Our SYPs

2016 Program Year

Katherine Lemay 

Katherine LemayFinishing her last semester of her undergraduate studies in International Development
and Globalization at the University of Ottawa, Katherine is seeking to carve her path within the   field of Global Health either academically and/or professionally. She realized the need to find her niche within development since her first two humanitarian trips to Tanzania (2012-  2013) and Ghana (2014), as the complexity of development issues were much greater than expected. Having completed the Page Program in the House of Commons in her first year, she had the opportunity to fill the role of Hill office assistant for a Member of Parliament the following year. As a Member’s assistant, she worked for and observed global health leaders, which rekindled her interest and passion of the field. Thus, she minored in health sciences to satisfy her thirst to deepen her understanding of the issues around global health. Through this initial academic experience, she was especially captivated by the issues of mental health, human and organ trafficking, medical tourism and global health systems. Between work and school, Katherine enjoys writing, meditating, volleyball, cooking, hiking, travelling (of course), spending time with family and friends and is an avid runner.

Annalise Mathers
Annalise Mathers is a Masters of Public Health student in the Global Health concentration annalise
at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Ottawa with an Honours BSc in Biomedical Sciences in April 2015, and had the opportunity to travel to Peru and Tanzania for both volunteer and research work. Her Honours thesis project examined the future directions of global health within the scope of the post-2015 development agenda/Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) using key informant interviews with Canadian global health experts. Currently, her work with the University of Ottawa’s Centre for Governance examines natural resource development and climate change outcomes in the context of economic transformation in Africa and the post-2015 development agenda. Her main interests include global health diplomacy and governance, health security, and public health communication and advocacy. She loves tea, yoga, taking any opportunity to travel, and having great conversations with other passionate and ambitious people!

Rebecca Wolff

jungle fever (1)Rebecca is a researcher and an explorer. She recently graduated from the Bachelor of Arts and Science program at the University of Guelph, specializing in Biology and Spanish. For the last 3 years she has been working on a research project related to how climate change effects the health of Shawi and Shipibo Indigenous communities in the Peruvian Amazon. As part of an independent study, she published a paper on Indigenous health knowledge and integrative healthcare systems in Peru. Rebecca was awarded a National Geographic Young Explorer Grant to fund her 4th year thesis project on perceptions and cosmology around water and waterborne illness in the Amazon. This project was awarded the ‘Best Contribution to Global Health’ poster award at the 2015 Canadian Conference on Global Health. Rebecca continues to disseminate the results of her project, while working on how to incorporate Canadian Indigenous healing and learning into Canadian medical school curriculum, as a fellow with the Studio Y program at the MaRS Discovery District in Toronto.

Jana Kobras

Jana_InformalJana Kobras holds a bachelor and masters in International Studies and International Public Health respectively and has a particular interest in Indigenous and rural health issues in Australia. She is currently studying Medicine at the University of Notre Dame, Sydney with a view to completing the NSW Public Health Training Program and specialising as a public health physician. She works for the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and as a research assistant on the Policy Cures G-FINDER Project. She has previously interned at WHO Western Pacific Regional Office and in Nepal. Jana aspires to a future career that balances clinical practice and research interests. She would also like to split her time between Australia and abroad. Jana is participating in MentorNet both to expand her understanding of Global Health issues and also to help define her own future career goals.

Meaghan Hagerty

Meaghan HagertyA volunteer trip to Tanzania in 2009, which focussed on clean water delivery, kick-started Meaghan’s curiosity and interest in globalization, global health, and health equity. A few years later while at the University of Calgary working on her Bachelor of Health Sciences, Meaghan had the opportunity to take part in a teaching and research trip to Gondar, Ethiopia. This project exposed her to a new, invaluable approach to global health as the focus was on local capacity building to improve health at various levels. Parallel to Meaghan’s interest in global health runs her fascination with all aspects of cancer and cancer care. Through various volunteer and academic activities, Meaghan has found a love of program development, survivor support and physical activity promotion, especially in pediatric cancer. Meaghan is currently trying to bring her interests together by pursuing her MSc. in Global Health at McMaster University and concentrating on pediatric cancer care globally. Pulling energy from past experiences and constantly seeking new perspectives, Meaghan is excited to build a career in global health learning from the diverse people and cultures she gets to interact with.

