Melanie was born and raised in Edmonton. She has always had an inclination towards progressive activism and this led her to becoming active in a collective that hosts the new feminist radio show Adamant Eve on CJSR radio station at the University of Alberta.
She is involved in many local feminist activism initiatives. In May of 2012 as regional mobilizer, she organized a delegation of woman to attend the RebELLes Pan-Canadian feminist gathering in Winnipeg.
Her thoughtful and considerate nature pairs well with the work she does with survivors of sexual assault and her involvement in anti-rape activism. Passionate about transformative change, she loves community gardening and the power it has in bringing people together.
She cares greatly about the importance in navigating her role as a consensual ally to indigenous struggles. Melanie is an extraordinary ally within the progressive community as a whole and brings knowledge, ability and dedication to her work.
Melanie is an enthusiast of making vulva cupcakes, paintings and crafts.
Kate is passionate about using theatre and the arts as a mode of social change. Kate strongly believes in theatre and the arts as something everyone should be able to access and use to tell stories and explore storytelling. She is passionate about working with people who experience disability, creating a paradigm shift towards being able and fully participating in the arts. Currently in her third year of Drama Honours at the University of Alberta, she is a part of the Fine Arts Collective on Campus, which gives a voice to the arts on campus and educates the university community about fine arts. She is involved in facilitation work, currently co-facilitating and directing a fringe show based on communication and the way we communicate with people around us.
Alix is a very passionate and active member of multiple communities. She is currently in her third year of Computer Engineering at the University of Alberta, where she plays a large role in the U of A chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) as VP Advocacy. Through her work with EWB, Alix desires to encourage Canadian aid to other countries which is more effective. She believes this can be done by increasing and enabling Canadian engagement. Besides her work with EWB, Alix is also interested in gender and queer studies, feminism, as well as citizenship. Alix strongly believes in systemic change, which is strongly reflected in her advocacy work. In her spare time Alix enjoys reading, biking, and playing the ukulele.
Frédrique (Freddi) MacDougall came to Nextup with a background in community environmental sustainability work in her home town St. Paul. This and the fact that she grew up in close proximity to a First Nations community accounts for her keen interest in social justice and community awareness work. Freddi believes good intentions alone aren’t enough and thus tries to seek interventions that prioritise facilitation of positive impact at the community level. When she moved to Edmonton where she is currently in the third year of her BA majoring in Political Science and Sociology, Freddi was excited about the prospect of active collaboration with likeminded individuals and organisations. This aspiration led to Nextup which Freddi hopes will be a launch pad towards greater and more meaningful engagement in social and environmental justice work. After completing her undergrad, Freddi intends to travel and develop her interest in peace studies, mediation and conflict resolution into a career anchored by social justice and community awareness. Outside the world of social and environmental justice, Freddi is committed to semi-professional jigging, singing in her band and playing social soccer.
Denis Thibeault: a man of wealth (ish) and taste. Born an only child in Sudbury Ontario, he has since become a citizen of the world, fondly recalling memorable visits to Seattle, Greenland, and the most foreign of all: Newfoundland. A true Scotsman of the Armstrong Clan at his heart, he enjoys celtic folk and rock, and shows it while sporting one of his Kilts. He also prides himself in his Franco-Canadian heritage, speaking and swearing in full-blown frenglish often enough to not be named “Dennis”. He makes his journeys through Canada assertively driving to various sporting destinations, particularly for the sake of ice climbing. As a day job, Denis was as a Senior Youth Corrections Officer in the arctic, but switched back to his true passion, Wilderness Therapy. Of an evening, you may find him enjoying a fine pizza (It has all four food groups!) or if he is feeling classy, a fine Panzerotti, along with a fine Maudit dark Unibrou beer or the less chic Labatt Cinquante. While certainly a man of the times, he is truly proud that his cell phone can contact people without any apps and does not take pictures, leaving him a stalwart defender of the finer things in life.
Annie’s formative years were spent with her family on a small farm in Nova Scotia, raised on home-grown produce, honey, blueberries, maple syrup, good books and with great neighbours. With the help of her father she built a semi-subterranean octagonal cabin, loosely based on the winter houses of the Salish people of interior British Columbia. Her initial urge to turn her back on the world and live the life of a hermit in her cabin changed, ironically, after her rich experience of life as a monastic at a Buddhist abbey in northern Cape Breton. This experience, of living in a supportive, respectful community of committed and like-minded people, lead her to seek out an intentional (or cohousing) community in Calgary (Prairie Sky Cohousing www.prairiesky.ab.ca), where she was honoured to live for the past 4 and a half years. Her volunteer efforts both at home and abroad with Habitat for Humanity in Honduras, the Calgary Women’s Resource Centre, The Mustard Seed, and Calgary Harvest have strengthened her belief in the power of community to create positive change in the world, and her desire to be part of that change. This one-time hermit loves to travel and learn about new places and perspectives, loves to stay home and support local food, music and community, cook for crowds, garden, hike, and make things with her own hands. Currently Annie works as a piano technician privately as well as for a local keyboard instrument museum, Cantos Music Foundation, teaches adapted piano lessons to students with special needs at a music therapy clinic, and provides musical accompaniment for the local Unitarian Church.
Becky was born and raised in Jasper National Park, she is an advocate for wildlife and nature. She is a recent graduate of Political science and Human Geography at the University of Alberta and is keenly interested in matters of environmental justice, conservation and education. She has done research into National Parks policy as well as oil and resource conflict in Alberta. She has worked with the Alberta Wilderness Association and the Jasper Environmental Association to conserve unique species and landscapes across the province.
Becky enjoys making music and being outdoors.
Malambo Moonga relocated to Edmonton in September of 2011 from Zambia, where he acquired training and work experience in policy, program development and training around matters of human rights, HIV/AIDS, gender equality and community empowerment, amongst many others. Being particularly passionate about participatory empowerment approaches, Malambo is a strong advocate for the need to mobilize communities into becoming the primary agents for progress and change within their communities; more specifically transforming institutions and societal structures. Committed to community involvement and development, Malambo was in search of ways in which he could continue to pursue his passion in his new city and in Canada. Thus Next-up has provided Malambo with the opportunity to interact with likeminded individuals and has exposed him to socially progressive organizations and activities in the area. Malambo often sees the connections between social justice issues in Edmonton and Zambia which in turn has ignited his interest in building relationships and connections with people and groups that are concerned with policy advocacy around the welfare of minority communities and fostering progressive North-South relations. Malambo is looking forward to enhancing his interest in international public policy through graduate studies next fall.
Eva grew up enjoying in wonderment the marvels of nature. Guided by her passion for the natural environment and the desire to understand her place in it, Eva pursued a BSc. in Environmental and Conservation Sciences. She chose to major in Human Dimensions in order to better understand what it is about the human species that causes them to live unsustainably on this finite planet. After a few years adventuring on organic ranches and volunteering oversees, Eva went on to complete a MSc. in Environmental Sociology where she worked on several projects related to food, food security, urban agriculture, and urban-rural interdependencies. Today, Eva has found her dream job working on food-related issues in the context of sustainable community economic development. Eva is continuing to cultivate her passions and explore her relationship with the planet and she hopes that her future will continue to be filled with interesting and meaningful work. In her spare time, she loves to dance, be outdoors, give abdominal massage (Chi Nei Tsang), read, promote human and environmental health, and enjoy a tasty and nutritious meal with family and friends.