Alumni: Next Up BC 2008-2009

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Meet the Next Up BC group from Year 2 (2008-2009)!


Andrea Curtis

Since riding West from the Prairies in 2005, Andrea has been making waves on the West Coast in Vancouver as a community organizer and event producer. Hailing from a background in art making and arts organizing she has since fueled her passion for culture into a vehicle for social change and environmental stewardship. Andrea is a proud and active Next Up Alumni member. After completing the program in Spring of 2009, she joined the organizing team to assist in seeking out, supporting and unifying young, progressive leaders with the Next Up program. Aside from her work now as Next Up BC Coordinator, Andrea is Co-Director of creative project management company Transformation Projects. Andrea brings her experience in community engagement, creative strategy, leadership and facilitation to Next Up. For her Next Up has become more than a passion and experiment in providing tools and networks to our next leaders — It’s an ever expanding family and an investment in our collective future.


Emily Jubenvill

I am Emily Wren Jubenvill, although I am known to my Grandma as “Picklesnerp.” As an green spaces advocate, permaculturist, knitter, guerrilla gardener, environmental scientist, entrepreneur, runner, veloist, traveler, and lover of marine invertebrates and magnolias I keep my days fairly busy and live through my passions.

I grew up on the North Shore of Vancouver, and Bowen Island. Spending weekends exploring tide-pools and studying biology at the University of Victoria, I had intended to make a career in marine biology. A second-year environmental science class deconstructed the current state of environmental and social issues of North America’s food system, and this sparked a deep interest in sustainable agriculture. Soon after, I made the decision to transfer to Royal Roads University’s environmental science program in order to gain a deeper knowledge of the science behind the planet’s environmental issues with the hope that I could apply this to her new found passion in food systems.

I am currently working with the Edible Garden Project to develop and strengthen a local network of people growing and sharing food, building skills, and increasing access to growing space for marginalized urban communities. I advocate for increasing access to green space and revitalizing our public spaces as Green Spaces Coordinator for the Vancouver Public Space Network. My interest in urban agriculture and access to green spaces also ties into a new interest in the green collar jobs movement sweeping the United States. I am currently convening a Green Collar Jobs Initiative in Vancouver that aspires to have the movement-building power of Green for All, but is currently satisfied catalyzing pilot projects and discussing the next steps for a policy roadmap for British Columbia.

When I’m not working or volunteering, you can find me tending to my vegetable patch, laughing, on a mountain, or by the sea.


James Griffiths

James manages wind energy development projects in his day job at Sea Breeze Power Corp.  These projects have included the Cape Scott (aka Knob Hill) Wind Farm on northern Vancouver Island which is currently moving through the final stages of development and will be the first large scale wind farm in south-western BC.  He is passionate about combining his other passions such as music, sustainability, local food, education, coaching, bicycle activism, sailing, and clean travel.  James currently serves as President on the board of the Open Air Orchestra Society which administers the affairs of the Carnival Band.  The society’s mission is to foster community spirit, empowerment, creativity, and skill through music and performance.  James also contributes to the Jib Set Sailing Club, his favourite civic party, various leadership programs, some cycling activism, and other more ephemeral projects.


Jessica Smith

Jessica is a lifelong Vancouverite, with deep family roots in British Columbia. She has immersed herself in areas of social justice, politics and climate change issues beginning in her early teens. Jessica has volunteered her time with such great organizations as Covenant House, Get Your Vote On, the BC Poverty Reduction Plan and assisting various progressive elected representatives connect with their constituencies. Her current area of focus is building localized, sustainable and inclusive communities. She has a degree in Political Science from SFU and is currently enrolled in the Non-Profit Management program at BCIT, where she is learning fundraising, marketing and leadership skills. In her daily life, she works in Program and Volunteer Coordination and remains connected to Next Up by serving on the Alumni Network. She enjoys traveling, music, lively debate with good friends & wine, yoga and most of all, walking her dog at the beach.


Kaitlyn (Kat) Braybrooke

With a B.A. in Political Science from UBC and an A.A. in Peace & Conflict Studies from Langara, Kat is passionate about using Internet-based media and facilitation to foster urban community engagement. Besides doing freelance graphic/web design for non-profits as KAiBRAY, she is currently Editor of local publication Beyond Robson and Co-Founder of Fresh Media, a group based at W2 Woodwards that re-imagines Canadian journalism by celebrating new forms of media. Kat’s past work as Online Community Facilitator for foreign policy engagement project Canada’s World and Outreach Coordinator for award-winning online newspaper The Tyee also focused on using Net-based technologies as tools for social change, and she will be moving to London in the fall to pursue a MSc in Digital Anthropology from UCL with a focus on hacktivism and Internet theory. She intends to return to Vancouver after graduation and hopes to utilize insights learned from London’s media/tech scene to further engage with the community.


Katarina (Kat) Kolar

Kat has recently graduated from her Masters in Sociology and Addiction Studies at the University of Toronto. She enjoys doing research with stigmatized and marginalized populations in Canada, and has worked with groups such as street-involved youth and clients of sex workers. Her interest in social justice grew with her volunteering experience in the Action Research Exchange program during her BA at SFU, and it continues with her current projects. With the Centre of Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, she is working to understand resilience among street involved youth. She is also researching drug policy in Canada, particularly in its relationship to drug use trends, incarceration rates, and harm reduction initiatives. Kat is committed to exploring and engaging with social issues from a socially accountable, evidence-based perspective in order to challenge the stigmatization and marginalization of vulnerable groups.


Martin Twigg

Martin is the co-founder of Urban Grains, Vancouver’s first community supported agriculture program to provide residents with access to locally grown grains. Currently residing in Halifax as a law student at Dalhousie University, he is co-chair of the Social Activist Law Student Association and sat on the 2010 organizing committee for IDEALaw, a student run, academic conference on social justice and the law. Martin will be interning with the B.C. Civil Liberties Association in the summer of 2011.


Polly Ng

Polly is committed to coupling sustainability with social justice and to working with people of all ages and backgrounds to make progressive change. She has several years of experience in sustainability planning and community engagement, and has worked for leading organizations in the public and non-profit sectors. Polly received a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Sciences and a Bachelors of Arts in Geography from the University of British Columbia in 2007. She is currently a Masters student at the School for Community and Regional Planning at UBC and is a Research Fellow with the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions. She is interested in in how climate change solutions can advance sustainability, promote equality, enhance quality of life, and build broad-based support.


Roselynn Verwoord

Roselynn Verwood is currently completing her Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Educational Studies at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Her research interests include: social justice education, peace education, arts-based educational research, and critical social theory. Roselynn works as the Evaluation and Research Coordinator at the UBC Centre for Teaching, Learning, and Technology and also
facilitates workshops on teaching and learning for the broader community. She is a volunteer Director for the BC Borstal Association and for the Public Education Network Society and teaches in the UBC Teacher Education Program.

More bios coming soon!