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Our Team


Photo of Tamanna Rimi

Dr. Tamanna Rimi

Director of Research, NORDIK Institute

Tamanna Rimi holds a Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies from Iowa State
University, specializing in family finance and financial literacy. She also has a Masters degree in Economics from Tufts University. Her professional experience encompasses the fields of consumer economics, family finance, and community economic development. She currently serves as a part-time faculty member at Algoma University. Dr. Rimi has worked in various capacities, including as a researcher at NORDIK Institute, a research
associate at the South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM), and a lecturer at the
University of Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Dr. Rimi has participated in various community-based research initiatives in Northern Ontario,
including the Sault Ste. Marie Poverty Reduction Indicators project, the Sault Ste. Marie Living
Wage calculation, the Northern Ontario Tourism Recovery and Development project, the
Valuing Ontario Libraries Toolkit project, the Northern Ontario Childcare Services, and the
Homelessness Enumeration project. She has also worked on several research projects in
collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research (USDA
ERS), the Department for International Development (DFID), the World Bank, and the
International Center for Research on Women (ICRW). Dr. Rimi is a passionate advocate for
equitable rural community development. Her passion for building meaningful connections with
people and bringing an equitable, anti-racist, and grassroots lens to rural community
development and social innovation spaces is evident in her work.

In addition to her professional role, Dr. Rimi is a member of the board of directors at the Algoma
Community Foundation, where she actively contributes to the betterment of the community.
Having lived and travelled in various parts of the world, she possesses a unique perspective on
different cultures and ways of life. Dr. Rimi finds the most rewarding aspect of her academic
career in working towards social progress and positively impacting people’s lives. Her long-term
goal is to foster more inclusive and dynamic communities that enable everyone to thrive.

Research Interests: Family finance and wellbeing, community economic development, financial literacy, consumer economics.

Profile of Works

Elaine Ho

Dr. Elaine Ho-Tassone

Director of Operations, NORDIK Institute

Elaine holds a PhD from the Social and Ecological Sustainability (Water) program at the University of Waterloo. She is passionate about building bridges between people and organizations, raising social-ecological awareness, and exploring innovative, sustainable solutions for ecological protection or restoration and community development.  In addition to being our Director of Operations, Elaine is also an Adjunct Professor in the School of Life Sciences and the Environment at Algoma University, and Researcher-in-Residence for Waterlution (a national, youth and water focused non-profit organization).  A recognized water leader in the Algoma Region, she is an appointee to the City of Sault Ste. Marie’s Canada Water Agency Task Force – a role in which she led a series of community engagement discussions around the potential mandate and location for the Agency.  Elaine is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) as of 2014 and is a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps, having trained with Al Gore (former Vice President of the USA) in 2015. 
At the core of Elaine’s project approach is collaboration that results in collective impact, especially in community-based projects. In her experience, collective benefits (e.g., sustainable development) are best achieved by meaningfully working together.  She has collaborated with people from a variety of industries and sectors, e.g., construction, engineering, public education, tourism, natural resource management, renewable energy, academia, government, businesses, non-profit organizations, and community members (Canadian and Indigenous). Elaine has delivered dozens of talks and has designed/delivered workshops in settings that range from small community events and corporate meetings to international conferences. She has provided input on various levels of water policy and research. For example, she contributed to policy briefs at the 2018 High-Level Political Forum and has provided input at the request of Canadian Federal Ministers, the Office of the Auditor General of Ontario, and the planning committee for a national roundtable on community-based water monitoring.  In addition, she has also been a driving force in the growth and development of several social-economic ventures.   In 2019, Elaine’s work was awarded the Our Water – Our Life – Most Valuable Resource Award by the Canadian Water Resources Association. In January 2022, she was recognized with two Algoma Visionary Awards: Environment & Nature, and Professional of the Year.  
Research Interests: Environmental monitoring indicators, water quality monitoring and management, collaborative approaches (e.g., co-management, co-created solutions, community-based participatory action research), bridging Western and Indigenous ways of knowing, and sustainable development (e.g., Sustainable Development Goals).

