Meet Our Alumni
Get to know the first cohort of the 1834 Fellowship.
Get to know the first cohort of the 1834 Fellowship.
Adesua Egbase is a student at University of Calgary pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology with a Mind Sciences specialization that focuses on neural, and psycho-social determinants of health. Adesua was born in Nigeria and immigrated to Canada with her family at the age of 10. Her lived experiences allowed her to develop a bi-cultural identity as a Nigerian-Canadian, gaining awareness of inequalities particularly in health care, physical activity and sport that exist between and within countries. Adesua’s passion for community building developed in her undergraduate career as an executive on the University of Calgary’s Nigerian Students’ Association and a member of the African Caribbean Students’ Association. In both clubs she helped create a community for Black students to network and have their voices uplifted on campus. She has also been a Community Ambassador on campus residence, where she advocated for student’s needs and the inclusion of BIPOC communities in residence as a member of the Black Residence Advisor Network (BRAN). Additionally, she is an undergraduate member of her faculty’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Committee collaborating with faculty and staff on ways to enhance experiences of marginalized students within the faculty. During this fellowship Adesua hopes to gain more experience within civic leadership which will provide insight on how public policy, particularly health policy, is designed and implemented. This will provide a launchpad in accomplishing her goals of creating more equitable strategies and policies that do not exclude underserved populations in healthcare but rather enhance it for all communities.
Adrianna Hislop is a recent graduate of Carleton’s Public Affairs and Policy Management (PAPM) program and has since dedicated her time to create and facilitate a space of empowerment for young black women. Upon graduating, she continues to build a network within the Ottawa area, volunteering and planning events to bring awareness to social issues such as the lack of representation of black women in federal Canadian politics and access to social resources. Moving forward, it is one of her many goals to launch a registered not-for-profit organization that will continue to engage, educate and embolden black women to pursue careers in federal politics or the civil service at large.
Amin Ali is a student at the University of Toronto majoring in public policy and city studies with political and education-sector experience. He is currently Racial Justice and Equity Director with Canada’s Young New Democrats and a past staffer with the Official Opposition at Queen’s Park.
From 2017-2019, Amin was a Student Trustee on the Toronto District School Board, representing the 245,000 students in Toronto’s public schools. At the TDSB he advocated for low-income students, as in January 2019 the TDSB passed his motion and wrote to the Ministers of Education and Training, Colleges and Universities advocating for an immediate reversal of cuts to OSAP and its impacts disadvantaged high school students, becoming the first school board in Ontario to do so.
From 2018-19, Amin served as Policy Officer with the Ontario Student Trustees Association, which represents 2 million students across Ontario’s Public and Catholic English schools. He worked with Student Trustees from across Ontario to craft the association’s first pre-budget submission, “Investing in Student Achievement”, which advocated for $2.2 billion in new and continued investments in school repairs, student equity programming, and rural school supports. We also released “The Student’s Visions for Education”, a long-term policy plan with 35 recommendations in areas like enhancing equity, supporting student well-being, and education finance reform.
After graduation, Amin hopes to go onto graduate training in either public policy, education policy, or law school to achieve progressive policy reforms and fight for marginalized communities.
Anisa Abdulle is a recent University of Ontario Institute graduate with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Human Rights Law. Presently residing in Markham, the majority of her involvement in politics and community engagement is in Toronto. She currently serves as a human rights advocate with Amnesty International and an executive with Muslim Youth Fellowship, a non-profit organization aimed to diversify municipal political spaces. She is also a strong human rights, social justice and community education advocate within her community. Upon fulfilling her academic goals as an aspiring Human Rights/Civil Rights Lawyer and a political activist, she hopes to intersect these two areas of study while supporting marginalized communities. Through this experience and education she hopes to better advocate for improved protection and support for marginalized black communities in terms of policy.
While her formal title may be that of a university student, Apefa Adjivon wears several hats, all of which contribute to her passions for youth advocacy and capacity – building.
