feel free to connect with Mofi and find all her favourite reads at MofisBookCollection.
Nathan Utioh is an alumnus of Queen’s, graduating in 2016 with his Bachelor’s of Sciences in Life Sciences. As a student, Nathan was involved with residences working with both Residence Life as a Don and the Residence Society. Nathan also spent time working in the Department of Advancement with the Student Alumni Association.
After graduating Nathan moved to England to work at the Bader International Study Centre, supporting students studying at Herstmonceux Castle. Upon his return to Canada, Nathan now works at Queen’s as a Residence Life Coordinator. As a member of the (OACUHO EDI) he and colleagues from Queen’s and Humber College have worked on improving hiring practices to recruit and select more diverse teams. Additionally, Nathan has been a member of the University Council on Anti Racism and Equity since November 2017.
Outside of work, Nathan enjoys playing volleyball and curling, as well is always up for a new podcast recommendation.
Liying Cheng (Ph.D.) is Professor and Director of the Assessment and Evaluation Group (AEG) at the Faculty of Education, Queen’s University. She had her formative years in the Chinese educational system prior to pursuing her master’s degree at the University of Reading in England and PhD at the University of Hong Kong. Liying conducts research into the academic and professional acculturation of international and immigrant students, workers, and professionals to Canada. Her research and teaching address and celebrate equity, diversity, inclusion, and indigeneity. Liying served on the first University Council on Anti-Racism and Equity (UCARE) at Queen’s University and was its co-chair of UCARE (2018-2019).
Vanessa McCourt is Kaienkehaka (Mohawk) from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. She graduated from Queen’s in 2002 with a medial in Sociology and Health Studies and in 2014 graduated with a Masters of Education in Social Justice in Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. Vanessa has worked in the social services field with Indigenous peoples for most of her career. She has worked at Queen’s at the Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre for the past 12 years in recruitment, programming, special projects and events coordination and most recently, student advising. She worked for a short time at the Office of Indigenous Initiatives assisting to implement the recommendations of the Queen’s Truth & Reconciliation Task Force Report.
Nirosha Balakumar is a fourth-year undergraduate student at Queen’s University, pursuing a major in Global Development and a minor in Gender Studies. Last year, she also had the opportunity to specialize in International Law and Politics at the Bader International Study Centre in East Sussex, England. Nirosha has a strong passion for human rights and social justice and is an active advocate both on and off campus. She strives to educate, empower and engage others in the conversation by raising awareness and fostering environments for constructive dialogue. As a minority student leader on campus Nirosha has diligently strived to create a safer and more welcoming campus for students of colour at Queen’s, while putting into question the institutional racism that is present. Nirosha is also a spoken word artist and has performed internationally for audiences as large as 2000 people in environments ranging from high school students, to mayors and UN officials. She uses her art as a platform to provide a voice and educate others on the pressing social issues of our society. Her hope is to help reach and communicate her message of education and empowerment to the youth of this generation in a way that is accessible and engaging.
Mia Berloni is a fourth year Environmental Science student at Queen’s. Mia is currently serving as this year’s Manager of the Peer Support Centre (PSC). Her work involves maintaining the PSC, as well as working on initiatives that bring awareness to the Queen’s student body about topics such as mental health, self-care, and general wellness. When Mia is not at work or school she enjoys listening intently to the Hamilton sound track while cooking meals with her friends.
Kandice Baptiste is Mohawk from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory and holds a Bachelor of Arts: History from Wilfrid Laurier University.
Kandice was selected by the United States Consulate in Toronto as one of five Canadians to participate in the International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP). As a guest of the US State Department, Kandice toured four states exploring higher education systems and policies to learn best practices and innovations.
