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Alan Shepard Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Awards

The annual Alan Shepard Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of individuals and teams who advance equity, diversity and inclusion through their work, research and/or volunteer contributions in the community. 

Alan Shepard

Dr. Alan Shepard is currently President and Vice-Chancellor of Western University. From 2007 to 2012, Dr. Shepard was Ryerson University’s Provost and Vice-President, Academic. He championed equity, diversity and inclusion at Ryerson and was an innovative and forward-thinker. 

It was during his tenure that the role of Assistant Vice-President/Vice-Provost Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) was created. Dr. Denise O’Neil Green was the first to hold this role. She was appointed inaugural Vice-President, Equity and Community Inclusion in 2017 and concluded her tenure at the university in 2022 

Since Dr. Shepard’s departure from the university, the Office of the Vice-President, Equity and Community Inclusion (OVPECI) proudly sponsors this annual awards ceremony. We gather each year to celebrate the students and employees who exemplify Dr. Shepard’s inclusive and collaborative leadership style.

 

2022 awards recipients

Students

  • Ria Arora | School of Social Work, Faculty of Community Services
  • Hemanshu Bhargav | Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science 
  • Jacqueline Chung | Business Technology Management, Ted Rogers School of Management 
  • Ambika Jaipersaud | Criminology, Faculty of Arts 
  • Tanvi Vyas | School of Performance: Production, The Creative School

Team award

Society for Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, Faculty of Arts:

  • Natalie Carinci | Arts and Contemporary Studies
  • Claire Cornacchia | Arts and Contemporary Studies
  • Keiralea Dominelli | Politics and Governance
  • Hannah Ertl | Politics and Governance
  • Urwaa Fatima | Arts and Contemporary Studies
  • Maria Guardado | Politics and Governance
  • Ishika Gupta | Criminology
  • Beatriz Jereza | Sociology
  • Olivia Karp | Politics and Governance
  • Nancy Le | Criminology
  • Chelsea Olarte | History
  • Jason Ramsay | International Economics and Finance
  • Kartiki Sharma | Environment and Urban Sustainability
  • Abira Sivanesan | Sociology
  • Gaaya Srimarthandan | Language and Intercultural Relations
  • Nathan Sugunalan | Geographic Analysis
  • Shasmika Thiagarajah | Psychology

Employees 

Faculty award recipient

Dr. Julian Hasford | Assistant Professor, Faculty of Community Services

Senior leader award recipient

Dr. Krishan Mehta | Assistant Vice-President, Engagement, University Advancement

Staff award recipient

Michael Mihalicz | Assistant Professor, Entrepreneurship and Strategy and Indigenous Advisor, Office of the Dean, Ted Rogers School of Management

 

Learn more about the 2022 award honourees and recipients

Students

Ria advances equity, diversity and inclusion within and outside Ryerson and provides services for diverse populations. Her organization, The South Asian Yard, is a trans-disciplinary collective focused on experiences of race and gender for second-generation South Asian Canadians. Leader of the student group and volunteer for the Jack Layton Chair, she was also a key participant in the Leadership School, which supports students in developing their skills for engagement in social issues. Ria combines her passion for social justice with organizing workshops and creating social media campaigns, such as #TalkBicultural, that foster connection and belonging within the South Asian community.

Hemanshu applies his software engineering skills towards innovative technology applications that advance equity, diversity and inclusion. A member of the Inclusive Media and Design Centre (IMDC), he works to ensure people with disabilities are not excluded in online and virtual environments. As a Graduate and Teaching Assistant, he has assisted in the teaching of accessible learning material for the Information Technology Management (ITM) course, and he also helps undergraduate students in the Web Design and Management course make accessible websites. Hemanshu also advocates for accessibility within the broader tech community, such as making AI and smartphone use more inclusive.

Jacqueline is a leader in the STEM and social justice fields who draws on her experience in the IT industry to disrupt societal norms. She works to support women in STEM in overcoming gender barriers in the classroom and workplace in what is still a traditionally male-dominated field. As a mentor who encourages equity, diversity and inclusion, she guides women in the industry through complex issues such as imposter syndrome and unconscious bias. Her leadership role in school groups and her extracurricular initiatives demonstrate a passionate commitment to EDI, to advancing women in STEM, and to continuous professional development.

Ambika is a co-founder and executive member of Women of Colour in Law, where her passion for social change and advocacy for EDI help pre-law students overcome societal barriers and challenges. As the Chair of Marketing for WOCinLaw, she single-handedly created the marketing department as well as the group’s branding and identity through its social media. She has also advocated for women in the workplace as a member of the Human Resources Student Association under the Ted Rogers School of Management and has played a pivotal role in several networking events designed to educate and empower students, such as Wo(men) in Innovation and the Diversity and Inclusion Showcase.

Tanvi helps create a safe environment for students who identify within the BIPOC community by championing equity and creating both kind-hearted and thought-provoking art. She is the co-editor-in-chief of The Continuist, a student-run arts and literary publication with roots in social and political activism dedicated to amplifying the voices of creatives who identify as Black, Indigenous and/or people of colour. In her role, she supports and encourages artists who speak out on issues of racism, violence and representation, provides access and opportunities for artists from underrepresented populations, and has helped The Continuist grow as a publication and student group.

Team award

The Society for Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (SASSH) is dedicated to advancing equity and inclusion among its own membership and within its disciplines. Recently, the group created the “Celebrating Indigenous Success” event. Its other initiatives include providing student grants and financial assistance, covering accessibility-related costs that allow all students to fully participate in opportunities, and financing half the budget for the BIPOC Peer Mentoring Program run through TMP. This year, SASSH appointed its first ever ECI Commissioner to oversee the Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) Incubator, a source of support and advocacy for students.

Employees

Faculty award recipient

By providing services for diverse populations, fostering an inclusive environment inside and outside the classroom, and addressing equity both within the X community and externally, Dr. Julian Hasford’s contributions to the advancement of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) have had an extraordinary impact. His work demonstrates an agility to champion and promote EDI in all facets of his professional life. He addresses structural barriers that inhibit equitable participation at X University; creates EDI specific curriculum through the introduction of targeted pedagogical strategies, and provides innovative opportunities for students and their communities from diverse backgrounds to become change-makers.

Senior leader award recipient

Dr. Krishan Mehta is a senior leader who fosters an environment of inclusivity, accessibility and diversity for all. As AVP, Engagement, through his research, and many volunteer opportunities, Krishan demonstrates commitment to the ideals of EDI. His work on the Anti-Black Racism committee highlights the priority placed on identifying and addressing the systemic barriers in University life. His webinar series, Generous Futures: Power and Politics in Charitable Giving, puts the University at the national forefront in advancing EDI conversations. His leadership is dedicated to advancing EDI in the programs, services and communications shared with the University community.

Staff award recipient

Michael Mihalicz has guided, shaped and transformed the business reconciliation process at Ryerson. In the span of two years, most of it during the pandemic, Michael has brought the TRSM community into a collective circle of commitment to Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action #92, weaving EDI and Indigenization into the fabric of TRSM. Michael has championed an Indigenous healing garden, art installation, established pathways for access to business education, and developed an inclusive curriculum and cultural awareness programming. Michael's relational approach is of respect reciprocity that shines through every interaction and illuminates the path to inclusion.