To see a short biography, please click on the photo of the participant.
My name is Rachel Chan. I am a second-year student at the Faculty of Law. I completed my undergraduate degree in sociology with a minor in politics at Queen’s University. I am interested in the role of dialogue between Parliament and the justice system in producing positive social change. I hope to learn more about this dynamic first hand through the Women in House program. I am looking forward to tour the Supreme Court and learning from exceptional role models in the House of Commons.
Elizabeth Shaw is a first year Munk One student at the University of Toronto. She was club president of both Refresh Bolivia and German Club in high school, as well as a peer buddy in Best Buddies. Due to her passion for global affairs, she hopes to pursue a double major in International Relations and Peace, Conflict, and Justice. Elizabeth looks forward to being surrounded by so many inspirational women in Ottawa, and learning about governance at the federal level.
Serena Ceco is in her fourth year at Trinity College and is pursuing a double major in Political Science and International Relations. She serves as President of the Association of Political Science Students – one of the largest course unions at the University of Toronto. Serena has a strong affinity for public policy and is excited to meet and engage with female leaders shaping Canadian public policy today. Upon graduation, she hopes to pursue a post-graduate degree in public policy and law.
Victoria Reedman is a second year medical student at the University of Toronto. Concurrently, she is pursuing a Masters degree in Systems Leadership and Innovation. She is the Vice President External Affairs on Medical Society. She has worked as a Policy Analyst for the Ontario Public Service in the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. Victoria hopes to one day run for office and hold the Minister of Health cabinet seat. She cannot wait to network with her heroes at the 2017 Women in House
Nicole is currently a Master of Public Policy candidate (Year 1) at the School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Toronto. She holds a Master of Arts in American Studies and a Bachelor of Arts Honors in Political Science, both from Western University. Nicole is interested in the areas of inclusive and equitable policy-making for marginalized and discriminated groups within Canada; particular policy areas of interest include: ethnic and race relations, indigenous relations, and refugee and immigration affairs. Nicole is very excited to be taking part of the Fall 2017 Women in House Program. She is looking forward to tangibly experiencing the daily legislative process, and in gaining insight into the roles and experiences of dynamic women political practitioners at the highest level of Canadian governance.
My name is Frances Santoro and I am a fourth year student at the University of Toronto’s Trinity College. I am currently striving to obtain my Bachelor in Arts through the completion of a double major in Trinity College’s Ethics, Society and Law program in combination with Criminology and Sociolegal Studies. Pending the completion of my under-graduate degree my hope is to complete my J.D. and work towards a career in law. The ability to observe and interact with those in a field which blends both my legal and political interests so nicely, while also having a feminist element that promotes greater female representation in government, is what interested me the most about this program. I am considering a career in federal law and I believe this program could be something that plays a crucial role in how I structure my future and I am very excited to embark on this incredible opportunity!
Frances Grace McCormick is a first-year undergraduate student at Trinity College in the University of Toronto. Grace is fascinated by the role of data and quantitative analysis in addressing questions of the public good and is currently pursuing a double major in public policy and economics. A student in the Trinity One Public Policy Program, Grace looks forward to cultivating her interest in policy through the lenses of law and political science. Outside of class, she is working to be involved in political advocacy, student governance and new research initiatives like the EWB Sustainable City Project, sharpening her focus as she explores different applications of public policy. Grace is excited and honored to learn from women in leadership on the Hill, to gain a deeper understanding of the legislative system and to bolster her advocacy for gender equity.
Amanda Oprisan is a first year student at the University of Toronto who is part of the Margaret MacMillan Trinity One Ethics, Society and Law stream. She is interested in furthering her studies in English Literature over the course of her undergraduate degree and hopes to pursue a legal education after obtaining her Bachelor’s diploma. Amanda has been involved in various law-related activities, including Mock Trials Tournaments and Mock Appeal Competitions hosted by the Ontario Justice Education Network and the Ontario Bar Association, and wishes to continue engaging herself in the legal and political sphere in the future. She is excited to meet with the inspiring and accomplished women of Canada’s parliament to help promote political involvement and leadership for women in government.
Oriana Rodriguez Gerardino is a fourth year undergraduate student double majoring in Global Health and French Language and Literature. Oriana is passionate about research focusing on the determinants of health of the population in different settings as well as the effects of foreign humanitarian aid in developing countries, and how this research translates into policy. Oriana is involved in various initiatives that aim at supporting community development locally, in the city of Toronto, and internationally. She is currently an assistant coordinator for the Community-Engaged Initiatives Grant offered by the Centre for Community Partnerships, which funds projects developed by students for the community. Oriana is also a sitting member of the Global Commons committee at Hart House which strives to facilitate discussions centred around the theme of reconciliation in Canada and other countries. Through the UofT Women in House program, Oriana hopes to learn from all the inspiring female politicians about health policy, foreign affairs and immigration as well as their personal experiences as leaders in Canada.
Caroline Meier is a first-year student in the Master of Global Affairs program at the Munk School of Global Affairs. Before coming to the University of Toronto, she completed her undergraduate degree in International Studies in Denmark and spent an exchange semester in South Korea. Caroline’s main research interests are, amongst others, the conflict on the Korean Peninsula and the foreign relations of the European Union. She is very excited to have the incredible opportunity to participate in the Women in House program and to experience strong women in political leadership roles.
