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Welcome to the OISE Alumni and Friends website

OISE Alumni Association Members-at-Large


Members-at-Large apply their unique educational and professional backgrounds and experiences to this volunteer role, serving as representatives of all alumni and friends at the Institute.

Together with our table officers and ex-officio, members help organize and deliver a variety of programs and initiatives that connect alumni and the OISE community. In this role, members vote on matters that impact the future of the association. Explore a list of current members and committee chairs below.

E-mail us to learn more about becoming a member.


Members-at-Large


Nadia Bedok, MEd '11

Nadia has been an elementary through post-secondary teacher for over 10 years. She is currently a professor at Seneca College. Her former roles include Learning Strategist in Accessible Learning Services at Seneca, Constituency Assistant (Outreach) for both the Ontario government and Canada and Sales Representative for Nelson Education.
 

Dan Bowyer, BEd '80

Dan’s professional career included serving as an Ontario secondary school educator and administrator in the Peel Regional communities of Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon. Currently, Dan is the Principal of Toronto eSchool, a private, online secondary school in the GTA. For over twenty years, Dan served on the Provincial Executive of the Ontario History and Social Science Teachers’ Association as Editor and First Vice President. Dan has had a life-long interest in lacrosse, Canada’s Official Summer Sport. Currently he is the volunteer Historian for the Ontario Lacrosse Hall of Fame and Museum in St. Catharines, Ontario and a Board Member for the University of Toronto, Scarborough Alumni Association where he played on and coached the lacrosse team. Dan has a vested interest in the stewardship of many worthwhile organizations, having also been the President of the Toronto Coin Club and continuing as a Life Member of both the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association and the Ontario Numismatic Association.       
 

Celina Cheng, MEd '14
Chair, OISE Chinese Alumni Association

Celina is a higher education professional with interests that span across many areas of the field. Since receiving her MEd degree from OISE in 2014, she has been working in different capacities at the University of Toronto. She was highly involved in the delivery of International Certificate Programs at the School of Continuing Studies, and later worked in Recruitment and Admissions for the full-time MBA program at Rotman School of Management. She currently works as Program Coordinator in the Professional and International Program Office at Woodsworth College. Prior to her work with U of T, Celina worked in the International Education Center at Tsinghua University, a top university in China.

She is also a dedicated volunteer on the OISE Alumni Association (OISEAA), serving in roles such as Member-at-Large, Vice President (Internal), and is currently the Chair of OISE Chinese Alumni Association. Her accomplishments as a Chair include initiating the Lunar New Year Celebration and a walking tour called Toronto Chinatowns: Then and Now with Chinatown historians and authors. She also chaired OISE Spring Reunion and serves in different roles on the Mentorship Committee. In addition to serving as a committee member in the OISE Mentorship Program, she works with her husband Dr. Xin Wang to develop an innovative matching platform powered by Machine Learning to pair hundreds of mentees with alumni mentors, which automated the mentor and mentee matching process and facilitated strong matches. She received the Arbor Award from the University of Toronto for her great contributions to the OISEAA.
 

Liliana Compagnone, BEd '83

2019 OISE Mentor of the Year and 2020 Joanne Twist Guidance Leadership Award winner, Liliana has spent the last 37 years dedicating her life to teaching and inspiring students of all ages. She has served as an elementary school teacher teaching all grades K-8, a resource consultant, and currently works as an elementary guidance teacher servicing 14 schools in the Toronto Catholic District School Board. When not teaching, Liliana fills her life with her family and travel, expanding her understanding of various cultures and peoples around the world.
 

Yvonne Connage, MEd '11

Yvonne is currently a PhD candidate in the Social and Political Thought program at York University. She graduated from the University of Toronto, New College in 2010 with a Hons BA, majoring in Equity Studies with a speciality in Women and Gender Studies. Yvonne completed her MEd degree in Sociology and Equity studies at OISE in 2011. She is passionate about empowering individuals through education to progressively remove discriminatory barriers. Yvonne has a strong commitment to the values and principles of social justice, anti-racism, anti-colonialism, and anti-oppressive frameworks.


