Details on upcoming award ceremony to come!

This year’s SFSS Women of the Year Awards celebrates self-identified women who have demonstrated leadership and advocated for positive changes on campus and in society. This includes trans women, non-binary women, and cis women.

We are proud to present the 2021 SFSS Women of the Year Award winners. Meet the women recognized for their contributions and advocacy for improvements for the SFU community, particularly for marginalized communities:

  • Applied Sciences – Yasmin Dibai
  • Arts e Social Sciences – Zeynep Ekin Buran
  • Business – Molly MacLeay
  • Communication, Art & Technology – Sara Milosavic
  • Environment – Zoya Khan
  • Health Sciences – Qudrat Aujla
  • Sciences – Marie Haddad

We want to emphasize that we recognize what it means to be a woman is not static. We encourage members of our community to continue to learn about and talk about gender inequality and the role that oppressive, misogynistic, and patriarchal systems continue to play in our lives. These systems and gender norms reinforce inequality and lead to violence against marginalized groups, and the need for true gender equality goes beyond International Women’s Day. 

International Women’s Day itself was started in the early 1900s by labour rights activists, including Clara Zetkin, who were also proponents of intersectional activism. Social categories like race, gender, socioeconomic class, disability status, and religion all impact an individual’s experience in Canada’s colonial and capitalist society, and these categories give rise to different forms of oppression. 

Today, many celebrate International Women’s Day without truly reflecting on the intersectionality of gender and other social categories. Isolating gender as a social category prevents us from seeing how the patriarchy affects other systems of oppression, and can become an excuse to inflict harm against marginalized groups—particularly the transgender community. The issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit people has also seldom been talked about in conversations on International Women’s Day. We must celebrate International Women’s Day without ignoring the unique struggles of Black, Indigenous, LGBTQIA2S+, and disabled communities and advocate against oppression through an intersectional lens.

We hope to give nominees of the SFSS Women of the Year Awards a platform to speak as voices that have been historically underrepresented. We also hope that everyone who celebrates International Women’s Day reflects on how to better protect victims of gender-based violence, and we encourage you to take the time to learn more about intersectionality. We have linked some resources at the end of this document to facilitate this learning so we can all reflect on our roles in dismantling systems of oppression. 


Campus groups:

This statement was inspired by the following posts:


Hilal Asmat

Hilal is in her last semesters of the Software Systems program. Throughout her time at SFU, Hilal has been an outspoken voice in women’s equality in tech and is not afraid to help her peers if they aren’t being treated right. She is currently a mentor for the WiCS mentoring program and enjoys guiding upcoming women in tech! Hilal is the founder of SFU Surge, an inclusive club to help students gain industry technical skills. She is also the former president of the Software Systems Student Society and helped plan their largest hackathon! Hilal is truly a leader and will be inspiring girls as she begins her position as Program Manager at Microsoft.

How has the nominee demonstrated that they advocate for positive changes in society, particularly for marginalized communities? 

Hilal started SFU Surge with her other co-president because she had a vision to create an all-inclusive club that helps guide students on their paths to career success. At her time with Surge, she helped them create a vision of a large-scale hackathon that partnered with the Major League Hacking to bring an unforeseen hackathon to SFU. By the time Hilal left Surge, the groundworks of an amazing club were in place. There was an amazing team to carry on the legacy of creating an inviting environment for people interested in tech.

Yasmin Dibai

Yasmin Dibai is a Sustainable Energy Engineering student at SFU who plans on bringing a fresh perspective to the industry. She is an advocate for women in engineering through her endeavours as the previous Communications Coordinator and now, President of Women in Clean Tech (WiCT) SFU. Yasmin is interested in building design and energy modelling and is further exploring this in the Building Design team, as the Building Science Co-Lead. In addition to this, she is in the process of obtaining her Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design GA certification. She is also involved the SEE Student Society as the VP Social. Her role entails running social media accounts, planning/moderating virtual events and running an online store selling SEE merchandise.

How has the nominee demonstrated that they advocate for positive changes in society, particularly for marginalized communities? 

Yasmin has created opportunities to advocate for positive changes in society and marginalized communities, specifically women in engineering by using WiCT as her platform. One of these opportunities were through creating WiCT “Vogue” inspired magazine covers and interviews, highlighting women in engineering at SFU and beyond. These interviews give these women a chance to tell their stories, highlight their achievements in the industry and their experiences with fighting the stigma against women in engineering. These WiCT Vogue covers have gained plenty of attentions and women in engineering in industry have reached out to us asking for a cover. *Trigger warning* Another opportunity has been raising awareness of the history of oppression against women in STEM, for example the Montreal massacre motivated by misogyny. These conversations remind us of the urgency to keep advocating for equality in all fields. Lastly, in her personal life, Yasmin mentors and tutors high school students and introduces them to STEM, in hopes of increasing women in STEM in the future.

Sheetal Puri

Sheetal is a 5th year Systems engineering student. She is the co-president of Women in Engineering Club (WiE) and the founder and head of WiE Design Team. She joined WiE in 2018 as the VP communications and became co-president in 2020. WiE has given her the opportunity to organize many events to showcase representation of womxm in STEM and educate and mentor young girls to join STEM. Sheetal founded WiE Design Team in 2020, where she is leading projects such as creating and distributing PPE during COVID and building a robot who loves sustainability. Through this Design Team she hopes to give female students a safe space to build not only their technical skills but also their confidence.

