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York's 2023 Top 30 Alumni Under 30

Ambitious. Innovative. Creative. These are just some of the traits that define this inspiring group of leaders who are creating positive change and working to right the future in varied and significant ways.  

At home and abroad, graduates of York University are not only entering the workforce prepared to put their education into practice, but to enact positive, real-world change. Representing every faculty at the University, the 2023 Top 30 Alumni Under 30 are applying the education, skills and experiences they received at York to meaningful careers and community service endeavours, demonstrating a long-standing commitment to the public good. From business leaders championing equity, diversity and inclusion in the workplace, to social entrepreneurs, environmental advocates and community builders, these young alumni highlight the many career and life paths made possible with a York degree.  

Fikayo Aderoju

Community leader
BA ’22, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies

 View LinkedIn profile

Fikayo is the founder and executive director of Project Impacting Lives (PIL), a non-profit organization that aims to meet the day-to-day needs of people facing homelessness in Canada. He has led PIL through various projects such as distributing winter care packages to 1500 people facing homelessness, scholarship funds, toy drives and distributing food to the Toronto community. He also currently serves as the head of housing at the Toronto Youth Cabinet and is an executive member of the York University Black Alumni Network (YUBAN). As a public speaker, Fikayo has delivered speeches at York University, McMaster University, the University of Toronto, the Diplomacy Global Summit, and the ONPHA Conference. In 2022, he became the youngest executive ever in the 25-year history of the Canadian Association of Urban Financial Professionals (CAUFP) where he served on the board of executives as the director of youth engagement and was awarded CAUFP’ s Outstanding Young Achiever Award. He has gathered over five million page views on LinkedIn and in 2022 was awarded the Social Media Mogul Award at the Vanier Peer Mentor Awards Ceremony.

Batool Barody

Health equity advocate
BSc ’19, Faculty of Science

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In 2016, Batool arrived in Canada as a Syrian newcomer. Upon graduation from York, Batool was selected to represent Canada as a youth delegate at the Open Government Partnership Global Summit 2019. Following her selection, she received a scholarship to start her master’s degree in Global Affairs and Justice at the University of Toronto where she received the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Award to study the impact of the Canadian medical, economic and social policies to promote successful integration of refugees and newcomers. Batool is currently a second-year medical student at Central Michigan University where she focuses her research on heart transplant surgeries with an emphasis on developing measures to improve outcomes of heart primary-graft dysfunction. She was awarded the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research scholarship in 2022 by the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre due to her extensive work on heart research in Canada and US. Batool creates videos documenting her journey of becoming a doctor and supporting students who don’t have access to mentorship opportunities. Her goal is to make the journey accessible to everyone, regardless of ethnicity, race, gender, religion or socioeconomic background.

Bianca Bondi

Clinical researcher and child development advocate
MA ’19, Faculty of Health

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Bianca is a doctoral candidate and a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) trainee at York University, specializing in Clinical-Developmental Psychology and Clinical Neuropsychology. She is committed to advancing the understanding of neurodevelopmental profiles in vulnerable children. Bianca believes in building collaborative partnerships, having been embedded at the Hospital for Sick Children for eight years and Breaking the Cycle for five years in numerous research, leadership, and clinical roles. At York University, Bianca was a research scholar and leader within the Lillian Meighen Wright Maternal-Child Health Foundation and the LaMarsh Centre for Child and Youth Development. Clinically, Bianca has done extensive psychological assessment and intervention work with vulnerable pediatric populations across community mental health, early intervention, and pediatric hospital settings. She is pursuing a career in Pediatric Neuropsychology and hopes to work within the public sector to amplify social justice and contribute towards equitable and inclusive access to care. Through the intersection of her research, leadership and clinical advancements, Bianca hopes to make system-level change by informing policies around screening, prevention and early intervention to yield optimal neurodevelopment. Bianca believes that it is our responsibility to create a world in which children can reach their potential and thrive.

