Current Students

Year I Students (2017-2019)

Iman Ahmed

Iman is a graduate of York University where she completed a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) with a double major in Political Science and Sociology. After graduating she travelled to Mogadishu, Somalia for the first time to intern with the Federal Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation. Through her Internship, Iman was part of a team that created a National Development Plan for Somalia through participating in consultations, meetings, workshops with Civil Society, International Donors (UN, USAID, DFID, etc), women’s groups and regional governments. Iman is interested in researching how young people, particularly from Sub-Saharan Africa, are affected by poverty, violence, and natural disasters and how this impacts on the current global refugee crisis. She hopes that the DVST program will better equip her to conduct research and understand topics of development not only in Sub-Saharan Africa but across the globe.


Vanessa Bart-Plange

Originally a MasterCard Foundation scholar from Ghana, Vanessa recently graduated with a BA (Hons.) in Political Science and International Relations and a minor in African Studies from the University of Toronto. At UofT, she was a Dean’s List Scholar and had the opportunity to intern with a Toronto municipal councilor and the Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED-Ghana). Over the last three academic years, she volunteered as a tutor with schools in both the GTA and Ghana, and participated in an exchange program at the Paris Institute of Political Studies. Some of her research interests include female economic empowerment, education policy, pedagogy and curriculum reform. Presently, she hopes to study how education policy making and curriculum assessment can be made more inclusive especially in rural and poor communities. Following the MA, Vanessa hopes to work with the Ministry of Education in Ghana or an INGO before she continues her journey in academia.


Katherine Cheng

Katherine double-majored in International Relations and Ethics, Society, and Law at the University of Toronto. During this time, she supplemented her academic studies by being actively involved with organizations such as WUSC and studying abroad in Hong Kong and France. Following graduation in 2015, she spent two years working for the Ontario government and volunteering with a health dispensary in western Kenya. With a commitment to further understand the theories and practices of meaningful development, she will be pursuing a Masters degree in Development Studies at York University. Her research interests include the impact of South-South cooperation and emerging development actors in the field of global health.


Caleigh Doyle

Caleigh graduated with a B.A. (Hons) in Political Science and a minor in Philosophy from Brock University. After graduation she spent time in Gurgaon, India where she volunteered with a local organization Heeals. During her time with Heeals she was involved in projects related to gender discrimination, women and child development, and the promotion of education among oppressed social groups. Her intended research interest is to explore child poverty, child and youth rights, and socioeconomic development in the global south. More specifically, to examine the different national and international policies and practices to end poverty and where children fit into these commitments within the context of the global south. Some of her other areas of interest include foreign aid, refugee issues, and peace and conflict studies. Caleigh is confident that the DVST program will help her to explore current global development issues and the needs of the most vulnerable social groups.


Chelsey Heins   

Chelsey is a graduate of Nipissing University where she obtained a Specialized Honours B.A. in Social Welfare and Social Development. At Nipissing, she was the Social Coordinator for her program from 2014/2015. Through her position, Chelsey was able to spearhead an annual winter clothing drive within her university, which has seen great success every year. During her studies, she worked with fellow students to build a sexual assault prevention centre within Nipissing University. This work helped toward developing a safer community and campus, by implementing proper education and a safe environment for students. Within Chelsey’s final year, her research focus turned toward refugee studies when her hometown successfully sponsored two Syrian families. Within her research, Chelsey was frequently reminded that there is still a great need for the public to become educated and more accepting of refugees. Chelsey hopes to work toward a greater acceptance of those in need, as well as further her research on the gaps of refugee development.


John Howes

John Howes received B.A.H. degrees in both Anthropology (2012) and International Development Studies (2016) from Trent University, as well as a B.A. of Education from Queens University (2015). He has spent the last two years working at the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough, Ontario, developing and facilitating alternative education programing centered on indigenous and experiential pedagogy with a variety of youth. John’s research interests include investigating accessibility, equality, and equity in post-secondary education for newly settled refugee students, and their struggles, needs, hopes, and concerns while transitioning to new educational spaces. In the midst of the current refugee charged climate, John hopes to examine the different ways post-secondary institutions broadly construct new educational opportunities for refugees in both Canada and Germany, while also exploring the deeper critical questions concerning to what those opportunities might look like and to whom they are made available. John is excited to continue his academic pursuits at York and anticipates that the DVST program’s experiential approach to learning will help guide his research.


Kiarash Jalili

Kiarash holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Political Science and a Certificate in Emergency Management from York University as well as a Certificate in Business Foundations from Conestoga College. Kiarash recently completed an internship with the European Commission in Brussels; during this time, he worked at the Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries unit A1 that focuses on Maritime Innovation, Knowledge and Investment. Based on this unique experience, he was introduced to the challenges and potentials of Blue Growth in a resource-constrained world. He has also interned with Crisys, a Markham-based software company specialized on developing emergency management software. Of great interest to him are the Chinese One Belt, One Road initiative, the New Development Bank, Green Energy and international security. He seeks to learn about the bottlenecks impeding the development of Global South and for this end, he intends to research on the potentials of green energy, fisheries and transportation, and how they could be exploited in developing countries in sustainable manner.


Yumiko Kiuchi

Yumiko completed her BA (Hons) in International Development Studies and Human Rights and Equity Studies and graduated Summa Cum Laude from York University. During her studies at York, she participated in an exchange programme at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. While in South Africa, she was introduced to South African traditional healers which started her thinking about alternatives to development and the importance of the validation of ancestral knowledge system through the voice of knowledge holders. In her MA studies, she will be focusing on the relationship between ancestral knowledge systems and International Development programmes to examine the power dynamics in the relationship with the purpose of developing a community-led programme with traditional healers aimed at knowledge sharing with a wider audience. She received the Ontario Graduate Scholarship to support her MA studies. Following her return from South Africa, she worked as a research assistant for the Indigenous Environmental Justice Project at York.


Kaleigh McIntosh

Kaleigh graduated from Carleton University with a B.A. in Political Science, International Relations and a Minor in History. During her undergraduate degree, she participated in the co-op program by working with the Province of New Brunswick’s Population Growth Division as a researcher for policy in the provincial settlement process, the skilled workers program, and foreign qualification recognition. After returning to her studies, Kaleigh continued her focus on migration issues, focusing heavily on the role of climate in global migration, and particularly, the Nansen Principles.  Kaleigh plans to continue her work looking critically at the role of climate in global migration and development. Her other areas of major research have been in peacebuilding processes and the inclusion of women. For the past eight months Kaleigh has been working for an Aboriginal Software testing company developing a network of Aboriginal software testers across Canada and addressing the TRC’s calls to action.


Negin Najjarnejad

Negin graduated from Concordia University with a B.A. in Political Science, with an emphasis in International Relations. She served as President of the Amnesty Concordia Club for the 2015/16 Academic year. She is currently the Social Media and Networking coordinator of Amnesty International Canada. Negin has a strong interest in women and children rights in situations of armed conflict. Development in MENA war torn regions is a core issue that she would like to understand deeper, particularly after working on various human rights campaigns in Syria, Turkey, Israel-Palestine and Iraq through Amnesty International. Having worked with multiple humanitarian organizations following the Middle Eastern refugee crisis, she has observed that it is imperative to have a responsible decision-making process and that political and military decisions must focus on safeguarding civilian populations to avoid harm. She believes it is important to use educational, business, and sociological tools to understand the fluctuating character of war and organized violence. Her thesis will study war and organized violence by providing an extensive historical, educational, political, and sociological analysis that links classical and modern theories of development with specific historical and geographical contexts of the region.


Cosmina Nistor

Cosmina graduated with a bilingual International Studies (Hons) degree complemented by a minor in Environmental and Health Studies from Glendon College, York University. She has interned with the Consulate General of Romania in Toronto and was the vice-president of Glendon Model NATO. Her love of travel has propelled her to work and study abroad; previously she has done volunteer work in two villages in Nicaragua working with Casa Canadiense, and she has spent time fostering international relationships in France and Romania. For the past five years, she has been working with a national language immersion program. She is passionate about education, especially in complex migration and refugee situations such as that of the Romani people.