Drawing from her experiences as a young Black woman, she has assisted in creating two mentorship programs in the City of Toronto, supporting over 200 Black youth. As a speaker, Apefa has seen her message reach over 25,000 people worldwide. She has shared her insight with various international organizations and bodies, including serving as a youth advisor to the Canadian Commission for UNESCO and a Youth Delegate to the United Nations. For her leadership and advocacy, she has been named one of Canada’s top 30 under 30 in Sustainability, A Youth of UNESCO, and one of 100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women. The primary focus of her work is to support youth and women of colour, and her aim is to bring an equitable, intersectional approach to every initiative she contributes to.
Awout Mabior is a University of Calgary student. As a second year Sociology major, she strives for equity and equality for everyone. She is most passionate about finding solutions to social justice issues in her community; particularly unequal access to education. Like many other Black children growing up in Canada, Awout is the child of immigrant parents who were unfamiliar with the Canadian school system. Through tutoring with community leaders, she helped make sure other children in her community had support navigating the school system. An aspiring MLA, she hopes to enact laws that make Black Student Unions in high school mandatory. Through past experiences, she recognizes the many doors of opportunity education provides.
Chike Odenigbo is a graduate of the Bachelor of Commerce program at McGill University and is currently working as a data scientist for Bell Canada. As a technologist, Chike’s interest lies in encouraging more youth to integrate into the field of Artificial Intelligence which is a sector that is having an increasingly greater impact on our everyday lives. Chike also currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Black Academic Scholarship Fund as well as the ACSioN Network of Canada.
D-yana Bommier – Détentrice bientôt d’un baccalauréat en éducation, de l’université Concordia, j’ai à mon crédit plus de 6 ans d’expérience professionnelle auprès de clientèles diversifiées autant dans le milieu institutionnel que celui communautaire. Mes expériences m’ont permis de développer une expertise en intervention et en relations publiques. Intervenante psychosociale auprès de citoyens et citoyennes vulnérables socio économiquement et aux prises avec des enjeux de santé mentale, j’ai développé des habiletés en relations d’aide. Je suis également la coordonnatrice d’un regroupement de 8 organismes visant à mieux coordonner les interventions ciblant les membres des communautés noires et d’aider à l’amélioration de la qualité de vie. De plus, je cumule également des compétences en entrepreneuriat par des formations dans ce domaine. Afin de mettre en place une garderie inclusive pour créer les leaders de demain. Par ailleurs, je souhaite poursuivre des études pour les droits de la jeunesse, car le futur est entre leurs mains. Ma motivation est de permettre d’offrir divers opportunités à ma communauté. Ainsi, j’ai été présidente d’une association qui avait pour but d’unir les étudiants d’origine africaine (la diaspora) pour élever la communauté au plus haut niveau d’excellence académique et socioculturelle.
Daniella Castello born and raised in Scarborough, is an undergraduate student at Western University where she is a candidate for a Bachelor of Arts. She is enrolled in an Honours Specialization in History and a Major in Governance, Leadership, and Ethics (GLE). Her areas of studies include archival research, public policy, collaborative governance, and city planning. She is passionate about advocacy, social equity, civic engagement, and representation for equity-deserving communities. Throughout her time at Western University, she founded and is the current President of Black Future Lawyers Western chapter and Equity & Inclusion Captain on the Varsity Track and Field Team. She also volunteers both on- and off-campus providing peer support to undergraduate students and 2SLGBTQ+ youth. Through this fellowship, she hopes to learn about creating and implementing effective policies that will empower the Black and Queer communities.