Shaheen Chohan is a first year Master of Public Policy Candidate at the School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Toronto. She is interested in issues relating to gender equity, public health, and environmental policy, and aspires to a career as a federal civil servant. Shaheen also serves as a policy analyst for the Gender, Diversity, and Public Policy initiative at the School of Public Policy and Governance. She looks forward to meeting and building relationships with our female political leaders through the Women in House Program.
Chloe Magee is a second-year law student at the University of Toronto who aspires to a career in litigation or international arbitration. Prior to law school, she worked at the Supreme Court of Canada revising judgments and conducting research for legal counsel. Her experience at the Court affirmed her passion for both the law and politics. Outside of the classroom, she is an editor for the University of Toronto Faculty of Law Review as well as for the law school’s independent student newspaper Ultra Vires. This year, she will also be putting her advocacy skills to the test by participating in the Callaghan Memorial Moot. She is interested in pursuing a career in politics one day, and is looking forward to gaining insight into the daily life of Canadian political leaders through this opportunity.
Olivia Smith is a second year student at Trinity College specializing in International Relations with a minor in Philosophy. Her academic interests include global health policy, biosecurity, and human rights, specifically the manner in which these issue areas and the policies developed within them affect people who are poor. On campus, she is an executive committee member of Students for Partners in Health Canada, is an active member of the Trinity College Volunteer Society, and is currently working to launch a mentorship program to pair female identifying students at Trinity with alumni mentors in various professions. Olivia is incredibly excited to participate in the Women in House program this year, visit Ottawa, and is especially keen to learn as much as possible from the women on the Hill who work everyday to make Canada a better place for all of us. In her free time, she tutors local children affected by HIV/AIDS, and tries, and often fails, to cook different foods from around the world.
Eunice Kays is a first year student in the 2 year full-time Master of Public Policy (MPP) program at the University of Toronto’s School of Public Policy and Governance. Eunice plans on pursuing her JD degree after completing her MPP as she seeks to explore career opportunities as a Lawyer, Consultant, and MPP/MP, dedicated to achieving inclusivity in the workplace for those historically disadvantaged (women, Aboriginal people, people with disabilities, and racial minorities). She is a dedicated public servant, currently working at the Regional Municipality of York in the Transportation Services Department. She is always seeking new opportunities to help others, especially through volunteer work with youth as well as a plethora of educational, government, and not-for-profit organizations. In her spare time, Eunice enjoys designing and sewing, as well as helping people write/edit their cover letters and resumes. She is excited to visit Parliament Hill to learn from women in power who are doing great things to contribute to the public good! And, just as her name dictates, Eunice (“good victory/she conquers”), hopes to conquer any barriers on her way to success.
My name is Maria Hutt. I am a second-year undergraduate student pursuing a double major in Peace, Conflict, & Justice, and Political Science and a minor in History. I have been employed at a Law Office for over two and a half years, and I have experience in debate, Mock Trial, and Mooting. After my undergraduate studies, I hope to attend law school and pursue a career in the legal field. While the majority of my interests lie in the law and government, I have been teaching piano since 2009, and am currently pursuing my ARCT diploma. I hope that the Women in House program will teach me more about our government and the law, but also about the personal accomplishments of a strong, female leader in parliament.
My name is Sharon Ma and I am currently in my fourth year at the University of Toronto, majoring in Genetics with a double minor in Bioethics and Music History and Culture. Although my field of study is very different from political science or public policy, I believe that everyone should be involved politically no matter their field of study. Political science and public policy encompasses a variety of areas and it is important to have individuals who have interdisciplinary knowledge in government as well. I am very interested to see what a day in parliament is like, and how our government functions both as a group of individuals and as a collective whole. I am excited to meet both like-minded individuals as well as others with opposing minds.
Khadija Waseem is a student at Rotman Commerce, the University of Toronto with a passion for socio-economic development in marginalized communities all across Canada. She is a champion of many social justice causes particularly the empowerment of minorities, at-risk/marginalized youth, and women. As a trilingual Canadian, an advocate of diversity and inclusion she has learnt to see pictures through different lenses and through this experience she wishes to learn about the future of women in ‘The House’ and Senate. She finds great joy in empowering others, as assisting in their personal development allows her to advance in her own. Khadija believes passion exhibited through education is infectious — it empowers individuals. The light of empowerment never fades away — it transfers from person to person until it illuminates the entire world
Sun Xuefei is a first-year student in Master of Global Affairs. Program. She is a newcomer to Canada. She lived in Beijing for the past 22 years and finished her undergraduate in China Foreign Affairs University, major in diplomatic studies. In China, it is very difficult for a female to become politician. She is very interested in this topic. While she also wants to learn something related to Canadian political system in Women in House program.
As a dedicated child advocate for Indigenous youth and literacy, grassroots activist, feminist, and philanthropist I have a passion for social justice and a love for reading. I am currently in my third year, studying Peace, Conflict and Justice; Criminology and Sociolegal Studies and Indigenous Studies. In 2012, I co- founded Books with No Bounds, and to date, have shipped over 230,000 books to 10,000 children around the world. I have participated in humanitarian trips to Kenya, Africa and to remote fly-in only native reserves in northern Ontario including Fort Severn, and Deer Lake. Today, I serve as a Co-Conference Director with the University of Toronto Model United Nations Society, where I also compete at MUN conference around the world, President of the UN Women UofT club and assist in yPAR research at OISE under associate professor Ruben Gaztambide-Fernandez.. I hope to learn how I can best develop and work with local politicians on how to take political action to advance the rights of Indigenous youth in Canada. I can’t wait to build life-long friendships with other inspiring women so that I can become more educated and more aware of issues currently being faced by women across the spectrum.
