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Semester in Dialogue 2016 brochure

Meet the Current Cohort

Ida Dutt

Ida had attended two previous universities in the lower mainland before finding her place at Simon Fraser University’s Faculty of Health Sciences. With a lifelong passion for teaching and medicine guiding her, Ida hopes to obtain a master’s degree in Public Health. Ida is a well-spoken and curious woman with a quiet confidence and effervescent personality. She loves to travel and experience other cultures. The youngest of four in a close-knit family, Ida received a final push to enroll in the Semester in Dialogue from her sister and best friend. Through the Semester in Dialogue, Ida hopes acquire and refine her skills in facilitation, communication and dialogue as well as gain a deeper understanding of the complex experiences and narratives that exist around health and wellness that she can take with her into her future career.

Sydney Evans

As a Health Sciences student completing her Bachelor of Arts, Sydney is a prime example of how personal experiences shape aspirations. Through what she had experienced in her personal life, she was able to discover her passion for the Health Sciences to ensure that hospital patients perceive themselves as worthy of treatments and do not suffer dismissal. As a compassionate and motivated student, Sydney hopes to pursue a career in hospital administration or public policy to create hospital environments in which patients are viewed more than just their symptoms. She is delighted to be participating in Semester in Dialogue to be able to further explore her education and take the next steps to act on issues rather just discussing them. Her motivation just doesn’t reflect in her academics but had been expressed in her ambition at an early age as she attempted to attain her diving license at 10 years old! 

Alice Frances

Before entering the world of academics, Alice was the successful owner of a medical clinic in Nelson, BC. Year after year Alice succeeded in owning and managing the clinic, however, after the sudden passing of her sister at a young age, Alice began to realize how short life was and the potential each person has to make an impact in the world around them. She realized that there was so much more that she could be contributing to her community, and it was at that time she made the decision to leave everything behind and pursue education in her field of interest, medical anthropology. After completing several years of her degree in Anthropology, Alice felt there needed to be more to a degree than just absorbing information from a professor in a room full of students. It was at that point she came across the Spring Semester in Dialogue on the topic of health and wellness. Alice realizes that her degree is only part of her journey, not the end goal. By completing this Semester in Dialogue, Alice hopes to make new connections and use these opportunities to grow into her full potential to impact the community around her.  

Felipe Gallego

As a fourth year Health Science Major at Simon Fraser University, Felipe is passionate about public health policy. He hopes to study public health in graduate school, and subsequently attend medical school.  Felipe’s ultimate goal is to be able to effect change in health policy. Felipe is currently an active member of SFU’s UNICEF and First Responder clubs, and volunteers for St John’s Ambulance. In his spare time, Felipe enjoys playing “beer league” soccer, watching TV, hanging out with friends, and stargazing. Felipe is looking forward to working with community partners and making a tangible difference in the city during Semester in Dialogue. 

Rielle Harding

With her BA in Health Sciences almost finished, Rielle decided to seek out a new challenge. Looking to step out of her comfort zone, Rielle enrolled in Semester in Dialogue to explore her passion for reforming health care and its delivery. She hopes to create a better patient experience in a medical system with which she is extremely frustrated. With the lessons she’s learned from her class work, as well as knowledge from the lived experiences of her friends and family, Rielle hopes to make a difference. When she’s not hard at work in class, Rielle can be found coaching children’s soccer, hiking, or spending time with her family and two dogs.  

Ana Hettiarachchi

Ana is first generation Canadian so she travels back and forth to Sri Lanka frequently to visit her extended family. With lots of stops in between, Ana fell in love with travelling and hopes to see more of the world! Ana has a passion for improving community health and is enrolled in Health Sciences at SFU.   She has her sights set on getting a Master’s in Public Health and becoming a doctor so she can use her knowledge to improve the lives of many who live in communities like the Downtown Eastside. She is very excited to be a part of the Semester in Dialogue so she can apply her knowledge and passion to real world situations and have a chance to make a difference in the community.  Ana loves to dance, play piano and spend time with her dog.

Andrés Ibarra Bores

Andrés was born in Mexico City in 1996.  His mom is a photographer and his dad is a chemist.  Andres loves to play various sports including soccer and volleyball.  He also loves to swim, play video games and snowboard, though he admits snowboarding is new for him and he is not yet good at it.  Although Andres was not a very good student before he entered university, he is now an avid reader of all kinds of books.  He fell in love with Vancouver when he came here to study for a year while in high school so he came here for his university degree.  Andres is majoring in political science with a minor in communications.

Molly Johnston

Molly is a 26 year old Communications major. She lived in Australia for two years where she worked as a pedi-cab driver for 8 months. Molly is a naturally talented editor who looks forward to growing her own writing abilities as well. She appreciates creative ways of learning, and is excited to be in an environment that supports different education styles. Molly is also looking forward to listening to different perspectives and learning from students in other major’s like health sciences.  Molly is curious about the social determinants of health and how they contribute to our health and wellness.

