Jjessica has spent the last eight years living between Ottawa and Edmonton, growing to love the cities for their distinctive contrast. She has been involved in activities on the International Day of the Child, and has participated in different summer camps (including one offered by the Sierra Youth Coalition, and ROBSI Baha’i Camp). She believes that youth are a big part of our communities and it is in society’s’ best interest to ensure their rights are being met. She’s developed a strong interested in youth and children after having worked with them for many years. She is looking forward to bringing those interests to Ottawa after having finished a diploma in Early Learning and Child Care at Grant MacEwan University.
Despite her love of Ottawa and Edmonton, Jjessica lives to be in nature. Her passion for hiking, biking, and gardening led to her interests in permaculture, sustainability, and animal rights. A self-described lifelong learner, Jjessica is always interested in learning to apply new frameworks and sets of tools.
Kelly grew up in North Vancouver, BC. She completed a B.A. in Geography at McGill University, where she discovered her passion for human health and its relationship to physical and social environments. An internship at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama and a semester working at the UN headquarters during the Summit on Climate Change cemented her dedication to this field of study.
During her Master’s in Population and Public Health, Kelly continued to delve deeper into the study of upstream social and environmental determinants of global disease. This included an emphasis on public policy to combat the growing rates of chronic disease in developing countries caused by Big Tobacco, Big Food and Big Beverage.
In 2013 Kelly was awarded a research grant at the International Research Development Centre to study the food sovereignty movement in Ecuador and its potential for improving diets and reducing chronic disease. Her work has convinced her of the need for alternatives to the neoliberal trade regime, and the importance of building an economy that places the well being of people and the environment at its heart.
With a background in environmental economics and a passion for system thinking and design, Kyla’s work aims to promote and nurture sustainable lifestyles and business practices. Kyla was born and raised in Ottawa to a multiracial ancestry, and she is dedicated to working with the different people and communities that surround her.
Always on the go, Kyla is currently involved with a multitude of projects burgeoning around the city. From collaborating with the local arts community to managing an online magazine, to volunteering with several environmental groups and campaigns, Kyla combines her passion for social and environmental justice with her profound interest in the identity and stories of others to foster a community driven by a collective understanding of one another.
Najib Ahmed was born in ’84 in Mogadishu, Somalia. At a young age, he journeyed through many East African countries before finally reaching North America and eventually settling in Ottawa with his family. He has carried with him on this journey a passion for the preservation of our natural environment. He finds it a real shame that Canada doesn’t preserve the natural beauty of its country that it is so lucky to have. Indeed, his travels in Canada have deeply affected how he feels about the need for preservation. He takes a lot of pride in delivering rants about environmental issues to whomever will listen to him. The rants are very easy to listen to given Najib’s kind and friendly demeanor that has gained him many friends. He is very proud of how he has integrated himself into Canadian society given the less fortunate circumstances of some immigrants from his home country.
Najib enjoys painting, photography and gardening. He even dreams one day of having his own organic farm! On the whole, Najib is a very personable gentleman who is determined to fight for the little guy in whatever way he can.
Born in New Jersey, Nathan has lived in Ottawa since he was three. As a person with multiple disabilities, he knows the value of public health care, and appreciates the opportunities the healthcare system has afforded him.
Nathan first got involved in his community by coordinating a support group for LGBT youth in Ottawa. Through this experience, he learned the power of social change, and how a common goal can unite people to overcome challenges. He has since been involved with the Canadian Federation of Students, as well as the disability and labour movements. Now, it is neoliberal austerity measures and discourses that strike the ire of Nathan’s calm demeanor. Nathan understands the importance of taxation in promoting fairness and prosperity, thus he works with others in his community towards implementing progressive policies and building a progressive future.
Nathan received his Bachelor of Humanities in Humanities and Political Science and a Master’s in Political Science from Carleton University. He is currently undertaking a Graduate Diploma in Health Policy.