Florence Lux-Côté

Florence holds a bilingual Honors B.A. in Gender and Women’s Studies, and a Law and Social Thought bilingual certificate, from Glendon College, York University. She graduated First Class and is a Golden Key Society member. Having had the passion to travel since a very young age, Florence has travelled to various countries participating in different volunteering projects, such as Chantiers Jeunesse, and community based projects in Ecuador. Her time spent volunteering along with her academic background in gender and women’s studies has helped shape her research interests towards gender and civil society, and NGOs’ work, focusing on their conceptualization of women’s and girls’ rights. Florence believes the Development Studies program is a great opportunity to further her knowledge of the analytical tools necessary to study these concepts and issues in the context of globalization.


Ayan Osman

Ayan received a Bachelor of Social Work (Hons.) with a minor in Sociology from Ryerson University. Throughout the course of her undergraduate studies, she was eager to pursue a career in social justice, specifically within East African countries. Following graduation, she moved to Kenya where she worked at the Transition Initiatives for Stabilization project. Through this experience, Ayan was responsible for leading and coordinating the project’s weekly reports, compiling appropriate reporting on program status and impact, and producing communication materials. During this time, she had the opportunity to travel on assignment to cities across Somalia, where she reported on program impact and documented success stories. Ayan is interested in issues of social injustice and inequality experienced by women across the globe. Within her research, she would like to explore issues surrounding gender inequality, particularly gender-based violence and reproductive health in Sub-Saharan Africa. 


Natasha Prashad

Natasha is a graduate of York University where she obtained her Bachelor of Arts (Specialized Hons.) in Human Rights and Equity Studies. During her undergraduate studies, Natasha gained many opportunities to engage in community work that supported her passions for social justice, education and knowledge mobilization. In particular, Natasha collaborated with the West Scarborough Community Legal Services to create an informational brochure for clients. Even after graduating, Natasha had the valuable opportunity to work with the Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion at York University as a coordinator and peer educator. In this role, she contributed to resources and outreach initiatives, engaging students on various human rights issues. Once such project included the creation of an educational game that provided information about the Ontario Human Rights Code. Through her Masters' degree, Natasha is excited to explore the potential of human rights education in improving the lives of marginalized populations.


Laura Primeau

 Laura earned a bachelor’s degree from McGill University in International Development with a focus on politics in the developing world. During her undergraduate studies, she completed an internship in rural Costa Rica where she worked with internally displaced children. She also lived in Beijing, China for a semester where she studied the role of China in global development and politics. Since she graduated in 2015, Laura has been working as the director of the academic department of a company based in a small town in Colombia that contributes to community development through language learning and youth involvement in a variety of projects. She was also an invited lecturer at the University Piloto of Bogota and was in charge of 3 courses. Laura’s research interests include forced migration, human trafficking, women in conflict zones and the international refugee regime. She is particularly interested in the ongoing migration crisis in the Americas as well as the role played by China in shaping the politics of refugees.


Tara Saberpor

Tara holds a bilingual Honours B.A in International Studies from Glendon College, York University. During her undergraduate studies, she was involved in York Model United Nations and the Kurdish Students’ Association, serving as the president in her fourth year. Off campus, she was an active member of several organizations dealing with a variety of development issues concerning ethnic minorities and refugees. After graduating, she moved to Turkey where she worked as a teacher and volunteered with various organizations and community centres in areas of social development for refugees and other minority groups. She is currently in the process of starting her own organization for underprivileged children in Turkey, focusing on getting Istanbul’s street kids into an institution that will educate and help them create a better future. Her research interests focus on the relationship between ethnic nationalism and underdevelopment as well as barriers faced by minority children in accessing education in Turkey. She is very excited to be part of the DVST program and hopes to both add and gain from the program.


Rasa Sarwari

Rasa graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of the Arts (Hons) in International Development Studies and a Minor in History. In his undergraduate studies, he was a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarship and completed a research internship in Northern Ghana with Trias, a Belgian International Development Agency. During his time in Ghana, Rasa worked with Trias to empower and support rural farming collectives to gain better access to markets and financial institutions.  His research interests include ethnic conflict, post-conflict development, resource management and forced migration, primarily in the context of the equitable distribution of oil rents.  Rasa is confident that the Development Studies program will help further his understanding of the ongoing development issues surrounding oil, ethnic conflict and resource management in the Middle East and West Africa.


Aisha Siddika

Aisha earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, in Women’s and Gender Studies and a Master’s degree in Women’s Studies and Feminist Research from the University of Western Ontario, Canada. Before studying at Western, she worked for four years in various national and international development organizations in Bangladesh. She started her career in a policy research organization. After completing her MA from Western University, she returned to Bangladesh and worked for the Interdisciplinary Centre for Food Security at Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU), Helen Keller International (HKI) Bangladesh, a Washington DC based non-profit research organization- International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), and James P. Grant School of Public Health (JPGSPH) at BRAC University. For her future research projects, she is particularly interested in the areas of gender-based violence, women’s agricultural practices in Bangladesh, sexual and reproductive health of women and adolescents, and forced migration of women. She thinks this program will be the best intellectual fit for solidifying her theoretical as well as practical knowledge in the development field.


Nicole Vassilou

Nicole is a York University graduate with a Bachelor of the Arts (Hons) in Psychology and Spanish.  During her studies she expanded her passion for human rights, cultural outlooks and expression, themes of identity, discrimination and socio-political issues.  She dedicated her time to the community by working for local food drives, as well as a social research centre.  Following graduation, she became a youth mentor for immigrants in Toronto and worked for an NGO that educated young women in healthy lifestyles and provided accessible fitness and nutrition programs.  These experiences shaped her interest in immigration and issues that immigrant’s face and the importance of empowering women in society and accessible health care.  Nicole has varied research interests and hopes to study themes regarding culture and social inequity in marginalized communities with an emphasis on poverty amongst displaced children in relation to education and health care.


Maaike Zeeman     

Maaike completed her undergraduate degree at Laurentian University in Social Work, conducting research on the impact of volunteers in rural Mongolia. Throughout her undergraduate studies and in the since years since then, she has spent time working and volunteering in several different communities with a variety of populations. From humanitarian work in Peru and Kenya, to teaching ESL in Thailand, to counselling with an inmate population in a Canadian federal prison to teaching in a northern Inuit community in Quebec, she has been exposed to a variety of areas of human development. Her experiences and interactions with different populations have fueled her interest and passion in development studies around the world, as well as close to home. Her research interests include, but are certainly not limited to, unpacking the impact of colonialism within Canadian Inuit communities, as well as accessibility of equitable education and mental health services within remote communities in Canada.


Year II Students (2016-2018)

Rita Alsalaq

Rita Alsalaq

Rita completed her BA (Hons) in English and Equity Studies with a minor in History from the University of Toronto. Her interests revolve around cultural production, community development, and trauma rehabilitation. More specifically, she is interested in popular theater movements, and the unique role they play in bridging community development with the production of arts and culture. During her studies at the University of Toronto, she worked with student groups, attempting to bridge the gap between the community on campus and the city surrounding it. She also had the privilege to be placed at SKETCH Working Arts, where she observed her academic interests as they were played out in practice.


Edna Appiah-Kubi

IMG_7264 (1)Edna is a graduate of the University of Toronto where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in English Literature and African Studies. After graduating, she traveled to Ghana, West Africa, where she interned with the Social Security National Insurance Trust and volunteered at the Agogo Presbyterian Hospital. During her time in Ghana, Edna was reintroduced to various issues of African development that she examined in her undergraduate courses. This exposure and reintroduction sparked a serious interest in Ghana's socio-political development. Some of Edna’s research interests include curriculum reform and education, and sustainable and alternative energy options in Africa. At present, her intended area of research is transportation, disability and accessibility in Africa. Edna intends to utilize this program as a catalyst in launching a for-profit initiative that responds to the plaguing inaccessibility in the transportation and health sector in Ghana, West Africa.


