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Student Spotlights


Keegan Hobson is the Administrator to the Layton Chair. Keegan (he/him) is a fourth-year BSW student at Ryerson University who has been active in his local communities through organizing, direct action and community outreach since 2015. Located in Treaty 16, Simcoe County, Keegan sits on the Board of Fierte Simcoe Pride as President, as well as several other non-profit organizations nationally and internationally. 

With an emphasis on centering queer and trans individuals and utilizing harm reduction, trauma-informed approaches, he is passionate about 2SLGBTQI+ politics, prison abolition, disability justice, sex education and Indigenous sovereignty. He is experienced in grant writing, community engagement and grassroots organizing and hopes to foster strong, reciprocal relationships with communities that prioritize mutual aid and internal capacity building.  

Theo Nazary is a Strategic Planner for Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre. Since joining the Centre in 2017, Theo has worked with the Council Fire's Board Designate and other colleagues to collaboratively plan, design, develop, engage and implement various mandates and projects undertaken by the Centre. A graduate of McMaster, Ryerson, and University of Toronto with a professional certificate in Project Management, Theo has been involved with research on the Impact of Digital Technology on First Nations Participation and Governance (McMaster University, 2015) and the Internet Voting Project for Ontario (UToronto, 2014). Leveraging his education and work experience, Theo has been instrumental in the Centre’s partnership with the City of Toronto for the development of the Spirit Garden on the southwest corner of Nathan Phillips Square. Theo’s Doctoral dissertation will use autoethnography and Community Action Research (CAR) to negotiate his role as a recent Immigrant / Settler to Turtle Island and his experience working at an Indigenous cultural centre in one of Canada’s largest diverse & priority neighbourhoods – Regent Park. 

Graham Berlin works with Dr. Trevor Hart in the HIV Prevention Lab. Graham’s current research examines the sexualized use of crystal methamphetamine among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (GBM) – often referred to as party and play or chemsex – with a focus on identifying psychosocial factors associated crystal methamphetamine use. His research integrates minority stress theory, cognitive escape theory, and the loneliness and sexual risk model with structural equation modeling to identify direct and indirect pathways to GBM’s sexualized methamphetamine use. Graham is an active member of the psychology Graduate Student Anti-Racism Initiative and a graduate student therapist for an ongoing randomized controlled trial focused on reducing social anxiety, substance use, and HIV risk among GBM.

MJ Wright (he/him) is the Jack Layton Chair Web Administrator and Arts and Contemporary Studies Student. 

MJ works in many areas, passionate about experimental music practices and arts curation as well as emotional support work. He believes that improvisational music can be a model for community development and that creating open digital platforms for artists is a form of mutual aid. MJ co-curated and produced the Jack Layton Chair event Musicians During COVID-19, and now co-hosts the online arts and music show ponyHAUS, external link. He also has experience as a crisis support worker with Distress Centres of Greater Toronto and intends to continue to persue counselling in his post-grad work, with a focus on helping isolated men. At Ryerson he is an elected student representative to the Ryerson University Board of Governors 2020-2021, and sits on the Climate and Energy Working Group.

Lareinea Ryan is a Ryerson Social Work student completing a minor in Psychology. She attended the Jack Layton Leadership School and is a volunteer with the Jack Layton Chair. She is an African-Caribbean woman who migrated to Canada during her late teens, who grew up as an orphan and experienced the struggles of living in a marginalized community.

As a Black woman, she often experiences systemic and social oppression which she uses as motivation for change. She chose a career that allows her to empower others to believe that they are not alone and that there is assistance to seek social inclusion and justice. She wants to wake up each day, go to work and make a positive difference in someone’s else's life.

The Hoang (he/him) is currently in the third year of his Bachelor of Social Work program. His social work framework consists of a post-modern perspective, a critical perspective, and a trauma-informed lens. The has worked at Fraser Lake Camp as a Camp Counsellor and as the Volunteer Program Director within the past four years. There he works with children and youth, including those involved with child welfare. The is also a volunteer at the AIDS Committee of Toronto, where he works with individuals living with HIV/AIDS. As well as being a volunteer, he is also part of the Young People's Advisory Council at the Children's Aid Foundation of Canada, where he shares his lived and professional expertise, wisdom and experiences to help guide the foundation on how to best serve Canada's young people involved in child welfare.


Alannah Fricker, Ryerson Social Work Alumni, OISE Masters of Social Justice Education Student, and Administrator to the Jack Layton Chair 2018-2020

Alannah has worked as the Administrator to the Jack Layton Chair for over two years. She supports the Chair in conceptualizing, developing, organizing, and promoting community events, talks, and leadership workshops that aim to advance democracy, equity, human rights, and social justice on campus and beyond. 

Alannah Fricker is a passionate community organizer, harm reduction worker, and prisoner justice advocate. She is a founding member and lead organizer with the Toronto Prisoners’ Rights Project and Abolition Coalition, the president and founder of Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy at Ryerson University, and the Administrator of the Toronto Harm Reduction Alliance. Alannah is a visual artist, outdoor enthusiast, and caregiver in her personal life.


Graham Berlin, Masters Student in Ryerson’s Clinical Psychology  Program and Arts’ Public Scholar  to the Jack Layton Chair

Graham is the recipient of the Arts’ Public Scholar Award which has allowed him to work with the Jack Layton Chair, Ken Moffatt, where he hopes to address social justice issues and establish greater community connections. 

Graham Berlin is conducting research in the HIV Prevention Lab. Graham’s current research seeks to uncover psychosocial predictors of crystal methamphetamine use among gbMSM and the role of social support in buffering crystal methamphetamine-related harms.

Graham completed his undergraduate degree in Victoria, where he worked with the Couples and Families Lab conducting research on the effects of family-based heterosexism, shame and psychological wellbeing among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (gbMSM). Graham was also a research assistant in the School of Public Health where he conducted interviews with gbMSM who use crystal methamphetamine. He is doing ongoing work with gbMSM who use crystal methamphetamine in order to inform intervention and harm reduction services. At the HIV Prevention Lab, he works collaboratively on the Engage Study – a large multi-site study of gbMSM in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. 

Aledia Hayes, Masters of Arts Philosophy Student and Public Arts Scholar to the Jack Layton Chair

Aledia is the recipient of the Public Arts Scholar Award which allows her to work with the Jack Layton Chair

Aledia Hayes graduated from the University of Toronto Mississauga with a major in Criminology and Socio-legal Studies and Philosophy, and minored in Society, Law, and Ethics. Seeing so many injustices in the law has sparked her interest in social justice. She is currently doing her Major Research Paper on the ethical impact of using intoxication as a defence in cases of violence/sexual assault. She hopes to one day alleviate some of these inequalities while staying true to the underlying doctrines of the legal system. 

Nancy Hoang, Social Work Student and Placement Student with the Jack Layton Chair 

Nancy Hoang utilizes her experiences with the online world and her education at Ryerson University, as a placement student for the Jack Layton Chair. Nancy is an undergraduate student in the Bachelor of Social Work program at Ryerson University. She is interested in online communities where people have the space to express their interests through online personas. Through both anonymous and identifiable personas, she believes that critical thinking and honesty can happen in our digital world.