Student Fellows

As part of its mission, the School of Cities Student Fellowship Award provides a forum for urban-focused interdisciplinary and collaborative learning. 

2019 Fellows 

SofC Student Fellows are current U of T students with strong interest in and passion for urban issues and critical challenges and are leading an innovative and impactful project this term. Meet our 2019 Fellows: 

Undergraduate Fellows

Project Title: Climate Change, Energy Transitions, and the African Urban Landscape: Prospects for the Future

Program of Study: Physical and Environmental Geography and African Studies

Mohamed Ali is a 4th year undergraduate student at Victoria College with double majors in Physical and Environmental Geography and African Studies, with a minor in Political Science. His research interests include urban issues, their intersections with climate and energy science and policy, and inequality in the African context. He has been the Social Equity Committee Chair of the City of Edmonton Youth Council and Community Outreach Coordinator for the Somali Canadian Cultural Society of Edmonton. Outside of school, his interests include creative writing, involving himself in community work, and enjoying his summers back home in Edmonton, Alberta.

Project Title: From Vauban to Toronto – Urban Sustainability Working Group

Program of Study: Environmental Studies, German and French

An undergraduate student majoring in Environmental Studies with two minors in both French and German,  Savannah has a keen interest in sustainability topics and urban settings. She is originally from Toronto, Ontario but has spent the summer doing an internship in Freiburg, Germany. In Freiburg, you would find Vauban, a small neighbourhood in which you could find one of the worlds top models for a sustainable city, in which she has focused her School of Cties research on.

Project Title: Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Ways of Knowing and Understanding Activism

Program of Study: Indigenous Studies, Diaspora & Transnational Studies and Women & Gender Studies

Julia Louise Giraudi is a fourth year student at the University of Toronto obtaining a bachelor's degree in Women and Gender studies, Diasporic and Transnationalism studies, and Indigenous studies. She is a female-identifying Filipinx-Canadian. Her research interests include, Filipinx identity creation, varying methods of activism, and Indigenous and Non-Indigenous relationships. 

Project Title: Developing a Community of Practice at the Intersection of Urban Communities and Machine Learning

Program of Study: Engineering Physics

Andrew Kidd is a fourth-year student at the University of Toronto, studying Engineering Physics with a minor in Economics. Andrew is the Engineering Orientation Chair, coordinating orientation programming for almost 1000 incoming students, and the President of the You’re Next Career Network, the largest professional development organization at the University of Toronto. Andrew has worked at Ontario's Ministry of Health to develop digital health policy and has consulted for leading global organizations at both ZS Associates and McKinsey & Company, focusing on data and analytics strategy. Andrew will be joining McKinsey & Company as a Business Analyst in fall 2019.

Project Title: Re-thinking Urban Parks in Toronto: How Can We Make Them Better

Program of Study: Human Biology and Animal Physiology

Hodan is a fourth year undergraduate student at the University of Toronto. With a passion for health and health promotion, he values the importance of having a sustainable and equitable city. A sustainable city is a city that is going to improve the health and wellbeing of all its citizens and be a place where individuals feel like they belong. He currently works for Health and Wellness at UofT trying to improve the community on campus to become more inclusive and represent the voices that aren’t heard. He hopes he can do the same for the city of Toronto through the School of Cities.

School of Cities Fellow Rushay Naik

Project Title: RENEWAL: History built the city. Can it build the future, too?

Program of Study: Human Biology: Global Health and Peace, Conflict & Justice

Rushay is an undergraduate student double-majoring in Human Biology - Global Health and Peace, Conflict & Justice at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy. Recently named a Global Scholar by the University of Toronto, Rushay is leading research projects centred on addressing global challenges through interests in health, politics, and technology. As a project researcher with the Munk School's Reach Project on inclusive development, Rushay is completing an investigation a World Bank solar electrification project for rural nomadic herders in Mongolia. In addition to his School of Cities fellowship on revitalizing aging urban infrastructures, he is currently developing an independent thesis, contextualizing Geneva as the "infrastructure" of international peacemaking amid the changing nature of global armed conflict. Previously, he was a 2018-2019 International Fellow of the Center for the Study of the Presidency & the Congress in Washington, D.C., evaluating legislative pathways to American universal healthcare. 