My name is Chantelle Hospedales and I am a fourth year student at the University of Toronto, double majoring in Criminology and Equity studies. I plan on pursuing international law and human rights litigation post grad – and eventually, making a difference politically, legally and socially in North America. I love to watch movies and read (particularly autobiographies). I can’t wait to gain some firsthand knowledge of how our legal and political system works – it is definitely one thing to learn about it, and another to experience it!
Christeen Salik (pronouns: she/her) is a second-year student majoring in Equity Studies, with minors in Religion and Diaspora & Transnational Studies. Following undergrad, she hopes to attend UofT’s joint J.D. and MSW program to pursue her ambitions to be a Human Rights Lawyer. Leadership and volunteerism are her passions, and she works toward equity through her involvement with the Hart House Social Justice Committee as Co-Chair, and with the Pakistan Development Foundation as VP External. She is also a member of PREVNet’s National Youth Advisory Committee, and the Toronto City Lead for an American NGO called Free Intelligent Conversation. Through the UofT Women in House program, she hopes to learn more about the roles of those in government, and form meaningful connections with her peers and mentors.
Camille Malcolm is a first year M.Sc. Geology student at the University of Toronto and Junior Fellow at Massey College. Having worked in the environmental consulting and mining industries, she is particularly interested in Canadian environmental regulations and policy making. Inspired by her work experience, Ms. Malcolm’s research investigates the geochemistry of contaminated sites and examines the policies impacting current environmental practices in Canada. Ms. Malcolm completed her B.Sc. Honours in Earth Science at Dalhousie University and belongs to several geological associations in Canada and abroad. Outside of school, Ms. Malcolm trains as an amateur triathlete and is involved with mentoring programs for high school students, focusing particularly on encouraging young girls to pursue careers in STEM fields.
My name is Danna Aranda. I am a fourth year student at the University of Toronto specializing in Political Science, looking to enter an M.A. program following graduation. I hope to attain a joint JD/PhD in the future, as I am deeply interested in both research and legal work. In attending UofT’s Women In Parliament program, I hope to gain more insight in the lives of women in politics. I am also looking forward to meeting motivated women who have made an impact in areas they are passionate about, and learning about the ways in which they have overcome barriers, particularly systemic gender barriers, in achieving their goals. Lastly, I am excited to be surrounded by like-minded women who care about making change, irrespective of the real and true gender-based challenges that come their way!
My name is Brittany Casals. I am in my fourth year of a Political Science Specialist and plan to pursue a Master of Public Policy after graduation. I am passionate about politics and policies that protect Canada’s most vulnerable people and places. I am interested in researching how the growing inequality in Canada affects the environment, indigenous communities, and affordable housing. In my spare time, I enjoy volunteering with the Jays Care Foundation and on local campaigns, reading, playing tennis, and rooting for the Toronto Blue Jays. From the Women in House program, I hope to learn from the experiences of women Members of Parliament, discuss how they overcame the structural challenges of political participation and what we can do to action gender equity today.
Sarah Millman is a fourth-year student at Trinity College, University of Toronto, pursuing an Honours BA in International Relations, Criminology, and Political Science. Her major areas of interest include criminal justice, Indigenous rights, legal advocacy, and foreign policy. Originally from Truro, Nova Scotia, Sarah has embraced life in Toronto by becoming involved on and off campus. Sarah has held a range of leadership roles with the Hart House Debate Club, serving as President last year, and her competitive achievements earned her the opportunity to represent the University of Toronto at the 2017 World University Debating Championship in The Hague. Debating also connected her to off-campus opportunities, doing community outreach to schools and community groups and teaching public speaking and critical thinking skills. Sarah also helped the club develop a pilot project to partner with local correctional facilities which will be implemented this fall. Sarah has been a contributor and editor for multiple student publications, head of the Trinity College Equity Committee, and Compliance Analyst for the G7 Research Group, and volunteers with the Toronto Distress Centre.
My name is Shirin Bithal.I am currently pursuing my Master’s in Public Policy at the School of Public Policy and Governance, U of T. I also hold a MSc in International Economics from University of St Andrews, Scotland and BA (Honours) Economics from Delhi University, India. Prior to arriving here, I was working as a Consultant with the Federal Government of India on Public Policy (Governance Reforms) and have also worked on Environmental Policy with one of India’s largest Environmental think tanks. My idea of participating in this program is to understand the functioning of Canadian Government, political procedures and how policies are formulated and implemented here. Working under a MP/Senator will help me understand the functioning of the Ministries, legislative procedures and Governance structure better and also enable me to do a comparative analysis between Canada and India. I am extremely thrilled at this opportunity and I really look forward to visiting the Hill.
Jina Aryaan is a fourth year Sociology student with a double minor in French and Latin American Studies at the University of Toronto. She is interested in a career in the field of law and politics, and constantly pursues opportunities that allow her to challenge herself and contribute her skills and experiences to meaningful initiatives. She is hoping that the UofT Women in House program will allow her to gain insight and practical experience in the manner in which political leaders establish public policies and other legal processes. Within her university community, she is an active student leader as the President of the Spanish Student Organization, Co-President of the Sociology Students’ Union, Co-Editor of Her Campus UToronto, Treasurer of the Arts and Science Students’ Union, and board member on several Arts and Science Council committees. When she is not rushing to her classes or club and committee meetings on campus, she is enjoying her time with her friends and family.