Alumna Victoria Canale

Victoria Canale

Public health researcher and social worker
BSW ’20, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
MSW ‘21 Faculty of Graduate Studies

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Victoria is an intensive care unit (ICU) social worker, educator, award-nominated public health researcher and seniors’ advocate. She has cared for critically ill patients in ICU, medical wards and elders in long-term care (LTC). Informed by her experience as a frontline healthcare worker, Victoria’s work has influenced meaningful social change. Her award-nominated public health research study on COVID-19 in LTC was designed as a tool of advocacy for the sector. The study developed a thorough understanding of what happened in LTC during the first waves of the pandemic. Victoria’s study adds another voice to the growing call for change in LTC and aims to achieve accountability, addresses long-standing issues, and highlights subjugated voices. It has been used by the Ontario Association of Social Workers for advocacy to reform the Long-Term Care Homes Act and directly bettered the lives of LTC residents and care workers. Victoria’s work also extends to sexual violence response and education. She designed York University’s risk assessment tool informing safety planning and risk management, directly supported survivors and developed a community resource guide. As an educator, Victoria has combined her passion for sexual violence response with teaching and continues to educate student leaders about intervening in sexual violence.

Alumnus Lucas DeLuca

Lucas DeLuca

Accessibility strategist and advocate
MA ’19, Faculty of Health

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Lucas is the director of community engagement with the Amputee Coalition in the United States. Since completing his graduate degree in Critical Disability Studies in 2019, Lucas has gone on to work in healthcare, higher education and non-profits to improve disability inclusion and accessibility outcomes. From 2020-2022 Lucas served as the director of disability Support Services at Columbia Basin College. In this position, Lucas developed new ways to reduce barriers to access in higher education by utilizing universal design practices in the provision of assistive technology. In 2022, Lucas was welcomed as one of two fellows with the National Association for the Advancement of Orthotic and Prosthetics (NAAOP). As a fellow, he created Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) goals, helped organize a virtual fly-in with congressional and senate staff and helped draft model legislation aimed at improving insurance parity for children seeking prosthetic limbs. Currently, Lucas manages a national network of amputee support group leaders, peer mentors and hospital partners who are focused on aiding amputees navigating limb loss and limb difference journey nationwide.

Alumnus Trevor Fairlie

Trevor Fairlie

Not-for-profit leader and 2SLGBTQ+ activist
JD ’19, Osgoode Hall Law School

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Trevor is a community leader with a passion for equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI). He is the new chair of the Board of Directors for Start Proud/Fier Départ, a national not-for-profit that connects 2SLGBTQ+ students and new professionals from a range of disciplines to inclusive employers across Canada. He also sits on the Board of Directors for Orchestra Toronto, one of Canada's oldest community orchestras, where he is leading their governance processes and serving on the Finance Committee. In 2022, Trevor co-founded the Canadian Association of LGBTQ2S+ Lawyers (CALL/ACAL), a national not-for-profit that will drive real change in the legal profession, as well as the new annual PRISME 2SLGBTQ+ Law Conference. He is currently working with the CALL/ACAL Board of Directors to establish their core governance policies. Trevor is passionate about giving back to York. He is a mentor in the Osgoode Alumni Mentor Program and has informally mentored many York students. A past student caseworker in the Osgoode Investor Protection Clinic, Trevor remains an active supporter and was the first former student to become a clinic supervising lawyer. He currently practices as legal counsel in the Office of Mergers & Acquisitions at the Ontario Securities Commission.

Alumnus Corey Fletcher

Corey Fletcher

EDI advocate and mentor
JD ’21, Osgoode Hall Law School

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Corey is a mentor and advocate within the Black community. At Osgoode, Corey was active in the school’s Black Law Students Association (BLSA) where he was an academic mentor, co-created an inaugural mental health and wellness retreat and helped to facilitate the BLSA national conference. In 2020, he was a member of the law school’s admissions team where he played an integral role in championing diversity by assisting in the selection of the class of 2024. Corey also interned at the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights at the United Nations in Geneva and helped to implement initiatives to encourage less developed states to adopt human rights mechanisms and to participate in the Human Rights Council. Corey was also a member of the legal & risk and medical staff credentialing teams at William Osler Health System, where he has helped to develop consent and capacity frameworks and community hospital operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Corey is currently completing his medical degree at Queen’s University, where he is a member of the Black Medical Students Association, continues to be a mentor to Black law students at Queen’s and has ambitions of blending law and medicine.