Project Title: Decaying Cities

Program of Study: Industrial and Business Engineering

Antony's deep interest for social innovation has been his drive since 6 years ago, when he started the “Human Waste Bioreactor” project, which later inspired the formation of Innovate Club in high school. He had no idea that this would form any of my passions. However, this interest solidified and inspired his choice of Industrial Engineering undergraduate program to develop efficient, low cost and user-focused designs to solve local problems. Antony's main focus on urbanization is traffic in African cities. In Nairobi alone, traffic costs around$570,000 per day from lost productivity. This money could be channeled to other areas of the economy such as providing amenities in remote communities. He will also be looking into incorporating motorcycles as a mode of public transport. 

Project Title: Toronto Past, Today, Tomorrow

Program of Study: Urban Studies, Political Science and Anthropology

A recent graduate from the Faculty of Arts & Science, Heeho received an Honours Bachelor of Arts with Double Majors in Political Science and Urban Studies and a Minor in Anthropology. During their time at UofT Heeho was the President of the Anthropology Course Union, a Student Assistant for the Faculty Registrar's Office, a Work-Study Assistant at the Centre for Indigenous Studies, a Mentor and Volunteer at Caffiends, and a Research Fellow at the School of Cities. Currently they are working full-time in order to gain professional experience before enrolling in a Master's program. Heeho's research interests focus on how marginalized groups practice human agency within unequal structural settings for their physical and symbolic survival, resistance, and reclamation. Their other topics of interest include equity, social justice, urban policy, environmental conservation, indigenous activism, diaspora studies, and online-virtual spaces.

Project Title: Creating Equitable and Inclusive ‘Smart’ Communities: A Cross-Jurisdiction Analysis and Evaluation of North American and European Case Studies

Program of Study: Urban Studies and Political Science

Keisha is an undergraduate student specializing in Urban Studies and majoring in Political Science at the University of Toronto, St. George Campus. She is currently the Co-President of the Urban Studies Student Union (URSSU) and a research assistant at Social Planning Toronto. Working to create a more equitable Toronto through inclusive city-building and place-making practices, Keisha was previously the Director of Stakeholder Engagement and Housing Lead for the Toronto Youth Cabinet (TYC). On behalf of Waterfront Toronto and Sidewalk Labs, she recently had the privilege of travelling to European and North American cities as a Sidewalk Toronto Fellow and has previous work experience in the Ontario Cabinet’s Executive Council Office.

Project Title: Building Inclusive Cities – A Suburban Perspective

Program of Study: Public Policy and City Studies (UTSC)

Hazelmae is a city builder passionate about community building and engagement, using human-centered design for social change. Currently, she is in her final year of undergraduate studies in Public Policy and City Studies studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough and focuses on building accessible cities for everyone in terms of design+accessibility, diversity and participation. Hazelmae proudly calls Scarborough her home, and connects her work back to the community as a co-founder of Innovate Youth Scarborough an upcoming youth hub focused on the re-envisioning of Scarborough through community building and collaborative placemaking. In the past, she has worked with CivicSpark engaging youth across Ontario through case competitions discussing pressing urban issues in GTHA such as transportation, housing and environmental sustainability, in addition to different capacities within the Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Health & Long-Term Care, Elections Ontario, and the City of Toronto. Hazelmae is driven by her passion for building a more inclusive city that engages diverse communities and voices.