How has the nominee demonstrated that they advocate for positive changes in society, particularly for marginalized communities? 

Sheetal believes representation, role models and an inclusive space is essential to increasing ratio of female students in STEM. She has organized and volunteered at various outreach events and Science Fairs for girls, hoping to increase curiosity around the engineering program for womxn. Marginalized student groups in STEM can more often than not feel intimidated, diffident, talked over and insecure, not through any flaw of their own but because of the space they are in. Sheetal started WiE Design to give female students in STEM a place to discuss technical ideas, build technical knowledge and confidence in their abilities in a safe space. She hopes they are able to take this confidence with them to bigger clubs, industries, co-op internships and know that gender should never be a factor in your technical skills. Sheetal led one of the first projects on the Design Team to build and distribute PPE to healthcare workers and local businesses. Female students and allies from different programs helped design, test, 3D print and distribute more than 400 PPE to healthcare workers in lower mainland. Sheetal has loved helping wherever she can to increase female engagement and interest in STEM and will continue to do so.

Noble Tan

Noble is a 4th year Computing Science student who has been involved in many extracurricular activities within the community since the start of her university career. Throughout her time at SFU she has accomplished many events such as FAS Formal, Networking nights, and social events within SFU Surge and the CSSS (Computing Science Student Society). In addition, Noble is currently the Co-president of Women in Computing Science (WICS) and the Director of Logistics for SFU-Surge. During her free time, you can often find her baking something sweet or planning the next big thing for SFU!

How has the nominee demonstrated that they advocate for positive changes in society, particularly for marginalized communities? 

In order to advocate for positive changes in society for women in STEM, Noble has been involved in many outreach programs and events by hosting workshops and conferences for high school girls with  a major objective of helping girls develop a friendly and positive environment specifically designed for them to explore and ask questions in Computing Science, Engineering Science, and the field of technology. She believes by providing the tools and inspiration our next generation of girls will learn to love and grow within the computer science industry. She continues to empower women, from being part of the WiCS to being part of SFU Surge. She always does whatever she can to help other people and create change within the community.

Zeynep Ekin Buran

Ekin is a 5th year international undergraduate student, from Turkey. Her major is Criminology and minor is Psychology.

She is extremely dedicated to creating positive and inclusive spaces for students. She has been
actively learning and educating others about issues faced by refugees and newcomers to Canada. While she is proactive in her volunteer activities, she also seeks to help people through the jobs she has had.

Ekin is an inspiration because she works towards creating a better world for people around her, and shows outgoing initiative, leadership, and dedication to encouraging others to do so as well. She motivates people to work together because she loves what she does, and wants to share this sentiment with those around her.

How has the nominee demonstrated that they advocate for positive changes in society, particularly for marginalized communities? 

Ekin has been extremely committed to creating safe spaces for students, particularly refugees and black students. Through WUSC, she instigated the collaboration of events with various higher education institutions. She worked with the team at WUSC UBC to create a panel discussion on accessing post-secondary education for newcomer youth, demonstrating her dedication to working hands-on as a mentor to newcomers and refugees. Currently, she is conducting career-readiness workshops to benefit refugee and newcomer youth by equipping them with the skills and information they need to enter into employment.

She has also been instrumental in leading campaigns such as Ride for Refuge on behalf of WUSC SFU, to raise awareness and funds for displaced persons, the vulnerable, and the exploited.

Her role as a Support Services Worker at the Salvation Army also displays her desire to help minority groups, as she supports the clients (mainly homeless population) with their needs to ensure they are safe, secure and aware of the resources available to them.

Balqees Jama
Balqees Jama is an exceptional student activist, organizer, and an essential part of the SFU community. Balqees is a 3rd-year undergrad studying International Studies and has focused her advocacy efforts heavily within SOCA, SFPIRG, and the SFSS. She has been at the helm of organizing efforts ranging from the Tuition Freeze Now campaign bringing awareness to unjust tuition raises that impact marginalized folk, to the Black Space Matters campaign which fights against institutionally racist decisions to evict Black space and silence marginalized folk. Additionally, Balqees has been an engaging Youth Educator at the BC Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre. This notable individual is continuously raising awareness and enhancing the experience of marginalized folk on campus through her advocacy efforts.

How has the nominee demonstrated that they advocate for positive changes in society, particularly for marginalized communities? 

Balqees has shed light on inequities at SFU, especially Black and Indigenous student experiences. In conversation with SFU governing bodies, and brought forward the need for equity empowerment policies and practices, and stresses the importance of consulting with marginalized students. As co-chair of SFSS BIPOC Committee, she delivered anti-racism recommendations alongside the committee to the SFU President and Administration, including the creation of a senior VP Equity role at SFU to implement a wide scale anti-oppression strategy at the University. Balqees has been working with the University regarding the creation of the new VP People, Equity, and Inclusion executive role, and holds them accountable to ensure the role properly serves the need to implement institutional anti-oppressive and anti-racist efforts, while also centering marginalized student needs.