Research Associates and Affiliated Faculty

Dr. Pedro Antunes

Professor, Department of Biology, Algoma University 
Canada Research Chair for Invasive Species Biology

Dr. Pedro Antunes is the Canada Research Chair for Invasive Species and a Full Professor in the School of Life Sciences & the Environment at Algoma University. He is the Principal Investigator for the Plant and Soil Ecology Research Group and oversees its laboratory on the Sault Ste. Marie campus of Algoma University. He attained his B.Sc. in Biology at the University of Évora and his PhD in Soil Science from the University of Guelph, and is also currently an Adjunct Professor for the Biology Departments at Queen’s University and Wilfrid Laurier University, as well as the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Guelph. Dr. Antunes also previously served as the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Research Chair in Invasive Species Biology from 2010-2015. He has provided supervision and mentorship to dozens of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

Sean Meades

Dr. Sean Meades

Assistant Professor, Department of Community Economic and Social Development, Algoma University

Sean Meades was born in St. John’s, Newfoundland and raised in the small community of Flatrock before relocating to Sault Ste. Marie with his family in 1995.

He completed his B.A. (Hons) in Gender and Women’s Studies and Linguistics at Dalhousie University and M.A. and Ph.D. in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics at York University. His research focuses on political economy of language policy, discourse analysis, cultural and heritage policy, land-use planning and community economic development in northern, rural and Indigenous communities.

After returning to Sault Ste. Marie from Nova Scotia, Meades worked in popular education as an anti-homophobia and safe-sex educator with the Access AIDS Network. He later joined the team at NORDIK first as an intern in 2008. During this time, he took Anishinaabemowin and Anishinaabe Studies courses through Algoma University and Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig, which led to a number of years volunteering and working with Shingwauk Education Trust.

Meades’ community involvement has included work with the LGBT2SQ community, anti-racism and Anishinaabe solidarity causes, cultural policy, and urban sustainability. He is currently the chair of the Cultural Vitality Committee with the City of Sault Ste. Marie and the Social Impact Lead for Algoma Universityʻs involvement in Universities Canadaʻs Social Impact Initiative.

Research Interests: policy studies (particularly cultural policy, language policy, social policy and economic policy), discourse analysis, land-use planning, community economic development, political economy

Profile of Works

Nusrate Aziz

Dr. Nusrate Aziz

Associate Professor, School of Business and Economics, Algoma University

Dr. Nusrate Aziz is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Business and Economics at Algoma
University. He is a Fellow of the Global Labor Organization (GLO), a Member of the
International Migration Research Centre (IMRC), and a Research Associate of the NORDIK
Institute. Dr. Aziz is an Editor of the Journal of Risk and Financial Management (special issue);
an Adjunct Faculty, Bob Gaglardi School of Business and Economics, Thompson Rivers
University; and a Visiting Researcher at the Department of Economics, Lazaridis School of
Business and Economics, Wilfrid Laurier University.
Dr. Aziz’s research interests include labour migration, international and regional trade, monetary
policy, international finance, institutional quality, and environmental policy. He recently
published in the European Journal of Political Economy (Elsevier), IZA Journal of Development
and Migration (Springer), The World Economy (Wiley), Applied Economics (Taylor & Francis),
International Review of Economics and Finance (Elsevier), Tourism Economics (SAGE),
Environmental Economics and Policy Studies (Springer), Defence and Peace Economics (Taylor
& Francis), Journal of Economic Studies (Emerald), among others.
Dr. Aziz’s research was funded by the (i) NOHFC, Mitacs, SSHRC Institutional Grants; (ii)
Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia; (iii) Overseas Research Students Award Scheme
(ORSAS), UK; (iv) University of Birmingham, Multimedia University, Ryerson University and
Algoma University, among others. He was the Principal Consultant for the British and Australian
government-funded and Bangladesh Government Assisted, iDE’s rural development project and
a Resource Person for the World Bank funded ‘Higher Education Quality Enhancement Project’.
Research Interests: Economics of migration, regional and international trade, international
finance, tourism, and environmental policy.