Alumnus Philip Geller

Philip Geller

Theatre artist and storyteller
MFA ’22, School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design

 View Philip's website

Philip (he/they) is a Métis (Red River) and Jewish (Ashkenazi) theatre artist, educator and scholar who is focused on decolonizing his process by listening to and dialoguing with ancestral and cultural knowledge. Their practice includes land-based creation, circular storytelling and destabilizing hierarchical power structures in the rehearsal process with a focus on anti-oppressive/anti-racist modalities. As a storyteller, Philip has worked across Turtle Island as an actor, director, dramaturg, producer, clown and devisor with companies and festivals like Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Shakespeare in the Ruff, the Stratford Festival, Theatre YES, the Gwaandak Theatre, the Centre for Indigenous Theatre, Made in Exile, the Citadel Theatre, Nextfest, the Play the Fool Festival, the Edmonton Fringe Festival and the Paprika Theatre Festival. They are a graduate of the BFA Acting Program at the University of Alberta and will be continuing their education by pursuing an MEd in Urban Indigenous Education through York University.

Alumna Genevieve Giesbrecht

Genevieve Giesbrecht

Immigration law advocate and community connector
JD ’20, Osgoode
Hall Law School

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Genevieve is a lawyer, advocate and community connector, in pursuit of elucidating Canada’s complex immigration system. In her position as an associate lawyer, Genevieve works with individuals arriving to Canada to study, work, or visit, and advocates for those who have previous criminal convictions that may prevent them from entering Canada. In 2022, Genevieve spearheaded her firm’s response to the crisis in Ukraine and assisted many clients with applications under the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) measures and has presented on these measures outside of the legal field. Outside of the office, Genevieve speaks to current and future law students about their career options. She serves as a mentor for incoming law students and for those seeking to establish careers in the immigration field. During her time at York University, Genevieve was president of her student association and tirelessly liaised between the administration and students during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring an equitable approach to the unprecedented school year. Genevieve continually strives to give back to her community, while working towards becoming a thought leader in her field.

Alumna Clarelle Gonsalves

Clarelle Gonsalves

Health equity advocate
BSc ’18, Faculty of Science

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Clarelle is a first-year paediatrics resident at the University of Toronto based out of The Hospital for Sick Children. Clarelle is dedicated to standardizing and optimizing health outcomes for children who do not readily have access to tertiary paediatric centres through research and clinical practice. She completed her MD at McMaster University where she co-developed a quality improvement and patient safety workshop for health professionals and trainees aimed at recognizing and speaking up against racism in healthcare and medical education. During her time in medical school, she worked closely with local organizations to develop resources for children new to Canada to connect them with primary and preventative healthcare and ensure food security. Her research work has been featured in leading paediatric journals and has been cited in the Canadian Paediatric Society position statement on protecting adolescents against the harms of vaping. Clarelle is also a passionate mentor to students pursuing careers in medicine. She is currently involved in working towards removing systemic barriers and increasing equity in the medical school application process as well as developing medical education curricula that fosters sustainable and equitable healthcare delivery.

Alumna Ying Gu

Ying Gu

Sustainability advisor and climate change advocate
BES ’15, MES ’19
, Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change

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Ying is an urban sustainability professional in the construction and real estate sector focusing on climate change adaptation and mitigation. Ying comes from a diverse background in policy research, civil engineering, high-rise construction and high-performance building consulting. She is committed to integrating sustainable design into our built landscapes and creating healthy communities. Ying provides technical advice and expertise to building owners and developers during the project design and consultant engagement processes. She combines standard engineering and architectural practices with sustainability principles to ensure that commitments to climate resilience, energy performance, ecological impact minimization, promoting native and adaptive plant species, and building occupant wellness and community connectivity are upheld. Ying participates in strategic planning with ambitious targets for sustainability, greenhouse gas (GHG) benchmarking and reduction, net zero pathway planning, Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions accounting, environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting, and ensuring that sustainability key performance indicators (KPI) are met. Ying volunteers for the MES York Planning Alumni Committee (MYPAC) as their alumni liaison and is a former volunteer for the Canada Green Building Council (CAGBC)'s Emerging Green Professionals (EGP) group as an executive committee member.

Alumnus Maseh Hadaf

Maseh Hadaf

BSc ’18, Faculty of Health

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Maseh co-founded Sinbad, a stablecoin payments app aimed at promoting financial stability in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Maseh's experience in international development and his participation in the Creative Destruction Labs Blockchain Programme equipped him with the skills and knowledge necessary to bring his vision to life. Maseh supports international assistance at Global Affairs Canada, working with an organization serving refugees in Jordan and contributing to health governance policy with the United Nations Development Programme in Ukraine. While pursuing an MA in International Affairs, Maseh received the national CGS-M scholarship to study the relationship between gender and mobile internet use in Afghanistan. He also co-authored a section of a peer-reviewed paper published in The Lancet and created a guide for innovative policy-writing for Integrity Watch Afghanistan. At York University, Maseh was a resident advisor, founded the Ascend leadership retreat for students, and delivered a keynote workshop at York’s 2020 Student Papers & Academic Research Kit (SPARK) Leadership Conference. Maseh is dedicated to making a meaningful impact in the world and strives to leave a positive legacy.

