Fall 2018 Cohort

Mohammed Ali

Between juggling his studies in kinesiology and being a personal trainer at SFU Rec, Mohammed (Mo) remains dedicated to maintaining an active involvement with the SFSS at SFU Burnaby. Having just moved from Burnaby to Vancouver, Mo looks forward to being introduced to to the life and culture in local Vancouver communities. He’s looking forward to using the Mobi bike-share or transit system to get to class each day. If he could give anything to the world, Mo would love to create a system that allows people to have more opportunities to connect with others in their day to day lives. Whether it be a simple conversation on the skytrain, or helping a stranger out at the grocery store, Mo wants to give others the ability to meet more people in their communities.

Mo is eagerly looking forward to Dialogue, with the hopes that it will help give direction for his future plans as he figures outs how to merge his interests in kinesiology with his passion for bringing people together in a community.

Sydney Brown

Sydney was ready for a change. After three years of lectures at Simon Fraser University’s Burnaby campus, Sydney jumped at the chance to be immersed in a new city and program. Learning about the federal and provincial governments in her Criminology degree sparked her curiosity in the less commonly taught topic of municipal government. Based on her interest in learning more about the city, Sydney is passionate about allowing the resources available in Vancouver to benefit other places. She would like to see, for example, more safe injection sites in smaller cities in British Columbia. Overall, Sydney looks forward to learning things she hasn’t considered before. 

Cheryl Chang

Cheryl is in her 5th year studying communications & English literature, she loves reading poems and her favourite poet is Oscar Wilde, when asked who she would invite to a dialogue-archive session Oscar Wilde would be on her top picks with Michelle Obama as a runner up. She hopes to see a place where nature and public speech can come together to create a venue for people to express their thoughts in a noticeable location in the City. Cheryl was completing an internship with Business Improvement Association when her manager recommended CityStudio, also her involvement with other community initiatives and city planning encouraged her to join the program. 

Christian Devasagayam

After almost 9 years of student life, Christian is ready to make the most of his time at CityStudio. With a passion for civic initiatives and human geography, he hopes to embrace the opportunities at CityStudio to work with a team and create lasting impact in our community.

Inspired by individuals dedicated to building livable, green city spaces, Christian has a particular interest in how we can work to evolve transit in Vancouver. He would love to take part in crafting a more streamlined approach to transit planning, which he ultimately believes would yield an advanced system for our city.

Hailey Findlay

Hailey Findlay is a Communication Honors major at SFU who is ready to translate her passions into real-world projects. Applying her enthusiasm for sustainability and interconnectedness, she is eager to create tangible work within the city. She is excited to take part in dialogue-archives with professionals who can offer an outsider perspective on urban development. Her ambitious ideas will be well-concentrated through the Semester in Dialogue as she looks forward to adopting them beyond the classroom alongside a cohort of young urbanists.

Kyla Fraser

Kyla Fraser is a SFU student in the Communications Department, focusing on emergency management. This summer she worked for BC Wildfire Service as a fire information officer, exercising her disaster response skills. She finds that often, BC residents have an attitude of “it won’t happen to me”.  She implores everyone to put together a disaster kit in case of an emergency!

Kyla is excited to be with Semester in Dialogue, City Studio, this semester and looks forward to working on a project of this scale.


Meredith Gillespie

Meredith Gillespie is a UBC Geography graduate who is taking time after her degree to find new ways of learning and practical applications of her degree before getting her masters. This program stood out for her because of the small class sizes, which allow her to make good professional and personal relationships. On a professional level, Meredith hopes to gain experience making change in her city that reflect what she has learned in her degree. She is hoping that this experience allows her to gain professional confidence in making decisions and sharing ideas as well as experience working in government.

Meadhbh Grant

Meadhbh Grant is a fourth year student at Simon Fraser University, majoring in History. She is interested in human behaviour and the ability of design to both mimic and influence how we live. Meadhbh is inspired by Naomi Klein’s criticism of corporate globalization and capitalism, finding her ideas both fascinating and pragmatic. She hopes that participating in Semester in Dialogue at CityStudio will provide an opportunity to connect her interests with the real world. Meadhbh is excited to learn more about her place in the world and is ready to embrace any new challenges she may encounter.

Laura Halas

A Communications Major at Simon Fraser University, Laura Halas deeply values the importance of education, and sought to do more in her academic career. Feeling stuck in the structured format of lectures and traditional courses, Laura wanted to both challenge and incorporate everything she had learned so far into some practical, real-world experience – thus her desire to join CityStudio was born.

Inspired by real time language translation devices, Laura envisions a world with open communication, informed citizens, and a transparent media industry that fosters dialogue-archive and debate. Through such environment, Laura believes we could all better understand one another.