Dilani Logan

My name is Dilani LScreen Shot 2016-01-25 at 3.42.23 PMogan, and I am currently a fifth year student at the University of Western Ontario. I completed a double major in Medical Science, and Spanish Language and Hispanic Cultures in 2015, and am currently completing a minor in Global Development Studies at Huron University College. As a part of my course work, I have been able to pursue community engaged learning opportunities in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala at a private, non-profit school, and in Holguin, Cuba working on at an agricultural and education projects. I have also participated in volunteering with the Canadian Latin American Association (CALA), the Ronald McDonald House, and Alzheimer’s’ Outreach Services. Outside of volunteering, I have also become involved with Partners in Health Canada as the Vice President of Advocacy within my school’s chapter, and a member of the Education Working Group for the national organization. I also have experience as a research intern assisting in separate projects regarding intercultural educational systems, and Alzheimer’s’ Disease and stroke. During my summers, I have had the opportunity to work at the Ontario Disability Support Program as well. I am always eager to expand my knowledge regarding development and global health issues, and am extremely excited to participate in this program this year and learn from my mentor.

Jonathan Whittall
I am a first year medical student at the University of Toronto.  Prior to arriving at the jonathanUniversity of Toronto, I completed a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology at Queen’s.  During my time at Queen’s I volunteered with Queen’s Health Outreach (QHO), a student-run organization which seeks to provide needs-based peer education to students both locally and abroad.  While global health had always interested me, it wasn’t until my involvement with the Kenya project that my passion for global health became fully took off.  As one of six members assigned to the Kenya project, I was tasked with the job of helping to develop a health curriculum for high school students in rural Kenya.  Overseas, we worked with our partner organization Rieko Kenya to coordinate regular visits with 13 schools and to conduct community outreach events.  Our largest event, a board-wide soccer tournament, provided HIV testing and non-judgemental counselling to over 300 youth.  Looking forward, I hope to use my medical degree and the knowledge that I will gain to help continue tackling health problems both here in Canada and internationally.

Lise Hamilton

Version 2I graduated with a Masters of Public Health, specializing in Global Health, from Simon Fraser University in 2015. During my Masters, I completed my practicum in Malaysia with UNHCR’s Health Unit and worked directly with refugees and asylum seekers. My capstone project focused on the relationship between the formal extractive sector in southern Africa and sexual and reproductive health outcomes in surrounding communities. Prior to my Masters, I worked for a year in northern Mozambique under the Aga Khan Foundation Fellowship program. I have also worked in South Africa and Canada with NGOs, government agencies, and universities. I have a BA Honours from Queen’s University in Global Development Studies and Spanish.

Janet Hélène Zanin 

Grad Photo 8Janet Hélène Zanin (https://ca.linkedin.com/in/janethelene)  is a graduate student at McMaster University, studying for a Masters of Science in Global Health, specializing in Global Diseases. Her thesis is titled Gut Feelings: A Thematic Analysis of the Links between Acute Gastrointestinal Illness and Anxiety and Depressive Illness. Janet completed a Bachelor of Science (Honours) from McMaster University in 2014 and has been involved extensively on local initiatives to address mental illness and social determinants of health. In addition, Janet has worked internationally in the non-profit sector with Medical Ministry International Canada and has volunteered as a research liaison for the Canadian Coalition of Global Health Research. Janet hopes to have a career combining clinical work and policy advisement in order to improve individual and population health at multiple levels.

Mathura Mahendren


Mathura Mahendren is a recent graduate of the Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours) program at McMaster University. During her undergraduate studies, Mathura has had the privilege of working for a wide range of institutions including, the Ontario Public Service, Academics Stand Against Poverty, Global Strategy Lab, McMaster Health Forum, and the World Health Organization. Recently selected for Global Affairs Canada’s International Youth Internship Program, Mathura is currently working as a Health Promotion and Education Officer at the Nova Scotia Gambia Association in The Gambia. Most importantly, however, she is excited to be a part of this year’s MentorNet program and looks forward to learning from and being humbled by the cohort’s mentors and SYPs alike.


Amy Lowe

I am originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia. I completed my BSc and DVM in the Maritimes, profile picand was in private practice for 3 years in Ottawa after graduating from veterinary school. My first exposure to global health was as a veterinary student with Veterinarians without Borders, where I volunteered at a sterilization and rabies vaccination clinic for dogs. Vaccinating dogs for rabies is one of the most effective ways of reducing rabies infection in people, and it was this experience that really exposed me to the principle of One Health – that the health of animals, people and the environment are all connected. Since then, I have participated in veterinary clinics within Mexico City, Jamaica, Honduras, and in Northern Labrador. I am currently doing a MSc in Global Health through McMaster University, and am completing second semester at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. I hope to continue working in the field of zoonotic and emerging diseases, and the interactions between humans and animals around the world.