Balqees has also used her role as a student leader to ensure that there is long-term, institutional support for Black students by leading the creation of the SFSS Black Student Support Office and Coordinator. She also works with SFU Health and Counselling Services on supporting Black students with racially and culturally sensitive services, such as hiring Black counsellors, in order to reduce disproportionate barriers Black students face to receiving health care.

Edanna Jones

Edanna Jones works tirelessly toward bettering  student-life at SFU, but also toward improving society in general.  She has shows tremendous leadership skills during the pandemic and as well as now.  She is in her Second Year at SFU studying Political Science and she is currently the Vice President of the Political Science Student Union.  She is also involved with political groups, like the Young Liberals and her electoral district to fight toward a better Canada. She leads with kindness and strength.  She showed immense amount of resilience throughout 2020, and I expect she will continue to do so for future years. Edanna Jones is the very best SFU has to offer.

How has the nominee demonstrated that they advocate for positive changes in society, particularly for marginalized communities? 

Edanna has worked with countless organizations that mean to better society.  She is currently working at a Medical Office as an Assistant, serving and helping people even during the pandemic. She selflessly and bravely continues to help people that need it the most. During the pandemic, she helped the community group support hotline, taking shifts and helping seniors or people in-need find information and resources about COVID-19. She also helped people with online grocery orders. She also contacted Global News to flim a segment to get the word out about the hotline number. She is also leading phone banks, fundraising for EDA (raised over 10k), and moderating careers night for YLCBC.  She is also involved in local politics with her electoral district.  Edanna is leading the Communications Committee and Election Readiness Chair at her Electoral District Association.  She ensures that people have a chance to get involved in politics.  She takes her duties seriously and plans meticulously for her meetings and tries to go above and beyond for her community.

Brianna Malott

Brianna is a third year psychology honours student and the current Psychology Student Union President. Brianna is motivated by the love for her friends and her area of study. The SFU psychology student community chose her to represent them because of her empathy and kindness towards others not only in her position but in her daily life. Alongside fostering student engagement in her faculty, Brianna has advocated for student issues within the psychology faculty.

How has the nominee demonstrated that they advocate for positive changes in society, particularly for marginalized communities? 

Brianna strives to ensure that those around her feel respected. She makes a certain effort to acknowledge people’s identities and cultural beliefs. She has spoken out at SFSS meetings, on her personal social media, and on behalf of the Psychology Student Union to ensure all members of the SFU community, especially those belonging to marginalized groups, know where she stands in supporting them and amplifying their voices wherever possible. She has acknowledged her privilege as a cis white woman and works to make others aware of their own privileges as well as using this privilege to advocate for change. She aims to educate others wherever possible in order to encourage growth, as she believes this is the best way to bring positive changes, and ensures the environment around her is a safe space for marginalized communities.

Judit Nagy

Judit is a third-year Psychology major and political science minor. Judit is currently the president of the Political Science Student Union, writing and learning peer with the Student Learning Commons, a FASS peer mentor, and the VP communications officer of the Psychology Student Union. In the past, Judit has also been the lower division rep of the PSSU, a Hive leader, and a senior welcome day leader. Judit has been one of the most underappreciated hard workers at SFU and she deserves to get recognized.

How has the nominee demonstrated that they advocate for positive changes in society, particularly for marginalized communities? 

Judit has been a great advocate for marginalized communities in society. First, as president of the PSSU, she introduced land acknowledgments to the meetings of the PSSU. This is a good step for the PSSU towards reconciliation. Additionally, Judit is helping the PSSU co-host an event with UBC Scholars at Risk and UBC International Relations Association. This event is a fight for Academic Freedom in India. Dr. G.N Saibaba was is a former English Lit professor at Delhi University who spoke out against the mistreatment of indigenous Adivasis peoples by the Salwa Judum militiain India. In 2014, Dr. Saibaba was arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, despite no credible evidence of supposed association with CPI-Maoists. Despite 19medical conditions and a 90% handicap, Dr.Saibaba has repeatedly been denied medical care. He has also recently contracted COVID-19, which can further exacerbate his chronic illnesses. The event being held is a poetry event in his honor and to help raise awareness of his situation. These are 2 prime examples of how Judit has advocated for positive changes in society, for marginalized communities.

Helen Sofia Pahou

Helen Sofia Pahou is a force to be reckoned with. She is a fourth year SFU FASS student majoring in Political Science and double-minoring in International Studies and Legal Studies. Not only is Helen highly involved on campus as the Vice Chair of the SFSS Council and the Political Science Student Union’s SFSS Council Representative, but she is also a career-oriented as seen in SFU’s Arts Co-op Department. Within co-op, Helen has demonstrated her smarts and versatility as a Research Assistant for SFU’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) initiative, a Diversity Coordinator for non-profit organizations in Surrey, and an Socio-Economic Analyst with the Federal Government of Canada. I am confident Helen should receive a 2021 Women of the Year Award.

How has the nominee demonstrated that they advocate for positive changes in society, particularly for marginalized communities? 