Deanne Vuzi was born and raised in Alberta, where she has gained many of her titles, some of which include activist, community member, university student, in addition to coach and athlete. All of these show her love to interact with and uplift the community that has helped her get to where she is. She is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Alberta, studying Biological Sciences. After completing her degree, she plans on pursuing a Masters of Public Health, specializing in epidemiology and/or parasitology. Aware of the current divide between BIPOC communities and the healthcare system, Deanne’s professional aspiration is to create sustainable change that would help bridge this gap. Deanne sits as one of the Co-Presidents of the Children Believe Students’ Association (CBSA) based out of the University of Alberta. With this group, she was the architect of a two-month long BLM/BIPOC Series the group ran on social media subsequent to the death of George Floyd and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement. They showcased Black-created and focused student groups, organizations, and interviewed well-known activist, Andrew G. Parker, in addition to Alberta MLA David Shepherd. She is involved with various community initiatives, two of which include serving as an Edmonton Public School’s Equity Advisory Committee member and volunteering as a human rights advocate at the John Humphrey Centre on their Social Stride team. Outside of a professional setting, she coaches numerous soccer teams, and plays competitively herself.
Diana Idibe is a recent graduate of the Public Affairs and Policy Management program at Carleton university. She is passionate about youth leadership, community engagement, and equitable access to education. During her time at Carleton, she served as an executive of the Carleton University Students’ Association, using her term to advocate for students’ rights, championing a new peer support program, and supporting racialized students. During the last federal election, she worked on a national communications strategy for an advocacy organization promoting increased youth voter turnout.
After completing her degree, she transitioned into a Masters’ of Education focusing on educational policy and leadership at the University of Ottawa. Diana is interested in human rights and equity issues, racial justice, and empowering youth to take on leadership roles. Diana is a compassionate leader whose strength lies in bringing people together.
Dominique DeGrasse is a Wilfrid Laurier University student. She is studying her Bachelor’s of Social work with a minor in Law and Society. She was born in Jamaica and was raised in Brampton, Ontario. Dominique has been involved in the empowerment of Black people since High school. Taking part in the Black Heritage Club whom was featured for the first time in the schools yearbook in 2016-2017 since opening in 1969. Dominique actively seeks to be involved in the Black community in her city. At University she is the Co-Vice President of the Black Student Collective, where she heads social media management, weekly meeting facilitation and more. Dominique has also had opportunities to work with the Centre for Student Equity, Diversity and Inclusion of the University. Here she was able to have first hand experience on working towards a more equitable campus, even being keen in the development of new policies surrounding race and anti-black racism on campus.
Dominique is now seeking to finish her Bachelors degree and pursue graduate studies. Where after she will seek a career within the board of education within her region. To her, having more Black people within these positions can help the elimination of excluding black students form the class rooms, disproportionate suspension rates and lack of presence of Black Canadian history in curriculum. In turn she will hopefully get implement more social workers in schools creating connections to resources needed from financial support, all the way to, free after school programming to produce higher academic success for Black youth.
Eki Okungbowa is currently a graduate student at the University of Alberta studying educational psychology. She is passionate about bridging research, education, and policy and leveraging these as advocacy tools for marginalized communities. Learning about different cultures and listening to peoples’ stories intrigues her. Serving the disenfranchised is where her heart is, and her extensive community service experience meaningfully informs her social justice work. She is a longstanding volunteer for community organizations, grassroots initiatives, and federal government advisory committees as an advocate for anti-racism, equity, and sustainable impact, particularly as they apply to advancing the inclusion of Black communities in all facets of society.
Iyanu Soyege is Swati by birth, Nigerian by blood and Canadian by citizenship and residence. Her multifaceted identity has led her to desire the manifestation of descriptive and substantive representation in key societal institutions to reflect the interests of Canada’s diverse communities. As a coordinator for McGill’s Women in House program, Iyanu empowers women to engage politically by facilitating connections between women students and Canadian Members of Parliament and Senators for mentorship opportunities. In addition to her involvement with Women in House, Iyanu currently serves the Black Students’ Network (BSN) as a Political Coordinator to advocate for institutional initiatives that could serve to advance the well-being and academic achievement of Black students at McGill University. In her role with the BSN, Iyanu contributes to the development and implementation of McGill University’s Anti-Black Racism Action Plan, the first of its kind in the University’s 200-years of existence to combat Anti-Black racism. Iyanu previously led an academic association, the African Studies Students’ Association, as Co-President and she is currently completing her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and African Studies at McGill University.