Research Interests: Economics of migration, regional and international trade, international
finance, tourism, and environmental policy.
Website: https://sites.google.com/view/nusrate-aziz

Profile of Works

Gayle Broad

Dr. Gayle Broad

Professor Emerita, Department of Community Economic and Social Development, Algoma University

Dr. Gayle Broad is a Research Associate with NORDIK Institute and Associate Professor Emerita in the Community Economic and Social Development (CESD) program at Algoma University. A lifelong resident of Northern Ontario, lifelong learner and community activist, Gayle’s community-based research has a strong inter-disciplinary focus, with the mentoring and training of students, staff and community researchers as a central objective. Her teaching and research collaborations have afforded Dr. Broad with opportunities to learn from and with Indigenous communities and organizations; rural communities in both the North and South; women’s and low-income communities across Canada; and with labour activists.

Research Interests: Northern, Indigenous and rural community development; the social economy; community engagement and resilience; social, economic and environmental justice; public legal education; and community-based and Indigenous research methods and ethics.

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Dr. Susan Chiblow (Ogamauh annag kwe)

Assistant Professor, School of Environmental Sciences, University of Guelph

Susan (Sue) Chiblow is crane clan from Garden River First Nation. She was raised in Garden River First Nation by a single male parent in a home with 4 brothers and 3 sisters at Bell’s Point. Sue has participated in Water Walks, water ceremonies and water gatherings learning the responsibilities to the waters. She has a strong connection to the lands and waters through Anishinaabek harvesting activities. She has worked extensively with First Nation communities for the last 30 years in environmental related fields and is a volunteer for the Traditional Ecological Knowledge Elders of the Robinson Huron Treaty territory. Sue holds a B.Sc. in Biology with a minor in Chemistry, a M.E.M. in Environmental Management, and a Ph.D. from York University. She is an appointed member of the Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge Subcommittee to the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada and is appointed co-chair on the Indigenous Advisory Committee to the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada. Sue is the recipient of the Vanier Graduate Scholarship and was the Pre-Doctoral Fellowship in American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program at Michigan State University. She is and  Assistant Professor in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Agricultural College, since November, 2021, teaching in the new Bachelors of Indigenous Environmental Science and Practice program.

Sue’s work focuses on “N’bi G’giikendaaswinmin” (water knowledge) exploring humanity’s relationship to N’bi and how improving the relationship can support the well-being for N’bi and all life.

Research Interests: Indigenous knowledge systems and naaknigewin (law), Anishinaabek women’s knowledge, waters, star world, land-based learning, Indigenous environmental management, food sovereignty, Anishinaabek research methodologies, ecosystem approaches.

Website: https://susanchiblow.com  

Elizabeth Garcia

Elizabeth Garcia is Arhuaca from the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, exiled in Canada since 2009. An international humanitarian law specialist with extensive experience as an activist of ethnic feminism and working with people in exile. Just appointed Colombian Ambassador in Bolivia. During the past 3-4 years, Elizabeth has worked with NORDIK Institute on the Truth Commission and the Ethnic Peoples and Peace Global Network projects, and she recently visited Colombia with Algoma University as a member of the Colombian delegation of the Ethnic Commission for Peace and Defense of Territorial Rights.

Aaron Gordon

Dr. Aaron Gordon

Associate Professor, School of Business & Economics, Algoma University

Aaron Gordon is a tenured Associate Professor in the School of Business & Economics at Algoma University, where he has both developed and taught various courses within the Human Resources specialization and the Project Management certificate at both Sault Ste. Marie and Brampton campuses.

Equipped with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) and a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) he also earned a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) and a Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.), with a specialization in Project Management. Prior to accepting a faculty position, Aaron was the Project Management and Integration Lead for Ontario’s north-east region, where he led various healthcare integrations under Ontario’s Ministry of Health. Aaron has offered academic leadership in the development of Algoma University’s Project Management Certificate and currently researching the viability of a Social Cultural and Economic Innovation Centre for Algoma University. He provides advisory services in the areas of HR and Project Management, where he has previously advised teams within government, private, and non-profit, in Canada, USA, Germany, and South-East Asia.

Research Interests: Aaron’s research interests surround leveraging human resource systems through effective project and change management planning. His publications focus the application of project management theory in government context and was invited to speak at the Project Management Institute’s Research and Education Conference in Portland, OR – Topic: The Symbiosis of Project Management and Change Management During Healthcare Integrated Planning: A Case Study of Ontario’s Healthcare System. In addition, Aaron has collaborated and published with renowned project management expert – Dr. Julian Pollack (University of Technology Sydney, Australia).