Diletta Di Marco is a second-year graduate student in Public Policy from Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. She is currently doing an exchange semester at SPPG for the Fall term. While Diletta’s interests and goals are various, she is particularly passionate about diversity, gender equity, women’s access to education and business empowerment for less privileged minorities. Her main focus is how to help young women to be engaged in leading positions in both private and public sector. She is excited to join this year’s participants in promoting political engagement and building women’s involvement in public life. This is an incredible opportunity to meet members of a new and inspiring political community and she would like to bring back her experience to Europe, using this exciting two days as an example for new motivated and ambitious young women.
Alexandra Thatcher is a fourth year student majoring in Canadian Studies and Near Middle Eastern Civilizations. Her research interests include the intersection of Canadian policy as it concerns the Middle East in regards to intervention and migration, as well as the intersection between Canadian and Indigenous studies. Alexandra wants to continue her studies in the Middle East and is interested in pursuing a career in foreign affairs. She hopes that the 2017 Women in House program will help her better understand the challenges women continue to face in political life and how best to navigate these challenges and enhance her leadership skills.
Ce Shang is a fourth year student studying neuroscience and economics at UofT. She is interested in financial regulation, provision and distribution of healthcare, and how the government must be constantly vigilant and adapting in its policies to accommodate rapid global changes in these areas. Ce has been a passionate volunteer at hospitals across University Health Network for the past 5 years, and is also a compliance analyst in Munk School’s G20 research group, the production/managing editor at University of Toronto Economics Review, and the student steward of Hart House Music Committee. She is thrilled to be a part of the Women in House program to improve her knowledge of Canada’s policies and plans in providing better healthcare and safeguarding its market.
Sharly Chan is a Master of Information candidate at the University of Toronto Faculty of Information and a Junior Fellow at Massey College. She is passionate about the intersection of technology and policy, specifically within the areas of privacy, surveillance, and open government.
Generously supported with the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, her thesis with Professor Leslie Regan Shade explores Canadian privacy advocacy groups, their advocacy strategies and their impact on the structures of policymaking surrounding privacy and surveillance legislations, with a focus on Bill C-51. Sharly is an organizer at Civic Tech Toronto, a non-profit community group that meets every week to listen to guest speakers within the field and to work on projects that use technology to solve civic problems. She is delighted to participate in the U of T Women in House Program to engage with women in leadership and to promote diversity in Canadian politics.
Carey Davis is currently a first year student at Trinity College. She is studying Political Science and Economics, and is also enrolled in the Munk One program at the Munk School of Global Affairs. Originally from Massachusetts, Carey is eager to call Toronto home for the next four years, and to learn more about the disparities and parallels between the Canadian and American political systems.
Leslie Walker is a third-year J.D. candidate at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. She is particularly interested in issues relating to freedom of expression, privacy, access to information, and regulatory law. Prior to attending law school, she obtained a Bachelor of Journalism degree with Honours and a minor in Sociology from Ryerson University. At Ryerson, she was awarded the Thomson Reuters Award for most promising first-year newspaper journalist, and the Ray Smith Award for having the highest GPA in the newspaper stream upon graduation. After assisting in the drafting of a Private Member’s Bill this summer, she is excited to use this opportunity to learn more about the legislative process and the day-to-day operations of the House.
Aisha Ryan is a third year Trinity College student pursuing a double major in International Relations and Health Studies. She has an acute interest in health promotion, particularly in disadvantaged populations including Indigenous Canadians, refugees, and in the developing world. Aisha has served for three years on the executive of university’s International Relations Society, and more recently as the Senior Editor of the Attaché Journal of International Affairs. Additionally, she has been involved with the G7 and G20 Research Groups at the Munk School of Global Affairs, the Trinity College Board of Stewards, and the Canadian Centre for Responsibility to Protect, where she currently serves as Co-Director of Undergraduate Research. Aisha is also excited to spend this academic year working with Trinity Women in Leadership (TWIL), and hopes to use this incredible opportunity to inform her work with TWIL and other organizations.
I am a third year PhD candidate in Sociology at the University of Toronto, working on expanding our understanding of gender disparities among professionals — a group which sees the highest levels of such inequality despite more equal educational backgrounds. As such, I hope to learn from the firsthand experiences of women in power, how they navigate opportunities to political involvement, work to push forward women’s issues in Parliament, and the pathways to political involvement they foresee for new cohorts of young women. As a Massey Junior Fellow, I have also learned the value of social involvement and contribution — both in academia and beyond. During my consulting work for large public organizations, I employed my analytical skills to develop concrete recommendations to enhance social equity for Canadian immigrants and visible minorities. Understanding how the federal government takes on and resolves issues under consideration is key to that work. In addition, I believe that helping to bridge the gap between societal needs, industry and government is a key challenge of the 21st century — especially as global markets and technological developments increase the pace of our everyday life. As such, I hope to learn how our federal government works, what means we have of influencing it, and how we can address societal issues with appropriate political action.
Tracy is a first-year Master of Global Affairs student at the University of Toronto. Having completed her undergraduate degree in health sciences, she strongly believes that health is a human right, and is passionate about addressing the social determinants of health and improving access to health services. After working in research for the past few years, she has now set her eyes on a career in the public service where she is interested in working to ensure that the intended impact of policies and programs is being achieved. She looks forward to engaging with female leaders in Parliament about their work and experiences, and learning how research informs the political process.
My name is Olive Arinze and I’m in second year pursuing a major in African Studies and Book and Media Studies. I would love to see how female politicians in Canada work to achieve their policies. I am interested in increasing female political participation, as well female corporate and government leadership in my home country Nigeria. I hope to export some of the lessons learnt from this program as a way of solving some of the political issues plaguing Nigeria.
