Student Academy & Fellows June 2019 Symposium Presenters


Lubna Alli 
Lubna is a fourth-year student at the University of Toronto pursuing a double major in City Planning and Public Policy. She has lived and studied in Siena, Italy; Brno, Czech Republic; and, Seville, Spain, and has recently been hand selected to go to Tokyo, Japan for a competitive urban design seminar with Masters of Planning students from Germany, China and Japan at the University of Tsukuba. In April 2019, Lubna was selected to be a Daughter of the Vote and join 337 other womxn in Ottawa for a historic seating in the Parliament of Canada, representing the riding of Ajax for The Honourable Mark Holland. Prior to this, Lubna placed 1st in the "UTSC: 50 Years Later" Case Competition for her redesign of the proposed University of Toronto Scarborough Campus Master Plan. Currently, as a Parks Planning Intern with The Town of Whitby, and as a Research Fellow with the School of Cities, Lubna continues to feel the responsibility that each city-builder has to be hyperaware of the role that race, status, and income plays in their decision-making process.


Lamia Aganagic 
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.

Aysha Afzal 
Aysha is pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology and Bio-Medical Communications at the University of Toronto, Mississauga. She is passionate about tackling issues humans face in their day to day lives and working towards improving the lives of patients who are terminally ill at hospitals by practicing concepts of whole-person care. Currently, she is part of a fellowship in which initiatives are taken to tackle intergenerational prejudice within communities. Moving forward, she hopes to get involved in urban innovation that proves to be sustainable and provides equal opportunity for all individuals.

Rebecca Beaulne-Stuebing 
Rebecca (Naawakwegiizhigookwe) is a Metis woman of the eagle clan. She is First Degree Midewiwin and a member of the Three Fires Midewiwin lodge. Rebecca is a student in the Social Justice Education PhD program at OISE, as well as the collaborative specialization in Indigenous Health through the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. 

Allison Bennett
Allison is a graduate student in the Civil and Mineral Engineering Department. She is presently working towards her Masters in Cities and Engineering Management, after spending the last few years personally invested in bringing mass transit to our growing City; through her work as a Geostructural Engineer and Project Manager on the Eglinton Light Rail Transit Project. She is currently researching ways in which we can better understand the materials that currently exist in Toronto's 400,000+ building stock, with hopes that we can proactively design for improved material re-use at the end of each buildings' life. 

Menilek Beyene
Menilek is a recent graduate with a MSc of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Through his unique lived experience as a person of colour residing in Scarborough, he possesses an invested interest in improving our urban environment and reconnecting diverse groups with nature. His research involves understanding how the human built environment effects the health and survival of urban forests. His aim is to improve our communities through the development of evidence-based environmental planning and management through the utilization of methodical research practices.

Maria Rita Gonzaga
Maria is currently a master's student on Education. Besides loving to teach languages, she is also passionate about sustainability and is working towards a zero-waste lifestyle. Her objective is to spread the awareness about sustainability through the use of social media. Her ultimate goal is to teach her future students the importance of protecting the environment and how to live the urban life through ecological means.

Christopher Gurz
Chris is a fourth-year Civil Engineering student with a passion for sustainability. He is currently working on PEY at the City of Toronto's Pedestrian Projects Unit. His daily work involves making design changes to Toronto's roads to reduce pedestrian injuries and fatalities. Chris was born and raised in Toronto, and cares deeply about the future of this city. His main academic interests are sustainable urban infrastructure, equitable transportation systems and livable cities.  

Laura Minet, MSc
Laura is a PhD Candidate in Transportation and Environmental Engineering. Passionate by the issues related to the environment, Laura is particularly excited by the topic of air quality and especially the potential adverse health effects of exposure to air pollution, and is currently investigating the impacts of trucks and electric vehicles on the air quality of Toronto. Laura was recently featured in “Something in the Air”, an episode from the documentary series The Nature of Things tackling the issue of urban air pollution and health.

Rushay Naik
Rushay is an undergraduate student pursuing a double-majoring in Human Biology – Global Health and Peace, Conflict & Justice at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy. Through interests in politics, healthcare, and technology, Rushay is leading research projects centred on addressing global challenges. As a project researcher with the Munk School’s Reach Project on inclusive development, Rushay is investigating a World Bank solar electrification project for rural nomadic herders in Mongolia. He is a School of Cities Fellow 2019, a 2018-2019 International Fellow of the Center for the Study of the Presidency & the Congress in Washington, D.C., focusing on legislative pathways to American universal healthcare.

Drishya Nair

Drishya Nair 
Drishya is a first-year student at University of Toronto's Master of Engineering in Cities Engineering and Management. She finished her undergraduate studies in Civil Engineering from Gujarat Technological University. Her final-year project on a proposed skyway in a congested central area of Ahmedabad was awarded one of the best projects of the year in 2017-18. She also worked as a research associate, in two key projects at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. Drishya's area of primary interest in the CEM program is a mix of urban policy and resilient cities, and she is keen on exploring how can we leverage inclusivity to make our cities more appealing, more livable.

Alexandra Ntoukas
Alexandra is a second-year Master of Landscape Architecture student at Daniel’s Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design. She holds an Honors Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto, with a double-major in Psychology and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. In her graduate studies, Alexandra is focused on how critical understandings of ecology can contribute to more sustainable and livable cities.

Jennifer Sparks 
Jennifer is a PhD candidate in the Department of Leadership, Higher & Adult Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto. Her dissertation is focused on understanding family (parent) involvement in relation to student success in education. She is currently leading a study involving prospective and enrolled postsecondary students, parents of students and education professionals. One of the goals of the study is to collect data to describe family involvement behaviours and patterns in urban education settings versus rural. Her current study is an extension of the research and community outreach she began last year in association with the Toronto District School Board to encourage first-generation students to apply to and succeed in post-secondary education in Ontario. Jennifer's work was funded by the Ontario Ministry of Education’s Parents Reaching Out regional grant program.

Jessika Tremblay 
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.

Hai Lin Wang
Hai Lin (Helen) is a fresh graduate of U of T, having just completed her Hon. Bachelor of Science in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation. She currently interns at Nature Conservancy of Canada. As what we wear is such a big part of our daily lives, she believes that by changing our perception of "old clothes", we can become much more eco-friendly as a city. 

Julie Wang
Having lived in both Taipei and Toronto, Julie’s diverse background sparks new insights towards urban research and education. She is a MSc student in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Fascinated by smart green infrastructures, she seeks to improve the ecosystem services provided by green roofs. She brings her unique ecological perspective to urban planning by allowing native species to invade their natural habitat that have undergone anthropogenic changes.

Ifrah Yousuf 
Ifrah is a first-year Master of Information student concentrating in User Experience Design. With a fundamental belief in the power of inclusion and a passion for youth advocacy, she has been involved in many initiatives to improve her community. Ifrah’s academic interests include inclusive design and accessibility, and as a black woman navigating the tech industry, she is passionate about diversity and inclusion in technology.        

Entisar YusufEntisar Yusuf
Entisar is a first-year Master student at OISE, University of Toronto. She is completing her Master in Educational Leadership and Policy with specialization in Comparative, International and Development Education. Professionally, she taught English, Math and Science overseas for eight years. In addition to her role as Grade 3 Teacher, she became Co-Team Lead for a team of eight teachers. She demonstrated effective management skills when overseeing, mentoring and evaluating teachers. Along with organizing and delivering regular team meetings, she guided teachers to achieve best practice and was the main point of contact between teachers and senior administrators.