Professional Affiliations: Project Management Institute, Birkman International, Human Resources Professional Association

Profile of Works

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Dr. Sheila Gruner

Associate Professor, Department of Community Economic and Social Development, Algoma University

Sheila Gruner is an Associate Professor of Community Economic and Social Development (CESD), Algoma University, Adjunct Research Faculty at Carleton University, and Visiting professor in the Faculty of Environmental and Rural Studies, Universidad Javeriana (Colombia). Critical educator, researcher and activist, Dr. Gruner works with women’s, Indigenous, Afro-descendent, rural and environmental organizations in Canada and Colombia, accompanying efforts for the protection of gender, political and territorial rights. Her research draws on critical, participatory, decolonial and institutional ethnography methodologies, to explore issues related to development, violence/conflict and displacement; transitional justice and culturally-based alternatives to development; environmental and land defense movements; as well as gendered and racialized violence. Dr. Gruner currently acts as a Coordinator of Colombian Truth Commission in Ontario, gathering testimonies of victims of armed conflict in exile, and is researching issues related to the implementation of the Ethnic Chapter of the Colombian peace accords. She has published in both English and Spanish.

Vivian Jimenez Estrada

Dr. Vivian Jiménez-Estrada

Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Algoma University

Dr. Jimenez-Estrada is Maya Achi (Guatemala), the EDI Academic Lead (2020-23) and an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology, where she teaches critical and decolonizing sociology. She received her PhD from the University of Toronto and is dedicated to research, teaching, and learning while centering Indigenous knowledges, voices and perspectives in her efforts to decolonize academic and research endeavours. She has worked with Indigenous organizations in Guatemala and Mexico and has led projects that bridge institutional frameworks led by community-centered and Indigenous led needs. She works locally with the Indigenous Women’s Anti-Violence Task Force of Baawaating (Sault Ste. Marie) and internationally with the National Coordinator for Indigenous Women of Mexico (CONAMI) with ally academics on a project called ‘Indigenous Women Storying and Interweaving their Experiences of Gendered and Colonial Violence in Mexico and Canada” funded by SSHRC ($199,980 for 2021-24) Building on a prior SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant (25,000 for 2018-19).
Her research centers the voices and recommendations of Indigenous women and gender-diverse individuals to address gendered and colonial violence.

She also served as Principal Investigator (on behalf of the Indigenous Women’s Anti-Violence Task Force, in collaboration with NORDIK Institute), for the “Restorative Justice: Anti-Racism Youth Diversion Initiative” (2019-2022), funded by Heritage Canada’s Anti-Racism Action Program (2019-22).

Her work has been published in the Canadian Journal of Native Education, the Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, the Canadian Journal of Native Studies, Dialogo: An interdisciplinary studies journal, Abya Yala and the Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies. In addition, she has also co-authored a chapter in Routledge’s Handbook of Central American Governance, in addition to two chapters co-authored with IWAVTF colleagues: Red Dresses on Bare Trees and Feminicide and Global Accumulation: Frontline Struggles to Resist the Violence of Patriarchy and Capitalism and has presented at various academic conferences including the World Indigenous Conference in Education (WIPC-E), the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, the Canadian Latin American Studies Association, Latin American Studies Association and others.

Profile of Works

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Haley MacLeod

Aki Kikinomakaywin Supervisor


Haley is a PhD Candidate in the Natural Resource Management Department at Lakehead University. Haley has earned an Honours Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.; Biology, and Environmental and Resource Sciences) from Trent University, and a Masters of Science (M.Sc.) with a specialization in Cell Biology and Genetics from Trent University. She is expecting to complete her PhD in the spring of 2023.

Haley has a diverse research background with experience in environmental toxicology, cellular and molecular biology, freshwater ecology, and fisheries science. Her current PhD research is focused on answering fundamental questions around the drivers of freshwater fish production, developing more effective tools for monitoring fish populations, and understanding how aquatic contaminants such as microplastics and their chemical additives impact freshwater fish populations. Haley has also developed and led multiple Two-Eyed Seeing hands-on STEM programs for Indigenous elementary and high school youth to improve Indigenous-science knowledge and science literacy.

