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OSSC Advisor Profiles

Please use the information below to select appointments with an advisor who will best support your needs.  Individual biographies are listed below according to the following categories of support:



Harriet Akanmori: Harriet is currently a fifth year Doctoral Candidate at OISE, in the Department of Social Justice Education (SJE) and the Comparative International and Development Education (CIDE) collaborative program. With post-graduate experience in a number of disciplines, she has a wide, multidisciplinary knowledge of graduate level writing and a strong background in qualitative research methodology. Harriet has had a 23 year international teaching experience, teaching ESL to ELLs at the secondary level as well as to a wide variety of adult learners. She speaks a number of second languages herself, including Japanese, and her areas of strength with the OSSC will be supporting second language students in particular with academic writing, and assisting all students in general with the organization and editing of proposal writing, course, and research papers, as well as reviewing the various stages of Thesis writing.



Yaseen Ali: Yaseen supports international graduate students in their transition to living in Toronto and navigating the St. George campus. Students can meet with him if they have questions about health care, working in Canada, learning more about U of T resources for grad students, or any other questions related to culture and/or transition. Yaseen also has his TESOL certificate and was an instructor with the English Language Program at the School of Continuing Studies for several years. Enhancing academic register in writing and building strategies for improving spoken fluency are his favourite areas to explore with learners. He recently completed his M.A. in the Social Justice Education program at OISE in 2014 with a thesis component on anorexia and hunger practices that incorporated qualitative research methodology. Feel free to connect with Yaseen by email (yaseen.ali@utoronto.ca) or by phone (416 708 1208). 


Gabrielle Blank PhotoGabrielle Breton-Carbonneau: Gabrielle is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Social Justice Education also affiliated with the Centre de Recherches en Education Franco-Ontarienne (CREFO). She currently holds a SSHRCC Joseph Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship. Rooted in the linguistic anthropology of education, her ethnographic research focuses on francophone mobilities, and specifically looks at the making of Québécois citizens and “emergent francophones” in Quebec’s classe d’accueil program for new immigrant students to the province who do not yet speak French, the language of instruction and of public life. With experience as an ESL and FSL elementary school teacher, she is fully bilingual and can advise students who require support in both English and French.  Gabrielle also has a strong qualitative research background and can support graduate students with grant preparation, resume and cover letter editing, thesis writing, conference presentations, manuscript preparation, as well as with general graduate-level academic writing.


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Jennifer Calix: Jennifer is a Doctoral Candidate in the Department of Curriculum Studies and Teacher Development at the University of Toronto. In addition to coordinating and supervising teaching teams, Jennifer has over 20 years of Grades 1-12 international teaching experience in various subject areas such as High School Business Studies, Computer Studies, English and Writing, Art and Visual Arts, Technology Education, and Grades 4-6 Mathematics. Her current doctoral research interests are focused on teacher professional development and Grades 1-8 Mathematics education, including how teachers learn to integrate tools and technology into their teaching, learning, teacher/student interactions, discourse, and instructional strategies in the classroom.  Jennifer conducts and facilitates Mathematics Concepts Development workshops primarily for Grades 1-8 teacher candidates, while also providing one-on-one mathematics advising and support sessions for them, and also academic and career counseling as they transition to careers in education.  Jennifer's workshops assist teacher candidates to increase their confidence levels, as they gain a better understanding of Mathematics concepts and strategies that are essential to the teaching and learning of Mathematics to meet the diverse needs of their learners in K-8 classrooms."


FJeanette Cepin: Jennifer is a PhD candidate in the Department of Social Justice Education. Her research is focused on specialized sport schools and alternative sport programs in educational and unconventional settings, such as youth incarceration sites. Jeanette has over 7 years experience as a TA and is currently working as a course instructor with the Concurrent Teacher Education Program (CTEP). She holds a BEd in geography and family studies for intermediate/senior division and is certified with the Ontario College of Teachers. In the past, she has been awarded SSHRC and OGS research grants. She is able to assist and support students working on course assignments, scholarship proposals, publishing, and in the preparation of resumes and cover letters. 



