Charlene is a 1.5 generation Canadian, having spent her childhood in Makati and her formative years in Toronto. She earned an Honours BA in International Relations, Political Science, and Sociology from the University of Toronto, where she became interested in critical race and gender studies as well as qualitative research methods.
Charlene has been working in the field of public policy for several years. She has worked in both federal and provincial governments to analyze various policy areas including public health, epidemiology, Indigenous communities and engagement and currently, intergovernmental and international issues in labour. Her dedication towards equitable public policy has grown over time, as she begins to understand the profound consequences of programs and policies for everyone, especially marginalized groups. From this perspective, she is particularly interested in contradictions, intersections between theory and practice, gaps and areas of improvement within policies.
Charlene’s passion for social justice is rooted in and shaped by her experiences of violence, oppression and marginalization, as well as those of her loved ones. Growing up, she struggled with internalized racism and is in the process of forging a path and community for herself as a woman of colour from a working class family. She is a survivor of family violence and is now a volunteer and a Member of the Board of Directors for the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter. In the near future, she hopes to further her education, become more involved in community and grassroots initiatives, and be a mentor to youth from disadvantaged backgrounds. Charlene’s idea of success is to build upon the work and activism of her predecessors that has allowed her to navigate through her life’s challenges so far. Ultimately, her goal is to share her abilities and resources so that others may have a better chance of having a good quality of life.
During her free time, Charlene divides her time between Calgary and Edmonton. She likes to be with her loved ones, binge watch on Netflix (she is currently watching Naruto Shippuden), take care of her cat and her plants, and browse the furniture section of kijiji. Her proudest accomplishment is finally being an aquarist, something she’s always wanted to do. She raises pet shrimp and will gladly give baby shrimp to those who ask.