In 2016 at the Council of Ontario Universities, Kandice launched a Strategic Indigenous Communications Campaign, “Let’s Take Our Future Further.” The campaign combats negative stereotypes of Indigenous peoples, to a diversity of audiences, by highlighting the achievements of Indigenous learners at Ontario universities and their contributions to Ontario’s communities. Currently, Kandice is the Director, Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre at Queen’s University. She has also been elected by her peers to serve as the Co-Chair of the Reference Group on Aboriginal Education at the Council of Ontario
Adnan A. Husain is Associate Professor of the Medieval Mediterranean and Islamic World in the Department of History at Queen’s University and Director of the Muslim Societies-Global Perspectives (MSGP) project (www.queensu.ca/msgp). His research and teaching focuses on cross-cultural and inter-religious histories of interaction and exchange among Muslims, Christians and Jews between 1000-1500CE. He recently co-taught a course on the history of Islamophobia and its intersections with other forms of religious and racial prejudice, the subject of a synthetic study he is currently researching. At Queen’s he has served as Director of Diversity and Equity Projects in the Office of the Provost and is a past Chair of the Senate Educational Equity Committee.
Tim Yearington is an Algonquin-‐Métis Knowledge Keeper within the Office of Indigenous Initiatives at Queen’s. Tim is a public speaker, presenter and a published author. His first book, That Native Thing: Exploring the Medicine Wheel, was published in 2010 by Borealis Press in Ottawa. His second book, Quest for the Thunderbird Nest – Returning to Algonquin Spirituality, will be released soon in 2019. In addition to being a knowledge keeper and writer, Tim is also an artist and an avid wilderness explorer. On foot, on snowshoes and by canoe he spends much time with his family outside “on the land” with the manitous and his Algonquin ancestors.
Tianna Edwards grew up in Kingston, Ontario and moved away for 10 years to complete her post-secondary education and begin her career as a journalist. She currently works as the Officer of Direct Response Appeals in the Office of Advancement at Queen’s. She plans to complete her Masters in Cultural Studies, part time beginning in the fall of 2018. She has a BA degree (Hons) in Media Studies as well as a diploma in Journalism from the University of Guelph Humber. Her undergrad thesis studied the misrepresentation of black culture through black media. Her research interests are race and space and representation. For her Masters, she plans to focus on Kingston’s inclusivity policies as they relate to cities of similar size and demographic.
Curtis Carmichael completed his BPHE at Queen’s University in 2016 and B.Ed. in Technology from UOIT in 2017. During his time at Queen’s Curtis was a member of the varsity football team and spent most of his time within the Kingston community volunteering at an adult drop in centre for those living on the margins.
In 2017, Curtis left a path towards a professional sport career in the CFL to cycle across Canada to challenge Canadians on their perceptions of racialized youth growing up in marginalized communities. His nationwide impact and grassroots movement is featured in the award-winning documentary Ride for Promise. Now as an educator, speaker, and racial justice advocate, Curtis has delivered presentations across Canada and has appeared on City News, Global News, and CBC National.
Raised in a low-income Scarborough neighborhood east of Toronto, Curtis grew up in a system that consistently failed his community. Facing immense challenges and systemic barriers, Curtis felt the weight of poverty, crime, urban decay, and poor academic performance. Today, as a respected community leader, Curtis has received several awards spanning the community, academic, and athletic spheres, including the prestigious USPORTS National Russ Jackson Award.
Dr. Lee Airton is an Assistant Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies in Education at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. In 2012, Lee founded They Is My Pronoun, a Q+A-based blog about gender-neutral pronoun usage and user support with over 30,000 unique visitors in 2017 alone. They are also the founder of the No Big Deal Campaign, a national social media initiative that helps people show support for transgender peoples’ right to have their pronouns used. In recognition of their advocacy work, Lee received a 2017 Youth Role Model of the Year Award from the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity. Lee’s first book, Gender – Your Guide: A Gender-Friendly Primer on What to Know, What to Say and What to Do in the New Gender Culture offers practical steps for welcoming gender diversity in all areas of everyday life, is available from Adams Media (An Imprint of Simon & Schuster).
Hazem Ahmed completed his MSc and PhD degrees in Computer Science from Queen’s University in 2009 and 2014, respectively. During his graduate studies, Hazem worked at the Queen’s Equity and Human Rights Offices for several years building desktop and web-based tools to manage equity training data and analyze University’s survey results.
