Our team

Am Johal, Co-Director

Am Johal has been Director of SFU's Vancity Office of Community Engagement since December 2010, and is an associate with SFU's Institute for the Humanities and SFU's Centre for Dialogue. He is also a member of the Advisory Committee of SFU's Labour Studies Program. He is the author of Ecological Metapolitics: Badiou and the Anthropocene (Atropos Press, 2015) and co-author with Matt Hern, with contributions from Joe Sacco, of Global Warming and the Sweetness of Life: A Tar Sands Tale (The MIT Press, 2018).

Stuart Poyntz, Co-Director

Stuart R. Poyntz is an Associate Professor in SFU's School of Communication and currently serves as Co-Director of the Young, Creative, Connected research network. His research addresses children’s media cultures, theories of public life and urban youth media production. He has published four books and is currently Principal Investigator of the SSHRC-funded research project, Youthsites: Charting the non-formal arts learning sector in creative lives, and Lead Investigator of the Social Media and News Section of the SSHRC-funded research project, IMPACTS: Collaborations to Address Sexual Violence on Campus. He has published widely in national and international peer-reviewed journals, including Oxford Review of Education, Canadian Journal of Communication, Popular Culture, Journal of Children and Media, Cultural Studies, Journal of Youth Studies, Review of Education, Pedagogy and Cultural Studies, and the Canadian Journal of Education, and in various edited collections.

Joanna Habdank, Program Manager

e joanna_habdank@sfu.ca

Joanna Habdank has worked extensively in areas of community development with a focus on program and policy development for immigrant and refugee populations. She has six years of non-profit management experience preceded by five years working as a journalist. Her work has appeared in the Vancouver Sun and other publications throughout Canada. She has an MSc in Human Rights (LSE) and MA in International Journalism (Cardiff). Her research interests have explored the extent to which legal frameworks can be applicable to the protection of rights for women facing precarious migration situations such as displacement and trafficking. 

Jessie Lee, Communications Specialist


Jessie Lee is the Communication Specialist at CERi. She is a recent SFU graduate with a BA in Interactive Arts and Technology and a minor in Communication. She joins the team with a background in digital marketing, graphic design, and web development. Her interest in digital media has risen in her education and work experiences. She hopes to use creative digital approach to spread awareness and enhance community engagement. 

Tara Mahoney, Research and Engagement Coordinator

Tara Mahoney is the Research and Engagement Coordinator with SFU’s Community Engaged Research Initiative (CERi). She holds a PhD from the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University where her dissertation explored emerging forms of participatory political culture in Canada. In addition to her role at CERi, Tara is an instructor with the Civic Innovation Change Lab at RADIUS SFU, a research fellow in climate change communications at the David Suzuki Foundation and the creative director of Gen Why Media.

Kari Grain, Special Research Associate

Kari Grain is a practitioner-scholar at the intersection of higher education, social justice, and community engagement. She earned her PhD in Education at UBC as a Vanier scholar, where her research focused on local community impacts of international service-learning in Uganda. For the past five years, she has worked as an educational consultant, focusing on experiential education, community-engaged research, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. Her research has been published in the Journal of Experiential Education, the Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, and the Canadian Journal of Studies in Adult Education. She is currently a sessional instructor in UBC’s Faculty of Arts and Faculty of Education and has been collaborating in varying capacities with SFU scholars since 2017's Community2University Expo.

Alicia Massie, Research Assistant

Alicia Massie is a Joseph Armand Bombardier Doctoral Scholar and PhD Candidate at the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University. Beyond her academic work she works as an educator, labour organizer, and community activist. Her activism and academic work focus on the intersections of gender, labour, and race in late capitalism, as well as investigating Canadian petro-capitalism from a socialist feminist perspective.

Joanna Ashworth, Research Associate

Joanna Ashworth researches, teaches and practices methods of democratic engagement including convening mini publics for public policy formation. She is a filmmaker, educational programmer and curriculum designer focusing on dialogic leadership and collaborative governance in the related fields of green infrastructure, energy transitions, climate change mitigation and regenerative agriculture practices. She is a research associate with Participedia.net and past co-chair of the Teaching, Training and Mentoring Committee and Senior Associate with the Wosk Centre for Dialogue where she has led programs and partnerships for more than ten years. Recent publication:

Ashworth, J. (2020). 9 Art-ful Methods of Democratic Participation: Listening, Engagement, and Connection. In L. Levac & S. Wiebe (Ed.), Creating Spaces of Engagement: Policy Justice and the Practical Craft of Deliberative Democracy (pp. 208-225). Toronto: University of Toronto Press. https://doi.org/10.3138/9781487519889-011

Phillies Tanafranca, Research Assistant

Phillies Tanafranca is a Research Assistant with SFU’s Community-Engaged Research Initiative. She joined the team after graduating from SFU with an undergraduate degree from the School of Communication. Phillies spent her time at SFU exploring relationships between youth and topics regarding racialized bodies, sexuality and media influences. She applied these interests through developing and delivering workshops to youth in the community. She comes to CERi with a passion for the community and fostering education through peer-to-peer engage.

Treena Chambers, Research Assistant

Treena Chambers is a Métis scholar who has worked as a bookseller, instructor and researcher. She has worked on the categorization and digitization of archival materials on projects such as The People and The Text and as well she has worked with the Indigenous Voices Awards and the Indigenous Literary Studies Association. She is currently working on her Masters of Public Policy at Simon Fraser University. Her areas of interest include decolonization, social policy and Indigenous governance.

Grey Nguyen, Event Specialist

Grey Nguyen is an Event Specialist at SFU’s Community-Engaged Research Initiative (CERi). As a fourth-year student majoring in Communication and minoring in Business, she joins the team as a co-op student who has adequate experience in event management, including program planning and fundraising. Grey’s interests and concerns mainly lie in the development of youth as social change agents and the influence of media technology on social issues.

Steven Ta, Event Specialist

Steven is one of the co-op Event Specialists at CERi. Steven is an undergraduate student at the School of Communication at SFU. A Vancouver native, he comes to CERi with interest in Community-Engaged Research stemming from issues such as gentrification. Through his studies, he has developed a passion for understanding the ways discourse and media shape public perceptions.