Hello, my name is Lorraine Amaya-Velez and I am currently pursuing a double major in Political Science and Diaspora and Transnational Studies. I am interested in humanitarian intervention, social justice and indigenous reconciliation efforts. I am so honoured to have been gifted this opportunity with U of T’s Women in House program and I hope that this opportunity helps me gain insight into the political world which I hope to be part of one day.
After completing my undergraduate degree in Anthropology from the University of British Columbia, I decided that my interests and goals could be best served by undertaking a professional Masters of Public Policy. The combination of thorough research, evidence-based decisions, and deep care for individual and community impacts, drew me to this field of study. Through this Women in House program, I hope to meet and learn from women who have chosen to commit some, or all, of their careers to policy and politics. Each and every one has an interesting story to tell, and every time I hear another it inspires me in my own pursuits. Following my graduation in 2019, I hope to return to my home in British Columbia.
Hadeel Aziz is a third year student completing a double major in Peace, Conflict, and Justice Studies and Political Science. She is a published author and hopes to continue to write short stories and novels. In the future, she aspires to work in government to implement meaningful policy changes and continue to create positive change. Through this program, Hadeel hopes to make long-lasting friendships with like minded peers and mentors, as well as see how academic political theory translates to real life application on the ground.
My name is Tyentyen Chen and I am a third year student from the Asian Institute at Munk School at the University of Toronto. I am currently pursuing a double major in History and Anthropology and my regional focus of study is Asia. As I near my final year of undergraduate studies, my thoughts of life beyond university lead me to consider government or law, and it would be a rare but wonderful opportunity to be able to connect with a female representative who has been working in the field for several years already; who can give me insight to the ups and downs of being a female government employee.
My name is Rachelle Sanicharan and I am a twenty year old student at the University of Toronto St George campus with St. Michael’s College. I am currently studying Canadian Studies with a minor in History. I hope to one day become a lawyer. I hope to have a better understanding of the Canadian parliament and how the women that are apart of the parliament got to where they are today. These women are role models and I am very honoured to be chosen to meet and interact with them.
My name is MarshaLee McLeod and I am a fourth year student majoring in Political Science and Human Geography. Over the course of my university education I have developed a keen interest in improving the lives of the most vulnerable people who are living in abject poverty and poor environmental conditions that increases their susceptibility to social, economic and political injustices. Having worked as a summer student with the City of Toronto’s Municipal Licensing and Standards division for two years and has a student intern with the City of Toronto’s Social Development, Finance and Administration division, I have become increasingly interested in the ways in which public policies are created and implemented. Therefore I aspire to pursue a career in Public Administration and Public Policy with the hopes of working within each level of the Canadian government as well as with the United Nations Development Programme. On a whole, I hope that U of T’s Women in House Program will expand my understanding of the important roles of women within the Canadian government as well as help to inform my pursuits towards a career in politics.
Hi, my name is Veronique Nuqui and I am a first-year student in the International Relations Stream of the Trinity One program, hoping to pursue a double major in International Relations and Economics. I have a strong passion for helping people and am interested in topics such as (but not limited to): the socioeconomic disparities within different social groups in Canada, advocacy for mental health and the rights of women, immigrants, refugees and indigenous peoples. In the past, I have volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, METS Corner, which is a tutoring program helping children in underfunded schools within lower-income neighbourhoods and attended Jack Summit in 2016, which is a national mental health conference held by youth. In my free time, I like to sing, dance and occasionally try to learn new Spanish or German phrases, in which I hope to be fluent in the future, as I am already bilingual in English and French. At Parliament Hill, I would like to see what the job of member of Parliament entails and the political processes, as well as learn about what it is like to be a female in a traditionally male role.
Sara D’Ambrogio is a Master of Global Affairs student at the UofT’s Munk School. Her research interests include policy development, global security, human rights, and migration. Through the UofT Women in House Program, Sara hopes to expand her understanding of the inner-workings of the nation’s capital and the extensive processes of domestic and international governance.
My name is Nathália Marques. I’m a fourth year student at the University of Toronto, with a major in International Relations and minors in History and Spanish. As a young mother, I often deal with the patriarchal aspects of our society and I’m interested in learning the ways in which we can reverse them. I’m excited to meet the women in our government and learn about the steps being taken towards gender equity.
Kristen Bass is a second-year student at the University of Toronto, working towards a major in Women & Gender Studies with a double minor in French As a Second Language and Writing & Rhetoric. Prior to attending U of T, Kristen completed a diploma in Photographic Technology, and worked for nearly six years as a professional photographer. A burgeoning passion for social justice sent Kristen back to post-secondary studies where she seeks to use her photography and creativity to promote social change. She is also drawn to policy and government as avenues through which social change can transpire, and sees immense value in government working alongside artists and grassroots organizations to realize an equitable future for Canadians.
Erica Roa is an economist with experience in financial markets and wealth management. She is currently pursuing a Master of Global Affairs at the Munk School, University of Toronto. She had also worked for RBC and Banco Santander, and her research interests range from the study of behavioral economic theory (analyzing the political and financial decision-making process for individuals, companies, and government) to the study and participation in legal and ethical conversations about information and public opinions within the scope of the internet and social media.