In 2016, Hazem joined General Electric Aviation as Data Scientist based in Dubai, UAE. In this role, he is responsible for applying statistical modeling, machine learning algorithms and predictive analytics to derive actionable business insights from aircraft engine and aviation data. Hazem enjoys applying his interdisciplinary data analytics skills to real-life problems, where his qualifications can really make a difference to challenging domains. Besides his passion to data, Hazem enjoys reading and writing short fiction, watching movies and dining out with friends and family.
Kuukuwa Andam is a native daughter of the Fante people of Ghana. Kuukuwa was born and raised in Ghana but has called 3 countries home, at different points in her life. Kuukuwa’s passion for law and human rights issues has caused her to work in diverse capacities including clerking with the Chief Justice of Ghana, providing legal services to indigent persons in Ghana and San Francisco and serving as a country conditions’ expert in asylum cases in the US and UK.
Kuukuwa’s current research focuses on the rights of lesbians and bisexual women in Ghana. Her research examines the extent to which Ghanaian law criminalizes sexual minorities, as well as, the human rights abuses that female sexual minorities encounter. She is a PhD candidate at the Law Faculty of Queen’s University where she is also the HR Stuart Ryan Fellow.
Kuukuwa is qualified to practice law in Ghana and holds an LL.M Degree from Cornell University, where she was the Institute for African Development Fellow. She also holds an LL.B from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology.
Kuukuwa loves to learn new languages and currently speaks five languages. She enjoys cooking and volunteered as a chef for King Jesus Orphanage in Kumasi, Ghana during her undergraduate degree. She enjoys writing and is an avid blogger.
Ann Deer, MA Educational Leadership BA, is a Mohawk woman from the Wolf Clan and a member of the Mohawks of Akwesasne, Ontario. She is a daughter, an Auntie, a Friend and Mom to a spoiled dog and cat. Ann received her Undergraduate degree with Honours in both Native Studies and Canadian Studies from Trent University, and later received her Masters of Educational Leadership from St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, and is certified in Conflict Resolution.
Ann is the Indigenous Recruitment and Support Coordinator for the Faculty of Law; the Smith School of Business and the School of Medicine at Queen’s University. In this position Ann is responsible for fulfilling program specific recruiting objectives aimed at increasing the size and quality of the applicant pool of graduating Indigenous students from recognized post-secondary institutions and universities seeking admission to advanced studies within secondary-entry programs in Law, Medicine and School of Business. Ann also coordinates cultural support programming on and off campus for the Professional Indigenous Students in those programs.
Ann has volunteered since November 2016 as a Director on the Tipi Moza (Iron Homes) Board in Kingston, Ontario and has recently sat as a representative of Akwesasne on the Aboriginal Institutes: Policy, Quality, Assurance and Credential Granting, Working Group.
Ann created an online book club, is a regular participant of Kingston’s Annual WritersFest and enjoys gardening.
Kanonhsyonne/Janice Corinne Hill, Turtle clan mother, single mother of two sons, Director of Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, is Mohawk. Born in Messina, NY and raised at Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, Jan has spent her life working for the revitalization of the Mohawk language and the culture, traditions, and spirituality of her ancestors. Grandmother, mother, auntie, sister, political and spiritual activist, and teacher – she believes in the power of knowing who she is and where she comes from. Jan acquired a bachelor’s degree in native studies from Trent University and a bachelor of education at Queen’s University. Jan is currently pursuing a M.A. in Gender Studies at Queen’s University.
Erin LeBlanc has been a part of Queen’s Executive Education as a facilitator on several of the programs offered, as well as a team facilitator in both the Queen’s National Executive MBA and Accelerated MBA programs. She has also facilitated team-building activities in customized programs for executives for the past ten years. She has worked with not-for-profits, non-governmental organizations, and federal departments in the area of leadership development. In addition to teaching graduate courses in the area of International Trade Law, she is also a certified executive coach (TAIS) and has worked with hundreds of executives one-on-one in both the public and private sector for over a decade.