Suleyman Demi, MA '14, PhD '19

Demi is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Health and Society at the University of Toronto Scarborough. He is an educator and environmental activist. Currently, his postdoctoral research critically explores the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the food security status of the Black population that access TAIBU Community Health Centre. Suleyman was a senior Doctoral Fellow at the Department of Africa Studies of the New College of the University of Toronto. In 2019, he received the University of Toronto Student Leadership Award for his services to the OISE community.


Deanna Fialho, MEd '12

Deanna is a professional in the field of equity, diversity and inclusion. Her vision for equity is rooted in a strong passion to build environments that foster a sense of belonging, where people feel safe and are empowered to share their unique identities and experiences. This approach has drawn a vibrant career path within Canada's corporate and public landscape implementing large-scale EDI programs at several large organizations within the fields of aviation, consulting and currently within higher education.Deanna is always seeking opportunities to advance cultures of inclusion through inventive policy, education and collaborative spaces that improve the way people work with one another and focuses her time on such initiatives within the OISEAA.
 

Susan He, MEd '20, MT '18

Susan is currently completing her doctoral degree in Higher Education and a collaborative specialization in Educational Policy. She is also the Margaret MacMillan Program Coordinator at Trinity College in the University of Toronto, where she ensures an enriching academic and co-curricular environment, as well as implement diverse recruitment and student development strategies in the program. Prior to joining OISEAA, Susan has been actively sharing her enthusiasm on all-things education at OISE as a Registrar’s Office & Student Experience Student Ambassador, Master of Teaching VP of Professional Development, and President of LHAE Departmental Student Association. She has been granted awards including the SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship, William G. Davis Golden Anniversary Leadership Scholarship, William Pakenham Fellowship, UT Alumni Student Leadership Award, and the UTGSU Community Development Award, for her academic and community involvement. 
 

Wakako Ishikawa, MA '03, PhD '18

Wakako was born in Tokyo, Japan. After graduating from university, she came to Toronto to continue her studies at OISE. She wrote about Japanese-Canadian education in the internment camps during World War II for her master's thesis. Shortly thereafter, she met past OISEAA president, late Carol Golench, who invited her to join the association. While a member, Wakako completed her PhD research, which focused on public health education in Timor-Leste.


Michael Kelly, BEd '15

Michael is a passionate and dynamic young educator and life-long learner who lives and works in west end of Toronto. He is very interested in issues of special education, history, politics, experiential learning, community service and civic engagement. Michael is an Ontario Certified teacher who works for the Toronto Catholic District School Board in the secondary panel. He is a proud graduate of the University of Toronto - St. Michaels College and OISE. Michael has worked in several placements in both elementary and secondary school settings, and community service organizations in local communities as well as overseas. Experiential learning, inclusivity and community service form his core beliefs and philosophy on education.

Michael is a dedicated volunteer and board member of a number of community organizations serving in a variety of roles and capacities, and he has played a key role in recruiting young people to vote and become engaged in the democratic process in Toronto. He is involved as a Student Council Teacher Moderator and believes every young person has a unique role to play in our government institutions as future leaders.

Michael is interested in pursuing a Master of Education in educational leadership at OISE and hopes to become a secondary school Department Head of History and Guidance/Career Education one day. He is keen on contributing to the OISE Alumni Association community and serving as a mentor for current OISE teacher candidates.


Kristina Leis, MEd '17

Kristina is a recent graduate from OISE's Social Justice Education program where she participated in the U of T's Student Union Council, SJE Student Caucus and other committees. Her master's work focused on alternative ways of thinking about special education within public school boards in Ontario. Kristina is passionate about accessibility, social justice and inclusive education. She is an instructor at Explore It! Inc., who runs her own blog on the side. Kristina is a new and enthusiastic member of the OISEAA who brings expertise in events, project coordination, curriculum and policy. Check out Kristina's bracelet store and her blog.


Peter Liu, PhD '81
Chair, OISE Mentorship Program

Peter is a retired school psychologist who currently volunteers as Chair of the OISE Mentorship Program in addition to having served as an alumni mentor. Peter's career spans more than three decades during which time he worked in numerous educational sectors and international communities in the capacity of school psychologist, organizational consultant and associate professor and program director. He continues to maintain professional registration as a psychologist in Ontario.