hVelta Douglas:  Velta is a PhD candidate in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning. Her research interests include Environmental Education, Indigenous Education and critical literacy. Specifically she looks at how Environmental Education can be incorporated into English Language Arts at the secondary level. Prior to beginning the doctoral program, she worked as a high school Social Studies and English teacher in a fly-in Inuit community. She has also taught ESL abroad and currently does professional development workshops on including Indigenous topics in elementary education to occasional teachers in the GTA. Academically, she has worked with many graduate students on their writing, including comprehensive exams, research proposals and grant/scholarship applications, as well as supporting writers through accountability, planning and overcoming resistance and emotional barriers.


fNatalie Geiger:  Natalie is a second-year PhD student in the Department of Higher Education of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education (LHAE) at OISE. She completed an M.Ed. in the same program in 2014 after an undergraduate education in Business and Anthropology from the University of Notre Dame. An avid runner with the University of Toronto Track and Field Club and a former intercollegiate student-athlete, Natalie’s broad background in sport and education complement her research investigating the identity development, career planning, and post-university transitions of intercollegiate student-athletes and non-varsity athlete students. She currently holds an Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) in support of this work. Previously, Natalie worked as a Learning Strategist for student-athletes at Ryerson University, where she focused on the development of academic and writing skills and facilitated one-on-one and small-group support sessions. Natalie can support students with planning, organizing, and revising many forms of academic writing, including course and research papers, qualitative research processes, and grant and scholarship applications. She is also happy to assist students with their academic and career planning, including resume and cover letter preparation.


fJacob Hogan: Whether it is helping a young child improve their jump shot or helping the next young Thoreau polish up their prose, Jake always feels alive as a teacher and mentor. As a PhD candidate in history at the University of Toronto, his areas of support include helping students organize and write research papers, conference abstracts, grant applications, and cover letters. He is also looking forward to helping students improve their conference presentation and interview skills. 



Gabrielle Blank PhotoDavid Pereira:  David  - @iamdpereira - is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Social Justice Education and affiliated with the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. He is the recipient of a SSHRC Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship as well as SSHRC Master's CGS and OGS. David's research interests are rooted in the field of sociology of education and focus on race, ethnicity, anti-racism education, critical race theory, intersectionality, critical marxist perspectives, anti-normativity and queer theory. His skills are best suited to support writing (essays, MRPs, dissertations) and oral presentations on empirical (qualitative) data, critical and theoretical content as well as award applications, CVs or resumes. David speaks Portuguese and can help with grammar-related issues for those coming from Portuguese-speaking backgrounds.




Ashish Krishna Pillai is in his second year pursuing M. A. in Adult Education and Community Development with a collaborative program, Workplace Learning and Social Change. For his research, he is conducting a systematic review of literature regarding human capital management in social sector organizations. Ashish has over ten years’ experience as faculty and management consultant. Apart from fluent English, Ashish speaks Hindi, Punjabi and Malayalam. At OSSC, Ashish can help with conceptualization and organization of course and research papers. He is also a business communications expert and can help with presentations, cover letters and resumes.



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Samantha Walsh: Samantha is a scholar, and activist. She is currently a Doctoral Candidate at the University of Toronto-OISE In the Department of Social Justice Education (SJE). Her doctoral research is in interpretive sociology with a focus on disability and social inclusion. She holds a Master’s degree in Critical Disability Studies from York University. Samantha has several years experience working in the non-for-profit sector as well as hiring. Samantha is able to provide students with strong resume critiques as well as interview strategies.  Further to this she has strong knowledge of undergraduate and graduate level writing.



Megan Whitehead-Douglas: Megan comes to the OSSC from the Registrar/Student Support Office with a focus on supporting students with cover letters, resumes, interview preparation and career transitions (what else to do with an education in education!). Megan has worked in career services at the University of Toronto for the past 8 years. Prior working at the University she was a recruiter for a boutique Toronto recruitment agency and worked as a sales and marketing coordinator. She recently completed the Human Resource Management Certificate at the University of Toronto and specializes in recruitment & selection and training & development.  This combination of an education in business and marketing, as well as private and public sector experience means Megan is pleased to be a resource for those who are seeking academic and non-academic positions.



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