As an advocate for the LGBT community focusing on assisting transgender people, Ms. LeBlanc has been a guest speaker at schools and organizations, a presenter at the Transgender Day of Remembrance, a member of Trans Family Kingston (a support group for transgender people and their families), and quoted in print and online media. She is a co-host of a weekly radio show “Gender Talk” and serves on the Board of Kingston Pride.
A graduate of Queen’s University in Economics and Psychology, she also holds a Master’s Degree in Higher Education Policy from the University of Toronto, as well being a graduate of Queen’s Master of Law Program specializing in International Trade Law.
Dr. Minelle Mahtani is an Associate Professor in the Department of Human Geography and the Program in Journalism, University of Toronto Scarborough. She is the co-editor of the book, “Global Mixed Race” (NYU Press, 2014) and the author of the forthcoming book, “Mixed Race Amnesia: Resisting the Romanticization of Multiraciality in Canada” (UBC Press). Dr. Mahtani is the Past President of the Association for Canadian Studies, and former Chair of Metropolis-Ontario (CERIS – Centre for Excellence on Immigration and Settlement). She is the 2012 Winner of the Glenda Laws Award from the Association of American Geographers for outstanding contributions to geography and social policy, and a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal Award winner. Dr. Mahtani is a former television news journalist with the CBC and has consulted with a variety of organizations on diversity and journalism, including Citizenship Immigration Canada, Ministry of Multiculturalism and Integration, among other groups. She is the former strategic counsel for the not-for-profit IMPACS (Institute for Media, Policy and Civil Society).
Dr. Sheila Cote-Meek, is Anishinaabe from the Teme-Augama Anishnabai. Author of Colonized Classrooms. Racism, Trauma and Resistance in Post-Secondary Education Sheila is a full professor in the School of Rural and Northern Health and holds a cross-appointment to the Northern Ontario School of Medicine at Laurentian University where she is also the Associate Vice-President, Academic and Indigenous Programs. As the senior lead on Indigenous initiatives her responsibilities include leading Indigenous academic developments across the disciplines. She has played a lead role in the development of the Indigenous Sharing and Learning Centre, the Master of Indigenous Relations program and the Maamwizing Indigenous Research Institute at Laurentian University. A leader in Indigenous education Dr Cote-Meek has focussed on bringing about systemic changes that impact Indigenous learners in post-secondary education. In 2016 she was nominated as an Indigenous Role Model for the Council of Ontario Universities Future Further Campaign and in 2103 she was recipient of a YWCA Women of Distinction Award.
Dr Cote-Meek is an active researcher and has extensive experience working with Indigenous communities regionally, nationally as well as internationally on social justice, education and health related issues.
Dr. Gurjit Sandhu is a Surgical Education Scientist, Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery. Dr. Sandhu completed her B.A. in 1996 from the University of British Columbia, Canada and earned her PhD in 2006 from Queen’s University, Canada. She was the Educational Developer for Postgraduate Medical Education at Queen’s University before joining the faculty at the University of Michigan in November 2013. Dr. Sandhu’s research concentrates on progressive entrustment and graduated autonomy in surgical education. More broadly, her work focuses on the scholarship of teaching and learning, specifically looking at professional education, teaching methods and assessment. Dr. Sandhu also uses her strengths as a qualitative researcher to support her work on social accountability in medical education, health equity and disparities, and global health.
Mike Young, a recent graduate, served as the 34th Rector of Queen’s University and was lucky enough to be able to connect with so many incredible people within that role. He’s spoken at 50+ functions as a keynote or panelist over the past 3 years, and got to work with incredible teams as a facilitator for the Positive Space and Sexual Violence Bystander Intervention Training programs, respectively, at Queen’s. Today, Mike continues working on educational programming for the Human Rights and Equity Offices at Queen’s. As his passion for speaking and facilitating has grown through these experiences, Mike is pursuing a career as a speaker and workshop facilitator through the founding of his new venture, Growth Myndset, which seeks to raise social consciousness and combat oppression.