Joseph Longo, BEd '03, MA '13

Joseph has been working in the Ontario educational sector since 2003 as a classroom teacher, curriculum chair, and most recently as a secondary vice-principal. His graduate work focused on the intersection of classical pragmatism and teaching, and was completed jointly between the departments of theory and policy studies in education at OISE and philosophy at U of T. Presently, Joseph's professional focus is on leadership and supporting student achievement.


Sofya Malik, PhD '16
Chair, Alumni & Friends Leadership Lecture Series

As a proud member of the OISE Alumni Association, Sofya believes in co-curricular activities, networking and active, ongoing community engagement. Sofya earned her PhD in educational leadership and policy in 2016 from OISE, where she serves as an assistant professor in the educational leadership and policy program today. Sofya has worked in university, government and school districts with a strong focus on building the capacity to share, use, understand and access research to support student achievement, equity and well-being.


Ashleigh Molloy, MEd '82

Ashleigh is the Founder and President of TransEd International. In addition to his OISE degree, he holds a PhD from Cambridge International University. Ashleigh, or Dr. Ash, as his students affectionately refer to him, is a dedicated, engaging and passionate educational leader with over 25 years of implementing and delivering professional development strategies to educators. He is focused on driving innovation and managing sustainable inclusive workplace transformation in institutions worldwide. Ashleigh serves on numerous community-based organizations promoting equity and accessibility for those on the margins. He has been honoured in Canada with awards from the Ontario Legislature, House of Commons and Senate of Canada for Educational Leadership and Humanitarian Outreach. Career highlights include receiving honorary citizenship from Ghana, and serving as panel chair and speaker on disability as Canada's representative at the World Down Syndrome Conference in 2016 at the United Nations in New York.


Jeff Myers, MA '07, PhD '13

Jeff has been an active member of the OISEAA since he graduated in 2013. He has served as the organization’s President, Treasurer and as a Member-at-Large. Jeff works in the field of international education with an organization that brings thousands of young people to Canada for educational programs every year. His academic interests and passions include citizenship and nationalism, critical approaches to language education and social action for change.


Lt. Dr. Daniel Parmar, MEd '19

In 2019, Daniel completed his Master of Education degree at OISE in higher education, with a specialized focus in Health Professional Education. He is passionate about learning, mentorship, education pertaining to the professions, and the effects of internationalization and globalization on higher education. Since graduating from OISE, Daniel was appointed as a Commissioned Officer in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). Daniel is a Medical Officer with the Department of National Defence (DND) and is posted at Canadian Forces Base Winnipeg. Daniel is passionate about medicine, health professional education, and how it pertains to the development of a new generation of healthcare professionals. In his spare time, he loves spending time with his son, Saajan.


Sabrina Persaud, MEd '13
Alumni Network Chair, New York

Sabrina is a dedicated public servant who currently works at the Privy Council Office with the Government of Canada. She is committed to growing academic relationships with government organizations, while also building out opportunities with the private sector and not-for-profit sector. Her time at OISE has greatly informed her perspectives on citizen centered policies, youth voice in policy making, along with building a greater intersectional awareness of how BIPOC are impacted by programs and policies.

Sabrina’s best memories at OISE are those spent with colleagues in deep, challenging conversation that discuss our governance system’s and the people who live and work within them. She is committed to helping incoming students in their search to apply their OISE education to any sector. Sabrina is a 2016 recipient of the U of T Arbor Award and aspires to continually contribute to OISE and the greater University of Toronto community in all of the years to come.


Shakina Rajendram, PhD '19

Shakina graduated with her doctoral degree in language and literacies education and a collaborative specialization in comparative, international and development education. She has been the recipient of the Ontario Graduate Scholarship, The International Research Foundation for English Language Education (TIRF) Doctoral Dissertation Grant, the New College Senior Doctoral Fellowship, and the OISE Academic Excellence Award.

