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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 masters degree in Public Health. Raised in a home that has always attended a Punjabi-speaking church, Ida recently made the switch to an English-speaking, non-denominational congregation where her love of religion and spirituality has been renewed. It is here that she has found support and acceptance through a kind, accepting and encouraging community. Ida is a well-spoken and curious woman with a quiet confidence and effervescent personality. She loves to travel and experience other cultures.

Recently, Ida accompanied her mother to Europe to visit an uncle who was experiencing some health challenges. The trip included some additional travel to several countries which sparked Ida’s goal to travel more. Once back home in Langley, Ida hosted a cousin whom she hopes to visit in Germany in the upcoming year. The youngest of four in a close-knit family, Ida received a final push to enrol 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 hospitals 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! Also, she plans to finally get some reading in this semester, starting off with Anna Karenina.

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 courageous 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 ought to be more to her degree than just absorbing information from a professor in a room full of students. It was at that point that Alice came across the Spring Semester in dialogue for health and wellness complexity. She realized 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 the provided 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 Gallego is passionate about public health policy. He is keen to study public health in graduate school and subsequently attend medical school, maybe for psychiatry.  His ultimate goal is to be able to effectuate 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 as a first responder. 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 under her belt, Rielle decided to seek out another challenge. Looking to step out of her comfort zone, she enrolled in Semester in Dialogue to explore her passion for reforming health care and its delivery, in hopes for a better patient experience for everyone. With the lessons she’s learned from her class work, as well as learning from the lived experiences of her friends and family, Rielle hopes to use her knowledge and experience, old and new, 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 loves to dance, play the piano and be with her dog. She is first generation Canadian which has her travelling back and forth to Sri Lanka a lot to see her family. With lots of stops in between, Ana fell in love with travelling and hopes to see more of world!

After making a change in her studies, Ana realized quickly that she belongs in health sciences. She believes the information learned in a BA in Health Sciences will really allow her to make the difference that she has always wanted to achieve. She has a passion for improving community health with a specific interest on those with a lower socioeconomic status. With a future goal to get a Master’s in Public Health and become a doctor, she hopes to use her knowledge to improve the lives of many who live in communities such as the downtown eastside. She is very excited to be a part of the Semester in Dialogue so she can finally apply her knowledge and passion to real world situations and have a chance to make a difference in the community.

Andrés Ibarra Bores

My name is Andres Ibarra Bores. I was born in Mexico City in 1996. I was raised by my mom that is a photographer and my dad that is a chemist. I was always a terrible student till I came to university. I don’t have any siblings but I still come from a big family. My dad had 12 siblings and my mom had 5, so every Christmas we have a huge family dinner. I love playing soccer, volleyball and swimming. Besides those activities I’m always willing to try new things. 1 year ago, I started practicing snowboarding. I’m not good at snowboarding yet but I will keep trying this season. In my free time, I like meeting with my friends, reading different type of books and I like playing videogames. In 8th grade I studied one year of high school in Vancouver. I loved Vancouver so much that I decide to move here to get my university degree. I have always been interested in history and politics. My current major is politics and my minor is communications. In my life I had some medical problems, that’s what go me interested in the topics of this semester in dialogue.

Molly Johnston

Molly is a 26-year communications major. Molly lived in Australia for two years where she worked as a pedi-cab driver throughout the country for 8 months. Molly’s worst job ever was at a toy store; she has since upgraded to a taco place near her home in Port Moody. Molly loves most animals but if she had to choose a pet it would be a cat or a fish because they are both low commitment. Molly is a naturally talented editor but is willing to become more liberal with her writing. Molly is most looking forward to the “Growing the Story” assignment because she’s interested in using different mediums to convey a story. She appreciates creative ways of learning. Molly is excited to be in an environment that supports this different approach to education. Molly is also looking forward to getting to listen to different perspectives outside her major on health related topics. More specifically, Molly wants to learn more about the social determinants of health and how they contribute to our health and wellness.

Akira Kojima

Akira is a fourth year student at Simon Fraser University, majoring in Health Sciences. She hopes to make a contribution in implementing policy change and work directly with underrepresented populations facing disproportionate health inequities. Akira is passionate about maternity health and child development and hopes to work in the Canadian healthcare system. She is looking forward to participating in dialogues with professionals and learning about how she can practically apply her knowledge in real-life situations. With the collaboration of colleagues and professors of diverse educational backgrounds, she hopes to become a more engaged member of the community. Although she has a poor sense of direction, Akira enjoys exploring Vancouver and discovering new coffee shops. Outside of school, she also enjoys spending time with her friends, reading and trying new dessert recipes.

Karin Mistlberger

Karin is a fourth year Psychology major studying at Simon Fraser University. Her hobbies include reading, writing and watching TV shows. When Karin is not binge watching Grey’s Anatomy and Game of Thrones, you can find her horseback riding. Karin is well travelled and cultured. She studied the International Baccalaureate program in high school, speaks French, studied abroad at the University of Sussex, and travelled to cool places like Tahiti. Despite her international experiences, she still has her prejudices against Apples and Bananas. This is not a problem however since Karin can feed these fruits to her horses instead of eating them herself. Karin doesn’t have a favorite colour, but she is very particular about movies. Karin’s favorite movie is Titanic.

Karin is considering applying to Law school, but is also 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

Ann has an extensive relationship with the complexities of health and wellness. Since adolescence, she has battled leukemia several times. Despite this, Ann 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. This experience sparked a love for travel and in the future, she would love to go to Norway and the Philippines- the homes of her ancestors. In 2016, she 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 with a desire to broaden her perspective 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. She 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. Most importantly, she is looking forward to making lasting friendships.

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 travlellers 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. Janine is excited to take part in the different physical activities planned for throughout this semester, especially the dancing as she is someone who loves to truly have fun. 

Jocelle Refol

Jocelle’s passion and kindness is clear to anyone that speaks with her, no matter how brief the conversation. She describes herself as being invested, her curiosity brings her into learning new things and her investment allows her to continue pursuing them.  She says it was by fluke she is pursuing a Health Science degree but it has turned out to be the right fit. Although an academic, currently in her second year at SFU, Jocelle is quite creative and has a passion for dancing. She 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, she wants to potentially work for a non-profit, aiding those most vulnerable such as children in war torn nations. This also intertwines with her plans to travel the world, she wants to make sure she is impactful on the communities she visits.

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, Nicholas (or 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 degree. She is an arts student in the Health Science program who loves to travel and is always looking for opportunities to expand her world view. She is not shy of going 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 returns to school with the desire to learn how to be a facilitator in the health education environment. The opportunity to learn how to tell impactful stories and develop her role as a supportive team player are key motivators for why she chose to do the program.  She feels the program will give her the chance to develop meaningful relationships with others and will provide her the opportunities to be a more active participant in her education. 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.