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FGS celebrates 6 recipients of York's Top 30 Alumni Under 30 Award

FGS celebrates 6 recipients of York's Top 30 Alumni Under 30 Award

York’s Faculty of Graduate Studies celebrates six members of our community who received the Top 30 Alumni Under 30 award. Launched in 2021, the program seeks to highlight the success and diversity of the University’s young alumni, while inspiring the next generation. This year’s enthusiastic group of leaders are applying the education, skills and experiences they received at York to create meaningful impacts locally and globally.

Bintu Alkassoum (MMAI ’22)

Bintu Alkassoum is a Toronto-based previous startup founder and current artificial intelligence (AI) adoption manager at BASF Canada. Bintu's expertise lies in artificial intelligence strategy, data analytics and product development. As the AI adoption manager at BASF's Digital Hub, she helps drive AI innovation in a large enterprise environment to enhance organizational efficiency and strategic decision-making. Bintu's entrepreneurial achievements are apparent in her role as the founder and CEO of RELOOPED, a sustainable fashion marketplace app. This initiative highlights her prowess in product design and user research, as well as her commitment to responsible consumption. Bintu's work is characterized by a blend of creative excellence and a deep commitment to social responsibility. She continuously leverages technology for the greater good, making tangible impacts in her communities by addressing pressing issues such as sustainability, ethical AI and social justice. Bintu is an active member of the Women in AI branch of the Toronto Machine Learning Society, Microsoft Azure Community, and the Old Girls Club. Her involvement in these organizations reflects her dedication to promoting diversity and inclusion in the AI and broader technology ecosystem.

Khadeja Elsibai (BPA ’20, MPPAL ’22)

Khadeja Elsibai is a public servant, community builder, connector and people-oriented leader. Her passion for building community and creating spaces for learning and growth has mainly been unleashed within the public sector as member of the Board of Directors of the Institute of Public Administration of Canada's Toronto Region Chapter (IPAC Toronto) and as co-chair of Future Leaders of Ontario (FLO), the inter-departmental network for new and young federal public servants based in Ontario. Through these leadership roles, Khadeja has co-led many initiatives including two mentorship programs, the organizing of IPAC Toronto’s flagship event, the Emerging Leaders Conference and launched IPAC Toronto’s Emerging New Professional Award, an award that recognizes emerging leaders in the GTHA’s public sector. Khadeja has also led many communications and outreach initiatives within the public sector, and co-organized many learning and networking events that aim to facilitate horizontal collaboration and the cross-pollination of knowledge to create opportunities for professional development. In addition, Khadeja assists with organizing community events and fundraising initiatives across North America for Molham Volunteering Team, a Syrian grassroots charity dedicated to supporting Syrians and Arabs in need across the Arab region.

Ketaki Gadre (MF ’21)

Ketaki Gadre is a finance and accounting professional, educator and published author. Ketaki’s expertise spans financial due diligence, risk assessment, control environment development and auditing. As an instructor at Fleming College, she nurtures the next generation of professionals through advanced finance/accounting education, infusing fresh perspectives as one of the youngest instructors in her college. She encourages interactive learning methods and makes frequent use of case studies. Beyond the classroom, she has contributed articles to scholarly journals, that include "Farm Loan Waiver – A Real Solution to Agricultural Enigma?" and "Feasibility of Bitcoin in India – A Discussion.” Ketaki also serves as a reviewer for prestigious journals such as the Asian Journal of Economics, Business and Accounting and the Journal of Economics, Management, and Trade. By providing constructive feedback as a reviewer for academic journals, she actively contributes to elevating the quality of published research, reinforcing their commitment to enhance the capability of the academic community and the positive changes it can bring about in the knowledge pool.

collage of the 2024 Graduate Studies top 30 under 30 alumni

This is a collage of our Grad Studies Top 30 under 30 winners of 2024

John Lau (BA ’17, MES ’19)

John Lau is a senior advisor at the Ontario Energy Board's Energy Transition department. After graduating from York, John Lau helped combat climate change by working on energy and environment policy at Natural Resources Canada. John monitored and analyzed international and domestic clean energy policies and led cooperation between federal and provincial governments to report on the progress of clean energy policy implementation. John then joined the Natural Gas and Hydrogen team at Natural Resources Canada where he has led the federal government's policy and market analysis related to gaseous fuels. John also spearheaded projects focused on natural gas sector decarbonization and advancing progress toward net-zero emissions for Canada and its allies. John has been featured as a presenter at many conferences on climate change mitigation. These include conferences hosted by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Hydrogen Heating Network (HHN). John was also an independent expert reviewer for International Energy Agency (IEA) publications. John has been working to ensure that Canada’s clean-energy transition is successful and enlists participation and support from all Canadians and stakeholders. In 2020, John was recognized as one of Corporate Knight Magazine's Top 30 Under 30 Sustainability Leaders.

Sara Pishdadian (MA ’18, PhD ’23)

Sara Pishdadian works at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in the Geriatrics Mental Health, Neuropsychology Assessment and Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy for Psychosis services providing clinical services and conducting research. Her dissertation research investigated memory and spatial navigation abilities in older adults and individuals with amnesia and was recognized with a York University Dissertation Prize. Sara held many leadership and advocacy roles at York University including co-founding the Psychology Undergraduate Mentorship Program (PUMP), co-chairing the Psychology Graduate Students’ Association (PGSA), and being an active member of the Psychology department’s Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) committee. She is an active member of Health Care Providers Against Poverty (HPAP) and has contributed to national initiatives focused on equity and inclusion regarding psychology residency salaries. Sara also mentors graduate students through the American Arab, Middle Eastern, and North African (AMENA) Psychological Association. Sara is a passionate clinician, researcher and advocate for providing high quality mental health care, particularly to underserved individuals such as older adults and individuals with severe and persistent mental illness.

Sam Rockbrune (MA ’19)

Samantha (Sam) Rockbrune (she/her) is a leader in the non-profit sector with nearly ten years of experience in social and climate justice locally and nationally. She is a graduate of York University's Master of Arts in Socio-Legal Studies in which her research took a critical stance on law and policy. She is a co-founder and former board director of Students for Consent Culture Canada, a national non-profit working to end campus sexual violence and promote cultures of consent. Currently, Sam is the executive director for the Kawartha World Issues Centre (KWIC), an award-winning charity focused on connecting global issues to local initiatives in the Nogojiwanong area of Peterborough, Ontario. Under her leadership, KWIC has undertaken impactful community projects to advance and amplify gender equality locally and support youth climate justice projects. In 2023, Sam was also the interim executive director for. The Trent Aboriginal Cultural Knowledges and Sciences (TRACKS) youth program, facilitating dynamic, land-based youth programming that braids multiple scientific approaches by centring Indigenous ways of knowing and being.

Congratulations to this year’s crop of dedicated, ambitioous, innovative and creative young minds who are creating meaningful change and working to right the future in significant ways. These motivated leaders highlight the many life paths made possible with a York degree.