Organizer Bios

Rachel Zukiwski-Pezim (she/her) is a graduate student in the Gender and Social Justice Studies MA Program at the University of Alberta with a BA in Spanish and Latin American Studies from Dalhousie University. She also currently serves as Program Coordinator for the Intersections of Gender Signature Area at UAlberta. Her research interests are extensive and include feminist historiography, critical race theory, decolonization, social justice praxis, and intersectional theory and practice. She believes in dynamic and accessible academic research and writing, and thinks all academics should do variations on the Bechdel test when looking at their data and sources - scan for BIPoC voices, queer and trans folks, disablity frameworks, class strata, and religious affiliations, among others. For Rachel, part of the decolonialization of academia is allowing for new and radical digressions from and dismantlings of the imperialist white supremacist capitalist colonial heteropatriarchy that invades and occupies every part of the neoliberal academic state.

Nirupama Rajan (she/her) is a graduate student in the Gender and Social Justice Studies MA Program at the University of Alberta. She has a BA in Media Studies, Economics and Political Science from Christ University, India. She also has experience working with not-for-profit spaces in India and Germany involved in efforts for ending global gender-based violence. Her research interests are constantly evolving as she progresses through her graduate school journey at the University of Alberta, and currently include transnational feminism, the gendered experiences of immigrants and the bonds between settler and exploitation colonialism, to name a few. Niru believes that the time has come for transnational perspectives to be at the forefront of all research and activist undertakings, and sees within such an approach the potential for revealing universal interrelationships and kinship systems.

Eric Chan (he/him/his) currently attends the University of Alberta, located on Treaty 6 Territory in ᐊᒥᐢᑲᐧᒋᕀ ᐋᐧᐢᑲᐦᐃᑲᐣ (amiskwaciy-wâskahikan), also known as Edmonton. He has a Bachelor of Science with a focus Microbiology and Genetics and is now currently completing a Master of Arts in Gender and Social Justice. Eric’s research interests have radically changed over time, initially exploring Oncology through studies at the University of Leeds as a Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Scholar. Eventually, he began to explore other avenues of health research, working in maternal fetal medicine research at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute in Toronto, Ontario. Currently, he is working on an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion initiative within the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Alberta, studying the experiences and stories of underrepresented and marginalized students as it pertains to their self-efficacy, feelings of belonging, and development of Engineering identity. Outside of his academic and professional interests he has a deep passion for working with youth and young adults in athletics/education. Working as a tutor, Career Peer Educator, and NCCP-certified endurance athletics coach, Eric finds a deep sense of satisfaction working with people to help them find their path.

Yumeng Hu(she/her) is a master's student in Gender and Social Justice Studies at the University of Alberta. With an educational and personal background in sport, Yumeng is interested in power relation, subjectivity, the debate on sex and gender, and governance in the context of sport. Recently she focused on the mechanism of solidarity that builds on the difference, which is essential for women's sport to challenge the institutional and structural inequality in the sport.

Anne McKinnon-Yeomans (she/her/hers) is a current Master of Arts student in the Gender and Social Justice program at the University of Alberta. She is a current board member of Sexual Assault Voices of Edmonton, a non-profit that dreams of a world without sexual violence that is currently concerned with calls to defund the police in Edmonton. Through SAVE, Anne has participated in the development of a Zine on alternatives to the police in our community, consulted on the YEG Police Violence Archive, and currently helps run the organization's social media accounts. In 2020, alongside a fellow student, she created and facilitated a workshop at Law Needs Feminism Because…on the construction of Indigenous women as “risky” and “disposable” through Canadian law. She has volunteered as a crisis line supporter for the Alberta One line for Sexual Violence and the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton’s crisis line, a tutor for EMCN’s Sky Club, and with Métis Child and Family Services through their SNUG program. Anne previously worked as a care worker in a low-barrier women’s shelter in the inner city of Edmonton. She holds a B. A in Political Science and History from the University of Victoria as well as a second B.A in Women and Gender Studies from the University of Alberta. Anne’s current research interests include, but are not limited to: transformative justice, politics of abolition in relation to sexual violence, programing for men who have chosen to commit harm, and gender-based violence.

Ayushi Khemka (she/her) is a PhD student in Philosophy and Women’s & Gender Studies at the University of Alberta. Her research interests include, but are not limited to, gender based online violence, ethics of social media, digital humanities, and social determinants of mental health. Her current research is on Gamergate through a feminist-ethic approach. She has an MPhil in Women’s Studies and an MA in English from Jawaharlal Nehru University. Her BA is in English Honours from University of Delhi. In addition to her academic engagements, being the creator of Mental Health Talks India, a mental health based initiative established through the lens of lived experience, she writes frequently on mental health for digital and print publications. She can be reached via Twitter for academic chatter and immigrant rants @jittery_glitter.

Olesya Kochkina (she/her) is a graduate student in the Gender and Social Justice Studies MA Program at the University of Alberta. She holds a Diploma of Specialist from Saint-Petersburg State University (Russia), Faculty of Journalism. Olesya returned to academia after fifteen years of work in the non-governmental sector in Russia, Central Asia, and Southeast Asia. She has experience of professional engagement with the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) offices in New York, Moscow, and Istanbul. Olesya’s academic and professional interests cover sexual and reproductive health and rights, reproductive justice, queer justice, gender-based violence, policy, advocacy, and coalition building. At the University of Alberta, Olesya is becoming increasingly interested in scholarship that supports her to be a better ally to Indigenous peoples and their inherent connection to the lands that she is currently residing on. Olesya is the mother of an amazing preschooler with a mixed ethnic background.

Charlotte Mitchell (she/her) is originally from Treaty 7 Territory and is a current Master of Arts Student in the Gender and Social Justice Program at the University of Alberta. She has two Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of Calgary in Social and Cultural Anthropology and Women and Gender Studies. Before her academic career, Charlotte was a ski jumper on the Canadian National and National Development Teams and was a plaintiff in a human rights court case to get a women’s ski jumping event into the Winter Olympic Games. Charlotte’s current research interests include, but are not limited to, gender and social justice, policy work around gender-based violence, police brutality and sexual violence.

Andrea "Andy" Alvarez (she/they) is a graduate student in the Gender and Social Justice Studies MA Program at the UofA. They hold a BA in Animation and Digital Art from the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, campus Querétaro, México. They are Co-founder and Creative Director of FLAT! 2D Motion Studio, and are interested in the ways the media can shape our values and experiences. Andy is particularly focused in the use of digital narratives for social justice praxis and education. They have participated in the creation of Documentaries and Animated short films pertaining to gender and social issues. Their research includes, but is not limited to Queer, Trans, and Non-binary representations in the media as a way to challenge the status quo.