Alumna Sheereen Harris

Sheereen Harris

EDI advocate
BSc ’16, Faculty of Health

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Sheereen is a postdoctoral fellow in the Infant, Child, and youth Health (INCH) Lab at Brock University. While on the York Track and Field team, she earned seven Ontario University Athletics (OUA) medals, six Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) medals and the OUA and CIS female community-service awards in 2016. During her PhD at McMaster University, Sheereen was an equity, inclusion, and anti-racism lead in the Department of Athletics and Recreation and coordinator and mentor for the Black Student Mentorship Program. She initiated and led a community outreach initiative providing grade six to eight students from low-income neighbourhoods in Hamilton with free Kinesiology workshops, with the goal of making science more accessible. Sheereen is currently co-chair for the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Task Force for the North America Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity (NASPSPA) tasked with developing an action plan to increase EDI in research and practice. In 2022, she was awarded the North American Society for Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity (NASPSPA) President’s Award for this work. Sheereen is an incoming Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Sciences at the University of Waterloo in September 2023.

Alumnus Robert Ingino

Robert Ingino

Virtual reality innovator and accessibility advocate
BEng ’18, Lassonde School of Engineering

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During his time at York, Robert developed an interest in being an agent of positive change and finding ways to use his passion for gaming and virtual reality. In his fourth-year capstone project, he helped develop a virtual reality experience to help visually impaired children with classroom navigation. After graduating, he co-founded SenseTech Solutions with a fellow York graduate, to develop products like an augmented reality authoring platform for Tactile Learning, an Immersive Simulated Environment for rehabilitation, training, therapy and human-machine interface concepts and testing to help youth with visual impairments. He has collaborated with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB), Ontario Tech University and eCampusOntario to work on similar projects, some of which encompass the creation of technology to instruct students with visual impairments about STEM education and the development of applications to help them prepare job readiness. He is passionate about representing the interests of the people who struggle due to the lack of accessibility accommodations. Robert’s company, Sense Tech is a member of a federal government committee that is tasked with establishing accessibility standards for virtual reality, augmented reality and immersive environments on behalf of Accessibility Standards Canada.

Alumna Shalini Iyer

Shalini Iyer

Scientist, STEM educator and EDI advocate
BSc ’20, Faculty of Science
MSc ’22, Faculty of Health

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Shalini is a scientist, leader and equity diversity and inclusion (EDI) advocate. One of Shalini's goals is to help break down systemic biases and barriers in the scientific community and to provide equitable opportunities for marginalized communities in Canada. At York University, Shalini was dedicated to increasing accessibility to STEM education for youth across Canada through her work with Let's Talk Science. As the former site coordinator for York, Shalini increased the site's outreach to marginalized communities by organizing hands-on STEM workshops catered towards different learning styles. She helped establish several large STEM events and obtained several sponsorships to help break down socioeconomic barriers for less affluent communities. As the program assistant for Let's Talk Science, she developed online STEM workshops to increase accessibility in the pandemic. She also helped design STEM activity kits which were delivered to the homes of youth from communities where online content was not accessible, such as low-income, Indigenous and rural communities. Shalini had also been actively involved in increasing science accessibility for Black youth in the Jane and Finch community, where she conducts weekly STEM workshops and organized career workshops highlighting people of colour. Following her MSc in Neuroscience at York, she began her PhD in Neuroscience at the University of British Columbia and looks forward to continuing her advocacy work.

Alumna Sahar Jafrani

Sahar Jafrani

Social entrepreneur
BA ’17, Faculty of Health

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Sahar Jafrani is a data-driven social entrepreneur and multidisciplinary storyteller committed to creating healthier and more equitable communities. While at York University, she interned in South America and developed a deep interest in global affairs and social innovation. In 2017, Sahar founded the Institute for Youth Health and Development (IYHD), a first-of-its-kind young professional-led non-profit dedicated to improving the health and well-being of racialized, immigrant, newcomer and refugee youth. Through centering participatory research, policy engagement and mentorship, IYHD has impacted youth across Canada and received local and international recognition. Sahar has spent significant time developing both organizations and young entrepreneurs in Canada and abroad. She is a frequent speaker on health equity, civic engagement, and entrepreneurship, delivering addresses at international events including the 59th session of the United Nations Commission for Social Development, where she spoke in depth about digital health equity and a socially just response to COVID-19. Sahar channels her talents towards advancing human rights by collaborating with various organizations including Amnesty International and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network.  Sahar’s focus remains on advancing sociopolitical change through community, storytelling and technology.

