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

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. 

Tyne Johnson-Dhillon, Communications Specialist

Tyne Johnson-Dhillon is the Communications Specialist at CERi. She joined the CERi team shortly after completing her Undergraduate degree through SFU's School of Communication. Her interest in community engaged research blossomed from her time spent as a mental health activist and evolved throughout her academic career, coupled with an exploration of queer and feminist theory. During her academic career, her research reflected on how gendered labour operates through digital, creative spaces. This is an area she hopes to research further in the future.

Janani Ravikularam, Program Coordinator

Janani Ravikularam is a racialized immigrant-settler on the stolen homelands of xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Peoples. She is a recent SFU alumna with a BA in health sciences and minor in social justice. She brings experience in community-based research, analysis and youth-led social justice education and facilitation. Janani is interested in migrant and racial justice and dismantling all oppressive systems and patterns in ways that are rooted in care.

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.

Jackie Wong, Community Strategic Initiatives Associate

Jackie Wong comes to CERi through years of community engagement work as a writer, editor, and facilitator in Vancouver's publishing and non-profit communities. Her writing on drug policy, housing justice, and racial equity issues has been published locally and across North America. Prior to her current role at CERi, Jackie was the program and communications director at hua foundation, a youth empowerment non-profit working on racial equity and civic engagement issues. She currently teaches in the SFU Semester in Dialogue program and is a Dialogue Associate with SFU's Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue. 

Patti Fraser, Research Associate

Patti Fraser is an artist with an extensive community engaged practice that began with the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the late 1980’s. Her work as a community engaged artist/researcher has been recognized in a diversity of communities and fields including the BC Centre for Disease Control Chee Mamuk Indigenous Program, the Canadian Council for Refugees, the Arts Health and Seniors Research Project, the Housing Justice Research Project, and the Canada Council for the Arts. She is a recipient of 2013 Vancouver Mayor’s Art Award for Community Engagement. She was a Research Associate with The Art for Social Change Research Project with Simon Fraser University and the Co-Artistic Director of The Housing Matters Media Project, a youth media project produced in collaboration with youth experiencing aging out of government care. Her research interest addresses connections between community engaged artmaking, creativity, and social justice. Her published work includes peer reviewed online journals, arts-based research for the Arts for Social Change Research Project, documentaries, and performative documentaries for national radio and the stage.

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.

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.

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.