Students, faculty, staff and alumni recognized in CBC Manitoba’s Future 40
The CBC Manitoba’s Future 40 focuses on some of the province’s brightest young minds and significant change-makers working to make Manitoba better. U of M students, alumni and staff made the cut.
CBC received more than 170 nominations in the 2017 edition, and a panel of judges selected 40 finalists.
The finalists were announced online in rounds of 10 each day between Monday and Thursday on CBC Manitoba’s website.
Individuals recognized from the U of M include the following (biographical details found on CBC’s site):
Student Justin Lin, 17
Lin has been doing research on Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, for the past two years. He helped design techniques for targeting the misfolding of proteins linked to ALS, while at the same time founding his high school’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) club.
Lin placed second at the national Sanofi Biogenius Canada (SBC) competition and won gold and a Youth Can Innovate Award at the Canada-Wide Science Fair (CWSF).
He’s also a recipient of the Leaders of Tomorrow Entrance Scholarship offered by the University of Manitoba, one of only six students to earn the honour annually.
Lin’s first year at the University of Manitoba just got underway, although he is mostly enrolled in second-year science classes because he was able to claim some advanced placement credits.
Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences Associate Professor Robert Duncan, 38
Robert is an associate professor and plant breeder in the department of plant science at the University of Manitoba. Rob completed his PhD at the University of California and then moved to Texas A&M University where he was the State Wheat and Oilseed Specialist. In 2012, Rob returned home to lead the Brassica Breeding program.
He has since then released/co-released eight cultivars of wheat, oat, common bean and high erucic acid rapeseed, which are grown by farmers across the U.S. and western Canada. Rob was the first Canadian to be recognized with the Early Career Scientist Award by the National Association of Plant Breeders and won multiple teaching awards, including “Professor of the Year” in the faculty of agricultural and food sciences.
Alumna Alexi Kanu [B.Sc. (Hons)/2003; Ph.D./2010], 37
Dr. Alexis Kanu is an experienced non-profit leader and change-maker, passionate about building unlikely connections to achieve uncommon impact in Manitoba’s water sector.
As Executive Director of the Lake Winnipeg Foundation, Alexis transformed a volunteer-run, cottager-focused organization into a nationally-recognized non-profit that links academic expertise with active citizenship to develop innovative solutions. She continually strengthens relationships between individuals and institutions to make Manitoba’s future brighter and better.”
Alumnus Corey Mohr [B.R.M.C.D./2005], 38
Corey is working to help change the lives of the poorest residents of Winnipeg. He works one-on-one with residents to help solve complex issues, while also creating a resource centre that brings in people to provide services such as employment counselling, health care and addiction counselling. Corey is a founder and current board member for the Health Care Co-op Federation of Canada and is also on the Manitoba Cooperative Association’s Board.
Corey also developed the youth programming at Gilbert Park Going Places, which has helped hundreds of youth in the area gain access to a wide variety of programs ranging from beading, peer mentoring, and drop-in counselling. In 2014 and 2015, Corey coordinated a community pow wow that had over 850 participants. Youth from Gilbert Park Going Places designed and created their traditional dresses to use in the ceremony.
Alumnus [B.Sc. (Hons)/2017] and grad student Taylor Morriseau 23
Taylor Morriseau has a Double Honours degree in Microbiology and Genetics, is now completing her Masters in Pharmaceutical and Therapeutics, and is researching Type 2 Diabetes in Oji-Cree youth. She’s worked with NSERC’s Create H20 program for First Nations water and sanitation. She is a role model, not only because she’s my mentor, but her love of science has inspired myself and others to consider a career in science.
Taylor’s received an Indigenous Student Award of Excellence from the University of Manitoba, is a Rhode’s Scholar finalist and earned a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) undergrad research award. Her community work includes mentoring for both Children Rising Mentorship and Indigenous Neechiwaken Peer Mentor Program, a leader for Let’s Talk Science, and a member of the Indigenous Circle of Empowerment.
Rady Faculty of Health Sciences Assistant Professor Demitre Serletis, 38
Dr. Serletis is the director of epilepsy surgery for the new pediatric epilepsy and pediatric neurosurgery program at the Children’s Hospital in Winnipeg.
Demitre has brought comprehensive epilepsy services to Manitoba, including the development of a brand new epilepsy monitoring unit for children, and has advanced innovative surgical treatments for epilepsy in the province. As a result, pediatric patients and their families no longer need to wait for lengthy and costly out-of-province referrals for their epilepsy care.
Rady Faculty of Health Sciences Assistant Professor Navdeep Tangri, 37
Navdeep is a rising star internationally in the science of disease risk prediction. Using mathematical modelling of large amounts of population health data, he discovered the key indicators leading to kidney failure and created the Kidney Failure Risk Equation (KFRE).
In many jurisdictions the KFRE is now a requirement for medical insurance reimbursement. In Manitoba, which has the highest kidney failure rates in Canada, the KFRE is being used to screen and treat residents in remote and northern communities where there is elevated incidence of diabetes, hypertension and kidney disease.
