Cities of Inequality, Urban Solidarities, and Community Activism

Picture of Nayid Contreras.

Nayid Contreras

Program of Study: PhD in Spanish

Project Title: Discerning Affect in Contemporary Urban Spanish and Colombian LGBTQ Cultural Productions

Nayid Contreras is a PhD student in the Spanish and Portuguese Department at the University of Toronto. His research interests are on contemporary Latin American and Spanish Literature with a special focus on the intersectionality of LGBTQ+ cultural and film productions. He is currently a Faculty of Arts and Science Top Doctoral Award recipient (2019-2020) and has previously held a SSHRC Canada Graduate Master's Award. Nayid is a seasoned Spanish Instructor and Teacher Assistant for SPA100Y1, Spanish for Beginners course. He is also involved in the department as a student representative for the University of Toronto Graduate Student’s Union and volunteers as a representative for students with disabilities at Lime Connect North America (2018-present).


Picture of Terri-Lynn Langdon.

Terri-Lynn Langdon

Program of Study: PhD in Social Justice Education

Project Title: Disability and the Pandemic In Toronto: The Disabled Communities Experiences of Covid-19

Terri-Lynn Langdon is a feminist, disability studies and health equity scholar and activist in Social Justice Education at The Ontario Institute for Studies In Education. She has over 12 years of experience in the social work field. Terri-Lynn is passionate about helping people to achieve the best possible health and a meaning-making life. She can assist service-users to figure out how best to address their own challenges and be their authentic selves.


Picture of Fernando Calderon Figueroa.

Fernando Calderón Figueroa

Program of Study: PhD in Sociology

Project Title: Trust in the City: The Case of Toronto

Fernando is a PhD candidate at the Department of Sociology, University of Toronto, where he also obtained an M.A. degree. His dissertation addresses the relationship between the built infrastructure of cities and social capital in three different contexts: Canada, Peru, and Colombia. Fernando is a member of the Urban Genome Project, where he conducts interdisciplinary research on urban social policy and neighbourhood change. Before joining UofT, he worked for the Peruvian Ombudsman’s Office and the Peruvian Ministry of Culture developing policy-oriented data on political engagement, local communities, and indigenous peoples. Fernando’s main interests are urban and political sociology, social policy, and quantitative and computational methods. On his spare time, he enjoys cycling, swimming, and engaging in student activism.


Picture of Andrew Thomas.

Andrew Michél Thomas

Program of Study: Master's of Human Geography

Project Title: Inter Alia: Life from the margins of the City

Andrew M. Thomas is a queer Jamaican-born Canadian settler who has lived much of his life in Canada. However, he now splits his time between Munich, Germany, and Toronto, Canada, with his partner and two cats, Reds and Fats, while pursuing graduate studies in human geography at the University of Toronto, St. George. His interest spans various subjects that include, but is not limited to, Black feminist thoughts, post-colonialism, queer colour of critique, human geography, intersectionality, native studies, philosophy of knowledge, ontology, and affect theory. Through the School of Cities 2021 Fellowship, he hopes to illuminate the interlocking role of differences within the city, the province and (social processes that permit or deny) access to equitable housing related to policy producers' positionalities. During the summers, he works as an English camp counsellor and an ESL facilitator in Munich, Germany, working with children, teens, and adults, and where he has lived and worked for the last twelve years.


Picture of Mariana Ferraz-Duarte.

Mariana Ferraz-Duarte

Program of Study: PhD in Social and Behavioural Health Sciences

Project Title: The Construction of Lay Knowledge and Expertise: Local Housing Movements and the Creation of New Imaginaries of the Urban Development in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Mariana is a PhD candidate in Social and Behavioural Health Sciences at the Dalla Lana School Public Health. She has developed a strong interest in community-based research and strategies that can contribute to capacity building of marginalized communities in order to take action to improve their health and well-being. Her work was primarily in community-based initiatives in academic institutions and non-governmental agencies where she developed, implemented and evaluated programs utilizing principles of health promotion and adult education. She has facilitated diverse participatory planning processes and developed successful outreach campaigns and partnerships with the public sector and community organizations. Her doctoral research focuses on the influence of social movements in the struggle for housing and access to urban resources in Sao Paulo, Brazil.


Picture of Atif Khan

Atif Khan

Program of Study: Master's of Geography & Planning, South Asian Studies, and Critical Development Studies

Project Title: Of Urban Fragments & Urban Community

Atif Khan is a researcher, writer and curator exploring text, image and curatorial practice based in what is currently called Rexdale, Toronto. My research driven practice intersects key themes of urban planning, surveillance studies, science and technology studies and visual studies. I think through how the word ‘violence’ is assembled and given power in the world around me by connecting objects, language, words, meaning and a specific set of archives. Khan's current SSHRC-funded MA dissertation investigates the use of militarized drones across what is currently called the United States, Afghanistan & Pakistan.