Frank Bagonza

Bagonza 2015-17Frank completed his B.A. (Hons) in English from York University. His current research interest is to explore the bottlenecks that have hindered development in the global south, by examining development policies in Sub Saharan Africa, and how these policies have been impacted by HIV/AIDS and the refugee crisis resulting from civil conflicts. Frank hopes that the DVST program will help him explore the different interpretations of development and to gain a clearer grasp of the societal implications of globalization. His past experience as a journalist in East Africa exposed him to the injustices different societies undergo; this helped shape his advocacy campaign for equality and social justice. He has volunteered with the Uganda Red Cross in addressing the needs of the internally displaced people (IDPs) in Western Uganda. Frank has also volunteered with the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, whose main focus is freedom of the press around the world.


Benjamin Bilgen

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Benjamin graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Music Composition from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.A. During his undergraduate studies, he partnered with student filmmakers as a film composer to create media that would raise awareness for a variety of community issues, including refugee relations and AIDS prevention programs. After graduating in 2015, he moved to Antalya, Turkey to work as a journalist for the online newspaper Independent Turkey, a publication committed to offering critical voices in the arena of Turkish politics. During his time with Independent Turkey, Benjamin worked to raise awareness for the issues of the Syrian refugee crisis, especially in regards to Syrian refugees living in Turkey. He volunteered at a local primary school composed of and founded by Syrian refugees, where he taught English, Turkish, and music to the students. He also worked to raise awareness through his journalism of the humanitarian crisis in Turkey’s primarily Kurdish East, which has recently been rocked by severe violent conflict. Benjamin’s research interests include the intersection of culture with politics and development, and the ways in which cultural narratives cultivated through art have significant political and economic outcomes.


Alex Blanchard

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Alex graduated from Queen’s University with a B.A. (Hons.) in Global Development Studies and a minor in Latin American Studies. During her time at Queen’s she was a varsity soccer athlete and used her passion for the game to help spearhead and run the “Students for Special Olympics” club. The club ran an after school soccer program for children with disabilities, the only one of it’s type in Kingston, Ontario. Following graduation, she extensively travelled India, where spent some time at the Mother Theresa House in Calcutta, volunteering with the elderly palliative care unit. Alex is passionate about human rights and issues of social inequality and injustice, particularly the struggles of women around the globe. This has helped to shape her research interests, which focus on the female dimensions of forced displacement. During her time at York she hopes to explore the dynamics and interventions that would be effective to help combat the domestic, social, and sexual violence that refugee women face not only on a structural level but also on an individual one.


Jen Katshunga 

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Jen completed her undergraduate degree in History and Contemporary Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University, Brantford campus and a post-graduate certificate from Humber College in Global Business Management. As the daughter of a Canadian diplomat, Jen has lived in multiple countries and has witnessed firsthand the front lines of development. Her latest visit to her native Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) solidified her research interests of eradicating gender inequality specifically, forced and child marriage in Francophone Africa. She is particularly interested in how child marriage and different forms of gender inequality affect the social, economic and legal landscapes in DRC and other Francophone African countries. Ultimately, she intends to complete her doctorate or work as a public interest lawyer. She is certain that a Master’s degree in Development Studies will provide her with the essential skills to be successful in any of her endeavors.


Alexandra Koster-Pickering

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Alexandra holds a bilingual Honors B.A. in Sociology and Psychology from Glendon College, York University. Her segue to development studies began with the opportunity to study racial segregation and reconciliation in a one-year program after high school. The first six months focused on Aboriginal Peoples in Western Canada, immediately followed by a semester in South Africa focused on reconciliation in the post-apartheid era. Returning to South Africa for an exchange at the University of Cape Town, Alexandra volunteered at the student education initiative SHAWCO while studying gender and socio-economic issues affecting South Africa. After graduation, Alexandra spent a year in South East Asia where she volunteered with a Cambodian run organization that funds local development projects and provides English language classes. Alexandra hopes to focus her research on the barriers for women in South Africa seeking healthcare and violence intervention.


 Alasdair McCaskill

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 Alasdair graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with a B.A. (Hons.) in Communication Studies followed by a B.A of Education in 2014. Upon graduating he taught for two unforgettable years in a remote Inuit hamlet in Nunavut that can only be reached by a three-hour flight into the Arctic Circle. As a 21st Century educator, Alasdair has a strong desire to make quality education accessible to those without equitable access. While teaching in the Canadian Arctic, he was exposed to challenges reminiscent of those found in the Global South in terms of accessibility and quality of education. Poverty, mental health challenges and limited access to 21st century learning technologies are among some of the many barriers First Nation, Métis, and Inuit students face in achieving academic success. Based in his first hand experience, Alasdair’s research interests include questions surrounding the availability of equitable education in remote and isolated communities located within the global south. He believes that by investigating topics such as integral teacher education programs, professional supports, and the roles that 21 Century educational-technologies may play within the remote classroom, many of the current barriers to equitable education in the global south may be overcome.


Emily Philpott

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Emily is from Corner Brook on the west coast of Newfoundland. She graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in Psychology and Communication Studies and completed her honors research in the area of social and health psychology. During her undergraduate studies Emily volunteered with student organizations related to health and mental health education and promotion, women's issues, and student advocacy. She was also a representative on the Memorial University Senate, psychology society, and academic committees. After graduation, Emily worked as the provincial coordinator of Allied Youth NL, a non-profit that offers community engagement and leadership programs for young people in Newfoundland and Labrador. Emily's studies and extracurricular work have taken her to Italy, the United States, Nepal, Australia, and elsewhere, fueling her interest in global issues and development. Emily's research interests are in human development, particularly around gender equality, health, and refugee and forced-migration issues. Emily is excited to be at York and to shift her academic focus more specifically to development.


Felisa Ponce-Tamayo

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Felisa holds an Honours BA double major in Political Science and Latin American and Caribbean Studies from York University. She also holds a Post-Graduate Certificate in International Development from Humber College. Originally from Colombia, Felisa has worked in Latin America on both development and aid projects, which eventually led her to discover her passion – refugee protection. In 2012, she began working in refugee resettlement at the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Ecuador and continued working in resettlement upon her return to Canada. For the past 3.5 years she has coordinated a government program, which matches refugees selected by Canadian officials with private sponsoring groups in Canada. Earlier this year, she was an NGO delegate for a UNHCR mission to Brazil to promote the development of a private sponsorship of refugees program. Felisa co-founded Toronto Friends of Refugees in 2013, a community group that has sponsored refugees from Africa and the Middle East. She plans to research civil society engagement in refugee resettlement programs, focusing on the potential expansion and improvement of current programs based specifically in Latin America.


Samana Taqi

Samana recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Human Rights and Equity Studies from York University. Outside of her coursework, she has participated in various collaborative projects, particularly with Common Frontiers Canada and Romero House, which provided her with the humbling opportunity of raising awareness to the plight of refugees. She also had the opportunity to work with a peace organization in Pakistan that works to improve the livelihoods of families affected by poverty and terrorism. These valuable experiences further bolstered her interests in social justice and development issues. For a short period of time, she also worked as a community development worker that focused on increasing community engagement. Her area of research is centered on human security and refugee crisis in the Middle East, investigating effectiveness of political and humanitarian policy responses by the international community and their far-reaching socioeconomic implications. She believes in remedying the crisis by facilitating discussion to create a more migrant-friendly environment. Samana is convinced that Development Studies program will equip her with hands-on experience to succeed in her future aspirations.


Amanda Siino

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Amanda graduated from Concordia University in Montreal with a double major in Journalism, and from the Liberal Arts College. During her undergraduate degree, she participated in a year long academic exchange at the American University in Cairo. She returned to Cairo in January 2016 to volunteer at Saint Andrew’s Refugee Services as a Volunteer Legal Advisor in the Resettlement Program, and as a teacher in the Unaccompanied Youth Bridging Program, where she found her passion for working with unaccompanied youth. Amanda’s research interests focus on urban refugees in the Middle East and North Africa. Her particular questions seek to understand interactions between refugees and host communities, how those interactions affect cultural restructuring after displacement, and how this restructuring affects women and youth in particular. During her undergraduate degree she worked on a research project, funded by Concordia University, on Feminism in Twentieth-Century Egypt, which enabled her to study the intersection of gender, nationality, and religion.