Helen’s involvement outside of school and in society is nothing but remarkable. Helen’s work as a Diversity Coordinator within Surrey’s non-profit organizations has helped to bridge understanding among many marginalized communities in Surrey. From September of 2020 to December of 2020, Helen had organized and hosted an online Zoom series called “Community Conversations”. These online web seminars aimed to educate, connect and empower local Surrey residents on some of the municipality’s biggest social issues. Some of the topics she centred these seminars on delved into breaking social and racial barriers for immigrants, homelessness vs. “houselessness”, investigating the accessibility of public education for BIPOC and LGBTQ2S+ youth in the age of COVID-19, and amplifying the bravery and strength of Indigenous communities. Her talks have allowed her to make connections with multiple immigration organizations, drug and alcohol recovery houses, and with members of the Surrey Urban Indigenous Leadership Committee. Helen’s is also an avid singer within Vancouver’s Indonesian communities, and uses her voice to shed light on the wonders of her southeast Asian heritage. Helen is highly immersed in the issues of marginalized communities and continues to work tirelessly in creating a positive environment for them.

Abi Pena

Abi is a third-year student studying International Studies. She is a very outgoing, bubbly individual who loves to talk, travel and try new food!

Her active dedication and passion for the SFU community have allowed her to work with a number of student groups like UNICEF SFU, Her Campus SFU, International Studies Student Association, and various others.

In the near future (if she ever graduates, as she jokes) she mentioned that she hopes to work in the field of journalism where she aspires to advocate for others by, writing, and highlighting important voices in the current media.

How has the nominee demonstrated that they advocate for positive changes in society, particularly for marginalized communities? 

Enacting her vision as an International Studies major, Abi has always had a passion and heart for helping people.

In being an active member of the SFU & SFSS clubs community, she currently sits as the CO-VP of Advocacy at UNICEF SFU where every week she does educational presentations, activities that showcase global issues around the world. Some of her work has touched upon confronting issues like covid-19 in Indigenous communities, gender inequity in Children’s education, and many more that illustrate UNICEF’s goals, missions, and their Sustainable Development Goals.

She is also the president of Her Campus at SFU, an online community, and magazine that is dedicated to highlighting the voices of women by writing about their passions and interests. This year, she restarted this club with a vision of building community, achieveing solidarity, and opportunities for SFU women.

Besides this, not only does she have a strong voice in her work, but also her personal life as she has personally campaigned for many non-profits like Amnesty International, Dressember Campaign displaying her will in fighting for human rights and marginalized groups.

Being a visible minority, and woman of color herself, she strongly believes in uplifting people’s voices and raising awareness.

Rochelle Prasad

Rochelle is the CEO/ED of a Non- Profit called SPARK Foundation. SPARK Foundation offers life education programs (workshops, camps and community programs) to youth throughout Canada.

Because of her work and leadership, she is also the recipient of the Princess Diana Award, Canada 150 award in leadership, Surrey Board of Trade Top 25 Under 25 the Governor General Sovereignty Award, is the author of her book titled “Because We Can”, and continues to travel the world in pursuit of building sustainable communities.

Rochelle has also been interviewed, published, and written about in over 50 articles in the world. She is a UN SDG advocate and champions goals: 4, 11,13 and 17 throughout her project management, entrepreneurship, and community engagement work.

How has the nominee demonstrated that they advocate for positive changes in society, particularly for marginalized communities? 

Rochelle sits on the City of Surrey Community Service Committee, made up of 3 City Councillors, her self and 2 CEO’s of non profits in Surrey. In saying this, as being a self identified female coming from a marginalized background her self, on this board she has been advocating to Mayor and Council how women of colour deserve the opportunity to share their voices in Policy making. This has also shined through with her being the CEO/ED of SPARK foundation and her leadership of empowering students to pursue making a difference in their community.

Anjali Dhaliwal

At only 18, Anjali Dhaliwal has become a global icon, award-winning musician, championing youth and mental health advocacy. She inspires those both younger and older than herself; it’s one of the many reasons this Top 25 Under 25 Awardee is such an IN-DEMAND motivational speaker across the world, totalling over 300 speaking engagements in the last two years. Accumulating over four thousand volunteer hours, Anjali believes that everyone has the potential to make a difference and reach all their goals, regardless of the background they come from. Anjali is passionate about the marketing field with over three years of experience and recently landing a Marketing Intern Analysts position at CPP Investment.

How has the nominee demonstrated that they advocate for positive changes in society, particularly for marginalized communities? 

Anjali is most known for being the founder & CEO of one of North America’s fastest-growing, international, youth-led nonprofit organizations: Youth Helping Youth (YHY). YHY’s goal is to bridge the accessibility gap of resources and opportunities (scholarships, jobs, volunteer positions, etc.) available to youth in low-income communities through digital marketing platforms. Anjali has helped over 50,000 youth a year through seven chapters across North America, $20,000 raised in COVID-19 relief funds, raised 30,000 masks for senior care homes, 200,000+ impressions per month on Instagram alone, and delivered 50+ care packages to youth in BC struggling with Mental Health.

Anjali was inspired to start YHY through the personal hardships she was dealt. She grew up in Surrey BC. Surrey is a hub for one of BC’s lowest graduation rates. The high school Anjali attended is ranked 244th out of 251 schools in British Columbia. That is the bottom 3%, the school a host for high rates of gang affiliations and violence. Growing up in a marginalized community with minimal access to opportunities did not stop Anjali from receiving Top 25 Under 25 and later winning a full-ride scholarship to pursue higher-education as the first in her family.