Alumnus Sahil Kesar

Sahil Kesar

Lawyer, mentor and volunteer
IBBA ’15, Schulich School of Business

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Sahil is a dispute resolution and cybersecurity lawyer at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP. He is currently a director of the South Asian Bar Association of Toronto where he established the Young Lawyers’ Division which advances the interests of young South Asian lawyers. Sahil previously served as a director and secretary for the South Asian Bar Association of British Columbia. In these roles, Sahil has been involved in advocating for internationally trained lawyers, of which South Asians are a disproportionate number. Sahil is also involved with the Roundtable of Diversity Associations. He served on the Finance and Governance Committee of the South Asian Legal Clinic of British Columbia which was established to provide the South Asian community with culturally sensitive legal services, addressing a major gap in access to justice for the South Asian community. In that role, Sahil was involved in developing many of the first governance policies for the clinic. Sahil continues to volunteer with organizations aimed at lowering barriers for socio-economically disadvantaged youths, most recently with the Merit Award Bursary Program.

Alumnus Muhammad Ghazain Mazari

Ghazain Mazari

Lawyer and human rights advocate
BA ’17, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies

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Ghazain is a lawyer, human rights advocate and development consultant. After graduating from York University, Ghazain attended the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London in the UK for his law degree. Ghazain worked for the United Nations (UN) in Islamabad where he was a core member of the Democratic Governance Unit, a team focused on improving democracy and electoral legitimacy within Pakistan. He worked closely with the government, media and public interest groups to make the voting process simpler while improving voter education and awareness. He co-authored the Election Commission of Pakistan's 2019-2023 Strategic Plan. Upon leaving the UN, he started practicing law, with a primary focus on human rights issues. Many of Ghazain’s clients belonged to marginalized groups with a focus on protecting the rights of underprivileged women and children on a pro-bono basis. Ghazain is now completing his LLM from Osgoode Hall Law School, and he hopes to get called to the bar in Ontario next year.

Alumna Kate Haiyun

Kate Haiyun Mossop

Community builder
MLCE ’21, Faculty of Education

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Kate is a progress-orientated community builder with expertise in newcomer resettlement, education, social policy and grass-roots civic engagement. With experience in both public service and direct support of equity-deserving urban communities, Kate's skills in leadership, strategic communications, program development and community health inform her desire to make a difference by helping people overcome barriers. As part of the United Nations Association in Canada's Building Young Entrepreneurs Programme, Kate developed Zillennial Women in Leadership, a community of practice supporting young emerging leaders. She is an active member of the community, volunteering on the Board of Directors of the Toronto Council on Aging and Toronto Intergenerational Partnerships. Kate served as a YWCA Canada delegate at the UN and World Health Organization's Big Six Global Youth Summit and was a member of the #ImpactCOVID project, a pan-Canada youth-oriented pandemic recovery plan at the Canadian Council for Youth Prosperity. Currently, Kate is the director of community programs at University Settlement, the oldest community-based social service agency in downtown Toronto, supporting newcomers, children, youth, seniors, and families. As a Faculty of Education graduate, she continues to stay connected to York by facilitating several placement students at University Settlement.

Alumna Theresa Nguyen

Theresa Nguyen

Interdisciplinary engineer and artist
BEng 20, Lassonde School of Engineering
’20, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies

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Theresa is an engineer and an artist striving for a positive impact in the socio-cultural and environmental climate. She is currently working on large-scale solutions related to climate change and restoration as a mechanical engineer at Running Tide Technologies. She was a long-time standing member of the board of directors and conference co-chair at Model City Hall, a non-profit organization designed to stimulate civic engagement among youth in varying socio-economic communities. She held many leadership roles at York University to promote technological stewardship and the integration of diversity and the arts in STEM programs, including founding and co-directing Lassonde Eng Play, developing the Global Engineering Certificate and Engineering in Developing Communities program, acted as executive and assistant orientation chair for Weekzero and formed the Lassonde Creator Squad for the Lassonde Media Group. She is currently continuing her research endeavors in the CooperLab for developing a thermal model of a Contactless Solar Evaporation Structure (CSES) for scale-up deployment as a viable, low-cost source of clean water to remote areas. Her recent artistic endeavours include being an ensemble member for the musical We Will Rock You and scenic designer of The Great Gatsby at Portland Players.

