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Alan Shepard Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Award: 2014 recipients

The Office of the Assistant Vice President/Vice Provost Equity, Diversity and Inclusion congratulates all the recipients and nominees, and thanks all the nominators for making this an excellent year. All of the nominations were inspiring and contained many of the qualities we value at Ryerson.

Transitioning at Ryerson Team

Transitioning at Ryerson TeamThe ‘Transitioning at Ryerson’ Team includes staff from Human Resources, EDI and Positive Space. Thanks to this team, Ryerson now has a website with resources for members of the Ryerson community who want to learn more about trans inclusion. The team also developed processes to facilitate the logistics of an employee transition including templates for communicating name and/or pronoun changes to colleagues and a checklist for updating records with various university departments. Trans 101 trainings are being developed and will be launched in Spring 2014. The groundbreaking work of the ‘Transitioning at Ryerson’ team has made Ryerson a welcoming environment for transgender employees and a national leader in trans inclusion.

Darrell Bowden, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Jessa Chupik, Human Resources, Emily MacIntosh, Human Resources, Laurie Stewart, Human Resources; Positive Space, Myra Lefkowitz, Human Resources, Ben Peto, Director of Administration, FCAD (nominator), Stephan Tang, The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education; Positive Space, and Carey Barker, Human Resources.


Heather Willis
Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Heather Willis

Heather Willis is committed to improving the lives and perception of persons with disabilities. Heather was hired as Ryerson’s first Accessibility Coordinator and is the co-chair of Access Ryerson. In these roles her goal is advancing equity, diversity and inclusion for persons with disabilities at Ryerson, making the university a leader in accessibility. But Heather’s commitments go beyond her job in the office. She is constantly involved in broad range of activities involving students, faculty and staff in the Ryerson community. In the broader Toronto community, Heather constantly strives to increase the awareness of barriers to persons with disabilities and to remove those barriers so that individuals can achieve their potential. For Heather, equity, diversity and inclusion for persons with disabilities isn’t just a job, it’s a lifestyle.




Marwa Ahmed
BASc candidate, Occupational and Public Health - Public Health and Safety, Faculty of Community Services

Marwa Ahmed

Marwa Ahmed, a 4th year undergrad student in Public Health and Safety, has a passion for educating others about human rights practices. As a Peer trainer in Human Rights Services, she helps organize training programs that tackle various human right topics known as the IMPACT U sessions delivered to the Ryerson community (faculty, staff and students). Furthermore, Marwa demonstrates her commitment and passion for serving the underrepresented populations through her leadership involvement in the Cultural Awareness Committee, which brings awareness to the various diverse cultures represented on campus, the Black History Awareness Committee that aims to promote and educate the successes and contributions of Black Canadians at Ryerson and various aspects of the social world and lastly, the Access Ryerson Communication working group that aims to take action in identifying the many barriers associated with communications while providing tools in creating accessible forms of communication.


Nika Zolfaghari
MASc candidate, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Yeates School of Graduate Studies

Nika Zolfaghari

Nika Zolfaghari has worked hard to turn Women in Engineering (WIE) into more than just a volunteering opportunity. Over the past two years, she has taken the initiative to bring together women studying engineering at Ryerson. She started a WIE Mentoring Initiative, in coordination with the Tri-Mentoring Program, where junior female engineering students are paired with senior female students to share their experiences. Also, Nika introduced “membership” to the society. Members receive exclusive invites to certain events and membership also furthers the feeling of being part of a community. As soon as membership was introduced, over 150 students signed up. In addition, she continues to coordinate outreach opportunities, such as OnWIE GoEng Girl. Since Nika assumed this role, WIE’s visibility has expanded across the university and event attendance has quadrupled, showing that her dedication to WIE has made students want to actively become part of the community.

Past recipients