Arielle Mantes is a third year student currently enrolled in a double major in Political Science and Diaspora and Transnational Studies. Her goal is to pursue a career in an area regarding immigration policies. With a passion for human rights and gender equality, Arielle actively participates on campus through Amnesty International and UN Women chapters at U of T. When she is not at school, she is volunteering at MP Mark Holland’s community office in Ajax or participating in a work study with the Migrant Mothers Project. Through this program, Arielle hopes to dive deeper into Canadian policies with the mentorship of female politicians and to encourage other females to challenge gender stereotypes and get involved in politics.
Siobhan Bradley is a second year Master of Global Affairs Candidate at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. She worked in the Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Section of the Canadian Embassy in Thailand this summer. Her interests lie in human rights, global health, gender equity and development. During the Women in House program, Siobhan is excited to build on her previous experiences working with the government while learning and interacting with influential MPs and Senators.
Jordan Kazan Baigrie is a third year student doing a specialist in Peace, Conflict and Justice Studies, with an interest in international human rights law, specifically in regards to cultural genocide. Jordan also enjoys courses in near and middle Eastern archaeology and various languages, such as French, Spanish and Polish. Jordan is passionate about equality and equity issues, and has written several articles on contemporary equality issues for online platforms. In her free time, Jordan works as a competitive swim coach for Toronto Masters Swim Club and teaches first aid courses.
Yara is a fourth-year undergraduate student with a specialization in Political Science at the University of Toronto. She is passionate about women’s civic engagement and political representation and was Equal Voice’s “Daughter of the Vote” for the Oakville riding, a multi-partisan initiative which allowed her to interact with Canadian politicians of all levels of government. Yara’s current role as a Board Member on her local provincial riding association and as a Communications Advisor at the Constituency Office of the Hon. Kevin Flynn, MPP Oakville and Ontario Minister of Labour, has only fuelled her passion even more. She hopes that as a member of Women in House she will be able to further her understanding of the participation of women and people of colour in the political sphere. Yara is excited to be with like-minded young women and is grateful for the opportunity to shadow a woman on the federal level.
My name is Spence Colburn. I am a first-year law student, with an interest in women’s issues and human rights. Prior to coming to U of T, I obtained a Bachelor of Commerce, with a major in Business Law and Economics and a minor in Political Science, from the University of Alberta. I first became interested in politics at the age of eleven, when my father was elected to the Edmonton Public School Board. Since then, I have volunteered for a number of municipal and provincial campaigns. From this experience, I hope to glean important insight into the world of federal politics through a female lens, as well as discover ways that I can get involved and make a difference as a law student.
My name is Laura Quon. I am a second-year student at Victoria College pursuing a double major in International Relations and Economics with a minor in Political Science. As an American studying abroad in Toronto, I’m hoping to gain knowledge and skills that will broaden my perspective of the world and provide a strong background for my future career. Through the U of T Women in House program, I’m looking forward to learning more about the Canadian Parliament and witnessing a legislative process foreign to me. I’m inspired by these female politicians whom I will have the pleasure of interacting with and hope to share my experiences to empower other young women such as myself to become more politically active and unafraid to aspire to positions of power. As I’m hoping to pursue a career in either international business or law, I’m certain my studies at U of T and participation in this program will prepare me well.
Hello! My name is Emily Chu, and I’m a second-year studying International Relations, Political Science, and American Studies at Trinity College. I’m a huge policy nerd, so I’m so excited to participate in the Women in House program this year. It will give me a chance to get a glimpse of the day-to-day life on Parliament Hill, as well as get a chance to interact with my personal heroes – Supreme Court Justices. I can take the lessons I learn from shadowing women political leaders back to campus through my involvement in the Association of Political Science Students and other organizations.
Anastasiya Harovska is an undergraduate student at Trinity College interested in political science and international relations. She recently returned from Ukraine following a year volunteering with the Slavic Foundation Ukraine. While in Ukraine, she volunteered with the Chaplaincy Directorate for the Ukrainian National Guard, and worked with the Chaplaincy for the Latvian Armed Forces providing humanitarian aid and support for displaced Ukrainian citizens, children and front line service personnel. The work was dangerous and involved visiting the front in the battle-ravaged Donbas, Ukraine several times. After seeing the destruction of war firsthand, Anastasiya wishes to pursue a degree in Peace, Conflict, and Justice Studies where she believes her exposure to the effects of war will prepare her to make a contribution towards international conflict resolution. Through the opportunity afforded by this significant assembly, she hopes to further her personal experiences and strengthen how she works with other women that share the same drive, passion and commitment in their chosen fields.
Farhana Islam is a doctoral student at the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Toronto and a Junior Fellow at Massey College. Her research focuses on the neural correlates of neuropsychiatric disease, with a special focus on depression and addiction. She is an outspoken advocate for mental health in her community through her outreach work. On campus, she works towards equity and inclusivity in her role as the Vice President of the Race and Ethnicity Caucus of the University of Toronto Graduate Student’s Union. When she is not at the lab or marking, she is actively involved in mentoring and tutoring youth in her community as part of the Pathways to Education Program and the Kids.Now Program. Through the UofT Women in House program, she is looking forward to shadowing and being mentored by a female politician, and becoming more aware of the different avenues to getting involved in health policymaking as a scientist.
Alisa McMaster is a third-year student at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. She completed her undergraduate studies at McGill University in Political Science and International Development (Economics stream). Alisa is actively involved in the University of Toronto’s Downtown Legal Services clinic, and is interested in pursuing a career in litigation. Outside of the classroom, Alisa plays hockey and is the co-captain of the Faculty of Law’s co-ed hockey team. Alisa is excited to tour the Supreme Court of Canada and have the unparalleled opportunity to shadow and learn from women in Parliament.