Mike has a passion for helping folks realize their potential, leading important discussions about equity/human rights, and for learning more about himself throughout the process. He’s also passionate about helping those he works with better understand how to navigate privilege when doing anti-oppressive work. Mike believes in the power of honesty, sharing, and laughter, and his work as a public speaker and facilitator strives to be relatable and human above all else.
Jeff Brown graduated from Queen’s University with a BA in Religious Studies in 2008. Jeff remembers working at Walkhome and the Queen’s Pubfondly. While at Queen’s Jeff was active in Arts and Science Orientation Week, the Women’s Issues Committee, and eventually took on the role of Social Issues Commissioner (SIC) with the AMS. Upon graduation, Jeff moved to Halifax to complete his Masters of Public Administration at Dalhousie University; he also acted as the Vice President of Student Life – Dalhousie Association of Graduate Students.
Upon graduation Jeff moved home to Toronto and started his career with BMO Financial Group. Starting in Diversity & Inclusion, Jeff saw many parallels in his SIC role to his job at BMO; he worked closely with Employee Resource Groups, supported training & development, and helped lead public relations programs. Jeff then deepened his experience in Human Resources by becoming an HR Business Partner for BMO’s retail branch network in Toronto and then was hired into his current role as Senior Advisor to the Chief HR Officer for BMO Financial Group.
In his free time Jeff has joined forces with friends to raise money for Ontario based LGBT charities. Jeff also volunteers for Cycle Toronto, an organization seeking to create a safe cycle network in the city.
Paul Chaput is Métis from the Red River in Manitoba. Like his mother, he attended Dubuc, a Roman Catholic residential school in the village of St. Adolphe operated by the francophone Sisters of the Cross. Fortunately, students living in the village returned home each day.
Paul was the Aboriginal consultant, for the creation and the delivery of the curriculum to train 37 former judges and lawyers as adjudicators for the Canada’s Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) process, an alternative to the Indian Residential School’s litigation process. Paul facilitated all sessions in which former students recounted their experiences of abuse while attending residential schools.
Paul recently completed his PhD at Queen’s researching the use of film to return academic findings to the Six Nations community. His film: Planting Stories, Feeding Communities, can be viewed at http://www.plantingstories.ca/ The password is: PlantingStories
Precia Darshan is a third-year Juris Doctor and Masters of Business Administration student with the Faculty of Law and Smith School of Business at Queen’s University.
Precia has an immense passion for business and law, and aspires to practise corporate law. She completed her undergraduate degree in Finance at the University of Toronto, and has worked at Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Mercer and TD Canada Trust. As a Student Caseworker for the Queen’s Business Law Clinic, Precia provided pro bono legal assistance to individuals, small businesses and not-for-profit organizations.
In the Queen’s community, Precia volunteered with Pro Bono Students Canada, the Queen’s Law Journal and the Queen’s Senate Educational Equity Committee. She also served as the Sponsorship Chair for the Law Students’ Society Orientation Committee and as an Events Coordinator for the Law Students’ Society Equity and Diversity Committee. She is a Women in Leadership club member, a Student Ambassador and a Teaching Assistant at the Smith School of Business.
Apart from work and school, Precia enjoys competitive sport, plays three instruments and is the proud owner of a 10-year old Border Collie, Maybelle.
Adam Gaudry is Métis and currently an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Native Studies and Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta.
Adam’s research explores nineteenth-century Métis political thought, the formation of a Metis-Canada treaty relationship in 1870, and the subsequent non-implementation of that agreement. This project argues for the ongoing existence a “Manitoba treaty” between the Métis people and Canada necessitates the maintenance of a respectful and bilateral political relationship between the treaty partners. This work is being revised into a book for publication.