During her time as a student at OISE, Shakina served as an executive member on several student associations, and for her contributions to the student body at OISE, she received the University of Toronto Student Leadership Award and Muriel Fung Student Appreciation Award. Shakina is now a lecturer in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning at OISE. Her teaching and research focus on supporting the language acquisition of diverse learners in the K-12 and higher education contexts through linguistically and culturally responsive pedagogies.


Kevin Roche, BEd '10

Kevin is currently an NCA Candidate / Family Law Clerk at Chin & Orr Lawyers. He obtained his LLB from Queens Mary, University of London, his MA from Laurentian and his BEd from OISE. Kevin has volunteered as a newsletter editor for the Ontario Bar Association and several other legal publications. He also taught English at Korea University and Hankuk University of Foreign Studies.


Aastha Sahni, MEd '13

Aastha is from India but spent much of her early life in Kuwait. She did her undergraduate work at UTM before completing an MEd at OISE in developmental psychology and education in 2013. Since graduating, she has been working with a team at Advica Health to help bring access to virtual health solutions to employees and students within corporations, non-profit organizations and universities. She plans to return to OISE to complete her PhD in the future. Aastha's advice to students is to know your goals and what you are interested in, and follow that vision.


Sabir Abdus Samee, MEd '17

Sabir is a former university lecturer and a career specialist. He graduated from Richmond, The American International University in London (UK) with a BA degree in literature and completed an MA degree in English literature from Dalarna University (Sweden). Sabir completed his MEd degree in adult education and community development from OISE.

He was a university lecturer in Bangladesh from 2005 to 2010, and taught at a Canadian private school from 2014 to 2015. Sabir is married to Hafsa Faruq and they have a son named Fahim. Sabir authored six books including Origins of the Bangladesh Army (2010), Fluid Identities in Jhumpa Lahiri's 'Interpreter of Maladies' (2005), and White Mans Burden in Rudyard Kiplings' 'The Limitations of Pambe Serang', 'At the End of the Passage' and 'Only a Subaltern' (2005).


Lindsay Shaddy, BEd '94

Lindsay is a member of the OISEAA (on leave) and a member of the Ontario bar. With a background in public affairs, Lindsay worked for six years as coordinator of law and economics at Havergal College. She has also held senior government relations and communications positions with TD Bank, The Canadian Bankers’ Association and the TSX. Currently, Lindsay is a consultant at The SeaBoard Group, which helps companies and governments grow value.


Dana Sheikh, MA '82, PhD '87

Dana (currently on leave from the OISEAA) is a higher education consultant with a specialization in international issues. With over 20 years of experience, she has held many roles in Canada and abroad. She was Director of International Development and Research at U of T and worked on several senior research projects. She was also a member of the Executive Board of the International Association of Universities in Paris. For seven years, she was a member of the Board of Governors at Humber Institute for Technology and Advanced Learning. Dana obtained her PhD in policy and theory of higher education and her MA in adult education from OISE. She mentors higher education doctoral students at the Institute.


Cindy Sinclair, MEd '09, PhD '17
Past President

Cindy is a past president of the OISE Alumni Association. She is a proud two-time OISE graduate and former staff of OISE and the University of Toronto for 30+ years. Currently, she is adjunct faculty at U of T's Temerty Faculty of Medicine. Cindy is an educator, researcher and global education strategist. She is Founder and President of Sinclair Consulting Services. Cindy intuitively saw the threads that wind through OISE to bind its alumni and students into a growing alumni family.

Since joining OISEAA in 2010, she has spearheaded career planning/networking programs for students and alumni; organized alumni reunions emphasizing arts, education and the law in education; international alumni receptions in Ghana, Kenya, Hong Kong and Italy; international alumni fireside chats and global education and diversity meetings with the goal to inspire internationalization and the multi-diverse interests of alumni and students. Cindy takes pride in giving back to OISE and bringing alumni back home to their alma mater, from near and far.
 