Sharnelle Morgan is a first-year graduate student at the School of Public Policy and Governance completing her Master’s in Public Policy. Prior to attending the University of Toronto, she completed her bachelor’s degree in Public Affairs and Policy Management with a specialization in development studies and completed a minor in Economics. Among many policy interests, Sharnelle is primarily interested in the intersectionality between race, gender, and policy. She is deeply honoured to part of this program, and is excited to gain valuable insight on what it truly means to be a ‘ women in politics’.
Marium Vahed is an advocate for civic engagement amongst youth, Muslims, and women, having been Communications Associate for The Canadian-Muslim Vote; Director of Provincial Policy for the Mississauga East-Cooksville Young Liberals; and an avid debater. She’s currently in her first-year studying Political Science, and in the Munk One program at Munk School of Global Affairs. Through U of T Women in House, she’s excited to develop a more comprehensive understanding of federal politics, especially through the lens of gender equality, and hopeful that through this opportunity, she will be set on the path of one day running for office.
Cydney is in her first year of the Master of Global Affairs program at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. She completed her undergraduate degree in International Development and has experience working with communities in Africa, Canada, the United States, and Europe. Prior to attending Munk, she worked in the field of refugee resettlement and wrote her honour’s thesis on the theme of refugee integration in Canada. Her research interests include refugee and forced migration studies, international development, and social justice. Her future careers goals are to work with marginalized populations to promote human rights and social justice. Cydney is excited to be a part of the University of Toronto’s Women in House program and hopes to learn more about opportunities available to women in Canadian politics.
My name is Rachel Cohen and I am in my second year studying Political Science at the University of Toronto, Victoria College. I was born in Washington DC, though I grew up in Ottawa. Politics ran through my veins from the beginning, my parents were journalists that met on a provincial election campaign in the 80’s. I’ve always had a keen interest in social justice and government, so I hope this trip will teach me about these disciplines in a hands-on manner. I expect that the 2017 Fall U of T Women in House trip will inspire me to keep pushing through the glass ceiling in hopes of giving women my age the confidence to act, so that Canada will one day be, a truly equal society.
Edie Guo is a second-year student studying Physiology and Environment & Toxicology. She grew up in a small town in British Columbia and studied high school in Shanghai. Currently, she is the Co-chair of the Hart House Farm Committee and a student of the Margaret MacMillan Trinity One program. She is passionate about environmental protection and served as a first-year representative of the Trinity College Environmental Society. She is thrilled to be part of the Women in House Program, and hope to learn about Canadian politics and ways in which environmental protection policies are developed and implemented.
Mariya-Kvitlana is currently a fourth year student at the University of Toronto, studying International Relations and Public Policy and Governance. Kvitlana is passionate about working with causes such as environmental sustainability, human rights and gender equity. She has been actively involved with the G20 Research Group, Journalists for Human Rights, and a series of work study positions at her university. Kvitlana is looking forward to stepping into the shoes of parliamentarians she admires and experiencing political procedures hands on. This is also a wonderful opportunity to get to know other likeminded University of Toronto students.
Heather Wong is a first year student at Trinity College at the University of Toronto and hoping to major in Public Policy and Health Studies. She is a member of the Margaret Macmillan Trinity One program in the Public Policy stream. Having done research on the impact of HIV/AIDS policy on LGBTQ+ advocacy, Heather is interested in equitable health policy and how it can act to bridge health outcome gaps. She is incredibly excited to meet all of the other wonderful participants and to get an in-depth look at the policymaking process.
Vanessa Hayford is a first year student in the Master of Global Affairs program with the Munk School of Global Affairs. Prior to pursuing her Master’s degree, Vanessa worked as a consitutency assistant for Member of Parliament Julie Dzerowicz, with a focus on immigration casework, and as an equity assistant for Scotiabank Global Banking and Markets. As an avid writer, Vanessa served as a Junior Research Fellow for the NATO Council of Canada, and is a casual writer for a local food blog. Her key topics of interest are immigration, humanitarian intervention, and international development.
My name is Lydia Ocharo. I am a fourth year student at New College undertaking a double major in Equity Studies and African Studies. My acceptance into the 2017 U of T Women in House Program and the opportunity to interact with Justice Andromache Karakatsanis of the Supreme Court of Canada, women MPs and cabinet ministers, and shadow an MP is a great boost to my career prospects, in law, equity and and public policy. Thus, the trip will benefit and enrich me in numerous practical ways.
My name is Sukaina Kazim. I am a third-year student majoring in both International Relations and History. The opportunity that the U of T Women in House Program has provided me and other female students is ideal. Especially given the fact that I take a great interest in matters concerning equality and gender equity. I am the President of a chapter of a Pakistani Non-Governmental Organization named Sahil at the University of Toronto, which protects children’s rights; particularly child sexual abuse. The NGO looks to empower primarily young females to understand their rights, whilst also teaching mothers to protect their children in vulnerable environments. The UofT Women in House Program is clearly an informative and fruitful experience, where I can educate myself more on the Canadian field of politics. To be able to meet women that have successfully paved a path for themselves in Parliament Hill is something that I seek to emulate and learn from. I am definitely looking forward to the experience!
Hello! My name is Lilian Shams-Amiri and I was born and raised in the beautiful city of Montreal, Quebec. My parents are Iranian immigrants who fled religious persecution in their home country and lived as refugees in Turkey for a brief period of time. Their teachings as well as their struggle has led me to come to the University of Toronto to pursue a double major undergraduate degree in Criminology and Canadian Studies. I hope that over the course of this trip, I hope to make meaningful connections with the fellow bright young women from U of T, learn about the political system through my own eyes as well as find ways in which gender equity can be improved in our country’s capital.