Placeholder Photo

Yeo-Jin Katerina Bong

Program of Study: PhD in Architecture, Landscape and Design

Project Title: The Monument Problem

Katerina is a first-year PhD student at the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design in the University of Toronto (U of T). She also completed her BA at U of T with a specialist in art history and a MA at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on early modern architecture, with an emphasis on the concept of failure and its impact during that period. She also serves as the vice-chair of the ACONexGen, a youth committee of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, where she is currently working on public outreach for under-represented and under-researched architecture within Toronto.



Picture of Amrita Kumar-Ratta.

Amrita Kumar-Ratta

Program of Study: PhD in Human Geography

Project Title: ‘Our Bodies Our Voices’: Re-Imagining Cartographies of Reproductive Justice in ‘Punjabi Canada’

Amrita Kumar-Ratta (she/her) is a social researcher, a creative educator, and an equity and inclusion strategist. She is a PhD student in the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto and is pursuing Collaborative Specializations in Global Health at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and South Asian Studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. She is passionate about social justice-informed research as well as community engaged participatory and arts-based methodologies. Her scholarship as well as her creative work is focused on issues of gender justice, global migration, and community wellbeing both in Canada and internationally. Specifically, her doctoral work looks at the transnational politics of reproductive control and creatively engages with the everyday experiences of reproductive agency of South Asian women in Canada. Amrita holds 13 years of experience working with Canada’s non-profit sector, including 4 years supporting equity, and inclusion capacity building within the human services sector in Peel Region.



Picture of Maya Yaya.

Maya Yaya

Program of Study: Bachelor's of Arts in Political Science and Sociology

Project Title: The Anti-Racism Project: Addressing the Unique experiences of Being Black during COVID-19

Maya is a 3rd year Political Science and Sociology major with considerable community outreach and project management experience. She proudly holds executive positions in UTM’s Black Literature Club and UTM’s Black Students Association. She is also a work-study Ambassador for UTM’s Anti-Racism Task Force. Indeed, her educational and professional backgrounds have aligned well with her personal interest in community development and anti-racist activism. Maya’s research focuses on the socio-economic disparities affecting Toronto’s Black youth amid COVID-19. As she eventually hopes to expand her scope to an international level, Maya’s other research interests include the reform of developmental policy in Mali.


Picture of Kenneth Kelecihi Daniel.

Kenneth Kelechi Daniel

Program of Study: Bachelor's of Business Administration in Management & Information Technology

Kenneth Daniel is a fourth-year student specializing in Management & Information Technology at the University of Toronto Scarborough and is currently working for the management department as a financial data analyst. He is the current president of the African Students’ Association and has a strong passion to foster unity, inclusivity and acceptance within the society. Using his vast experience in software development and finance, he is working with non-profit organizations to spearhead the development of black art sculpture gardens in all three campuses at the University of Toronto. His primary goal is to provide a voice and a form of representation for minorities around the globe.


Placeholder Photo

Maha Mohamed

Program of Study: Bachelor's of Science in Human Biology

Project Title: Supporting Youth in Scarborough Village: Encouraging Diversity in Science and Higher Education

Maha is a fourth-year student studying Human biology with a specialist in Health & Disease at University of Toronto. Her research interests include health inequality, social determinants of health and applying a social justice lens to health inequities. She recognizes that health care accessibility can not be tackles without recognizing the structural barriers that play a direct role. The approach to an equitable future in healthcare, must take an interdisciplinary approach as there are several factors that contribute to it and a one-size-fits all approach will not be effective in allowing the needs of marginalized groups to be met.


Picture of Farah Rahim.

Farah Rahim

Program of Study: Bachelor's of Arts in Public Policy and English

Project Title: Women's Navigation of Space on Public Transit

Farah Rahim is a fourth-year undergraduate student at the University of Toronto Scarborough, pursuing a double major in English and Public Policy Co-op. Currently she is the president of the Students of English Literature and Film (SELF) and also works as an undergraduate research assistant in the Department of English. This year she completed an 8 month work term at the Ministry of Transportation where she worked on the Community Transportation Grant Program team and gained knowledge of the policy making process in government. Farah is interested in transportation policy and accessibility especially as it relates to low-income and vulnerable groups in the City of Toronto.



Picture of Rimsha Rahman.

Rimsha Rahman

Program of Study: Bachelor's of Arts in City Studies

Project Title: A Closer Look into Post-Secondary Education Attainment in East Scarborough

Rimsha Rahman is in her fourth year at UTSC, majoring in City Studies. She’s been involved with a number of campus groups and activities outside of UTSC. Currently, she serves as the Vice President Academics at the Political Science Student Association and as an undergraduate resident at the Scarborough Studies Collective where she recently launched a podcast that addresses the social inequalities and barriers that are faced by Scarborough residents. Beyond UTSC, she’s also on her second coop term as a Junior Policy Officer with Employment Social Development Canada, where she’s supporting policy development towards post-secondary education access and mobility. Throughout work and experiences, she understand the need for more community development efforts and mobilization to further empower Toronto residents.