 Ayesha Umar

Ayesha completed a BA in English and a Masters degree in Elementary Education at the University of the Punjab in Pakistan and was the recipient of Chief Minister's Award for Academic Excellence. She also has an Honors BA in Business and Society from York University. Over the last 8 years, Ayesha worked as an educator in the public and private sectors in Pakistan and Canada, from elementary to university level. She has also worked with a non-profit organization to build a school for the children of her community in Brampton. She is currently working with a non-profit organization as a substitute teacher and is also a member of its academic planning committee. During her work teaching Indigenous Muslim children in Canada and with the Education Quality Assessment Office in Canada, she observed the relationship between the socio-economic background and educational attainment. As a graduate from York’s Business and Society program, she developed a critical perspective towards the restructuring and transformation of the economy, and its impact on the environment, consumption and the Indigenous communities. Ayesha hopes to conduct research on sustainable alternative economies. She likes to develop audio-visual aids for classroom instruction for kindergarten in her free time and is also an educational author.


J’Moi Whyte

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J’Moi graduated from Trent University with a B.A. (Hons.) in International Development Studies, with an emphasis in Global Studies and a specialization in African Studies. She has a strong interest in human rights and refugee advocacy in the African region. Through her internship with the Ghana Refugee Board under the Ministry of Interior in Ghana, West Africa, J’Moi was able to observe the daily operation of refugee camps, and their relationship with the government entity responsible for managing refugees. Her research is focused on ratifying basic human rights and freedoms for refugees and asylum seekers, by improving refugee advocacy strategies, government accountability, and policies and procedures through legislative changes. J’Moi believes that a Masters in Development Studies and a certificate in Refugee Studies will improve her understanding of the complexity of various aspects of the African refugee crisis, and contribute towards a career that matches her interests.


Zoe Share

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Zoe is a recent graduate of Queen’s University, where she completed a B.A. (Hons) in Global Development Studies. Fascinated by the critical and interdisciplinary nature of the development field, she worked throughout her undergraduate career to bring these characteristics outside of the classroom. Her involvement with organizations such as Engineers Without Borders encouraged cross-faculty learning and critical thinking about local and global issues. Her current broad research interests include the intersections of gender, class, and race/indigeneity in the Global South and in Canada, how these intersectional identities affect solidarity and social movements, and process of decolonization as an alternative to development. Zoe is excited to continue her studies at York, and is confident that the DVST program will help to narrow her research interests and prepare her for a future in development work.


Alumni

2015-2017 Class

Aida Afrazeh

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Aida completed her internship with Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in Amman, Jordan, an NGO that serves local refugee communities through capacity-building projects. As the Monitoring and Evaluation Intern, she developed and conducted M&E practices for JRS’s various initiatives, particularly their higher education projects. Her responsibilities included: developing and running focus groups, surveys, and interviews with students and graduates; liaising with other humanitarian actors in Jordan that focus on refugee education; and developing evidence-based recommendations for future projects at JRS. Aida’s fieldwork research was conducted on the qualitative experiences of refugee students with higher education, particularly the impacts or perceived impacts of education. Through her research, Aida hopes to bring to focus the differential experiences of refugee students by taking into account the range of social, political, and economic positions they occupy. Aida holds a B.A. (Hons.) in English Literature and Sociology from the University of Toronto.

Hanan Duri

Durie 2015-17Hanan interned at International Law and Policy Institute at their Addis Ababa branch in Ethiopia. She worked alongside legal and political experts in producing valuable content for stakeholders, including  government agencies, non-profit organizations, universities, international institutions and more. Her duties included  editing research proposals and policy analysis papers. Her fieldwork research was conducted at the University of Addis Ababa and focused on gender mainstreaming policies implemented by the university. The aim was to assess its impact  on gender relations at the university. Hanan completed an undergraduate degree at York University’s Glendon campus with a bilingual Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a Certificate in Law and Social Thought.


Hansika Gunaratne

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Hansika completed her internship at the Educate Lanka Foundation in Kandy, Sri Lanka, an NGO that works to empower socio-economically disadvantaged children and youth in Sri Lanka by enhancing their access to quality education and career opportunities. She contributed to the launch of Educate Lanka’s Mentorship Program, where student scholars are given the opportunity to obtain critical professional guidance to enhance their employability and civic-mindedness through interaction with an experienced professional in their field of interest. Hansika’s role within the Educate Lanka Mentorship Program allowed her to connect with industrial partners in various fields, including those in health care management in Sri Lanka. This complemented her research on on health care development in Sri Lanka. Hansika explored the health care experiences of community members in Kandy by taking a close look at dengue fever occurrences in the region and any processes that are in place for its prevention. By connecting with health care professionals, civil society members, government personnel, and the general public in Kandy, she collected information on how health care development and aid are shaped around the delivery of dengue fever care and treatment in Sri Lanka. Hansika holds a BSc in Biology and a BA in Philosophy from the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, New Brunswick.


Mhommad Kabir Hossain

Hossain 2015-17

Kabir did his internship with the Center for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP) an organization that offers services to low-income disabled people in Bangladesh in a socially responsible manner. As a non-profit non-government organization, CRP treats and rehabilitates disabled people regardless of their economic means. He worked in CRP’s fundraising department. His duties included assisting in managing grant application processes, tracking reporting and ensuring it met donors' expectations, and participating in community outreach events. Kabir’s MA research focuses on the role of voluntary organizations in the betterment of disabled people’s lives in Bangladesh. His research uses a right-based social model approach to disability and aims to explore how this approach works in developing countries like Bangladesh. Kabir did his Masters in Economics from Korea University in South Korea and Bachelor of Science in Economics from Jahagirnagar University in Bangladesh. He has worked with the Commonwealth Youth Programme Asia Center as a youth leader of Bangladesh. He has also been involved in different cultural and volunteer activities with various organizations in Bangladesh and South Korea. He served as Research Officer for Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), in Dhaka, Bangladesh.


Leon Liberman

Liberman 2015-17

Leon interned with Unity in Diversity Foundation in Tanzania, an NGO founded to unify, train and empower financially diverse expertise in different trades for the purpose of running their projects effectively.  His internship consisted mostly in assisting the St. Catherine Monastery, located in Karatu (Arusha region), with the creation of a new website, as well as providing support, expertise and assistance with other projects, including finding IT solutions and grant writing assistance. Leon’s research focused on community perceptions on NGO work, and explored different perspectives regarding NGO and community relations.  Leon holds holds a B.A. double major with Distinctions in International Studies and Anthropology from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia. During his undergraduate studies, Leon spent a semester in Ghana, West Africa, studying, volunteering and traveling the country and region. He also has a professional background in Information Technology and vast experience with community groups, either as coordinator of youth groups, or as a member, playing and performing Afro-Brazilian and Ghanaian rhythms.


Catalina Perez Nino

CATALINA

Catalina interned with the Colombian Private Council on Competitiveness, a research center focused on increasing competitiveness and promoting related public policy. She participated in two projects. The first of these projects promoted technology transfers to firms in four different regions of the country through a consultancy by Georgia Tech University. As part of this effort, she assisted with logistics and did research for the conceptual framework. The second project was a study to assess corruption in Colombia, evaluating public policies and formulating policy recommendations combining heterodox approaches. Her current MA research focuses on the political economy of the current industrial policy in Colombia, more specifically, on a new proposal to formulate a national productive strategy as the country undergoes a transitional process to peace. Catalina holds a B.A. in Anthropology from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Before her Masters, she worked in economic development projects throughout Colombia for 8 years and is currently interested in strengthening her knowledge of political economy for industrial development in developing countries. She would like to work as an economic development consultant, policy maker or researcher specializing in industrial upgrading and economic diversification.


Kelly Rose Pflug-Back

Kelly 2015-17

Kelly did her internship with Free Grassy, a solidarity group which works with the Asubpeeschoseewagong (Grassy Narrows) First Nation. For over 50 years the Grassy Narrows community has fought against the debilitating effects of mercury poisoning as a result of industrial chemical dumping, as well as the continuing encroachment of the logging industry on their territories. Her internship activities included helping to organize public rallies and demonstrations in Toronto with the goal of pressuring the Canadian government to clean the mercury from the Wabigoon river system, as well as facilitating educational workshops and doing archival research. She had the privilege of working with experienced journalists and researchers, learning to locate and interpret obscure and classified information regarding the mercury dumping, government inaction, and related issues. Her research explores the impacts of resource extraction industries in North Ontario, indigenous land rights, and how extractivism is pushed as the primary (or only) development model available to many Northern communities. Kelly also works as a freelance journalist, and her internship has allowed her to develop research skills which will be invaluable to both her writing and academic work in the future. Over the next year, she will be turning her thesis findings into an info-graphic style comic about the history and impacts of resource extraction, for use as an educational tool for advocacy groups. Kelly holds a BA in Human Rights and Human Diversity from Wilfrid Laurier University.


Anthony Prassoulis

Prassoulis 2015-17

Anthony interned in the Faculty of Political Science and Public Administration at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. As a research assistant, Anthony was responsible for conducting desk and field research on the topic of Greek civil society in the context of the country’s recent crisis. More specifically, the research focused on the emergence of grassroots solidarity initiatives to alleviate the worst consequences of the crisis while at the same time actively building new social and productive relations to meet the immediate needs of their communities. Anthony also volunteered at the 5th Festival for Solidarity and Cooperative Economy, an annual event that takes place at Plato’s Academy Park in Athens, which aims to garner support and raise awareness about different solidarity initiatives through practical workshops on issues that range from alternative economies and currencies to holistic healthcare and food self-sufficiency. Anthony’s research focuses on a comparative case study of two recuperated self-managed factories in northern Greece and the development of the solidarity economy as a practical alternative to the economic, political, and social crisis facing Greece today. During his fieldwork, Anthony interviewed workers from recuperated factories, members of workers’ cooperatives, government officials, trade unionists, NGO members as well as academics and activists. Anthony holds a Specialized Honors B.A. in Political Science from York University.


Saher Shaikh

Shaikh

Saher interned with the Reform Support Unit (RSU) at the Education and Literacy department, Government of Sindh, Pakistan, where she worked along with RSU team on the planning and execution of the Sindh Education Sector Plan 2014-2018. Her internship duties included gap analysis of the provincial education strategy report on Sustainable Development Goals and provincial standards for Early Childhood Education. She was also assigned to the team involved in drafting Terms of References and developing data collection/monitoring templates for the Joint Sector Education Review 2017. She also attended several seminars and government meetings within the Education department. This experience provided her an understanding of education delivery through state mechanics at the provincial level in Pakistan. Her research seeks to understand the policy-making process of the 2014 Sindh Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Policy through the perceptions of the various stakeholders. By including in her research community members and teachers, stakeholders who are traditionally left out of the policy process, she hopes to develop a more comprehensive view of the policy. Saher has completed a Masters degree (in English Literature and Sociology) from the University of Sindh in Pakistan.


Austin Silvan

Silvan 2015-17Austin interned as a journalist for Prachatai English, an online alternative news media site, located in Bangkok, Thailand.  During his internship, he wrote various news stories covering various current events and topics in Thai politics, often in a critical lens. The internship offered opportunities to sit in on court hearings, monitor political protests, understand legal frameworks, follow student activist movements, and most favorably to experience a police raid! This internship gave him a deeper understanding of the complexities of living under an authoritarian military regime. For his research, Austin aimed to understand the goals and methods of the student movement building up to a constitutional referendum to be held in a political atmosphere that heavily suppresses civil society’s activities and that impacts on the country's progress in development. He interviewed student activists, academics, and other political actors to gain an understanding of their perceptions of the political climate in the country and the evolution of discourses around the referendum, democracy and development. Austin studied political science.


Julie Stinson

Stinson 2015-17

Julie interned with VVOB Cambodia, an educational development NGO based in Phnom Penh that focuses on curriculum development and teacher training. This position allowed her to conduct qualitative research on primary school-related gender-based violence throughout the country. She was able to participate in multiple conferences, school monitoring and evaluation programs, and facilitate gender training workshops. Her research focuses on local perspectives of the implementation of gender mainstreaming policies and tactics within the primary education system in Cambodia. She received a B.A. Honors in Communications from Carleton University. Julie was involved in marketing and communications in the international development sector, working at Plan Canada for two and a half years.


Aleida Stone

Stone 2015-17

Aleida interned with Question Coffee, a Rwandan social enterprise based in Kigali. This micro-roaster and retailer partners with Sustainable Harvest - Rwanda, a nonprofit organization, to bring a relationship model of development to smallholder women coffee farmers in rural regions of the country through comprehensive capacity building - from the household up to the export market. Aleida supported the development of a training program for Rwandan baristas in an effort to create new employment opportunities for young women and to increase the domestic coffee market in what is traditionally a tea drinking society. The long-term goal of these programs is to create a domestic and international awareness of the significant social and economic impacts that coffee has, and could have, on the country's 100,000+ smallholder coffee farmers, a majority of whom are women. Aleida’s own research aim is to understand different partnership models between the nonprofit, government, and private sectors, and how specialty coffee can be a valuable contributor to community development and women’s agency in small, landlocked, post-conflict Rwanda. While in Rwanda, she interviewed a variety of actors throughout the coffee supply chain. Aleida holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in International Studies with a specialization in Development, Economic and Environmental Issues from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia.


Lydia Stolte

Stolte 2015-17

Lydia completed her internship with Popol Na, a local grassroots NGO in Managua, Nicaragua. Popol Na engages in advocacy work and community development projects. It is currently supporting indigenous communities and rural Nicaraguan farmers who will be impacted by the construction of the Nicaraguan interoceanic canal. As part of her internship, Lydia translated documents and presentations from Spanish into English and helped organize various events and presentations, which focused on the effects of the canal project and climate change in Nicaragua. Lydia’s current research examines host-community perceptions to volunteer tourism projects in rural Nicaragua and the types of relationships that are produced between host-communities and the volunteer sending organizations. During her time in Nicaragua, she had the opportunity to interview local community members who facilitate volunteer projects and those who host volunteers in their community, coordinators from volunteer sending organization, and foreign volunteers. Lydia holds a B.A. from Wilfrid Laurier University with a major in Global Studies.


2014-2016 Class

Misha Celentano

Misha Celentano headshot

Misha completed her internship with Right to Play in Thailand, an NGO that uses sport and play to educate children and youth to overcome the effects of poverty, conflict and disease through teaching life skills that assist and empower them to create a better future and lifelong social change in their community and beyond. Working with the Sport and Play Program from Refugees from Burma team in Mae Sot, Misha conducted research on the intersection of education and sport in refugee education along the Thai-Burma border. She engaged with local education officials, organizations working in the education sector, teachers and students to understand how sport and play has been integrated into the primary education curriculum, the benefits of programs focused on learning through sport, and the impact that these are having not only on learning, but on the children and refugee community as a whole. Misha holds an Honours BA in Global Politics and Human Rights from Carleton University. She has worked with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Representation in Canada, having organized events for World Refugee Day and the 16 Days of Activism Campaign, and has extensive experience teaching and leading children in a variety of summer camp environments. When she is not busy researching or writing, Misha enjoys spending time playing hockey, camping, skiing, and watching the most recent romantic comedy movie.


Xiao Cheng

ChengXiao Cheng did her internship at the Shanghai office of Asia Business Management Program of York University’s Schulich School of Business. Her duties included conducting research on client business and industry sectors, Canada’s education system, and adult education. She also did client visits and translated materials and documents in both in English and Chinese. Xiao’s field research focuses on the emerging civil society in China. In particular, she studied a recent but most successful development project named Free Lunch in China that is carried out by an independent NGO of the same name that provides free lunches to children in rural schools. The research explores the project’s challenges and success and its relations to local and central Chinese governments to further discuss whether Free Lunch model is suitable for other development initiatives in China and whether the current Chinese context enables civil society participation in development projects.


Pere DeRoy

Pere DeRoy headshot

Pere completed a degree in Sociology at the University of Guyana. She has lived, studied and worked in Guyana, her country of birth.

 

 

 


Alanna Dickinson

Dickinson profile pic 2014-16 Alanna interned with Cividep India, a local NGO in Bangalore that advocates for workers rights in the city's industrial sectors and ensures that companies respect human rights and conduct business in a socially responsible manner. While interning with Cividep, she helped conduct research on living wages in the garment sector, looking at workers’ wages in the supply chains of Dutch brands. The project was funded by the India Committee of the Netherlands, an NGO that aims to inform the public in the Netherlands about how development in the West negatively impacts the lives of Indian people. She helped design the surveys used for this project and conducted desk research for their final report. Her current MA research focuses on the determinants of women's labour and the working conditions that Indian women endure. More specifically, she is interested in the working conditions of the ready-made garment sector in Bangalore, which has the highest share of women workers in the garment industry among all the manufacturing centers in the country. During her time in Bangalore, she had the opportunity to speak with women who work in garment factories and also with representatives of civil society organizations that provide support to garment workers. She also had the opportunity to sit in on meetings of an all-women led trade union in Bangalore called the Garment Labour Union, which is an active union that provides its members with frequent training and awareness sessions, and visited the homes of garment workers on the outskirts of the city. She hopes through this research to better understand women's decisions regarding employment in Bangalore and to explore whether these decisions should be framed as choices or outcomes resulting from lack of other options available to them. Alanna holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in International Relations from Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick.


Stephanie Divekar

DivekarStephanie interned with Kotak Education Foundation in Mumbai, India, an NGO seeking to improve education for youth in the municipal education system in urban Mumbai. Working in the Kotak Unnati Program, Stephanie helped teach and train unemployed youth from low-income households to allowed them to secure formal jobs and build secure livelihoods in urban Mumbai. Through her internship she engaged with NGO officials, learned about the challenges faced by youth in low-income households, and assisted in English, Computer and Hospitality training. Stephanie’s research focuses on the effects of rapid urbanization in Mumbai and the development impact of this development on urban youth. Through interviews and fieldwork research, she analyzed the role of NGOs and local organizations in addressing urbanization, creating opportunities for development, and engaging with current development discourse on empowerment, welfare and urban livelihoods. Stephanie is simultaneously pursuing the Graduate Diploma in Asian Studies through the York Centre for Asian Research. She holds an Honours B.A in Political Science and History from the University of Toronto.


Julie Farzana

FarzanaJulie has lived in Nairobi for most of her life, a city that boasts one of the best GDPs amongst African cities but where more than half of the population lives in slums. Julie’s passion to understand this irony led her into the heart of slums in Nairobi, where she is currently investigating coping mechanisms of the poor such as self-help saving groups and how these initiatives influence social capital structures that determine the distribution of wealth amongst the poor. She is conducting her research in collaboration with Slum Dwellers International’s Kenyan Federation and Muungano Wa Wanavijiji, a network of slum dwellers across the developing world formed to address slum challenges--including evictions, service provision, health, etc.--through the core principle of community organizing. Julie has previously worked with the Danish Refugee Council spearheading the design and implementation of a pilot project to reduce crime and violence amongst the socio-economically vulnerable youth in Nairobi slums. She has also worked with the UN-Habitat housing branch to improve their urban profiling and goal-setting methodology for a number of urban development areas, including municipal governance and finance, urban planning and design, urban economy, and crime and safety. Julie holds an Honours BA and a Masters degree in International Relations from the United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya.


Khadija Ga’al

Khadija completed her internship at the University of Cape Town’s Gender, Health and Justice Research Unit in Cape Town, South Africa, where she conducted research on conflicting legal and policy frameworks for adolescent sexual and reproductive health and HIV services in five Southern African countries.  Her research project examines vulnerabilities to violence and perceived barriers to gender-based violence (GBV) service provision for HIV positive women who experience post-disclosure violence in South Africa. Her main goals were to understand the determinants of HIV disclosure, the impact of disclosure on women’s health, and the capacity of GBV and HIV service providers to support female victims of post-disclosure violence. This research will shed light on the double burden facing many women in South Africa: HIV and an increased susceptibility to violence. Khadija holds a Bachelor’s degree from Carleton University, where she majored in Public Affairs and Policy Management, with a Specialization in Development Studies and a Minor in African Studies.


Khairul Islam

Khairul completed a Masters degree in Political Science at Southern Illinois University, USA.


James MacMillan

James MacMillan headshot

James interned with the Faculty of Development Education at the University for Development Studies in Tamale, Northern Region, Ghana. He was responsible for conducting academic research and mentoring undergraduate students at the university. James also worked with the grassroots NGO the Sky is My Limit in the Volta Region, where he managed two building projects which aim to increase the living standards of young adults with disabilities. James' research focused on the effects of Chinese Development Assistance to Ghana's lessor developed northern regions. He conducted interviews with a range of individuals effected by China's growing influence in the region; including academics, government officials, merchants, labourers, and displaced peoples. The purpose of his study is to evaluate how Chinese assistance differs from that provided by Western nations, and if the Chinese alternative is more or less beneficial to facilitate development which reflects the unique culture, history, and values of the Ghanaian people. James received his undergraduate degree in Politics and Governance from Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario.


Hannah Matthews

Hannah Matthews headshot

Hannah interned with government institution, the National Institution for Youth (INJUVE) and with an NGO, the Centre for Interchange and Solidarity (CIS) in San Salvador, El Salvador. Both these positions allowed her to participate in assisting with youth volunteer programs throughout the country. INJUVE allowed Hannah to gain insight into the government’s policy formulation and program installation for youth, specifically in the area of youth employment. She was able to participate in national youth consultations and assisted with data collection to supplement policy discourse on youth employment. With CIS, she was able to facilitate different training workshops with youth committees in both urban and rural settings. Her research focuses on youth volunteers in El Salvador and how they facilitate violence prevention programs in urban and rural communities. Her internship with both organizations provided her with valuable skills such as project management, policy formulation, and youth outreach programming. It also allowed Hannah to improve her Spanish language skills. She currently holds a bilingual Honours B.A. in International Studies from Glendon College, York University.


Onyekachi Nwoke

Onyekachi Nwoke headshot

Onyekachi interned with West Africa Oil Watch (WAOW) and was also a consultant for GAT Services Inc in Abuja, Nigeria. WAOW is an organization that fosters transparency and accountability in the West African oil sector through civic participation and activism. GAT Services Inc is a company that provides financial support to small businesses in Nigeria. As part of his internship, Onyekachi’s responsibilities involved engaging Niger delta communities, government institutions, and non-governmental organizations to gather information on civil society’s role in fostering accountability and transparency in the oil industry in Nigeria, specifically in the Niger Delta. His responsibilities included producing two detailed reports on both the internship experience and the research findings on whether civil society fosters accountability and transparency in the Nigerian oil industry. His current SSHRC-funded research, focuses on the political economy of oil extraction in Nigeria and its impact on \ internal displacement of Niger delta indigenes. The current research goal is to understand why oil extraction in Ogoniland has led to underdevelopment, unemployment and displacement of the Ogoni indigenes away from their lands. His work experience includes being a Youth Volunteer Program Developer at Immigrant Services Calgary, construction crew member with Habitat for Humanity in the Lower Ninth ward, and as an Independent Local Business Consultant at the Urban Conservancy in New Orleans, Louisiana. Onyekachi holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) degree in Sociology from Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta.


Ashley Rerrie

Ashley Rerrie headshot

Ashley interned with a Canada-Nicaragua solidarity organization called Casa Canadiense that is based in both Toronto and Managua, and worked with one of their community partners, the Cooperativa Christine King, in Estelí, Nicaragua. As an intern, she had the opportunity to learn more about Casa Canadiense’s work in both community development and global education. Ashley’s research attempts to compare and understand the ways that Canadian NGOs build and maintain their relationships with Nicaraguan communities, and how Canadian partners can work toward building meaningful transnational solidarity. Ashley had previously spent three months volunteering with an organic farming cooperative in Nicaragua through Intercordia Canada, and had returned twice to visit her host community. She is also a Research Assistant for a SSHRC-funded project about the impacts of Canadian international service learning on Nicaraguan communities. Ashley holds a B.A from St. Thomas University with a double major in Philosophy and Interdisciplinary Studies.


Hasna Sami

Hasna Sami headshot

Hasna interned with Simorgh Women's Resource and Publication Centre in Lahore, Pakistan. Simorgh is an advocacy and research organization which interrogates patriarchal systems and is working towards changing women's status and position in society through advocacy, information dissemination, and production of research-based publications. Hasna worked on the publication of  the 'Invisible Women' project which were life histories and case studies pertaining to the status and condition of single women in Pakistan who are often perceived as an economic burden and can face discrimination. Hasna's own research focuses on the impact of microfinance services on gender based violence, household gendered power dynamics, and the decision making agency of women. By including husband's of microfinance clients, who are often left out of research, Hasna hopes to provide a study on various masculinities and achieve a more holistic understanding of how microfinance services affect the entire household. Hasna holds a Bachelor’s (Hons.) degree from the University of Toronto, with a double major in International Relations and Political Science.


Margarita Sanchez

Margarita Sanchez headshot

Margarita interned with Conciencia Campesina in Cajamarca, Colombia, a non­profit organization that aims to create conscience and produce knowledge of the environmental and social impacts of open­pit gold mining in Cajamarca and its surrounding areas. Her duties included the collection of agricultural­related data from the rural sector, and advocating the importance of the rural sector for the wholesome development of Cajamarca. Margarita's research attempts to understand and explain the socio­economic impacts of Anglo Gold Ashanti's (AGA) gold mining project La Colosa in the community of Cajamarca. During her fieldwork, Margarita interviewed peasant and local community members, municipal officials, NGO members, and AGA staff. She became immersed in the community to understand the complex situation that is experienced in the region due to the presence of the mining project. Margarita is originally from Colombia and holds a B.A in International Studies from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada.


Dylani Shea

Shea 2014-16Dylani Shea specializes in Development Communication and worked as a Social Media Intern at teleSUR English in Quito, Ecuador. Her research assesses the Ecuadorian government’s Knowledge Revolution, which is an initiative to transition the Ecuadorian economy away from reliance on petroleum and toward a society based on innovation, science and technology. She studied Ecuador’s YACHAY City of Knowledge, its continued agenda for reforming the higher education system and its international university scholarship program. Her undergraduate degree is in Communication Studies from York University.


Winta Tesfai

TefaiWinta interned at the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources in Massawa, Eritrea. Working closely with the Department of Artisanal Fisheries Development where she carried out her research study that aims to identify the challenges to the development of small-scale fisheries in the Greater Massawa Area. Her research aims to gain a holistic understanding of how local fishing communities maintain sustainable ways of living. The internship provided a wealth of accessibility to local fisher men/women generating a large network of contacts for data collection. Primary participants included local officials, administrators, community leaders, fisher men/women, elders, and practitioners in the field. Winta completed an Honours BA from the University of Toronto with a double major in Political Science and African Studies, and a minor in Diaspora and Transnational Studies. In addition, Winta’s an active member of the Eritrean Diaspora community and participates in many youth-led initiatives. Winta also completed a Students for Development CIDA internship in Winneba, Ghana in 2012, and was the co-editor of StudentVoices a youth-led alternative African news website and a subsection of Africafiles in 2013. Winta is also a 2013 United Way City Leaders graduate.


Kim Valentine

Kim travelled to the Philippines where she completed an internship in Makati City at Gifts and Graces, a fair trade/social enterprise organization that works with underprivileged communities within the Philippines. While working with Gifts and Graces she spent time with community organizations such as Tahanang Walang Hagdana (House with No Steps), an organization that creates a wide variety of handcrafted wooden toys and school equipment which are produced by people with physical disabilities. Kim’s research aims to explore avenues for success for the handicraft industry through examining the role fair trade and cooperative principles have in determining the success or pitfalls of the handicraft industry in the Philippines. This summer sparked her interest in the area of Social Enterprise and the role it could potentially play social and financial development. Kim graduated with a BA in Communication Studies from York University in 2013, becoming interested in the representation of children and women in the media.


Fasika Woldesenbet

Fasika Woldesenbet headshot

Fasika graduated from the University of Toronto with a B.A. in African Studies and a Minor in Political Science.

 

 

 


2013-2015 Class

Nabil Abbas

Nabil interned with the Happy Childhood Foundation in Lebanon, an organization that aims to develop a village concept that offers multi-dimensional care and development services to orphans and other vulnerable children in Kisongo, Tanzania. Nabil developed a research-based concept package to support strategic fund-raising activities for the village. His research focuses on youth unemployment in Lebanon. His goal is to understand the social and economic factors that inhibit or promote the employment prospects of first-time job seekers as they transition from school to work. Nabil comes to International Development Studies after a 15-year career in Technology and Management Consulting in the Middle East and North America. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering from the American University of Beirut and a Masters of Business Administration from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario.


Asuman Baba

a-babaAsuman interned with the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) working in two departments: the Strategy Department, where Turkish development assistance is monitored and reported; and the Department of International Affairs, where TIKA works with the UNDP and plans further development assistance. Her research project examines the recent increasing role of Turkey as a donor country and its implications for global development assistance trends. Her goal is to understand why Turkey got involved in offering aid, what it is doing in the area of Development Co-operation, and whether it constitutes a different kind of donor. Focusing on Turkey’s role will shed light on the recent paradigm change in the international development aid agenda. Asuman is an international student from Istanbul, Turkey. She has an undergraduate degree in political science from Galatasaray University in Istanbul, Turkey.


Satyam Chawla

Satyam Chawla headshotSatyam interned with Habitat for Humanity Zambia, an NGO that builds and provides simple, decent and affordable housing to low-income families in Zambia.  He has been actively involved in community service in Zambia, Italy and Canada. Satyam research focuses on Chinese companies in construction and infrastructure development in Zambia. He engaged with government officials, construction companies, scholars and numerous organizations to collect and compile data and information on the rise in prominence of Chinese construction companies and their impact on local community, local companies, and infrastructure development.  His interaction with government officials and policy makers gave him valuable insight into policy formulation, government budgeting and bilateral and multilateral relations. Satyam holds a Bachelors Degree (Honours) in International Studies, Glendon College, York University.


Jaafar Dirie

Jaafar Dirie headshotJaafar interned with Human Concern International's (HCI) east Africa office in Somaliland. While interning with HCI, Jaafar's responsibilities included visiting HCI 's partners in east Africa and reviewing project proposals from local and regional partners. He was also responsible for monitoring and evaluating the implementation of development projects by local partners and was involved in implementing  small-scale seasonal food distribution projects for HCI. His current research focuses on development cooperation in Somaliland, an autonomous region that although not internationally recognized as an independent state still collaborates with various international development actors on development projects. Jaafar is particularly interested in understanding how Somaliland managed to navigate its precarious status while pursuing its development agenda with international partners, and to examine whether its peculiar non-state status impedes development cooperation. Jaafar’s most recent trip to Somaliland provided him with opportunities to meet and interview governmental and non-governmental stakeholders to discuss the level of development cooperation in Somaliland. He has traveled to Somaliland six times over the past fifteen years, with the last two trips consisting of monitoring and evaluation assignments for an international humanitarian organization. These assignments for Human Concern International included visits to several orphanage schools in Somaliland and Somalia, evaluations of sustainable development projects such as water well projects and seed distribution for small scale farmers and implementation of HCI 's annual Ramadan relief projects in Hargeisa. Jaafar holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto, with a double major in International Development and Health Studies.