Adam received his Ph.D. from the Indigenous Governance Program at the University of Victoria, and his MA ’09 in Sociology and BAH ’07 in Political Studies from Queen’s University. For his doctoral research on historic Métis-Canada relations, Adam received the Henry Roe Cloud Dissertation Writing Fellowship at Yale University. He is also a co-investigator on the SSHRC-funded Métis Treaties Project.
Adam has published articles in Native American and Indigenous Studies, The Wicazo Sa Review, aboriginal policy studies, and the Canadian Journal of Native Education along with chapters in edited collections on Métis identity, research ethics, and methodology.
Melanie Gray is an alumni of Queen’s University (16′) who graduated with a Bachelor’s of Arts Honours in Art History and a minor in Indigenous studies who currently resides in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. Throughout her time at Queen’s she was a member, and for two terms President, of the Queen’s Native Student Association. She is currently attending the Toronto Art Therapy Institute. Her hope is to be able to take this knowledge and combine it with traditional Indigenous arts and mediums to promote healing in First Nations, Inuit, and Metis communities.
Julie Harmgardt is a recent graduate of Queen’s University, where she completed her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in French Literature (2012), graduating with Distinction and Juris Doctor (2016). Volunteerism has always been an integral part of Julie’s life. Demonstrating her passion for volunteering, Julie has extensive experience in a broad range of long term volunteer initiatives involving senior citizens, environmental promotion, equity, and diversity and inclusion. In 2009, in her desire to foster inclusive communities, Julie founded InvisAbilities, an organization dedicated to promoting awareness, education and support of young adults living with hidden, chronic illness (www.invisabilities.org). InvisAbilities deconstructs misconceptions associated with “invisible” conditions (e.g. arthritis, fibromyalgia, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, etc.). In 2014, Julie worked as a legal intern in New Delhi, India, at the Human Rights Law Network, a non-governmental organization that provides free legal aid to marginalized groups.
Julie’s commitment to volunteering has been acknowledged with the Queen’s Faculty of Law Dean’s Council Diversity Award, Legal Leaders for Diversity Trust Fund Award, GenNext Top 20 Under 40 Award, Queen’s University Steve Cutway Accessibility Award, YMCA Peace Medal and the Ontario Medal for Young Volunteers.
In her spare time Julie loves to travel the world, meeting new people, learning about other cultures and making new friends.
Maria Aurora Nunez holds a first-class honours degree in psychology from the University of Calgary and a Juris Doctor law degree from Queen’s University. While at the University of Calgary, she also studied in a Master of Architecture program, where she proved to be a successful student advocate, before making a move to law.
Maria has received repeated recognition for her advocacy and leadership including: an Ontario Bar Association Foundation Writing Award, Women’s Law Association of Ontario/ Aird & Berlis LLP Advocacy Award, Calgary Herald Class Act Award, Queen’s Law Diversity Award, publication in the Canadian Legal Education Annual Review, and even a psychology publication in the Journal of Neuropharmacology. Maria founded the Queen’s Disability and Mental Heath Law Club and has worked with various organizations, ranging from the Ontario Human Rights Commission to the Law Commission of Ontario.
Maria is also an artist – a poet, song writer, and oil painter. She helped to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Queen’s Human Rights Office by contributing to the “Woman Recreated Mosaic Project.” Her artwork has been published by the Calgary Herald and the First Calgary Bank, and can occasionally be seen on display at the Passionate Artisans Gallery in Kingston.
Coming from a family of political refugees, Maria believes that it is important to stay true to yourself and to do your best, despite adversity. The brave person is not the one who does not have fear, but is the one who continues to dream despite it, and if you can try to improve the community in the process, all the better! Maria loves meeting new people and welcomes getting connected at: https://ca.linkedin.com/in/marianunezart.
Beckham Ronaghan is the LGBTQ+ Youth Coordinator for the Positive Space Network in the Halton Region (Burlington, Oakville, Milton, and Halton Hills). They coordinate LGBTQ+ youth programming, support and education services. Beckham has worked with queer and trans/gender non-conforming youth and families in various capacities for the past 8 years. They graduated from Queen’s University in 2012 with a BAH in Gender Studies and a certificate in Sexual and Gender Diversity. In their spare time Beckham loves to hang out with their partner and their pooch Mathilda on the trails around Guelph, Ontario where they live.