Research Interests: Freshwater ecosystems, multiple-stressors, conservation and Indigenous-led conservation, aquatic contaminants, climate-change, community-led research, science communication.

Andrea Pinheiro

Prof. Andrea Pinheiro

Associate Professor, Department of Music & Visual Arts, Algoma University

Andrea Pinheiro began her art studies at White Mountain Academy of the Arts in Elliot Lake, Ontario. After traveling west for further studies and to work in artist-run centres in Vancouver, she returned to the Algoma region to teach in Visual Arts at Algoma University. Pinheiro works in photography, print, paint, film, clay, and installation, weaving together elements of documentary and collecting practices with the poetics of embodied experience. Her work is distilled from experience of place, and is intertwined with consideration of the long and complex histories of land, objects, and materials. Referencing historical events, significant sites, or other artworks, the images and materials in Pinheiro’s work become vessels that record her interactions; gestures that oscillate between creative and destructive processes of transformation. Pinheiro has exhibited across Canada and internationally. She has completed numerous national and international residencies. Her work is represented by Cooper Cole Gallery in Toronto and Republic Gallery in Vancouver. She is the Founder of 180 Projects in Sault Ste. Marie, and lives and works along the Goulais River in Searchmont and often Big Basswood Lake.

Research Interests: Art, land-based art, digital art, photography, film and video, ecological art, uranium/nuclear industry – environmental and cultural impacts, invisibility, memory, perception, human legacy, wild ceramics, foraging and collecting, art in community, art and wellbeing

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Dr. Jody Rebek

Associate Professor, School of Business and Economics, Algoma University, Sustainability Researcher and Serial Social Entrepreneur

Dr. Jody-Lynn Rebek has a Ph.D. from Lakehead University (Thunder Bay, ON) and is also a Principal Management Consultant of Vive Strategies Consulting. For more than 25 years, she’s supported transformation efforts that renew the focus, well-being, and culture in organizations and communities. She specializes in engaging diverse stakeholders to develop evidence-based, practical solutions and results-oriented action strategies and plans. She currently leads community-led water sustainability research that engages transformational learning and leadership and works to support Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action. 
Jody has over 30 years of management expertise and a research focus on well-being, conscious leader development, sustainability management, the circular economy, and social innovation. She understands the interdisciplinary perspectives required for efficient and sustainable shifts towards a healthier planet. Together with Dr. Aziz and their research team, they are investigating the blue economy to better understand the region’s narrative around freshwater health and culture.  In addition, she is launching International Sustainability Research in September with communities around the world with the support of internal and external partners, including Dr. Teryn Bruni, Dr. Teni Aruba, James White and Paige Sandie. She is also wrapping up leader development dissemination for AwakenU – a study of leadership with undergraduate students during the COVID-19 pandemicShe was Co-lead in the creation of the local network, Water Wise, which focuses on freshwater education, engagement and action; and Co-founder of Algoma’s zero-waste refillery, Hearterra, a social enterprise that encourages sustainable consumption in the region.
The research and entrepreneurial work she conducts feed into enriching classroom experiences and learning. Currently, she teaches research methods, the Strategy and Policy capstone course, organizational behaviour, training and development and nonprofit management.  She incorporates CityStudio and Collaborative Online Intercultural Learning into her courses. She also provides students with experiential learning opportunities via the Northern Ontario Business Case Competition and Global Mobility experiences.  In the past, with her background in Project Management (PM), she has also supported course development at Sault College and Algoma University in Graduate Certificate programs and has taught for more than two decades in PM. Lastly, while at LSSU she taught similar courses to those mentioned above, in addition to teaching Communications, Management, and Leadership courses. As part of her work there, she launched a ThinkTank, the Superior Case Competition for secondary students, engaged students in leadership posters at the annual Senior Symposium and developed a student-run Cafe connected to the Lukenda School of Business teachings.
She has several accolades including a Global Affairs Faculty Mobility Partnership Grant, SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship, and was a delegate of the Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference (2020-2022), along with gaining the Athena award, Innovative Educator, and Community Builder for the Environment awards.

