Born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, as part of a large family, including three younger sisters, Jesse can be described in three words: harmonious, knowledgeable, and awesome.
Jesse is intimidatingly academically inclined, having obtained two Bachelor degrees in both Science and Nursing, and is well underway to completing her third, a Bachelor of Arts in Social & Cultural Anthropology at the University of Calgary. Jesse currently works as a cardiac ICU nurse, volunteers with the Arthritis Society, and is interested in holistic approaches to healthcare.
Most recent travels took Jesse to a small South African town where she had an eye-opening experience volunteering with wildlife and members of the surrounding community. Gaining a new perspective and re-prioritizing her life, Jesse returned highly concerned with issues surrounding oppression, poverty, materialism, and power dynamics that pervade our society. She hopes one day to attend medical school and assist marginalized populations with their navigation through our healthcare system.
Her passions in life include music, travel, the outdoors, and LGBTQQIAASP equality. When asked what she would change in the world, Jesse says equality across the board for all living entities, with the decimation of wage disparity at the top of her list.
Originally from Berlin, Germany Friederike came to Calgary via Peterborough, ON where she completed a double major in “International Development Studies” and “International Political Economy” at Trent University. This will be her sixth year in Canada and she is still excited to find differences between the two countries and watch herself slowly become a fusion of the two.
In her current job with an Aboriginal-owned consulting group she documents the history and uses of land by a particular nation in their territory. Friederike is impressed by the respectful and sustainable relationship many traditional societies have with the land. She first experienced this during a three month long learning/research project in the Northwest Territories and incorporated this realization in a concluding research proposal about the influence the built city structure has on city dwellers’ relationship to land and nature.
Friederike is interested in learning about ways to improve cities to lessen their impact on the environment and build conscious and active communities within them. Another desire is to work in the Global South to learn from and collaborate with local organizations to curb rapid, uncontrolled urbanization and install city structures for a dignified and sustainable future.
Some of her previous experiences include working on Project Neutral, a Toronto-based initiative aiming to transition neighbourhoods to carbon neutral and an internship with UNESCO where she helped organize events for the International Poetry Festival in Granada, Spain.
Friederike much enjoys travelling, photography, languages, socializing and tea. Having only been in Calgary for 2 months as of November 2013 Friederike is excited to find a community in Next Up which hopefully even persists after the program ends.
Erin Shumlich is not your average bookworm. In addition to her love of books and writing, this badass hockey-playing feminist challenges the status quo and brings new ideas to life with her passion and charisma. A native Calgarian, Erin’s academic journey has taken many twists and turns, which have enabled her to travel the world and combine learning with meaningful work. With a stint as Editor-in-Chief for the Gauntlet under her belt, she has also travelled across Asia and Australia. Most recently, Erin lived in Seoul, Korea, where she studied at Korea University. Erin is back in Calgary finishing up her honours degree in psychology and English at the University of Calgary, and she is already planning her next move. Her feminist perspective, cross-cultural appreciation, and sense of justice have led Erin to pursue a graduate degree in psychology that targets prevention and the root causes of pressing social issues in the fall of 2014.
Beyond education, Erin has built a unique outlook from her experiences and adventures. Through her life-long engagement with hockey, Erin has developed a rich definition of community. To her, sports are an important opportunity for community building. Within this frame of community, Erin embeds the values of equity, empowerment, and widespread inclusion. Community is not distinct from our environment; rather, Erin believes the two are deeply interconnected. Erin looks to build a world where our relationship with the environment is based on care, not resource entitlement. Through Next Up, Erin is busy exploring the ways that social and environmental issues are entwined and how she can build communities that can work within this complexity and take these issues head-on.
Erika wants to see inside the shape of basic human interactions, the way we relate to our surroundings, the curve in the fundamental cyclic nature of things, the patterns of growth and change. Furthermore, she wants this process to be conversational, engaging and a means of community involvement. Erika is keen to explore the interactions of and intersections between socio-cultual and environmental inequities, and how these manifest as social determinants, informing health and health related behaviors. Currently in her second year in the BHSc Health and Society program at the U of C with a concentration in Anthropology, Erika aspires for a career as a physician and medical anthropologist.
Erika is also passionate about the arts. Visual arts are an important for Erika and provide a unique platform through which she processes the world and shares her political, social justice and environmental views with a broader audience.