Theresa (Randolph) Yamson is the Regional Nestlé Continuous Excellence (NCE) Champion responsible for continuous improvement within Nestlé Central & West Africa.
She is a Chemical Engineer graduate of Queen’s University ( Sci ’95) and also holds a Graduate Diploma in Management from Henley College UK, as well as a Masters in Process Technology & Management from Strathclyde University, Scotland.
She started her career with Unilever Ghana Ltd, working in various roles in the Foods Business at home in Ghana, then later, South Africa & UK. She was expatriated to South Africa in 2005 to the Regional Innovation Centre, focusing on process development in Culinary, Fats & Oils.
In 2010 she joined Nestlé Central West Africa Region (CWAR) handling Innovation for MAGGI, a major brand in the Nestlé portfolio in the region. She moved on to head Category Management for MAGGI for francophone West Africa (Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Togo & Benin) and then later assisting the Market Head of CWAR to develop Strategy for the Region. Thereafter she increased her commercial exposure working with the Sales Department, in Nestlé Ghana, helping the team to establish the full potential of Modern Trade in a developing market.
For her, her family and friends are a constant fount of support amidst the chaos of life, and she loves to go on evening walks just to dream and unwind.
Images for Paul, Precia and Julie by Greg Black Photography
Inaugural Guest Blogger: Michael Bach, Founder & CEO, Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI)
Michael Bach is the Founder & CEO of the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI), which he launched officially in February of 2013. Prior to the CCDI’s creation he was the National Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for KPMG in Canada, a role he created and held for over 7 years. Additionally, Michael completed a 2½ year secondment as the former Deputy Chief Diversity Officer for KPMG International. He is nationally and internationally recognized as a thought leader and subject matter expert in the fields of diversity, inclusion and employment equity, bringing a vast knowledge of leading practices in a live setting to his work.
Over the course of his career, Michael has received repeated recognition for his work including: a Women of Influence’s 2012 and 2011 Canadian Diversity Champions Award, the Catalyst Canada Honours Human Resources/Diversity Leader award, an Inspire Award as LGBTQ Person of the Year, the Out on Bay Street Leaders to be Proud of LGBT Advocate Workplace Award, the Canadian HR Reporter Individual Achievement Award, the Toronto Immigrant Employment Council IS Award, and the KPMG CEO Community Excellent Award. Michael was also honoured to march as the Grand Marshall of the Toronto Pride Parade in 2011.
Michael and the CCDI have appeared on broadcasts of CBC’s The National, CBC’s Metro Morning, Global News, USA Today, The Jimmy Kimmel Show, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, among others. Michael and the CCDI have also appeared in or written for such publications as BuzzFeed, The New York Times, The Advocate, OUT, Sports Illustrated, Cosmopolitan, UpWorthy, Gay Star News, The Globe and Mail, Huffington Post Canada, The Toronto Star, the MARC Movement, Catalyst, and many more.
Company: The Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion
Mala Joneja is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine at Queen’s University. She is the Director of Diversity for the School of Medicine. She was born in Kingston and grew up in the city. She completed medical school here at Queen’s University, and her residency training at the University of Western Ontario. She completed a Master of Education degree at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.
Sarah Kastner is a PhD candidate in the department of English Language and Literature at Queen’s University. Her work on Zimbabwean authors Yvonne Vera and Dambudzo Marechera explores questions of the literary archive and life writing studies, identifying a new politics of mourning and (in)visibility in globalized cultures of literary circulation and reception. With the support of the Social Sciences and Research Council of Canada, this past winter Sarah carried out archival research in Zimbabwe, Botswana, and South Africa. She has also written about the creative nexus between academic and family life that is specific to her Zimbabwean-Canadian family’s experience.