Dr. Tangri is a prolific researcher and one of only two Manitobans granted a multi-year Foundation Grant from the Canadian Institute of Health Research in 2017. Recently he was approached by Mayo Clinic for his risk prediction expertise.
Alumna Jennifer Storm [B.A./2009], 30
Jennifer Storm is an award-winning writer, editor, and visual artist who has influenced a generation of young Indigenous women. She wrote her first novel, Deadly Loyalties, at the age of 14, and released the graphic novel Fire Starters in 2017. She is Manitoba’s leading Indigenous female graphic novelist.
Jennifer has worked in education for over a decade, recruiting Indigenous students to the University of Manitoba and doctors to work with northern Indigenous communities. She received an Aboriginal Circle of Educators award in 2014. A tireless volunteer, she mentors and supports young writers and particularly young Indigenous women in the arts. She’s a true role model and leader in our community.
Student James Lavallee, 20
James Lavallee is a proud Métis, elite sprint kayaker and science student at the University of Manitoba.
James competes for the Junior National Kayak Team and has been named to the RBC Olympian team after a strong performance at the 2017 Canada Summer Games this past summer.
James has recently been awarded the Tom Longboat Award as the top male Indigenous athlete in Canada.
Student Aly Raposo, 23
Aly was presented a YMCA-YWCA Young Women of Distinction award for 2017.
The 23-year-old is finishing her bachelor’s degree at the University of Manitoba. She works tirelessly to raise awareness about, and to destigmatize, mental illness, including holding the relevant authorities accountable for inadequate levels of services and suggesting priorities for improving provisions for mental health.
She set up the U of M Active Living Centre gym initiative, working with a diverse group of students to successfully extend gym hours to accommodate women, transgender and non-binary folks.
Aly founded the very first U of M Women’s and Gender Studies Student Association. She also co-organized Love Shouldn’t Hurt: Breaking the Silence on Domestic Violence, a day-long series of events at the U of M to raise awareness about domestic violence.
Alumnus Andrew Kaplan [B.Ed./2006; M.Ed./2014], 37
Andrew has been shaping the lives of students in many different ways throughout his career. Mr. Kaplan’s energy and passion act to inspire and educate his students both in the classroom and in the variety of programs he supports. He helped start his school’s first gay-straight alliance group, which won the Sybil Shack Human Rights Youth Award.
Andrew is also the vice-president of the Manitoba Speech and Debate Association and helps to foster and support a program that instills the values of critical thinking, understanding of political landscapes, thoughtful listening and critical response.
Alumnus Jonathan Foord [B.Sc.(C.E.)/2008; M.Sc./2011], 33
Jonathan has worked to design and implement Winnipeg’s first Transportation Management Centre, rapidly introducing unprecedented citywide tools and unprecedented capabilities.
Driven by the desire to improve peoples’ lives, his vision is much larger and extends to improved planning, better and faster emergency response to save lives, and much more. His revolutionary and visionary work is attracting international attention and he was recently invited to speak at the Waze Global Summit, livestreamed from the Google offices in New York City.
Cities around the world are now looking to Winnipeg and seeking insight from Jonathan on how they too can start to realize rapid transformation of their transportation systems. He is redefining transportation on a global stage, and doing it from Winnipeg.
Alumna and Rady Faculty of Health Sciences Assistant Professor Deborah McPhail [B.A./2001], 37
Dr. Deborah McPhail is a University of Manitoba scholar dedicated to alleviating health inequalities, in particular those faced by people labelled obese and in LGBTTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, two-spirit, queer) communities.
Deborah has extended the College of Medicine’s LGBTTQ health curriculum by developing a number of innovative sessions for medical students in order to better serve the traditionally underserved LGBTTQ community.
In order to devise and deliver new LGBTTQ curriculum, Deborah has drawn on the talent, experience and resources within the community by forming an LGBTTQ advisory panel comprised of community experts. Deborah has also begun the process of creating safe space on campus for LGBTTQ-identified students, thus increasing access to Medicine for LGBTTQ people wishing to pursue medical education.
NCTR Director Ry Moran, 38
Ry Moran is one of Canada’s leading voices in the conversations of Truth and Reconciliation. As the first director of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba, it has been Ry’s job to guide the creation of an enduring national treasure – a dynamic Indigenous institution with mandated responsibilities in archives, research, education and community engagement.
Ry came to the centre directly from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada as the director of statement gathering. At the TRC, he facilitated the gathering of 7,000 video/audio-recorded statements from former residential school students and others affected by the system. He was also responsible for gathering the documented history of the schools from more than 20 government departments and 100 church archives. He sits on multiple boards and advisory committees, including the Winnipeg Mayor’s Indigenous Advisory Circle and the board of Canada’s History Society.
Alumna [B.Sc.(Hons)/2014] and grad student Deirdre Khan, 27
Deirdre Khan uses her passion for science and sport to inspire and encourage the next generation of women in our province.