Alumna Reni Odetoyinbo

Reni Odetoyinbo

Marketing consultant
’18, Schulich School of Business

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Reni is a content strategist and marketing consultant at her self-titled organization, Reni the Resource. After purchasing her home at the age of 23, she started sharing her knowledge with others with the goal of helping people become more financially literate. Featured in Business Insider, Narcity, and The Toronto Star, Reni has successfully built a community of over 60,000 people. Through her content, Reni has been able to make complex career & finance topics extremely simple. Reni serves on the leadership team of York University's Black Alumni Network, is part of The Bay Street Bull's 30 under 30 and is an alumna of the YouTube Black Class of 2022.

Alumna Tobi Owotomo

Tobi Owotomo

Athletic trainer and athlete
BA ’19, Faculty of Health

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Tobi is the doctor of physical therapy and athletic trainer for the Oklahoma City Thunder, of the NBA and serves as the head athletic trainer for the Oklahoma City Blue of the NBA G-league. She is a former York University graduate of the Athletic Therapy Program as well as the Kinesiology and Health Sciences Program. Tobi was a varsity rugby player for York University, an athlete on the Canadian under 20 Women’s Rugby team, an Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Rookie of the Year and a U-Sports 2nd Team All-Canadian. Tobi has used her passion, personal experience and understanding of athletic injuries to fuel her ability to rehabilitate athletes after injury, enabling them to play again at the highest level of professional sports. Tobi has climbed the ranks in the world of athletic rehabilitation and performance, and she is inspiring and coaching a generation of young aspiring women and women of colour who hope to do the same.

Alumna Lela Pacitti-Sander

Lela Pacitti-Sander

Community planner and youth worker
MES ’17, Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change

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Lela is a community planner and youth worker. Since graduating from York University, Lela has become a registered professional planner and dedicated herself to the housing and community services sector. As a policy development officer with the City of Toronto, Lela is part of an energetic team devoted to modernizing access to housing. Prior to joining the municipality, Lela supported community planning and partnership initiatives at Toronto Catholic District School Board and Toronto Community Housing. Lela is committed to community building, with a particular focus on using community-based planning approaches to develop meaningful policies and programs. She is passionate about creating inclusive and vibrant communities by employing an equity, co-design and evidence-based lens to ensure that policies and programs are informed by community needs and experience. Outside of her work as a civil servant, Lela is a youth worker at Youth Rising Above, a registered charity focused on providing youth with innovative and engaging programming opportunities to strengthen personal and community well-being. Her primary responsibilities include coordinating and facilitating the BeYou Program that supports female-identifying youth in developing strengths-based resilience. She is passionate about working with youth and using a person-centred approach to create a supportive environment.

Alumnus Amirarsalan Rahimian

Amirarsalan Rahimian

Mentor, volunteer and youth advocate
BSc ’21, Faculty of Health

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Amirarsalan (Arsi) works as a Tutoring Program Assistant at Youth Assisting Youth, a non-profit organization, where he has initiated and led numerous free tutoring and group programs for over 800 underprivileged and underrepresented youth. He has collaborated with various libraries and community centres across the Greater Toronto Area to create English as a Second Language (ESL) and homework-help programs for refugee and newcomer youth. Arsi is also a mentor at Youth Assisting Youth, serving as a positive role model to youth who may face behavioural, social, emotional, and cultural challenges. His background in Kinesiology has led him to serve as a volunteer research exercise therapist at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, where he collaborates with the healthcare and research teams to lead exercise sessions for young cancer survivors and to collect data for a study to enhance the standard of care for young cancer survivors in Canada. In his free time, Arsi mentors and shares his experience with current undergraduate students to enhance their success and transition. Arsi’s goal is to pursue a career in medicine so he can continue to positively impact society and promote health and wellness.