Research Interests: Motivation, leadership development, entrepreneurship (contemporary management), strategic people services (also known as HR), holistic community development, organizational development and behavior, cultural development, team synergy, ancient wisdom teaching/practices, indigenous teachings, contemplative education, mental models, career development, well-being/holistic health, active and play-based learning, participatory action research, social entrepreneurship (triple “P” – planet, people, profits) and other purpose-based business models, ecological/environmental stewardship especially of the Great Lakes, imagination/innovation/creativity, arts-integrated research and participatory action research.

David Thompson, M.B.A.

Manager, Rural-Agri-Innovation Network, Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre

As the Rural Agri-Innovation Network (RAIN) Manager, David has 12 years of experience developing and growing regional agri-food initiatives within northern Ontario. David is a graduate of the Community Economic & Social Development (CESD) Program from Algoma University and has his Masters of Business Administration (M.B.A.) focusing on Community Economic Development through Cape Breton University. At RAIN, he leads a team to undertake applied research projects and pursue agri-food development initiatives to grow the agri-food sector in northern Ontario.

Website: http://rainalgoma.ca/ 


Dr. Laura Wyper

Dr. Laura Wyper

Assistant Professor, Department of Community Economic and Social Development, Algoma University

Dr. Laura Wyper is an Assistant Professor of Community Economic and Social Development. She holds a Bachelor of Health Sciences in Midwifery from Laurentian University, a Bachelor of Education from Trent University, a Master of Arts in Adult Education and Community Development from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto, and a PhD in Adult Education and Community Development with a specialization in Comparative, International and Development Education from OISE, at the University of Toronto. She has worked in community development for more than twenty-five years in women’s health care, community-based adult education, literacy and basic skills, and post-secondary education. 

Dr. Wyper’s current work includes the Pedagogical Importance & Transformational Learning Impacts of Faculty-led Short Term Mobility Experiences, related to the CESD 3406 Global Skills Mobility course she ran in the fall of 2022 which brought students to Turin, Italy for Slow Food’s Terra Madre biannual event, and is beginning work on an international policy transfer project: Community Reclamation, Revitalization, Regeneration & Resilience: Municipal Policy Transfer and the Applicability of the One Euro House Project in Rural & Northern Ontario.

Research interests: food sovereignty, biodiversity, global activist movements, intercultural learning, translanguaging, equity of access in higher education, community mobilization and resilience.

Dr. Ushnish Sengupta

Assistant Professor, Department of Community Economic and Social Development, Algoma University

Dr. Ushnish Sengupta is an Assistant Professor in Community Economic and Social Development at
Algoma University. He has a PhD from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, an MBA
from the Rotman School of Management, and a degree in Industrial Engineering from the
University of Toronto. Ushnish Sengupta’s PhD focused on data governance theory for social
economy organizations. Dr. Sengupta is an award winning teacher and has taught courses at
post-secondary institutions and at community based organizations. In addition to his academic
experience, he has worked in various private sector, public sector, and social sector
organizations including Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, Cedara Software Corp, Canadian
Broadcasting Corporation, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, OntarioMD, Ontario
Telemedicine Network, and eHealth Ontario. Dr. Sengupta’s research interests include
Nonprofits, Cooperatives, Entrepreneurship, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Open Data,
Diversity, and the Social and Environmental impact of technology projects. He is currently
researching the social and environmental impacts of the adoption of technology in Smart City
projects, and underrepresented groups in social economy organizations.


Profile Avatar of Jude Ortiz

Dr. Jude Ortiz

Research Coordinator


Dr. Jude Ortiz is NORDIK’s Research Coordinator and holds PhD (University of the West of England, UK) in Arts, Education and Creative Industries and has been conducting research with NORDIK and leading its community development initiatives since its inception. Jude also holds a Bachelor of Education (University of Windsor) with a long teaching career in post-secondary education engaging diverse student populations including, Inuit, Indigenous, and settler communities. She is an adjunct professor with the Community Economic and Social development program, having taught since 2012.

