Meet Our Fellows
Browse through the list below and review their biographies to get to know the Fellows of the 1834 Fellowship.
Browse through the list below and review their biographies to get to know the Fellows of the 1834 Fellowship.
Adam Abdille is currently a student at the University of Alberta studying Economics. Throughout his four years at the UofA, he has been involved with various groups on campus, such as the Economics English Conversation Club, where he served as an Executive, and the Somali Students Association, where he had served as President. Through this role, he was able to help create programs and spaces not only for Somali students on campus but rather for the community as a whole, facilitating an online campaign for his local mosque, which had helped raise over $50,000. Adam has gained a wealth of experience working at the grassroots level as a part of Edmonton’s community. As a regular volunteer for his local MLA, Adam has also been active in politics by gaining experience with the New Democratic Caucus of Alberta as a Public Outreach Liaison during his second year of University. He engaged with community members to provide information and education about government structures and election policies. Adam’s post-graduate goals include working towards getting his Master’s in Public Policy and pursuing equity-based initiatives to improve the lived experiences of all Canadians.
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.
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.
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.
Gregory Dongen deeply understands the need for both grassroots work as well as institutional representation for meaningful change and social transformation. This fellowship will allow Gregory to merge his passions for community work and policy based change. I believe that with this experience, Gregory can, and will become a political leader that has the grassroots background to meaningfully represent us all.
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.
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.
Nonso Morah is currently a Grade 12 student at Spruce Grove Composite High School in Alberta who is passionate about the lack of diversification in Canadian education and the need for universal access to adequate education for all individuals across the globe. Born to Nigerian immigrants, she found solace in the values taught by her parents and hopes to help shape the world through her advocacy. She is an active member in her community as a youth educator, competitive athlete, former council member to her local MLA and the student body representative for her high school. She was accepted into the University of Alberta’s Black Youth Mentorship Program and was mentored by Dr. Jared Wesley, analyzing policies, Albertan national identities and prominent ideologies that exist within the provincial scope. Subsequently, she continued her work with the UofA as a research assistant in their Political Sciences Department and contributed to the creation of the Becoming Albertan Project, an education study on youth national identities. Nonso continues to be fueled by her passions to make a difference and to amplify the voices of youth who feel unheard in the communities. She is a firm believer in the power that youth of this generation have to insight change in the world and build inclusive futures for all, near and far. Her ultimate goal is aid in the shaping of a world which gives children like those in her family back home the same opportunities that she was granted by her parents throughout her growth.
Nyakier Burong attends University of Calgary student currently in my second year of biological anthropology. She is a South Sudanese refugee who was born in Ethiopia and immigrated to Canada in 2004. Most of her life was spent in Alberta, Canada. Her hobbies include running, going for walks, and drawing. She is most passionate about helping others. Being one of the eldest siblings in a family of 11, she was taught to put others first. Her passion for helping others has pushed her to wanting to pursue a career in medicine. She is incredibly grateful to be part of the 1834 Fellowship. She is excited to connect with other ambitious Black Youth to make a difference in this country.
Ruth Altaye is a third-year Philosophy student at Tyndale University in Toronto. She is not only the first ever Tyndale student to have a seat on Tyndale University’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council, but was also one of the few people who spearheaded the creation of the Council. This council is responsible for directly advising the president of the institution on matters pertaining to equity and inclusivity. Ruth is also the President of a group called the ‘Black Educators of Tyndale’, a collective that focuses on creating a safe haven for black students to commune and a safe space for students of other ethnicities to be educated on black culture and history. Ruth aspires to go to law school and use the Law degree to get into politics. Her interest in politics derives from her passion to ensure that the communities she grew up in, and currently serves, are always represented in policy making conversations whether they be municipal, provincial, or federal conversions. However, not having a Law Degree has never stopped Ruth from being both a community leader and an activist. From volunteering multiple grassroots organizations to speaking to politicians at town halls and debates, Ruth has been doing the work since she was only 14 years old.
Tom Ndekezi is a recent Bachelor of Science graduate from the University of Alberta and he is excited to be a 2021 fellow. He is interested in pursuing a career in law and public policy, and he is currently preparing to begin law school in the fall. Tom is also passionate about writing and journalism, and he has served as an editor of the University of Alberta’s campus magazine. Outside of school and work, Tom loves reading, writing, soccer, comedy, and hip-hop, in reverse order. Tom is looking forward to learning more about policy and decision making through the 1834 Fellowship, as well as getting to meet all of the amazing fellows.
Wendell Noel is a final-year student at Brock University with a major in Political Science and a minor in Environmental Sustainability. During his time at Brock University, he served on the Senate and was a part of the Undergraduate Program Committee and the Research and Scholarship Committee. He currently also served at the Brock University Students’ Union as the Chief Returning Officer and the Project Coordinator. He plans to pursue a career in public service and project management upon graduation.
Yar Anyieth is a fourth year student at the University of Alberta. She is completing a bachelor of arts degree – majoring in political science and sociology. She has dedicated herself to becoming a more engaged community member, working to address issues affecting black youth in the Edmonton community. She worked as a research assistance on a Black youth with a focus on mental health, volunteered as a youth mentor/tutor, and managed the fiscal responsibilities of a youth-led organization. Her goal in life is to continue to learn and grow in her capacity to advocate and support marginalized communities.
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