My name is Amelia Ritchie. I am a first year student in Trinity College at the University of Toronto, studying social sciences. At this point in my university education, I intend to do a double major in Ethics, Society & Law and Women & Gender Studies. On this trip, I hope to learn how I can go from being a leader on a miniscule scale to being a leader on a major scale, such as within Canada or within an international agency. I believe that the women I meet on this trip will be the perfect models of this transition for me.
My name is Neha Moharir and I am currently a third year student studying Women & Gender Studies and Equity Studies. On this trip, I am interested in speaking to and interacting with government officials, asking questions specifically in regards to what their programs and projects are dedicated to decolonization, indigenous rights, anti-black racism, poverty, immigration and many other issues on colonized Turtle Island.
My name is Maria-Aba Benoit Mariaca. I am a second-year student doing a Peace, Conflict, and Justice Specialist, complementing my studies with a double minor in Latin American Studies and French as a Second Language. I am very grateful to be part of the call for change and women empowerment U of T Women in House promotes. This program allows for an opportunity to give women a voice through exposure and visibility. I hope to learn, grow, and take inspiration from the women I meet through this program and apply what I learn to help build an engaged community on the topic of equality.
I’m a third-year Visual Studies & Architecture student, Hart House Art Committee co-chair, international student, curious about the Canadian political system and want to learn more about the procedures.
Geneviève is a Public Health Science PhD student specializing in social and behavioural health sciences with a collaborative specialization in women’s health. Her work focuses on exploring the sociocultural and biological factors that influences women’s mental health throughout their life course. In particular, she’s interested in examining the impact and intersection of sex and gender on subjective impairment, mild cognitive impairments, and Alzheimer’s disease. Most recently, she completed her M.Sc. in Community Health Sciences at the University of Calgary specializing in Population and Public Health. Outside of academia, she enjoys playing soccer, practicing yoga, and reading science fiction. She is honoured and excited to participate in this program and hopes to be exposed to the wide range of careers available in the federal government as well as being appraised in gender equity initiatives being rolled out at the federal level. She is excited to partake in networking and mentor opportunities with prominent Canadian civil servants, MPs, journalist, and politicians.
My name is Muriam Fancy. I am a third year undergraduate student studying Peace, Conflict, and Justice, along side Indigenous Studies and Diaspora and Transnational Studies. Through my studies I am able analyze conflicts through the perspective of multiple communities, human rights, as well as law. I truly love what I study because I have the opportunity to question how law, norms, and behaviour play a role in conflict. Through this I hope to accomplish my law degree in Human Rights Law. Outside of my studies I am currently a project officer at the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, as well as a Marketing Officer at the World International Model United Nations Foundation. Moreover, I am the outreach director for the UofT Human Right’s Watch as well as UofT UN Women. As well, I have been running my own organization called One Nation, Two Worlds, in which it focuses on raising awareness of the gap in health and education standards for those on reserve and of those of other minority groups within Canada. Finally, I am a research assistant at an organization called 4 Seasons of Reconciliation in which I am apart of a team that spearheads different initiatives to take part in reconciliation within Canada.I look forward to my time in Ottawa to learn from influential individuals whom have paved the way to create positive change.
Mashal Khan is an artist and student at the University of Toronto studying Equity, Sociology and Visual Studies. She immigrated to Canada at the age of seven from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan in 2002. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in documentary filmmaking, dealing with social and political issues faced by people of colour. Her practice focuses on the narratives and lived realities of women of colour, highlighting their resiliency and courage in a world that does not value their existence. She is an emerging filmmaker part of the Doc Institute’s New Visions 2018 Cohort and currently is in the processing of developing a documentary about the girls of Swat Valley and their continued fight for education during/after the Taliban control of their homeland. She is honoured to be a part of U of T Women in House 2017 and hopes to connect with both current and future female leaders guiding Canada to a more equitable future for all.
Priscilla Mak is a second-year Master of Public Policy candidate at the School of Public Policy and Governance, focusing her studies on municipal and urban policy, civic engagement, and food security. She previously completed a Bachelor of Business Administration at the University of Toronto and worked in the Ontario Public Service. With a passion for meaningful community development, Priscilla sits on the Mississauga Public Library Board and is an active member of many civic engagement groups, including the CivicAction Emerging Leaders Network and Toronto Food Policy Council. Through the U of T Women in House program, Priscilla hopes to learn from Canadian female politicians about their leadership and policy decision-making experiences at the federal level.
Khadija Ahmed is currently a Master of Global Affairs student; while an undergraduate student, she interned, studied, and lived in the United States, Turkey and France. Upon graduating from Carleton University with a Bachelors of Arts Combined Honours in Law and Women & Gender Studies, she worked for the Government of Canada. She is interested in issues pertaining to global security and law: in particular, how legislation and contemporary discourse on terrorism impact human rights and the rule of law.
Riam Kim-McLeod is a fourth-year student at Trinity College pursuing a double-major in International Relations and Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations. Her academic focus is on analysing extremism and radicalization from historical, cultural and gendered perspectives, a field she wishes to pursue professionally. Riam is the current Vice-President of Finance for the University of Toronto International Relations Society, and has previously worked with the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, the G7 Research Group, the Monaco Red Cross and the Trinity College Historical Society. She is looking forward to this exciting and fulfilling opportunity with Women in House.