Arsh Gill

Arsh Gill  is currently in her third year at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business. She is in the Bachelor of Business Administration program concentrating in Management Information Systems and Strategic analysis. She is also a STEM Minor pursuing Statistics within the Faculty of Science at SFU. About 3 years ago, Arsh took a leap of faith and moved here from her home country, India to pursue her undergraduate studies. She is passionate about poetry and literature, reading Shakespeare is one of her keen interests. She is motivated to be a positive impact to the community while pursuing social-impact consulting serving non-profit organizations with social and environmental issues.

How has the nominee demonstrated that they advocate for positive changes in society, particularly for marginalized communities? 

Arsh has been a part of SFU Residence and Housing and served in four different capacities each aimed at building a culture of inclusion and diversity in our community. As a Research Assistant, she prepared a comprehensive report and conducted an environmental scan of several Canadian post-secondary institutions to understand their best practices that can be implemented at SFU especially in-relation to supporting international residents. Through her research findings and interviews, it was concluded that collaboration with campus partners (Health and Counselling, Women’s Centre, Safety & Risk Services, Campus Public Safety, Sexual Violence Support & Prevention Office) helps engage the residence community and provides resources to international residents that come to study at SFU from different parts of the world. She transitioned into her second role as a Beedie Living-Learning Community Advisor supporting about 30 first-year Beedie students from different backgrounds through mentorship and programming opportunities. In her current role as an Area Coordinator, she acts as a mentor and support to 30 Community Advisors and residents virtually in our community despite us being amidst a pandemic. In her roles, Arsh constantly tries to expand her understanding of intercultural differences by encouraging teamwork and collaboration while establishing sense of belonging.

Molly MacLeay

In 2019, she received 1st in Debate at JDC West, the largest business competition in Western Canada. In 2020, she worked at Telus as a Business Analyst and returned to JDC West win 1st in business strategy. In her last year, she ranked first in the Management Consulting Career Prep Program, which only selects 12 top students each year. She also led SFU JDC West to School of the Year in 2021 as Co-captain to 42 students, while maintaining a 3.81 GPA. Post-grad, she will continue to help the community by being a project manager for MCCP and working at McKinsey&Co. Throughout, she supported the community by being a mentor and orientation leader for first year students and a TA.

How has the nominee demonstrated that they advocate for positive changes in society, particularly for marginalized communities? 

As Co-Captain for SFU JDC West she helped provide support for students within Beedie by instating a case competition for charity for younger students to learn about competing. This, alongside other fundraising endeavors raised over $8000 for our charity partners  who have been struggling throughout COVID-19.

Tilyna Pawer

Tilyna is passionate about helping others develop themselves personally and professionally. To demonstrate, she manages and works alongside three separate executive teams to provide opportunities and events for others to engage, grow, and connect. One of these three is SFU LYFE, which she co-founded in 2019 at SFU Surrey. Since then, LYFE’s following and team has expanded and grown. Tilyna is currently the co-president of LYFE, the president of the SFU Hiking club, as well as the manager of the Schedule SFU. She was also a Beedie Launch leader and a part of the Beedie Urban Development Program this past year.

How has the nominee demonstrated that they advocate for positive changes in society, particularly for marginalized communities? 

SFU LYFE is an interdisciplinary, representative organization that was created to satisfy an unfulfilled need within the current selection of clubs within the SFSS. The need to share, spread awareness, and bring a business mindset along with applicable resources that business students receive to other SFU faculties with visible minorities. Today, every area of study can benefit from business acumen and knowledge as the entire world operates as a business structurally and in networking. Even if one is studying psychology, mechatronics, or kinesiology; they can benefit from personal and professional development along with relevant business connections. Therefore, as the co-founder and co-president of SFU LYFE I am dedicated to helping student’s balance and grow both their personal and professional experiences and networks by providing them with the most applicable tools, events, and resources. Our continuously growing executive team and loyal members are people of all ages across multiple faculties and ethnicities. In our hiring process, I ensure no inherent biases are left unattended to further our core pillars and values of committing, promoting, and furthering diversity. Our guest speakers are diverse in expertise and experiences as well as in their stages in life.

Twinkle Pethad

Twinkle Pethad is a second-year international student from Kenya. Born and brought up in Kenya, she has had different experiences. She has a passion for issues pertaining to mental health, gender inequality, and income inequality. In March 2020, she moved back to Kenya, where she went through a rough mandatory self-paid government quarantine of 21 days. She invoked the fight against the mental health stigma in the entire nation through her courageous action. Having filmed a video that went viral in the whole country, she bagged slots with BBC, and other media channels to voice and fight for her own rights as well as the rights of the citizens quarantined inmandatory government facilities. Her fight was successful.

How has the nominee demonstrated that they advocate for positive changes in society, particularly for marginalized communities? 