Vivienne Steele

viv lab profileVivienne is completing a MSc in Epidemiology at the University of Guelph. After graduating from McGill University with a BSc in Environmental Sciences, Vivienne was a research assistant for the Indigenous Health Adaptation to Climate Change (IHACC) team focused in rural southwestern Ugandan. Inspired by an environmental health-focused exchange with Canada World Youth/Jeunesse Canada Monde in a rural community in Bénin, West Africa and in Terrebonne, Québec during her undergraduate studies, and her work experience in environmental consulting, Vivienne aims to improve her understanding of environmental health research in a global context through MentorNet. Vivienne’s thesis will focus on access to maternal health care services in rural Uganda, and her participation in MentorNet will be key to broadening her perspectives on global health issues.

Jillian KowalchukJillian Kowalchuk picture

Jillian is a recent graduate from the MSc degree in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Alberta. She carries a wealth of interdisciplinary skills in the creative, business and academic fields. She has been working locally and globally in sexual health education, research, evaluation and coordination for over 5 years. Jillian has diversified her experience by working at different levels and stages in multiple projects. She has worked in the field with high-risk and vulnerable populations, been involved in campaign design, implementation, research, evaluation and report writing. Jillian is able to condense difficult concepts and data sets into easily digestible formats, including creating curriculum for workshops, constructing a comprehensive 30-year HIV/AIDS timeline and creating an inventory of HIV/AIDS resources within B.C. She consults and volunteers on external projects, including research assisting, conducting systematic literature reviews, blogging for the University of London and currently sits on the Board of Directors for Does HIV Look Like Me? International. Jillian currently is completing a research internship investigating the factors influencing the transition of young HIV+ persons from adolescent to adult care facilities at The AIDS Service Organization (TASO) in Uganda.

Kaitlin Patterson

Kaitlin is a student in the joint PhD program in Population Medicine and International development at the University of Guelph. Very broadly she is interested in global health, social determinanKate_picturets of health, health inequities and how these are geographically dispersed. Kaitlin has been a member of several research projects working in Sub-Saharan Africa and spent a year travelling and working in Kenya prior to the start of her Bachelors. Kaitlin values a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach and incorporates both quantitative and qualitative methods into her research. During her masters she developed strong ties with the Batwa communities in Kanungu District (an Indigenous population in South-western Uganda). For her PhD, Kaitlin will focus on maternal and infant health among the Batwa, a key priority identified at the by community members. Most of the research Kaitlin has worked on over the past 5 years has been in collaboration with the Indigenous Health and Adaptation to Climate Change team. Working with researchers in the Arctic, Peru and Uganda has been invaluable. Kaitlin is currently the database manager for all IHACC regions. She is really excited to be a part of MentorNet and connect with professionals and role models working in Global Health. She is especially looking forward to learning, and sharing experiences and perspectives.

Yipeng Ge

Yipeng Ge is a fourth year undergraduate student in the Honours Bachelyipengor of Health Sciences Program at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Yipeng has a strong passion in public health and health policy as a result of past experiences and exposures to global health topics through epidemiological nutrition research (Population Health Research Institute) and involvements with particular interest groups (Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research). During his undergraduate academic career, Yipeng had the opportunity and privilege in exploring global health topics through a local lens gaining a significant interest in the area of indigenous health. Yipeng has a strong desire to contribute and learn in a challenging real-world work environment focused on health systems strengthening and strategies to tackle health inequities. Above all, Yipeng is looking forward to learning, growing, and collaborating with like-minded individuals through the MentorNet program!


Elizabeth Yue

IMG_2473Elizabeth is completing a MSc in Public Health, specializing in Global Health, at the University of Alberta. She also holds a BSc in Biology from the University of British Columbia. During a volunteer trip to Ghana in 2010, she was exposed to the complexities of rural health service delivery and program management. Although already interested in pursuing a career in the health sector, this experience is what sparked her interest in health equity and sustainable health program development. Elizabeth has varied experience working in health, ranging from health promotion, patient quality improvement research, to health economics and policy in the Canadian context. Her thesis research is centered around trust caregivers have in community health workers providing care for children under 5 in rural Uganda. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, exploring the outdoors, traveling, going to live music shows and trying new foods.

Anushka Ataullahjan islamabad pic

Anushka Ataullahjan is a PhD candidate at the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Human Biology and Religion from the University of Toronto, and a Masters in Demography and Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Anushka’s research is multi-disciplinary, drawing on religion, anthropology demography and public health. Her PhD thesis is a critical ethnography in rural Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan and investigates the ideology underlying family-planning decision making. More specifically, it unpacks the influence of values and moral judgments on method choice and the perceived acceptability of controlling ones fertility. She has spent 13 months living in a village in Pakistan conducting her data collection. As an individual of Pakhtun ancestry she is fluent in Pakhto and has been able to access groups that are otherwise off limits. Strong purdah norms, which refers to the seclusion of women, limit the research conducted in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. As a woman, Anushka is able to circumvent these purdah rules and speak to women that are often neglected in the literature.

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