A PhD student in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Manitoba, Deirdre is strengthening global food security through advances in genomics (the complete set of genetic material within an organism) technologies. Her work holds significant promise in promoting plant and food production, and maintaining Manitoba’s position as an international innovator in agricultural biotechnology.
Deirdre has trained and inspired other young female students interested in becoming tomorrow’s scientists to achieve great things. Deirdre was awarded a prestigious Vanier Canada graduate scholarship for her leadership in the community — leadership that extends to the court where she coaches girls volleyball.
Rady Faculty of Health Sciences Assistant Professor Ji Hyun Ko, 36
Dr. Ji Hyun Ko leads an interdisciplinary research team studying neurological and psychiatric disorders, with an interest in improving how health-care services are delivered to patients with Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and post-traumatic stress disorder.
His research focuses on developing quantifiable imaging-based biomarkers and novel therapies using non-invasive brain stimulation techniques.
He has received several research grants totalling more than $1.1 million, and has published 35 peer-reviewed research papers (he was lead author on 17 of them), three review papers and one book chapter. He recently received an Rh Institute Foundation Emerging Researcher Award — one of only seven University of Manitoba researchers to earn the distinction.
Alumnus Frances Koncan [B.A./2010], 31
Frances is an Indigenous writer and director from Couchiching First Nation currently residing in Winnipeg.
She was the recipient of the Winnipeg Arts Council’s 2017 RBC On the Rise Award and the REVEAL Indigenous Arts Award for her work as a theatre creator. Her play zahgidiwin/love won the 2016 Harry Rintoul Award for Best New Play. She was shortlisted for the Tarragon Emerging Playwrights Award and for the 2015 Tom Hendry Award for Best New Comedy for her play, The Dance-off of Conscious Uncoupling.
She has presented work in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and New York, and her writing has been published in Red Rising, Intermission, and Canadian Theatre Review. As a champion for equity and diversity in the arts, and a creative focus on the reconciliation and reimagining of the future of Indigenous and settler culture, her interdisciplinary work endeavours to pioneer new visions and forms about relevant contemporary issues that matter to our province’s youth, and to the current cultural climate of Manitoba.
Instructor Danielle Pahud, 32
Danielle Pahud is an instructor in physics and astronomy at the University of Manitoba and director of the university’s Lockhart Planetarium.
She has created innovative activities that reacquaint Manitobans with the night sky. She runs monthly astronomy open houses and special events, including Poetry in the Planetarium and Ancient Skies, which pair a retelling of Greek myths with the changes in the constellations.
No planetarium was needed when she brought science to Nuit Blanche, where she helped participants download and use a star-finder app for their phones so they could follow along while listening to star-themed stories.
At Science Rendezvous, a national science open house, you could find her providing an opportunity to view the sun through a solar telescope and explaining solar physics. An active researcher herself, she is also completing her doctoral thesis on aspects of the solar wind at Boston University.
Service-Learning Coordinator Anny Chen, 32
Anny is a gifted facilitator, swing dancer, program co-ordinator and community educator. She brings people together and makes things work. Anny is a key part of 13 Fires Racial Inclusion Conversation Series, creating spaces for communities to share responses to racism in Winnipeg.
Working with Careers that Fight Climate Change Network, Anny connects diverse youth from inner-city Winnipeg schools with university student mentors, elders and leaders in renewable energy and food security to learn skills to build social and ecological interdependence.
A member of the Immigration Partnership Winnipeg, Anny brings her commitments to the work of helping newcomers situate themselves in ways that honour the territories of the Anishinabe, Cree and other Indigenous peoples. As a second-generation Canadian working closely with Indigenous communities, Anny demonstrates the many possibilities for creating beautiful and healthy communities together.
Instructor Aandeg Muldrew, 19
Aandeg, in his third year of linguistics at the University of Winnipeg with a grade point average of 4.15, is the youngest sessional instructor at the University of Manitoba, where he teaches Introductory Ojibwe.
At 10, his grandmother and Ojibwe language specialist, Pat Ningewance, started apprenticing him as a language teacher when she took him to her language classes and revitalization camps.
He is one of a select group of students chosen to attend the “Ojibwemotaadidaa Omaa Gidakiiminaang” in Fond du Lac, Minn., where he has enhanced his language skills in its immersion environment.
Aandeg worked at the 7 Oaks School Division month-long language camp, teaching young students in a land-based, cultural environment. In this era of Reconciliation, Canadians are recognizing the loss of Indigenous languages and culture, and how Ojibwe language revitalization can help to restore pride and well-being. Aandeg is committed to giving back to his community by sharing his academic knowledge of linguistics and his practical skills of the Anishinaabe language.
Alumnus Gerrit Theule [J.D./2015], 37
Gerrit is at the forefront of the access to justice movement in Manitoba, in addition to being a fierce local activist, frequent volunteer and a renowned classical singer.
After finishing law school, he started Wolseley Law LLP as a place that does law differently. In addition to providing traditional legal services, Gerrit has created a firm that offers multiple solutions to the problem of the lack of legal assistance for those who can’t afford traditional representation, but who don’t qualify for legal aid.