Graduate Fellows

School of Cities Fellow Lamia AganagicProject Title: Ogimaakwe – Facilitating Mindfulness and Fostering Leadership for Indigenous Women

Program of Study: Master's student, Public Policy

 As a current Master’s of Public Policy Candidate at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy and a Bachelor of Kinesiology graduate from the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, Lamia is a passionate, experienced and knowledgeable student leader within the community of scholars and leaders at the University of Toronto. Her primary policy interest pertains to Indigenous relations at the intersection of urban policy and social policy. Through her fellowship at the School of Cities, Lamia will be examining urban Indigeneity and the health outcomes of Indigenous women represented within Toronto’s homeless population. At the core of the project Lamia is proposing entitled Ogimaakwe, prominent female leaders in the field of Indigenous health will incorporate traditional Indigenous knowledge to enable Indigenous women to engage with physical activity, personal development and mindfulness programming.

Project Title: Toronto’s AI Transformation – Building a Smarter, Richer and (hopefully) Fairer City

Program of Study: JD/MBA student, Law and Business Administration

A passionately curious Pakistani-Canadian, Ramz Aziz is a fourth-year JD/MBA student leader at the University of Toronto dedicated to building more inclusive and prosperous communities. He enjoys tackling societal issues – namely, poverty alleviation, housing insecurity, and healthcare - through an interdisciplinary lens. As an organizer, Ramz has led rights-based advocacy campaigns with numerous non-profits to address chronic homelessness. As a researcher for the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario and the International Human Rights Clinic, he has examined the effectiveness of policy interventions on access to justice for low-income tenants, and protections for migrant workers in Canada. Through the Creative Destruction Lab, Ramz is exploring how technology can help build more equitable cities. In his spare time, he indulges in foreign films and hiking with his partner and two young children. 

Project Title: Mashkiki gitigaanan omaa akiing: Indigenous Medicine(s) in the City

Program of Study: PhD student, Social Justice Education; collaborative specialization in Indigenous Health

Rebecca Beaulne-Stuebing (Naawakwegiizhigookwe) is a Red River Metis Anishinaabekwe of the bald eagle clan and 1st Degree Midewiwin in the Three Fires Midewiwin lodge. Rebecca currently teaches at Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig, Algoma and York universities, and is pursuing a PhD in Social Justice Education and Indigenous Health at the University of Toronto.

Project Title: The Wastebelt

Program of Study: Master's student, Landscape Architecture

Jennifer Chau Tran is a Master of Landscape Architecture student at the John H. Daniels Faculty, having completed her undergraduate degree in Art History and Earth Science at the University of Toronto. She is interested in using design to create restorative and ecologically resilient landscapes in urban settings. She is excited to apply her interdisciplinary background to landscape design. 

Project Title: Scarborough Plaza Workshop Series

Program of Study: PhD student, English and Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies 

Niyosha is a current PhD Candidate at the Department of English and the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies. Her doctoral work focuses on memoirs of the Iranian diaspora, literatures of exile and displacement, and theories of space and identity. She has previously served as the Founding President of the Race and Ethnicity Caucus of the University of Toronto Graduate Students' Union, and Co-Chair of the Diversity Committee at Massey College, where she is a Junior Fellow. Niyosha currently teaches at the Department of English at the University of Toronto Scarborough.

Project Title: Red Embers – School of Cities Collaborative Research Initiative

Program of Study: Master's student, Planning

Vanessa is in her second year of the Masters of Sciences in Planning Program at the University of Toronto. Growing up in a small town on Vancouver Island that is also home to British Columbia's largest Band, she was surrounded by Indigenous art and there was a distinct sense of what the area was like pre colonialism. After moving to Toronto, she quickly noticed the lack of Indigenous placemaking and art in our City. Partnering with Red Embers, a team of Indigenous artists, Vanessa has been researching and writing about why we need more Indigenous public art and how to make that process\

'work within the City of Toronto. She is very appreciative of the School of Cities for funding her research and whole-heartedly supporting her work.