Jude’s research with NORDIK began with the Community Resilience of Sault Ste. Marie initiative aimed to increase resilience through strengthening capacity to respond to disruption and transition to place-based knowledge economies by investing in human, natural and cultural capital. Her contributions include: Mapping Northern Creative Spaces (2021); Culture, Creativity and the Arts: Building Resilience in Northern Ontario (2017); Value of Northern Libraries (2017) and Animating the John Rowswell Hub Trail (2015) with the latter two being awarded Innovative Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre’s, Innovative Project of the Year. Currently she is leading the Social Enterprise and Entrepreneurship (SEE) initiative. Jude’s research and development studies include methodologies that create partnership and engagement to cogenerate new and deeper understanding of the issues, participant recruitment, communication and marketing, strategic planning activities, data collection, analysis and report writing, and dissemination.

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Amy Boyer

Communications Manager


Amy is a member of Batchewana First Nation. She is NORDIK’s Communications Manager. She has a BA (Hons) in Political Science from Lakehead University. For over 10 years Amy has worked as a community-based researcher with Indigenous communities throughout the 1850 Robinson Huron Treaty territory.  She has extensive experience in strategic planning, First Nations governance, policy analysis, development, event planning, facilitation, and treaty research. Amy comes to NORDIK from the academic library field with a keen interest in Indigenous literatures and Anishinaabe storytelling protocols.

Tara Burrell

Shingwauk Residential School Site Search Waa-Naadmaaged (Project Manager)

Aniin, Miskwabnia Kwe Inidiznikaaz (Red Sunset Woman), Bawaating Indoonjiba, Haudenosaunee kwe indow, namanche indodem, my English name is Tara Burrell.
I have been acknowledged throughout my career as a resourceful, client-focused, and team-oriented professional who excels at identifying, understanding, defining, and solving social and community problems. I am goal-oriented and have a strong work ethic that prioritizes personal and professional goal attainment through long-term commitment. Extensive experience in leading community engagement and outreach projects and programs, conducting research, managing community and social services, event planning, and partnership building, and am currently in process of completing a Master’s Degree in Social Work.

Amanda Debassige

Community Outreach Facilitator

Amanda Debassige ndiznikaaz. Kizhep Waazakonens niin Anishinaabe nooswin Makwa ndoodem. M’Chigeeng n’doojibaa. Hornepayne n’daaw.

Amanda Debassige (Kizhep Waazakonens) comes from M’Chigeeng First Nation on Manitoulin Island. She has a BA (cum laude) in Anishinaabe Studies and Anishinaabemowin from Algoma University. She is passionate about the Anishinaabe language and culture. She loves teaching and learning new things. Her hobbies include reading, walking, being outdoors and Zumba. She is excited to work with the
community and elders.

Kendall Mitchell

Administrative & Research Assistant


Kendall is a member of Batchewana First Nation and is an administrative and research assistant at NORDIK Institute. She earned her BA (Hons) in Community Economic and Social Development and Political Science from Algoma University where her thesis studied topics including social capital, social enterprises, and their impacts on Indigenous communities in northern Ontario.
Currently, she is working with Dr. Sheila Gruner with The Global Network – Ethnic Peoples and Peace as well as with the Institute for Peoples, Territory, and Peace.

Jennifer Jewell

Community Outreach Facilitator


Jennifer (Nimkii Benashii Kwe) is Ojibway and a member of the Chippewas of Rama First Nation.  She grew up on the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation.  She has received an Office Administration Certificate from Fanshawe College and Supervisory Certification from the Canadian Institute of Management.  Both of her grandmothers and late father were students of Mt. Elgin Indian Residential School .  Her late father also attended the Pine Ridge (Bowmanville) Training School.  Jennifer has experience working with various First Nation Chief and Councils and First Nation organizations throughout her career as an Executive Assistant.  She enjoys hunting, fishing, attending ceremonies and making crafts.  She is looking forward to working with the Site Search Team.

Aden Johnson

Aki Kikinomakaywin Coordinator

My name is Aden Johnson (she/her) and I am a member of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band. I grew up on Robinson-Superior Treaty, land of the Anishinabek and Metis (Thunder Bay). I have recently graduated with my undergraduate degree in Medical Radiation Sciences with a specialization in radiation therapy from McMaster University. I am passionate about helping others and find interest in Indigenous health issues. During my undergrad, I was a part of McMaster’s Indigenous Health Movement club which worked towards educating students and community members on topics regarding Indigenous health with the aim to bring reconciliation to this area.
In my free time, I enjoy cooking (especially trying out new recipes) and being active outdoors including hiking, walking and biking. I am so excited to join the Aki Kikinomakaywin team and expand my knowledge of Indigenous ways of knowing and weaving Western science all while working with Indigenous youth.