Janice Earle

Janice Earle headshotJanice interned with the Mona Office for Research & Innovation, attached to the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica.  There she assisted with several projects including the evaluation of a teen pregnancy clinic at the largest maternity hospital in Jamaica. She also volunteered with the Swallowfield Outreach Foundation that works to improve the living conditions of the Swallowfield community, which is an inner city neighbourhood.  With a background in women’s services, both placements allowed her to combine her previous experience with theoretical knowledge gained from participating in the program, to help create opportunities for women. Janice has a deep interest in issues concerning women and their families and this is reflected in her research interests, which examined women’s ability to gain economic stability through the Information Communication Technologies/Business Process Outsourcing sectors in Jamaica, a country where 45% of homes are headed by women.


Janie Harrott

Janie Harrott headshotJanie’s fieldwork began at the University of Cape Coast Hospital in Cape Coast, Ghana. Her research examined the determinants of maternal health-seeking behaviour in Cape Coast, with particular emphasis on the importance of, and ways in which religion, traditional beliefs, attitudes, and values shape Ghanaian women’s health-seeking behaviours throughout pregnancy and during childbirth. During her fieldwork, Janie interviewed nurses working in hospitals and clinics in the greater Cape Coast area, as well as traditional birth attendants and new mothers. In the future, Janie hopes to examine other aspects of maternal health in the Central region of Ghana, including the ways in which obstetric fistula affects the social and economic realities and experiences of Ghanaian women. Janie holds an Honours B.A. in Political Science from the University of British Columbia, Kelowna campus.


Ban Kattan

Ban Kattan headshotShe partnered with CARE International to carry out her research project in Amman on capacity building of local Jordanian NGOs serving Syrian refugees in Jordan and the impact of partnerships on knowledge transfer. Ban’s previous internships include Ernst & Young and AIESEC. She has previously volunteered for the United Nations and War Child and is also an involved supporter of grassroots nonprofit organizations in Iraq such as Iraq Builders and TEDxBaghdad. Ban combines her professional knowledge in business models with her passion for local sustainable development practices. She holds an Honours B.Sc. in Business Administration and a B.A. in Gender and Women’s Studies.


Adrian Khan

Adrian Khan headshotAdrian has actively completed fieldwork in Toronto, Georgetown (Guyana), and Kathmandu (Nepal) predominantly in the field of child/youth rights within educational and community development contexts. Adrian participated in a combined internship in Nepal with Projects Abroad and Nepali Host Family. His duties included working in multiple community development settings such as orphanages, boarding schools, and care facilities in the capacity of teacher, administrative facilitator, and advocate for local, regional and international concerns.  His current SSHRC-funded research, which builds on his five-year working experience in Nepal, explores the emotional journeys of Himalayan students. These children travel thousands of kilometers to Kathmandu for schooling as early as the age of 4 and subsequently return to their villages after prolonged periods of family separation often lasting well over a decade. Adrian’s research interests include youth activism in international contexts, race and racism, and social justice education. In addition to his Master’s degree in Development Studies, Adrian is simultaneously completing a Graduate Diplomas in Refugee and Migration Studies, Caribbean and Latin American Studies, and a Graduate Fellowship with York’s Centre for Asian Research. Adrian holds a Double Major Honors B.A. from York University in Sociology and Children’s Studies.


Jessica Kim

Jessica Kim headshotJessica interned as a Communications and Advocacy Officer at the Forum for African Women Educationalists: Kenya Chapter (FAWE Kenya), an organization that engages in programming and national/international policy advocacy to support girls’ education. Jessica’s research attempts to understand the social constructions of gender in the Kenyan context and how they contribute to girls’ experiences in secondary school. She is also a Response Team Member for ShelterBox International, a disaster relief organization responding to natural and complex disasters. Her work experience includes an internship at the Terry Fox Foundation, and marketing project management at a conference production firm. Jessica holds an Honours B.A. in Political Science from the University of Toronto.


Ki-Hwan Kim

Ki-Hwan Kim headshotKi-Hwan interned with an international non-government organization called Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women in Bangkok, Thailand. He was a member of a team that worked on advocating for changes towards issues on human trafficking, protection of women and children, and migration, through human rights-based approaches. His MRP research focuses on Anti-Trafficking policies in Thailand, drawing on valuable insights gained through his internship experiences with GAATW. Ki-Hwan’s fieldwork experience taught him that research is a fluid phenomenon that is endlessly shaped with unexpected influences, including political conflicts and military coups, and that it requires understanding and respecting local cultural and social differences. Ki-Hwan holds an Honours B.A. in Social sciences with a major in Criminology and minor in Sociology from University of Ottawa.


Kizel A. Liverpool

Kizel A. Liverpool headshotKizel, originally from Trinidad and Tobago, interned in Colombia with the Municipal government of Medellín (Alcaldía Medellín) in the department of Victim Care and Repair. She witnessed and participated in the planning and implementation of government strategies that address poverty, intra-urban displacement and youth violence in highly vulnerable communities within Medellín. Her experience working with Alcaldía Medellín taught her valuable skills such as event planning, project management, and facilitating leadership growth and development amongst community members. Her research focuses on the growing issue of intra-urban displacement within Medellín with specific emphasis on displaced Afro-Colombians. While immersed in the culture and workplace of Colombia she continued to build her fluency in Spanish – a key asset to her aspiring future work in International Development in Latin America. Kizel holds an Honours B.A. in Sociology and International Development from the University of Toronto.


Michelle Lo

Michelle Lo headshotMichelle interned at the Institute of National Policy Research, a private think tank in Taiwan, to assist scholars in their research on important policy topics as well as help in events such as the Taipei-Tokyo Strategic Dialogue conference and the Annual Youth Leadership Camp held in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She also interned at the Taiwan Alliance in International Development, Taiwan’s NGO platform dedicated to humanitarian and development efforts. Through engaging with field workers, scholars and officials, she conducted interviews and collected formal documentation on Taiwan’s official aid. Michelle’s current MRP research focuses on Taiwan’s role as an aid provider. Her goal is to understand how Taiwan’s unique diplomatic isolation in relation to China continues to shape its foreign aid patterns, practices and policies.  In the past, Michelle has volunteered with humanitarian agencies in China, Nicaragua, Brazil and Cambodia respectively, and previously worked as a licensed assistant to a financial advisor after graduating from Queen’s University with a BAH degree in Sociology.


Joanne Rappaport

B.Sc. (Env Sci), B.A. (Psych).

Joanne Rappaport headshotJoanne’s fieldwork began by interning with Wuqu’ Kawoq-Maya Health Alliance, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), which provides medical care delivery in the first languages of indigenous communities across rural Guatemala. Her work included identifying funding opportunities and preparing social media communications regarding Wuqu’ Kawoq activities. Working with Wuqu’ Kawoq introduced Joanne to the health care landscape in Guatemala. Joanne’s research examines the role NGOs play as providers of maternal health care in Guatemala and compares whether their efforts fare better than state health care services.  During her fieldwork, Joanne interviewed NGO and public health staff, midwives and, most importantly, the women in the rural communities they service. Joanne’s future research interests include the question of how Maya traditional medicine and Western biomedicine interact, as well as how rural communities can reclaim the use of indigenous medicine to empower themselves and offer indigenous Guatemalans accessible and affordable health care.  Joanne holds a B.Sc. in Environmental Science from the University of Toronto and a B.A. in Psychology from York University.


Rudaina Siddiqi

Rudaina Siddiqi headshotRudaina interned with the Urban Resource Centre in Karachi, Pakistan, a research organisation that focuses on urban issues. Rudaina assisted with a study of the social and economic issues that women face with public transport in Karachi, including what women felt were possible solutions to those problems. Rudaina conducted fieldwork for her thesis in Karachi and Lahore at ‘Khuda ki Basti’, a unique housing model by the NGO, Saiban, which provides low-income families the opportunity to buy cheap land in small installments where they can build their own homes. The focus of her study is to analyze the principles of self-help, community grassroots participation, and effective leadership in order to assess their relevance for development models and what lessons they offer to other civil society organizations in Pakistan. She also worked in hospital social services and as a domestic violence advocate in London and as a Program Manager for a sport-for-development NGO in Karachi. Rudaina has a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in Social Work from London, UK.