Alumnus Gari Ravishankar

Gari Ravishankar

Community builder and global advocate
BHRM ’18, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies

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Gari is a community builder, global advocate and public speaker. Gari is currently working with the Canadian Cancer Society as an Advocacy Coordinator focusing on palliative care to provide support for people with cancer and their families, and subsequently, working as a special assistant with 369 Global Inc., a rapidly expanding business conglomerate devoted to creating local value to deliver meaningful global outcomes for current and future generations. Gari previously worked within the United Nations (UN), the Canadian House of Commons, Ontario's Queen's Park and the City of Markham. Gari was named one of the Top 100 leaders under the age of 25 in Canada, received the community development award for supporting third-world countries and completed a fellowship with CanStudyUS that aimed to equip young leaders with the tools and knowledge for a future in change-making. During law school, he was selected as one of the five students to represent the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, amongst young leaders across the United Kingdom for a UN award-winning leadership program to advocate matters in creating real social change for members of parliament to bring into their communities. Gari is the co-author of a forthcoming children's book to inspire young people to discover their ancestral roots.

Raghavender Sahdev

MSC ’18, Lassonde School of Engineering

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Raghavender is the CEO of NuPort Robotics, Canada’s first autonomous trucking company which applies proprietary autonomous driving technology to automate transportation for supply chains and has operations in Canada and India. NuPort has partnerships with the Ontario Government, Canadian Tire, NVIDIA, Pinnacle Industries and multiple other trucking clients. NuPort secured a $3 Million pilot with Canadian Tire in 2021 and will be deploying its tech on 5000 electric buses in India in collaboration with Pinnacle industries. Raghavender was recently featured on the Forbes 30 under 30 list for North America and is a recipient of the 2020 Mitacs Environmental Entrepreneur and Audience Favourite award. He participated in accelerator programs such as UC Berkeley SkyDeck, MaRS Supply Chain AI, Plug and Play and Next AI and his company has received coverage in Forbes, TechCrunch, Betakit, Yahoo Finance and the Economic Times.

Alumna Alyssa Segula

Alyssa Segula

Healthcare innovator
MBA ’22, Schulich School of Business

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Alyssa leads care operations and customer success at Digbi Health, the Silicon Valley-based digital therapeutics company that partners with employers and health plans to deliver DNA and microbiome-based diagnostics and whole-person treatment plans for 8,000+ individuals struggling with digestive, cardiometabolic and mental health conditions. Alyssa has managed multidisciplinary teams across community and hospital settings servicing more than 10,000 patients across the span of her decade-long career in mental health, public health, and health education. Through her clinical work as a registered nurse, she became enamored by leveraging technology to drive scalable solutions to improve population health outcomes, which led her to work for a venture capital firm investing in Central Nervous System (CNS) therapeutics, biotech and wellness to better understand how to leverage AI to scale care. She is a founding member of the Silicon Valley Women for Good Group and an advisor to an ESG software company. Alyssa is passionate about exploring innovative solutions to address complex societal and environmental needs through community and has received numerous awards for her leadership in healthcare innovation.

Korina Thomas-Reynolds

Educator and entrepreneur
IBA ’18, Glendon

BEd ’18, Faculty of Education,
MEd ’20, Faculty of Education

 View LinkedIn profile

La version française suit la version anglaise.

Korina is a high school mathematics and French as a second language teacher who is committed to creating educational spaces that foster the feeling of belonging. As the co-founder of Roots to Routes Academy, Korina is changing the face of private school education by creating an independent school that offers high school credit courses that are built for minority students. These students can access a global curriculum that allows them to learn more about their roots and the various cultures that are reflected in Canada and around the world. While providing an alternative option for minority students through Roots to Routes Academy, Korina continues to fight for social justice for all marginalized communities within the public education system. When she completed a Master of Education at York University, she focused on cultural literacy – our ability to understand and interact meaningfully with another culture. She believes that cultural literacy is the key to addressing systemic inequity, racism and discrimination both inside and outside of the classroom. Throughout her teaching career, she has helped create four scholarships to make post-secondary education more accessible to Black students and started her own podcast, More Than Just a School.