Paul was born in Victoria, B.C, and is passionate about working with children and youth. He has over ten years of experience working with trauma survivors, individuals living with special needs, young offenders, and those in youth protection. He specializes in working with youth with severe behavioural issues.
Paul is an advocate for Indigenous rights, and supports the development of decolonizing, anti-oppressive, culturally relevant and community specific approaches to child welfare. Paul has worked for the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services at Ulluriaq Adolescent Center, a specialized residential program for Inuit youth. Additionally, Paul has taught crisis intervention in the Special Care Counseling program at LaSalle College.
Paul has a B.A. in Psychology from Concordia University, a Graduate Certificate in Leadership from McGill University, and is currently studying Social Work at the University of Manitoba. Paul believes that crisis should be viewed as an opportunity for change. He currently resides in Montreal.
Sebastian Ronderos-Morgan could not be more British Columbian. A native of Vancouver, BC, he is also the son of a British immigrant father and a Colombian immigrant mother. After a childhood and adolescence spent in and around the intertidal zones of the Salish Sea, Sebastian left the West Coast for travels, followed by a six year stint in Montreal, Québec.
Sebastian completed an undergrad at McGill University, majoring in Political Science and minoring in Economics and Urban Systems. During his 5 years at McGill, he became actively involved in progressive causes and student politics. First, he served on the boards of the faculty of arts and the undergraduate student associations, and later he was elected to the executive of the Students’ Society of McGill University as Vice-President (External). During his term, he focused on two key areas within his mandate: local community relations and building the capacity of student organizing across Québec. In his last year at McGill, Sebastian served on the board of the McGill chapter of the progressive Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), and dedicated himself to defending the organization against attacks from an onslaught of conservative groups. For two years he has served as Legislative Assistant to NDP MP Charmaine Borg.
Sebastian currently balances his political career with community volunteering and his new role as a father.
Austin Lui grew up in Oakville, Ontario and is an accomplished musician. He has been playing piano since he was five and violin since he was seven. His early passion for music led him to pursue a music degree at Western University in piano performance.
Austin has always been interested in big ideas and world issues. He first started combining his musical exploits and his passion for social justice by volunteering at Arts For All Kids, a music and arts school for underprivileged youth in London, and the Leading Note Foundation in Ottawa. Inspired by his volunteering and the transformative nature of music, Austin decided to once again focus his energy on school. He graduated from Carleton University with a degree in Music and Culture, a non-traditional interdisciplinary approach to musicology.
After attending Carleton, Austin participated in the Otesha bike tour entitled, “The Phenomenal Food Tour,” which focused on outreach through interactive workshops and theatre plays. Otesha incorporated all of Austin’s passions into one program – education, biking, community living, arts, and food. Austin now works for Otesha in Ottawa and plans to continue developing his skills as a community leader and educator, working to use his passions to help make the world a better place.
David Schecter is a lover of many Canadian cities. He is a proud Torontonian by birth, and he fell in love with the community and city of Montreal when he went there to study at McGill University.
He stayed in Montreal to continue his research and work with communities impacted by the Canadian extraction industry. He is currently finding some love for the city of Ottawa, where he recently moved in order to begin working as a legislative assistant for Jack Harris, the NDP Member of Parliament for St John’s East. Although, he loves many cities, David truly feels at home in the Canadian wilderness, preferably canoeing along the rivers of Northern Ontario and Quebec. One day, he hopes to be found building a community on a small piece of land somewhere.
Emily Beveridge is grateful to be part of the Next Up Ottawa 2013 cohort. From a very young age, she has been passionate about the environment and the human relationship to land. This passion has developed over time, and continues to guide her through her life. In May 2011, she graduated from Acadia University with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science, and after a year spent working with environmental NGOs operating both in Canada and abroad, she began studies in the fall of 2012 at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law. She is committed to living according to her values and using her privilege to make the world a better place. As a Next Up participant, she is excited to learn new skills that will allow her to be a better environmental citizen and active community member.