In March 2020, she landed in Kenya and faced a mandatory selfpaid government quarantine of 14 days without any prior notice. She accepted it as it was for the welfare of the country. However, the quarantine was then expanded by 14 more days for no valid reason. This increased the anxiety and panic in all guests who had been quarantined. All guests became mental health victims. The quarantine was selfpaid and was taking a toll on all their mental health. She saw this as unfair. She stepped up to film a video about her situation. The video went viral in the country in about 3 hours. She was then invited to conduct interviews with BBC, BBC Swahili, Various local Radio and News Television channels. Finally, her plea reached the top authorities. After acknowledgment that the extension was completely unnecessary and that guests’ mental and physical health had not been taken care of, the guests were all tested for Covid-19 for the second time and released from the quarantine centres after 21 days. This fight against injustice was difficult, but the results were worth the inconvenience. All the guests were able to get justice from the actions of one person.

Kali Stierle

Kali is a spirited leader that puts community _rst. As an Indigenous woman in a colonial institution, she sees a better world for future generations and does everything she can to work towards it. The FNSA Let Us Speak Campaign is just one example of this. As an FNSA Board Member, Kali met with President Joy Johnson and even presented to the SFU Board of Governors calling for proper Indigenous consultation for reconciliation efforts at SFU. She brought the truth and voices of Indigenous students to the highest governing body of the university and demanded change and justice. I could not be more grateful to have students like Kali at SFU, because she shows us that we can be better.

How has the nominee demonstrated that they advocate for positive changes in society, particularly for marginalized communities? 

As an elected Executive for the First Nations Student Association, Kali is a strong advocate for Indigenous students at SFU, and she works relentlessly to uplift and amplify their voices on crucial issues. The FNSA Let Us Speak Campaign is just one example of this, where Kali collaborated with key stakeholders at the university and presented to the SFU Board of Governors and met with President Joy Johnson calling for proper Indigenous consultation for reconciliation efforts at SFU. Kali also serves as Finance Coordinator for Young Women in Business, a club of empowered women empowering women that are pursuing a career in business by providing them with skills, experience, and opportunities. She also volunteers at the Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Center and is a key ambassador in their “InSolidarity” project that builds bridges between Indigenous youth and migrant and newcomer youth in Surrey.

Kayli Jamieson

Kayli Jamieson is an Honours Communications major and Business minor student. Kayli uses her passions to contribute to the SFU community. Kayli is passionate about music and has dedicated her time to the Peak Frequency club and has been involved in organizing the SFU’s got talent show for performers. Kayli has performed at events like the Volunteer tribute. Additionally, Kayli is also involved in bringing light to events such as the Lennon Wall to SFU.

How has the nominee demonstrated that they advocate for positive changes in society, particularly for marginalized communities? 

The nominee has been involved with advocating for the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests and brought the Lennon Wall at SFU in late 2019 by supporting those students who have a difficult time and are unable to visit home due to the situation back in Hong Kong. In 2020, she was actively involved in attending local protest events to support the movement, and is thoroughly involved in the Hongcouver community. She also brings light to the plight of HKers in her papers and research, along with situation of Uyghurs in Xinjiang–even recently presenting at the FCAT Conference on the issue, and will also present at the forthcoming SFU Undergrad Research Symposium on it.

Sara Milosavic

Sara is a avid reader, a coffeeholic, and reality TV enthusiast! She is a fifth-year Interactive Arts and Technology student concentrating in Interactive Systems, interested in Graphic Design, UX/UI, and Animation.

Sara is especially passionate about user-centered design, striving to solve complex problems with a focus on the needs of women and marginalized communities. She is currently a Digital Media Communications Specialist at Fraser Heatlh, where she designs media and communication materials that are promoted to over 1.8 million people.

How has the nominee demonstrated that they advocate for positive changes in society, particularly for marginalized communities?

Recently, Sara participated in a case competition hosted by UofT where she brainstormed and designed ideas on how to make studying abroad more accessible to all students (low-income, marginalized, indigenous and students with disabilities). Although studying abroad can have many benefits, some barriers that we identified were that it creates a financial burden and that students with disabilities have a hard time finding suitable accommodations. Therefore, the proposed solution intends to bring study abroad experiences to the home university (for example, through guest lectures, specialized courses at their own institution, etc.). It also allows students with disabilities and others in marginalized communities to filter and find experiences that better suit their personal needs.

Sara has also been an active member of UNICEF SFU where she applies her design skills to communicate and advocate for marginalized children. More specifically, she is passionate about promoting and creating opportunities to make education accessible to young girls and children in need.

Finally, Sara has been an active member at TEDxSFU with the goal to spark conversations among diverse members of the community. The platform provides a voice to those in marginalized communities by amplifying their stories, ideas, and experiences.

Zoya Khan

Zoya Khan is a Global Environmental Systems major certifying in Geographic Information Science. Her passion for equity has led to her involvement and support of social and environmental justice movements both on and off campus. As an elected member of Embark’s Board of Directors, Zoya Khan carries a joint responsibility with fellow directors in governing and representing Embark. In her role as the Director-at-Large, she sits on the three committees of: Director Development, Governance, and Strategic Planning. Within these committees, she is accountable for developing documentation surrounding JEDDI topics to support the constant learning of the Board, reviewing and expanding Embark’s policies, as well as outlining Embark’s focus areas for the next three fiscal years respectively.