Emily Han

Emily Han is a Pennsylvanian transplant who has been living in Vancouver for 5 years. She discovered her interest in city planning after spending a year as a design student. Currently, she is pursuing a Geography degree at University of British Columbia. Her passion for building connections and helping others got her involved with Jumpstart, an orientation program for international students, and Kudoz, a platform to help connect people with disabilities with new experiences. This semester, she is looking to switch things up from a lecture-style classroom to a more experiential program. She hopes to learn more on how she could practically contribute and apply her knowledge in real-life settings. Emily loves how friendly and diverse Vancouver is. She is looking forward to growing her network and exploring the Greater Vancouver area more.

Itse Hesse

Itse moved to Vancouver from Nigeria four years ago. She is completing her degree in Communication at Simon Fraser University and has an interest in sustainability. Now in her last semester, she chose to study Semester in Dialogue with City Studio to take the skills she learns and apply them to her future. When asked what she hopes to learn about herself this semester, Itse says she isn’t too sure, but that sense of the unknown is what makes it exciting because she knows she will walk away with new skills and having learned more about herself. 

Darielle Lim

Darielle is a fifth-year microbiology and biochemistry student at Simon Fraser University. Taking everything that she has learned from her education, she is passionate about bridging the gap between scientific literature and the general public. Specifically, Darielle believes society would greatly benefit if everyone could conveniently access and comprehend the information that science offers.  

Darielle joins semester in dialogue-archive at CityStudio this term because she wants to apply her science background in a practical manner by helping the City of Vancouver become more sustainable by developing new strategies and technology. Collaborating with individuals from various cultural and educational experiences, Darielle hopes to become a leader that inspires and motivates others to become engaged in the community.

Andy Louie

Andy is an aspiring police officer, majoring in Criminology at SFU. He is motivated by his potential to help his community in multi-faceted ways, and hopes to support the city with a rewarding and fulfilling career. Something Andy strives for is to be a consistent leader in difficult situations, and to stretch his skills by doing new things every day.

Andy is joining semester in dialogue-archive at CityStudio because he wants to work with people with diverse backgrounds and interdisciplinary paths. His interest in pushing the boundaries of education makes him want to experience it for himself. Combined with his public-focused initiatives, Andy hopes to leave a lasting impact for a safer and happier community.

Renee McMillen

Renee moved to the West Coast from Southern Ontario and is nearly finished her Bachelors at SFU in Communications and Dialogue, complimenting her previous experience in graphic design. Outside of Vancouver, Renee has a passion for hiking and travelling, and recently returned from a tour of Europe where she explored some of the world’s biggest cities but found solace and comfort in the small towns of Austria that reminded her of home. As a solo traveller, she valued her independence and the ability to work on her own schedule but on returning to school this Fall, she’s looking forward to learning about herself and how she can contribute to Dialogue’s team dynamic.

Cori Baldwin Paquette

Cori moved from Ontario to Vancouver in 2014 to study dance at SFU, but due to a major injury she had to switch her major. She decided to major in Communications where she fell in love with critical theory and learning about the ways in which society functions. She wants to make a change in society and hopes to start at CityStudio. When asked what she hopes to learn about herself, Cori said she is excited to see how her interest will be reflected in her project.

Jasmine Putri

Jasmine is currently a Psychology student at SFU. Having moved from Indonesia to Coquitlam 7 years ago, she is interested in cultural psychology and how it pertains to the decolonization of the field. Jasmine is excited for CityStudio because she is looking for a way to switch things up and make her day to day more exciting. She is also looking forward to building and contributing to communities through dialogue-archive. Outside of school, she enjoys cooking Indonesian food, listening to podcasts, and meeting new people.

Kaylee Royce

Kaylee is a fourth year human geography major at Simon Fraser University with a certificate in Urban Studies. Her focus in urban geography reflects her fascination at how cities both reflect and influence an array of social, economic, political, and environmental affairs. Kaylee would love to have Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian astronaut to walk in space, host a dialogue-archive as she identifies with his perspective on the global community. Hadfield suggests that like an astronaut, people across the planet need to visualize the world as a whole. The problems we face are interconnected, and if we wish to solve them we need to come together.

Julia Scott Lenz

Julia hails from Vancouver island where she brings her small town beginnings to the city of Vancouver. She is an SFU Communications and International Studies student with an interest in urban mobility and a sustainable lifestyle. She has a love for travelling and has just finished a semester abroad in the Netherlands where she spent her weekends exploring Europe, trying new foods and making memories with friends. After seeing the impact and hearing about all the experiences from students from her work study position at Citystudio earlier this year, Julia is excited to join Semester in Dialogue’s 2018 Fall cohort and seeing what the semester holds.

Elliott Shaw

UBC student Elliot Shaw, is currently pursuing a major in human geography with a minor in Urban Studies. Elliott believes that cities truly thrive when the people in them are able to enjoy themselves as well as the spaces around them. The opportunity to participate in semester in Dialogue allows him to challenge himself while exploring ways to create projects aiming at enhancing citizens experiences in the city of Vancouver. Fusing his passion for sustainability, city planning and architecture, Elliott feels strongly about the need to create accessible, well-connected transit in and around Vancouver, a project that is vital for everyone’s enjoyment of a city.