Athena Tassis, MT '21
Past Chair, Student Advisory Committee
Alumni Network Chair, Boston, Massachusetts

Athena graduated from OISE with her Master of Teaching degree in 2021 and obtained her OCT. She made countless academic and professional connections through the OISE Alumni Association during and after her studies. Athena was recently the Learning Experience Assistant and a lead research assistant at University of Toronto Scarborough, Centre for Teaching and Learning. She is now a full-time EdM student at Harvard Graduate School of Education in Learning Design, Innovation and Technology and is our new Alumni Network Chair for the Boston, Massachusetts area. She truly values the importance of supporting professors and learners in creating meaningful and engaging online learning experiences, and hopes to one day return to OISE to study. During her time at OISE, she was a recipient of the University of Toronto Student Leadership Award (UTSLA) and, in addition to other achievements, was selected to represent OISE as its Divisional Student Ambassador at graduation. Athena, a past chair of our Student Advisory Committee, continues to be an active participant on the OISEAA as a member at large to help engage students and alumni through volunteer opportunities and mentorship. Contact Athena by email or connect on LinkedIn
 

Edward Thompson, MA, PhD '79
Chair, Executive Awards Committee

Edward is a sociologist and current Chair of the Executive Awards Committee. He is also the past president of the OISEAA. Under the supervision of past-dean Michael Fullan, Edward graduated from with his doctorate in 1979. He has worked as a research director, a coordinator of continuing education, an administrator of alumni affairs and a post-secondary lecturer. He is also co-author of the textbook, Social Problems in a Diverse Society. While president, Edward received an Arbor Award for outstanding volunteer service. In 2019, Edward was awarded the Leaders and Legends Distinguished Service Award. Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, Edward leads Sinfonia Toronto as president and is a member of the Warden’s Advisory Committee for the 100th anniversary of Hart House. Edward is an author of research articles and developer of multimedia educational software. In his spare time he enjoys folk dance, reading, fitness exercise and travel.


Cindy Tsai, MEd '16

Cindy started her career as a registered dietitian in Toronto after completing her training from McGill University. With a strong interest in improving healthcare delivery through meaningful education and communication, Cindy completed a Master of Education in developmental psychology and education at OISE in 2016. Currently, she works at Sherbourne Health, providing healthcare to a client population consisting of newcomers, homeless/precariously housed, and LGBT2SQ communities. She also chairs the Inquiries, Complaints, and Reports Committee for College of Dietitians of Ontario.


Gina Valle, BEd '92, MEd '94, PhD '02

Gina takes a multidimensional approach to diversity. In her work, as founder of Diversity Matters, she came to understand that each person experiences diversity in a different way. That is why she tries to reach people in different ways through her films, exhibits, books and research. Gina speaks several languages and is an educator, producer, director, curator and editor. She is the publisher of At One Press and recently launched a dynamic nation-wide project Strong & Free: We Are Canadian. Gina is the recipient of several awards, including the U of T Faculty of Education Scholarship and the OISE Graduate Student Scholarship. She has the privilege of sitting on several boards, a responsibility she does not take lightly and truly enjoys. Gina is happy to return to OISE in a different capacity, through the alumni association, and hopes she can make a contribution.


Anne Venton, MA '69

Anne has been part of the OISEAA team for over a decade and received an Arbor Award for her work. During that time, she served as VP Internal, worked with the Awards Committee and was Chair of the Spring Reunion which featured the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study as well as attending events to celebrate recent graduates. Anne is an OISE grad and was Head of Library at three TDSB secondary schools. As well, she has an MA in philosophy from U of T focused on ethics in the ancient and modern world. Currently she is the Communications Chair of C-CAVE (Canadians Concerned About Violence in Entertainment) and Secretary of the OWLC (Ontario Women’s Liberal Commission). She has given papers nationally and internationally on ethics and media which have been published in peer reviewed journals and has served on several Boards including the Immigration and Refugee Board, Sinfonia Toronto and the College of Dental Hygienists.