How has the nominee demonstrated that they advocate for positive changes in society, particularly for marginalized communities? 

In her work on the board of directors at Embark Sustainability, Zoya Khan has demonstrated a clear grasp of the need to promote psychological safety to set the table for engagement and inclusion. She was worked to engage members of marginalized communities and provided the organization with feedback on changes that could make the organization more inviting to members of under-represented groups.

Evangeline Lapalme

Evie is a 4th-year Bachelor of Arts Geography major student with an Archaeology minor and is completing a Geographical Information Science (GIS) certificate. She has been a valuable asset to the Geography Student Union (GSU) as the Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) Council representative, GSU Marketing and Communications lead, and currently serves as a GSU Co-Chair. She is passionate about mapping and spatial technologies, environmental sustainability, and social justice and gender equality issues. She is a keen problem-solver and always finds a way to make sure every person in a group is included.

How has the nominee demonstrated that they advocate for positive changes in society, particularly for marginalized communities? 

Evie is a passionate activist and an ally for marginalized groups by participating in marches and events to support environmental and social justice causes. She has marched for Missing Indigenous Women, Girls, & Two Spirited Peoples (MMIWGTS), advocated for Black Lives Matter through a poster presentation at the Geography Graduate Association, and marched with the Wet’suwet’en peoples in solidarity against pipeline construction in their territory, as well as participating in the multiple Climate Strike marches. With the GSU, Evie promoted Black History Month through the GSU’s social media platforms and secured GSU donations for the Hogan’s Alley Society (HAS) during recent Black Lives Matter protests. HAS advocates for Black Vancouverites who have endured the legacies of urban renewal and their erasure from the official historical narrative. During the last two semesters, Evie was a driving force to create and facilitate events to continue to connect with students during the pandemic.

Qudrat Aujla

Qudrat is completing her last semester at SFU, currently majoring in Health Sciences and minoring in Gerontology. She has spent her last few years at SFU being involved in various organizations and initiatives, including leading the Pre-Med Society as the current Co-Chair and helping out new students during this unusual year as a Peer Mentor. She currently works as a research assistant at BC Children’s Hospital and has gained experience in research focused on childhood cancers and solid organ transplants. She also enjoys teaching STEM workshops to kids virtually over the weekends. Her future passions include improving healthcare access for those disproportionately affected by health inequities. In her free time, she loves to read and cook new recipes.

How has the nominee demonstrated that they advocate for positive changes in society, particularly for marginalized communities? 

I currently work as an instructor with Science AL!VE, a non-profit organization that engages youth in STEM education through hands-on activities and experiments. Specifically, Science AL!VE focuses on empowering youth that are often under-represented in STEM, especially girls, at-risk youth, and Indigenous communities. I have been both an instructor and coordinator with Science AL!VE since 2017 and have had the opportunity to plan and teach weekend programs ever since. Currently, I virtually teach a program called Power Girls, meant for girls between the ages of 9-12 who have recently immigrated to Canada. This program is in collaboration with DIVERSEcity and is fully funded by the Canadian Women’s Foundation, allowing these girls to learn about engineering free of cost.

Every Saturday morning, I teach and lead these sessions over Zoom, often introducing different fields of engineering to these girls through hands-on learning. This program is especially important to me because it gives me the opportunity to mentor and teach girls that identify as BIPOC, including some that have come to Canada as refugees. Women, especially women of colour, are often underrepresented in STEM and I hope that I can inspire these girls to achieve anything they set their minds to.

Chloe Goodison

Chloe Goodison (she/her/hers) is a first year Health Sciences student with a passion for tackling the under approached opioid crisis in her community. Chloe lives in the Tri-Cities of BC, where she works daily to provoke and initiate change. Above all, Chloe is grateful to live, work, study and play in Kwikwetlem territory. Chloe is studying Health Sciences, and she receives an SFU entrance scholarship to do so. Chloe’s passions lie deeply in mental health and addictions, prompting her to pursue countless hours of volunteer work in healthcare, naloxone administration, anti-overdose campaigns and women’s centres. Chloe is proud to use her Health Sciences education to study the societal impact of addictions and mental health.

How has the nominee demonstrated that they advocate for positive changes in society, particularly for marginalized communities? 

Drug users a marginalized population, yet there are over 1,500 overdose deaths a year. There is a significant stigma surrounding illicit drug use, leading to unsafe drug supply, lack of harm reduction tools, and public unawareness on the ease and convenience of carrying a naloxone kit.

In society, Chloe’s project NaloxHome will collect a team of diverse youth in her community to become “peer educators,” therefore undergoing training through Fraser Health in material to teach to SD43 secondary school students, who will be the recipients of our presentations. Chloe looks to hire diverse, marginalized youth as NaloxHome’s “peer educators,” to double the positive impact amongst stigmatized populations.

For years Chloe has volunteered with an anti-overdose and naloxone administration team, which has unfortunately come to an end. However, when Chloe was presented with the opportunity to singlehandedly enter the SFU Student Community Engagement Competition, she took it up.

Living in BC, which sees its 5th year of being in a declared opioid crisis, Chloe is bothered that none of her high school education touched on overdose education or the prevalence of opioids in our communities. Seeing an opportunity for positive change, Chloe made NaloxHome.