On Carla’s first big trip, she decided to backpack through Europe. Bold for an 18-year-old who hadn’t even seen downtown Calgary, but nothing crazy. That was, until she met a very inspirational woman who told her to travel somewhere “different”. On a whim, Carla decided to make the trek to Egypt, and she was immediately hooked on the world. Carla was not accustomed to talking about social and environmental issues, but after that first trip and all those that followed, her eyes were forever opened. This has led Carla to her current job at the YMCA working on community outreach and global initiatives, volunteering at the Sunnyside Community Association, the Next Up program, and now even considering becoming an all-season cyclist! Carla is passionate about holistic nutrition and is frustrated by the lack of proper nourishment in our world. She believes Next Up will help her learn the skills needed to spread awareness, turn ideas into action, and make the world a more just place. A self-described coffee snob and proud Sunnysider, she highly recommends black Americanos from Vendome or The Roasterie! If you don’t catch her over a cuppa joe, catch her in the mountains, at a yoga class, volunteering at Folk Fest, or cooking a deliciously alternative vegetarian meal. Carla is having the time of her life, and she’s simply excited for everything the future holds!
Sarah Winstanley dreams of a world that is non-hierarchal and safe for everyone. She is a feminist and a social worker and is part of the Women’s Centre community…or maybe the community is a part of her. She became a social worker because she feels like the world has a lot of big problems and those problems need a lot of people with a lot of love to give working on them. Inequality makes her angry. Community organizing makes her excited. Working with young gals to change the world makes her happy. Being in the woods gives her some necessary healing. Riding her bike makes her feel badass. Sarah grew up in Calgary. She loves to travel, but this is where her community is.
Sarah was a participant in Next Up Calgary (2013 - 2014) and is a current participant of the Climate Leadership Program.Read more
If you are looking to track down Ryan, more often than not, you can find him exploring one of Alberta’s rivers in his canoe. Ryan has a deep-seeded sense of adventure and passion for connecting people with wilderness places. Recently, he graduated from Memorial University, Newfoundland where his research focused on the ethic of risk-taking.
Kristina is a passionate educator who is dedicated to community building, sharing stories, and supporting people (especially young people) to contribute and connect! She is a white Settler and first generation Irish-Canadian from Northern Alberta - Dene and Cree Territory under Treaty 6 - and has made a home in Lethbridge, in Blackfoot Territory under Treaty 7, over the last 10 years. While she desperately misses her northern trees, she loves the connection to the land and people she has built under Southern Alberta's "big sky."
Kristina participates with many community organizations and collectives working in areas such as youth, feminism, and food security, while saving time to enjoy her bicycle and sunflowers. Some of her notable work in recent years has including serving as Acting Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club, founding a community garden in her neighbourhood, running for Public School Trustee, and making really delicious vegan cheese.
She has big dreams of growing a front yard full of vegetables and contributing to increased community capacity and action for positive social change.
Kristin’s big love is the environment (next to her husband Nic). As the youngest of four children she was practically raised by the family dog while her parents were busy running after her three older, spirited brothers. Although other cultures always fascinated her she didn’t get far after high school; exactly 60km from her parents’ home she pursued a degree in media studies and marketing. She also worked as a journalist throughout her studies portraying people in a way they couldn’t see themselves. She also volunteered for the students’ association where she met her husband (you can only talk about school for so long).
But honestly, the exciting times began after school when she gave into her curiosity to explore other countries. (It didn’t take much persuasion, they had her with Calgary lying “at the foot of the Rocky Mountains”.) Culture shock and the first unemployment tested her love for Canada but the progressive and collaborative spirit of Calgary’s non-profit community was stronger. Today, Kristin practically lives in the Old Y Centre building. She promotes active and healthy transportation as coordinator of the national Commuter Challenge and is the president of the board of the CommunityWise Resource Centre. She lives out her passion for the environment as chair of the Sierra Club Chinook Group and truly enjoys the challenge of rebuilding the group after a two-year hibernation.
Outside of the Old Y Centre Kristin enjoys hiking in the mountains, running, cycling, container gardening and exploring more of Canada. Listening to other people’s stories still puts her under a spell. She dreams about becoming a psychologist, starting a community practice with nature-based therapy that helps people to overcome or live with mental illness.
Born and raised in Calgary and inspired by her progressive, eco-focused parents from a young age – Kate Letizia became an unyielding combatant for equality, human rights and environmental health before she even knew how to 'fight'. Educational and professional adventures throughout Latin America, Sweden, the Philippines, and now her hometown, created opportunities to build and refine an arsenal to generate positive, lasting change.
While her education (MSc in International Development and Natural Resource Management) and recent career and community focus has been on reframing waste and legitimizing non-conventional forms of employment and living (check out Calgary Can), a recent fellowship opportunity with SiG International vaulted Kate into the world of complex problems, social innovation and transformational change across Alberta. Armed with an even more diverse toolkit of human-centered, generative changemaking devices, and a few years of climate and social justice activism under her belt, Kate is now ready to focus her energy on what may be the biggest battle she’ll ever face: transforming the way her local and provincial peers, counterparts and communities respond to climate change and our collective future. Kate wants to live in a city, and province, where climate change is taken seriously and responded to fairly, intelligently and creatively. Kate was a participant in Next Up Calgary (2013 - 2014) and in the 2015 Climate Leadership Program.