Johnley Pierre est le fondateur d un OBNL a Montreal, Etudiant en affaire internationales HEC . Il s’implique dans le millieu Polique comme Benevole pour le parti liberal. Pour son futur il veut representer les noirs dans le millieu dans la polique pour faire une difference.
Josh Dadjo is a young professional that is passionate about ensuring Black Canadians have a strong political voice. He is a political staffer in the Senate of Canada in the office of the Hon. Rosemary Moodie where he works on anti-black racism, children’s rights and health policy. He is a Master’s student at the University of Ottawa and will begin a second Master’s degree in the fall of 2021. Finally, Josh is an avid volunteer in his community.
Kayla Webber, is a Ph.D. student in the Social Justice Education Department at the Ontario Institute Studies for Education. Webber, identifies as an Black-Indigenous woman, whose bloodlines and ancestors comes from various lands. Webber, has a devoted passion and interest in relationship-building across Black, Black-Indigenous and Indigenous communities.Webber’s research also incorporates relationship building solely discussing the topics of: Black-Indigenous Identity, Indigenous Education, Ending Violence Against Indigenous, Black-Indigenous and Black women also Black and Indigenous Relationships in Turtle Island (Canada) and beyond. They believe through forging and deepening these relationships that we begin the processes of establishing racial equality, decolonization, and social justice. It is their sincere belief that their ancestors and descendants celebrate their decision to work in these areas.
Kissiah Griffiths is a Bachelor of Commerce candidate studying at Ryerson University. She is currently specializing in Business Management with a minor in politics at the Ted Rogers School of Management. Kissiah is passionate about diversifying institutions and creating social innovation on campus.
Throughout her academic career, she has been extremely dedicated to advancing equity and inclusion. The founder of the Diversity Council at her highschool in Halton, Kissiah created a space for students and teachers to learn about the contributions of diverse Canadians excluded from their curriculum.
Since then, Kissiah has taken her skills, research and experiences to improve the campus life of students at Ryerson. She has served as Marketing Director for the United Black Students at Ryerson and most recently, as Communications Assistant for the Democratic Engagement Exchange, with the Faculty of Arts. With her work for both of these organizations, Kissiah has supported the growth of civic engagement, while also promoting education and social empowerment on campus.
As a creative strategist Kissiah seeks to find solutions to social problems using entrepreneurship. Her involvement as an intern through the Social Venture Zone, has further strengthened her ability to make positive changes in her community.
Kissiah is thrilled to be selected as a fellow for the 1834 cohort and she hopes to learn about the development and implementation of policies specific to education in Canada.
Ladan Egeh is a community organizer, activist and social entrepreneur in the City of Toronto. She is passionate about community building, parity in access to education, and criminal justice reform. She is driven by her lived experiences, undergraduate work as a student policy researcher, and the current work as with the grassroots organization, Sistercode. As Co-Founder and Program Coordinator, Ladan supports young women’s pursuit of post-secondary education, participation in STEM fields of study, and their overall digital literacy. Ladan is delighted to join the first cohort of the 1834 Fellowship Project to deepen her understanding of the Canadian policy process. She looks forward to meeting and collaborating with other Black youth that shares the same vision of change and community development.
Mohamed Mbengue is a graduate of economics and political science at Université de Montréal and in project management at HEC. He was born in Sénégal and has lived in Canada since 2008. With a keen interest in politics and public administration he was involved in several organizations. Working for the federal government he wishes to enter into politics and work with Black youth on social, environmental and civic issues.
Nicole Mfoafo-M’Carthy is a first-year medical student at the University of Toronto. Prior to medicine, she completed her Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours) at the University of Calgary in 2020. She is a recipient of the National Terry Fox Humanitarian scholarship and the 2019 Sheila O’Brien Award for Excellence in Leadership. Nicole is a Junior Fellow at Massey College where she serves as an advisor on the anti-black racism committee and the chair of the Health committee. Her interests in policy have led her to pursue multiple research endeavours that examine the interaction between social determinants of health and policy in shaping the experiences and health of others.