Marie Haddad

Marie is an active Student Activist and Organizer studying Psychology, Kinesiology and Gender, Sexuality and Women Studies and soon will be the SFSS VP Equity and Sustainability. In light of this new role, it is important to highlight that Marie is extremely passionate about engaging communities and youth within Universities; Marie has spent countless hours and labour in order to make and take up space for marginalized folk at SFU. This has manifested in her support and co-organizing of the successful SFU Team Name change. Additionally, she has also taken her work to the SFSS BIPOC committee to ensure that racially and culturally sensitive supports are allocated. Regardless of her own pandemic challenges, she puts forth her activism.

How has the nominee demonstrated that they advocate for positive changes in society, particularly for marginalized communities? 

Marie has been able to advocate and support marginalized students which are truly needed in  institutional spaces. She has been able to prioritize and centre students voices that are typically   silenced on an institutional level. Marie has shown solid allyship to Black and Indigenous  communities at various capacities. Moreover, Marie has been a movement organizer and supporter for the SFU Team name change, #IAmNotYourClansman campaign, and the #OURdecisionSFU campaign throughout the Summer and Fall 2020 semester as well as supporting the #SFULetUsSpeak campaign with the First Nation Students Association. She doesn’t only believe that it is essential to make space specifically for BIPOC and marginalized folk in mind, but additionally to make sure that these folks are a central part of decision making processes while being at the helm of EDI initiatives.

Priyanka Kansal

Leadership has defined my life from a young age. Being a timid girl, my confidence grew from the teachers who illuminated my love for science and arts. By collaborating on science projects and research to coordinating donations for the Canadian Blood Services to heading dance teams and competitions, I pushed through my struggles, knowing that I was helping others. I aspire to continue supporting our society to fulfill their dreams through my current efforts to head the SFU Pre-Dental Society, coaching dance to young children, and tutoring in an adult literacy program. I hope to be an orthodontist and, alongside, provide care to those in underprivileged countries which lack proper healthcare. I believe genuineness defines a leader.

How has the nominee demonstrated that they advocate for positive changes in society, particularly for marginalized communities? 

My Indian-African heritage has made family an integral part of my life. Knowing that having a family can sometimes be a privilege drives my desire to support those who lack any familial connection in their lives. From tutoring in an adult literacy program at the Burnaby Neighbourhood House, where most learners are of minority communities, I see how much pain, sadness, and distraught they carry.

Teaching them how to read and write English builds their confidence and pride for achieving their goals. My effort roots from bringing some positivity and happiness to their lives and being an outlet they may open up to. Also, from my role as a granddaughter taking care of my unwell grandmother in a long-term care home and my grandfather who has Parkinson’s disease, I can sympathize with the difficulties all elders face and how extremely taxing it may be on their mental and physical health. This is why I hope   to spread positivity in their lives by providing a peaceful and loving environment to remind them of their good old times. Lastly, as an orthodontist and speaking from experience, giving someone a beautiful smile is one of the most rewarding feelings for them.

Ritu Mehra

Ritu is a bright and promising leader in the community who strives to help others and encourage change.

How has the nominee demonstrated that they advocate for positive changes in society, particularly for marginalized communities? 

Ritu has volunteered for the Surrey Food Bank, advocated for P/Cr/NCR and inclusion in the society, volunteered at Communicreate which teaches English to immigrants, volunteer a learning buddies network (which provides  kids essential reading, writing schools for students  with less income parents), is a racing readers volunteer, and also volunteered at LETS DO SCIENCE which is an initiative at SFU to empower kids in STEM.

Almas Phangura

Almas is 4th Year Biology major with vested interests in pushing forward women’s rights and feminism. She was involved in volunteering with Racing Readers, where she supported marginalized and at-risk youth while breaking down stereotypes and stigmas in education. She has been helping Autistic children by assisting in designing activities to aid their learning and also raising awareness about Mental Health and Autism under Indian Autism Society. She is a frontline worker and served seniors in a Vancouver long term care home during the pandemic. She volunteered as Orientation leader where she introduced incoming undergraduate students to university life. She was elected SFSS VP Finance & Services through which she hopes to fight for affordable education and empower under-represented marginalized communities.

How has the nominee demonstrated that they advocate for positive changes in society, particularly for marginalized communities? 

My journey for advocacy for bringing positive change in the lives of marginalized communities started back home. I taught primary and middle school children English and arithmetic who were below poverty line for free, over the weekends. In addition, I also served them a meal (prepared by my mother) after their sessions were over, so that they did not have to pick and sell rags on their days off from school. I worked with the local village panchayat as the Lead Volunteer to educate women about their rights and encouraged them to join government programs aimed at teaching skills like stitching, sewing, pottery and growing vegetables which could help them have a source of income even if they were not very educated. I suggested the local village panchayat to hire a woman as the panchayat secretary so that she could bring issues faced by women to the table and also suggested the idea of having at least 50% women present in participatory decision making sessions related to the village so that their voices and suggestions were also heard. I volunteered for Naanhi Chhaan campaign aimed at stopping practice of female foeticide in the state of Punjab.