Akira Kojima

Akira is a fourth year Health Sciences student at Simon Fraser University. She hopes to make a contribution toward policy change, and work directly with underrepresented populations facing health inequities. Akira is passionate about maternal health and child development. She hopes to work in the Canadian healthcare system. Akira is excited to be participating in dialogues with professionals and learn about how she can apply her knowledge in real-life situations. In collaboration with colleagues and professors from diverse educational backgrounds, Akira hopes to become a more engaged member of the community. Although she claims to have a poor sense of direction, Akira enjoys exploring Vancouver and discovering new coffee shops.  

Karin Mistlberger

Karin is a fourth year Psychology major studying at Simon Fraser University. Her hobbies include reading, writing and watching TV shows. Karin studied the International Baccalaureate program in high school, speaks French, studied abroad at the University of Sussex, and has travelled to cool places like Tahiti. Karin is considering applying to Law school, but is open to any opportunities presented from this semester. She works as a lifeguard during her off-time in the Township of Langley and the city of Surrey. If you’d like to find Karin outside of class, she can be found at the stables with her horses or protecting and saving lives at the pool.

Ann Ness

Since adolescence, Ann has battled leukemia several times. Despite this, she graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Health Sciences at SFU in 2012. After university, Ann travelled to Australia where she got to meet many people from around the world and had the time of her life. In 2016, Ann was accepted into graduate school to pursue studies in occupational therapy, however, her leukemia returned and she had to take time off from school for more treatment. Now that she is healthy again, Ann has joined the Semester in Dialogue program to broaden her perspectives on all types of different health issues. She loves to go to the movies, play board games, go camping, and hang out with friends and family. Ann is excited to apply what she learns in school and hopes for the opportunity to actualize it in the real world to make a positive change. 

Janine Pochurko

Janine is a student in the faculty of Health Sciences who is passionate about exploring the social aspects of health. Having just returned from taking a semester off, during which she travelled to Australia to live in Sydney and work as a support worker, Janine is excited for a change of pace this semester. Growing up she was fortunate to travel with her family to Europe, as well as throughout the states, and during her most recent trip, was able to visit New Zealand. During her travels she found that it was interacting with the locals as well as fellow travelers that helped to deepen her understanding of others and her surroundings. Because of this, Janine is most looking forward to connecting with her cohort and having the many different perspectives help to further her own understanding of the complexities of health and wellness. In the future she hopes to continue her travels, and dreams of adventuring on roads less travelled such as to Georgia or Uzbekistan. 

Jocelle Refol

Jocelle’s passion and kindness is clear to anyone that speaks with her, no matter how brief the conversation.  She says it was by fluke that she ended up pursuing a Health Science degree, but it has turned out to be the right fit. Jocelle is a member of the SFU hip-hop club and uses it as an outlet when school can become overwhelming. Her creativity is something she wants to put more focus on in the near future, making sure that school doesn't always take priority. She wants to continue to have strong ties to those creative aspects in her life going forward. Her compassion shines through when she talks about her future plans and she wants to potentially work for a non-profit to aid those who are most vulnerable, such as children in war-torn nations.

Zoë Saccio

Zoë is a fourth-year Gender and Sexuality Studies major at Simon Fraser University. She enjoys a healthy and active lifestyle as a high-performance athlete. In her free time, Zoë loves to telemark ski and ride her bike. Holding the designation as the fastest woman in British Columbia on bike for 200m, she shares her passion with others as a coach for track cycling. Zoë is a very passionate individual who is excited to partake in the Semester in Dialogue with professionals who can provide different perspectives on health and wellness. Her ambitious ideas and keen outlook will be well met with the rest of the cohort as she is excited to work on meaningful projects that will benefit the community.

Nicholas Shum

Passionate about wellness, Nick not only leads a healthy lifestyle himself, but works actively to encourage those around him to pursue their own best health. While seeking a degree in Health Sciences, Nick puts his first aid certification to good use as lifeguard and swim instructor for the City of Vancouver, and in his volunteer work for the local blood bank. He loves swimming, hiking, traveling, and living a caffeine free-life. Nick shares a birthday with Walt Disney, and lives by the Disney quote, “Don’t be sad because it is over, be happy because it happened.” The quote is particularly meaningful to Nick because he firmly believes in happiness as a powerful and highly contagious emotion.

Lily Zhao

Lily is joining the Semester in Dialogue: Complexities of Health and Wellness in her last semester of her Health Science degree. She is not shy to go out of her comfort zone and while taking a break from her studies at SFU, she was able to pave a career in real estate investment. She has a desire to use this background to help empower women to become smart about their finances and help them reach financial security. Lily returned school with the desire to learn how to be a facilitator in the health education environment. The opportunity to learn how to tell stories with impact and develop her role as a supportive team player are key motivators for why she chose to do the program.  From her own experiences of caring for family members with diabetes, she appreciates the complexities of health and hopes to learn about strategies that support people living with the disease.

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Semester in Dialogue 2016 brochure