Kelly Zian Zhang, MA '16

Kelly is a PhD student in curriculum and pedagogy at OISE. She completed her OISE master’s degree in the Curriculum Studies and Teacher Development program. Her research interests focus on active learning and smart technology. Currently, she serves as Co-President at the Canadian Committee of Graduate Students in Education (CCGSE/CCÉÉCSÉ), a graduate student caucus within Canada’s national network of educational researchers at the Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE). Kelly also volunteers as External Coordinator at CTLSA at OISE. She is a Graduate Student Member on the OISE Council & Research Committee and the Director of Campus Department at Chinese Students and Scholars Association of the University of Toronto. She completed her role as Communications on a sub-committee for GSRC 2022 Conference. Kelly participated in the OISE Mentorship Program in 2020 as a volunteer mentor of two MEd students. During her master’s studies, Kelly served as OISE Student Ambassador and Executive Committee Member of Civics Committee at UTGSU.  
 

Qiongli Zhu, MEd '20

Qiongli Zhu (known as Lisa) is an educator, researcher, and Associate Professor affiliated with Hainan University in mainland China. She is passionate about connecting individuals with learning opportunities to promote their professional development and personal growth. Prior to furthering her studies at OISE, she was teaching in the University for 16 years and received multiple Teaching Excellence Awards and research grants in educational studies and curriculum development. She was also a visiting professor at Nipissing University and Missouri State University in 2019 and 2015 respectively.

In January 2022, Qiongli received the UTGSU Graduate Community Development Fund that recognized her exceptional contributions to the graduate experience in 2021, particularly for her leadership in a cultural event for international students and a grand non-profit project providing emotional support to international students and newcomers to Canada. Apart from leading events and projects, she served in different roles on committees and student associations, such as the OISE Library Student Advisory Committee and the Centre for Community Partnership’s Student and Alumni Advisory Committee. In these roles, she organized outreach activities, provided feedback, and facilitated various student events.

Qiongli is currently a PhD student at CTL at OISE. As an executive in the East Asia Special Interest Group, she is actively involved in promoting knowledge mobilization and cross-cultural dialogue in and beyond East Asian and Southeast Asian communities. She is also a peer mentor in the Graduate Peer Support Network Mentorship Program at the University of Toronto.

Ex-officio Committee Chairs (non-voting members)

Rumeet Billan, MEd '10, PhD '14
Chair, Young Alumni Council

Rumeet is an award-winning, internationally recognized entrepreneur, learning architect, speaker, author and humanitarian. Her mission is to raise potential by designing experiences that build resilience. Most recently, Rumeet has taken on the role of Owner and CEO of Women of Influence (WOI+), a leading North American organization that offers workplace solutions for gender equality and women's advancement. Know a new or recent grad looking to get involved in the OISE Alumni Association? Contact the Young Alumni Council.
 

Kristin Snoddon
Chair, Leaders and Legends Awards Committee

Kristin is an associate professor at the School of Early Childhood Studies, Toronto Metropolitan University. Kristin’s research and professional experience includes collaborative work with deaf communities in developing sign language and early literacy programming for young deaf children and their parents. Her longstanding program of research has focused on developing a parent American Sign Language curriculum that is aligned with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Additionally, she analyzes policy issues related to inclusive education, sign language rights and acquisition planning for ALS. Before coming to Toronto Metropolitan University, she taught at the University of Alberta and Carleton University. She serves as co-ordinator for the World Federation of the Deaf’s Expert Group on Deaf Education. She also serves as executive editor for Deafness & Education International. In 2022, Kristin gave the keynote address at the U of T Spring Convocation Ceremony. She was the first person to give the address in American Sign Language. Learn about the Leaders and Legends Awards.


Seema Hooda
Chair, Student Advisory Committee

Seema is currently an MEd student at OISE studying applied psychology and human development. She joined our advisory committee in her first year where she connected with several of her peers and learned the importance of mentorship, networking and leadership. Seema is also a research assistant at Western University, Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children. She is looking forward to continuing and advancing her role in our association as Chair of the Student Advisory Committee and hopes to network with more of her peers to foster many academic and professional connections. Interested in volunteering with current students and alums? Contact Seema!
 

Ex-officio Staff Leadership (non-voting members)

  • Erica N. Walker, EdD (Harvard), Professor and Dean
  • Sim Kapoor, CFRE, Director, Advancement, Communications & External Relations
  • Natalie Neumann Butler, MEd '20, Sr Alumni Programs & Donor Relations Officer

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