Korina est enseignante de mathématiques et de français langue seconde au secondaire. Elle s’est engagée à créer des espaces éducatifs qui favorisent le sentiment d’appartenance. En tant que cofondatrice de Roots to Routes Academy, Korina est en train de changer le visage de l’enseignement privé en créant une école indépendante qui propose des cours crédités au niveau de l’école secondaire conçus pour les élèves issus de minorités. Ces élèves peuvent accéder à un programme d’études global qui leur permet d’en apprendre davantage sur leurs racines et sur les différentes cultures qui se reflètent au Canada et dans le monde. Tout en offrant une alternative aux élèves de minorités grâce à Roots to Routes Academy, Korina continue de lutter pour la justice sociale pour toutes les communautés marginalisées au sein du système d’éducation publique. Lorsqu’elle a obtenu une maîtrise en éducation à l’Université York, elle s’est intéressée à l’alphabétisation culturelle, c’est-à-dire à notre capacité à comprendre une autre culture et à interagir avec elle de manière significative. Elle est convaincue que l’alphabétisation culturelle est la clé pour lutter contre les inégalités systémiques, le racisme et la discrimination, tant à l’intérieur qu’au-delà de la salle de classe. Tout au long de sa carrière d’enseignante, elle a contribué à la création de quatre bourses destinées à faciliter l’accès des élèves noirs à l’enseignement supérieur et a lancé son propre balado, More Than Just a School (Plus qu’une simple école).

Alumna Faridah Yagboyaju

Faridah Yagboyaju

Entrepreneur and mentor
IBBA ’22, Schulich School of Business

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Faridah is an African-Canadian entrepreneur with a passion for helping students across the province achieve their academic goals. As a third-year undergrad at the Schulich School of Business, she founded MErai, an eLearning institution based in Ontario. Since founding MErai, she has provided online workshops, over 300 peer tutoring classes, facilitated dozens of student run competitions via social media and amassed nearly 8,000 users on the company website. After winning Schulich Startup Night (SSN) 16 in 2021 , she received $6000 worth of funding and the continuous support from Schulich Startups. With MErai, Faridah’s mission is to continuously help elementary and high school students (especially those with learning barriers) to find support from their peers and other students in the community. This mission was extended to other initiatives as well. Faridah occasionally volunteers her services as a Schulich Black Excellence Academy Leader and guest speaker which allows her to help facilitate educational workshops and case competitions for BIPOC high school students of Toronto. Faridah is currently pursuing an MBA degree.

Alumna Iris Yusupov

Iris Yusupov

Clinical researcher and mental health advocate
BA ’16, Glendon
MA ’18, Faculty of Health,
MBA ’22
, Schulich School of Business

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Iris is completing her residency at the final stage of her PhD in Clinical Neuropsychology. As a first-generation immigrant and woman who became a mother during graduate training, Iris understands the obstacles faced by diverse students pursuing higher education. She has dedicated her graduate career to mentorship and mental health advocacy, with an emphasis on social outreach for students on the autism spectrum. She works as a psychotherapist specializing in the mental health of autistic adults while planning to open her own practice dedicated to this underserved population. Iris established a national mentorship initiative to support graduate students transitioning to parenthood and to dispel mental health stigma amongst healthcare trainees. Her research and clinical training have centered on neurological conditions, cognitive rehabilitation and the quality of life of older adults. She has been appointed as one of the youngest directors on the Board of Directors for the Tony Stacey Centre for Veteran’s Care, joining the team leading a $50M redevelopment of the long-term care facility. It is her goal to continue to propel change in the long-term care industry and to lead a sociopolitical shift regarding perceptions of aging in Western society.  

Iris atteint le stade final de sa résidence au doctorat en neuropsychologie clinique. En tant qu’immigrante de première génération et femme devenue mère au cours de ses études supérieures, Iris comprend les obstacles auxquels sont confrontés les étudiantes et étudiants issus de la diversité qui poursuivent des études supérieures. Elle a consacré sa carrière de diplômée au mentorat et à la défense de la santé mentale, en mettant l’accent sur la sensibilisation sociale des étudiantes et étudiants atteints de trouble du spectre autistique. Elle travaille comme psychothérapeute spécialisée dans la santé mentale des adultes autistes et envisage d’ouvrir son propre cabinet consacré à cette population défavorisée. Iris a mis en place une initiative nationale de mentorat pour soutenir les étudiantes et étudiants diplômés en transition vers la parentalité et pour dissiper la stigmatisation liée à la santé mentale parmi les stagiaires en soins de santé. Ses recherches et sa formation clinique ont porté sur les troubles neurologiques, la réadaptation cognitive et la qualité de vie des personnes âgées. Elle a été nommée l’une des plus jeunes administratrices du conseil d’administration du Tony Stacey Centre for Veteran’s Care, rejoignant ainsi l’équipe chargée du réaménagement de 50 millions $ de l’établissement de soins de longue durée. Son objectif est de continuer à faire évoluer le secteur des soins de longue durée et de susciter des changements sociopolitiques concernant la perception du vieillissement dans la société occidentale.