Project Title: Urban Climate Resilience in Southeast Asia Partnership (UCRSEA)

Program of Study: Joanna- PhD student, Planning; Rebecca - PhD student, Human Geography

Joanna Kocsis is a participatory research methods specialist and PhD candidate at the University of Toronto. Her research has inquired into the
international development project from many angles, ranging from the learning practices of large international grantmakers, to the role of affect in
 the lived experiences of marginalized urban youth. Generally, her work focuses on helping to empower members of vulnerable communities through
transformative, participatory research, by offering opportunities for reflection, capacity development and social learning. Kocsis worked at the International
 Development Research Centre in 2012 and 2014 and as the Evaluation Specialist for the UCRSEA Partnership since 2014.

A PhD Candidate in Geography, Rebecca is interested in urban governance in the global South, particularly in contexts of political economic and environmental change. Her
 graduate research has examined citizen participation in urban water management in informal settlements in Caracas, Venezuela. Rebecca is a research assistant with the
Urban Climate Resilience in Southeast Asia Partnership and has taught Urbanization and Development at UTSC. She holds a BA in Environmental Studies and an MA in
International Development and has professional experience at the intersection of environment and development. Her Academic honours include the Canada Graduate Scholarship and the IDRC Doctoral Award.

Project Title: Evaluating and Redefining the Health of the Canadian Health Care System in a Changing World: How Youth can Help Build Sustainable and Healthy Communities in Canada

Program of Study: Master's student, Sustainability Management (UTM)

Linxi is a daughter, sister, best friend, Albanian-Canadian, student, and above all, a complex, unapologetic and proud woman. She is currently pursuing a MSc. Sustainability Management, focusing on applying the learnings from this degree to the field of healthcare. She believes that sustainability is the capacity to endure over time and healthcare is the field that aims to maintain and improve health. Her passion for equality and change has led her to work with uOttawa, the University of Toronto, the United Way, SickKids Hospital, and the Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care. Linxi hopes to keep learning about how to better use her voice and platform to ensure that we work towards a future that is inclusive, representative and empathetic. 

Project Title: Promoting and Enabling an Urban Circular Economy

Program of Study: MASc in Civil Engineering

Adrien is currently working towards an M.A.Sc. degree in Civil Engineering, with a research focus on sustainable infrastructure and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions in the construction sector. His interests in infrastructure and urban studies go far beyond technical engineering aspects, hence his involvement with the School of Cities. He is fascinated with urban systems and governance, particularly with regards to how we can continue to make cities more sustainable and equitable for all those who reside in them. 

Project Title: Challenging the Status Quo through Productive "Disruption"

Program of Study: Master's student, Urban Planning

Igor is currently pursuing his graduate degree in Urban Planning at the University of Toronto after completing his B.A. focusing on Urban Studies/Geography at the University of Toronto, through Trinity College. He has worked on many successful events, conferences, and special projects leveraging his experience with accessibility and his skills with people. He is a Junior Fellow Massey College, a Rotman Citylab Fellow, Past-Chair of the Canadian Conference on Student Leadership and Past Governor on Governing Council. 

Igor currently works with the City of Toronto Transportation Services - Autonomous Vehicles as a consultant and volunteers on the Advisory Committee on Accessible Transit (ACAT) for the TTC, Student for Barrier Free Access (Vice-Chair) and sits on the Faculty of Arts and Science Council (Vice-Chair). He currently represents Graduate Students, focusing on removing financial barriers to education, improving mental health supports on campus, and prioritizing the needs of disabled students. 

Project Title: Toronto Smart City: A Future in the Present

Program of Study: PhD student, Anthropology

Jessika is a PhD candidate in socio-cultural anthropology at the University of Toronto, where she is completing her dissertation about a “cyber village” in urban Indonesia. She is the cofounder of the Urban Ethnography Lab, an international and interdisciplinary collaboration between the U of T, Humboldt University and Harvard. Jessika is the coordinator of the Ethnography Lab, where she manages events and projects about ethnographic methods in academic and non-academic settings. Her research interests are urban and digital anthropology, development, and the anthropology of Java, focusing on how urban dwellers encounter and use digital technologies to improve their lives.