Billie Kearns is a second year Electrical Engineering student at Queen’s University. Billie is originally from Yellowknife and is of Dene descent, but over the years has moved quite a bit within Ontario and learned many Anishnaabe teachings. Within the hectic schedule of an engineering student, Billie still makes time for her passions in the arts. She is the editor-in-chief of Empress Magazine, performs spoken word poetry at Queen’s Poetry Slam, and plays french horn within the Queen’s University Chamber Orchestra. Though it often proves difficult, she strives to connect her love of art, engineering, and her culture in her everyday life.
De-Lawrence Lamptey is a doctoral student at the School of Rehabilitation Therapy, Queen’s. His research is about improving access to healthcare for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) in Ghana. Before coming to Queen’s, he worked with children with IDD in clinical and educational settings as a clinical psychologist in Ghana. He has a BA (honors) degree in Psychology major, Music minor and MPhil degree in Psychology (clinical option) from the University of Ghana, Legon.
TK Pritchard is a recent graduate of Queen’s, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Drama. He is currently a Sexual Health Youth Facilitator for the Sexual Health Options, Resources and Education (SHORE) Centre, in Kitchener.
While at Queen’s he worked extensively in student government for the Alma Mater Society. He served as the Vice President of University Affairs, the Social Issues Commissioner and the Administration Manager for the Student Life Centre. Further, he was a Steering Committee member for the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance. His work revolved heavily around equity, diversity, and advocacy, and his responsibilities included event development, training design and delivery, lobbying, authoring policy and various other tasks.
TK is passionate about anti-oppression work, queer and trans issues, politics, bow ties and cats. In his spare time, you will likely find him fishing, or hanging out with his partner while watching a Tina Fey and/or Amy Poehler related show.
James McNutt is a graduate student in the Faculty of Education. He is currently studying the history of medical curriculum. James was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth and has used a wheelchair all of his life. James has and continues to be an advocate for educational opportunities for all.
Mona Rahman is a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences and is currently serving as the Educational Coordinator of the Islamic Society of Kingston. Mona was born and raised in Kingston; some might say she was also born and raised at Queen’s University as she was born while her father was in the midst of graduate studies here and, before the Islamic Centre of Kingston was built, most of the activities of the Muslim community revolved around campus, particularly the International Centre. She completed both her undergraduate degree as well as her Ph.D. in Biochemistry at Queen’s University, as well as a post-doctoral fellowship in Vascular Biology at the Robarts Research Institute in London, ON.
During her tenure as a student at Queen’s University, Mona was involved in the Queen’s University Muslim Students’ Association (QUMSA), serving in various Executive positions including Chair (1993-94). This led to an involvement in the Queen’s Interfaith Council for several years, as well as an involvement with the MSA of the USA & Canada. She has also served as QUMSA advisor, both officially and unofficially, through the years which led to an involvement with QUMSA’s Campaign For a Hate-Free Campus. Mona works with both children and youth in the Muslim community, as the coordinator of the Muslim Children’s Circle as well as being an advisor for the Kingston Muslim Youth, and teaching at the ISK Evening & Weekend school. In the past, she has also served as an advisor in the Multifaith Youth Group in Kingston. Mona makes regular presentations on Islam, Muslims and relevant topics to various audiences (i.e. schools, on campus, etc.). She is currently serving as Co-Chair for the Give30 Campaign in Kingston, which aims to raise money for local Food Banks during Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting.
In addition to her scientific publications, she has contributed a chapter entitled “Activism: A Part of Life” in a collection of essays entitled: “Muslim Women Activists in North America: Speaking for Ourselves” edited by fellow Queen’s alumna, Katherine Bullock.
Joelle Thorpe is an alumna of Queen’s University (BScH ’07, MSc ’09) and McMaster University (PhD ’13), where she studied biology and psychology with a focus on reproductive and stress endocrinology. Switching her attention from furry lab critters to humans, she is now a Clinical Research Associate in the Department of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine at Queen’s University. When she’s not at work, Joelle enjoys writing about science and post-PhD life.