Lydia Johnson

Aki Kikinomakaywin Coordinator

Lydia Johnson was born and raised on Robinson-Superior Treaty territory, homelands of the Anishinabek and Fort William First Nation and has mixed settler and Cree ancestry (Lac La Ronge Indian Band). She is a recent Masters of Environmental Studies graduate from the Queen’s University School of Environmental Studies. Her research — in partnership with Grand Council Treaty #3, the IISD-Experimental Lakes Area, and Environment and Climate Change Canada — focused on weaving Indigenous and Western ways of knowing in ecotoxicology and wildlife health with an aim of promoting collaborative and respectful science between Indigenous Peoples and Western-trained non-Indigenous scientists.

Lydia currently sits as a member of the Environment and Climate Change Canada Youth Council offering her an opportunity to be a voice for young people on government decisions related to environmental and climate issues. In her free time, Lydia enjoys almost anything that allows her to connect with nature like camping, foraging, cross-country skiing, and biking. Lydia is so excited to be a part of Aki Kikinomakaywin and use her educational, extracurricular, and personal experiences alongside her passion for youth outreach and engagement.

Zeel Patel

Northern Ontario Labour Market and Immigration Research Assistant


Zeel Patel is a research assistant at the NORDIK Institute, collaborating with Dr. Nusrate Aziz and Dr. Sean Meades on “Northern Ontario Labour Force Retention and Attraction in a Post-Pandemic, Digital Economy”.

Her exposure to a multicultural environment has provided her with a solid understanding of the perspectives and expectations of immigrants from diverse ethnic backgrounds who choose to settle in a country like Canada.

She holds a B.Sc. (honors) in Psychology and recently graduated from Algoma University. Zeel specializes in qualitative and quantitative research analysis, with a focus on “the work-life balance and well-being of female married high school teachers through Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA)” and the “Influence of social media usage and framing of posts on empathetic behavior.” 


Cynthia Tribe

Cynthia Tribe

Community Outreach Facilitator


Cynthia Tribe is a member of Kettle & Stony Point First Nation in southern Ontario. She is from the turtle clan and a proud Anishnabwe of the Three Fires Confederacy. Cynthia is the daughter of a survivor that attended “The Mushole” in Brantford, and her grandfather on her father’s side attended “ Mount Elgin” on the Chippewa of the Thames First Nation. Cynthia has worked with First Nation Communities for most of her career in the field of social services and health which allowed her to build trusting relationships with those that she served. Cynthia is extremely excited to work with our community and most importantly our elders.

Xuechen (James) Yuan (he/him/il)

Gendered and Colonial Violence Research Assistant


Xuechen (James) Yuan (he/him/il) is a community research assistant to Dr. Vivian Jiménez-Estrada at the NORDIK Institute, working with Indigenous women on land-based and gendered violence on a SSHRC funded project.. He received an MEd from Lakehead University and a B.Sc. in Psychology and Sociology from Trent University. He is also a member of the editorial team of Journal of Canadian Association of Curriculum Studies (JCACS).

Xuechen’s research interests are mainly reflected in his lived experiences. Having grown up in China and emigrated to Canada, he is interested in Confucian-heritage-culture international students’ experiences of acculturation and identity (re-)formation. His master’s thesis uses a quantitative approach to challenge the notion of cultural determination in a globalized world founded upon a fixed cultural narrative, reducing a multicultural population with universal minds to relevant stereotypical boxes.

Xuechen is an advocate of equity and interculturality. Through adventure and community involvement, he hopes to broaden his worldview and continue his journey of advocacy for social justice.

Board of Directors 

Pedro Antunes (Chair)

Lauren Doxtater


Steven McCoy

Mitch Case



Krista Bissiallon

Dawn White

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Algoma University

Algoma University

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Annual Reports

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