Picture of Melanie Seabrook.

Melanie Seabrook

Program of Study: Bachelor's of Science in Health Studies and Immunology

Project Title: Addressing Police Violence as a Public Health Issue: Impacts of Police Defunding on Community Health

Melanie is a 4th-year undergraduate student specializing in Health Studies and majoring in Immunology. She is dedicated to studying the social determinants of health and how they are produced by societal structures and public policies. Her research experience ranges from conducting immunological studies on cancer at UHN and on HIV at the University of Cape Town, to researching the role of community mobilization in the global eradication of polio. Her current research interests lie in addressing health inequities through health and public policy reform. She is currently President of the Health Studies Students’ Union, and volunteers with the Rexdale Community Health Centre.


Picture of Cherry Tang.

Cherry Tang

Program of Study: Bachelor's of Arts in Human Geography and Geographic Information Systems

Project Title: Creative Destruction of Planning: The Effects of Planning Policies and Practices on the Erasure of Little Jamaica

Cherry Tang is a fourth-year student specializing in Human Geography with a minor in GIS. Cherry is passionate about smart city intervention and sustainable urban development, as well as the tension between socioeconomic and spatial concerns with specific land-use strategies. Her current research interest focuses on the relationship between public transit investment and gentrification. This year, she works as a placement intern at Bousfields Inc. and a planning consultant for her Multidisciplinary Urban Capstone Project with the Go Green Youth Centre. Additionally, Cherry is certified as a LEED Green Associate.


Picture of Christine Sun.

Christine Sun

Program of Study: Bachelor's of Arts in Political Science and Critical Studies in Equity & Solidarity

Project Title: Let’s Talk Food, UofT: Measuring Food Security in the Urban Post-Secondary Context

Christine Sun is a fourth-year student studying Political Science and Critical Studies in Equity and Solidarity. Currently, as a Race, Ethics and Power Undergraduate Fellow with the Centre for Ethics, their research aims to interrogate mainstream moves towards solidarity, in relation to contemporary Indigenous and Black land and food sovereignty movements, focusing on the ways in which racialized and white settler practices of allyship too often participate in the same racial and colonial systems the aim to dismantle. They are deeply invested in food as a healing gesture and a means for community and solidarity building between BIPOC communities. They believe the creation of equitable and culturally sustaining food systems cannot occur without the active dismantlement of oppressive systemic structures that which perpetuate poverty within marginalized communities. Outside of their research, they work as a Fundraising Co-Lead supporting the initiatives of the Toronto Youth Food Policy Council (TYFPC) through research, grant-writing, and community-building between varying committees.


Picture of Vibhuti Kacholia.

Vibhuti Kacholia

Program of Study: Bachelor's of Science in Global Health, Psychology, and Equity Studies

Project Title: Understanding Women’s Sexual Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Toronto

Vibhuti is a fourth-year student studying Global Health, Psychology, and Equity Studies. She is passionate about health equity and access to comprehensive, culturally competent care and is focused on adolescent sexual and reproductive justice. Working with Dr. Carmen Logie’s Stigma & Sexual Health Interventions to Nurture Empowerment (SSHINE) lab, she has explored health outcomes for trans men in low- and middle-income countries and worked on qualitative research understanding HIV and STI stigma for urban youth refugees in Kampala. She is a member of the U of T Sexual Education Centre and has volunteered at Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention.



Picture of Rajpreet Sidhu.

Rajpreet Sidhu

Program of Study: Bachelor's of Arts in International Development Studies and Human Geography

Project Title: Organizing Alternative Mapping Methods with Scarborough Studies Collective

Rajpreet (she/her) is currently based in Tkaronto and is a fourth-year student in International Development Studies co-op and majoring in Human Geography (UTSC). She engages with alternative and community power mapping as research practice and currently working on her thesis on the public memorialization processes of the disappeared in Kathmandu, after completing a 10-month placement. As a spacemaker and builder, she values critical/feminist pedagogy, site-specific projects and community-based arts. At UTSC, she is the VP internal for the Geography and City Studies Student Association, a research and outreach assistant for the Women and Gender Studies Department and the community programs director for the consent culture campaign for the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union.


Picture of William Lloyd.

William Lloyd

Program of Study: Bachelor's of Arts in History and Peace, Conflict, & Justice Studies

Project Title: The Great Divide: Economic Inequality In Major Urban Centres

William Lloyd is a second-year undergraduate student at the University of Toronto St. George Campus. William currently serves as Co-President of the U of T Model UN Team, as a Lead Analyst for the G7 Research Group, as a Columnist for The Varsity, and as a Executive Team Member for the Hart House Debates and Dialogues Committee. He has previously interned for The NATO Association of Canada and The Blue Lab, a progressive political consultancy. His writing has been published in the Harvard International Review, the Oxford Political Review, the Princeton Diplomat, and the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs.