Our Team


Sean Meades

Dr. Sean Meades

Assistant Professor, Department of Community Economic and Social Development

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

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Affiliated Faculty

Nusrate Aziz

Dr. Nusrate Aziz

Associate Professor, School of Business and Economics

Dr. Aziz is an Associate Professor of Economics in the School of Business and Economics at Algoma University. He is also a Fellow of the Global Labor Organization (GLO) and a Member of the International Migration Research Centre (IMRC). He received his PhD (International Economics & Finance) and MSc (Development Economics) from the University of Birmingham. He has published extensively in leading Economics publications, including World Economy, Applied Economics, International Review of Economics and Finance, Tourism Economics, Defense and Peace Economics, and the Review of Development Economics, among others. His current research interests include labour migration, international trade, international finance, institutional quality, and economic development. He is currently leading two projects on Northern Ontario labour market and Northern Ontario tourism development (funded by SSHRC Institutional Grants).

Research Interests: International trade, international finance, migration, tourism & climate change.

Website: https://sites.google.com/view/nusrate-aziz

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Aaron Gordon

Dr. Aaron Gordon

Associate Professor, School of Business & Economics

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

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Sheila Gruner

Dr. Sheila Gruner

Associate Professor, Department of Community Economic and Social Development

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

Dr. Jiménez-Estrada is an Associate Professor and Chair in Sociology at Algoma University. Her recent 3-year appointment as Academic Lead, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion compliments her activist research work locally with the Indigenous Women’s Anti-Violence Task Force, and internationally with the National Coordinator for Indigenous Women in Mexico (CONAMI). She holds a Bachelor and a Masters of Environmental Studies (BES) (MES) from York University. She received her PhD from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. She specializes in global hemispheric Indigenous studies and currently on Indigenous responses to gendered and colonial violence. Her published work has appeared in the Canadian Journal of Native Education, the Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, and the Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Her latest chapter will appear in the anthology Red Dresses on Bare Trees: Stories and Reflections on Indigenous Murdered and Missing Women and Girls.

Research Interests: Global and Hemispheric Indigenous Studies; Indigenous and Qualitative Research Methodologies; Decolonizing, Anti-racist, and Indigenous Theories and Discourse; Indigenous Feminisms; Education, Race, Indigeneity and Racialization.

Andrea Pinheiro

Prof. Andrea Pinheiro

Associate Professor, Department of Music & Visual Arts

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

Assistant Professor, School of Business & Economics

I am a teacher, mother, outdoor enthusiast/athlete, adventurer, traveller, artist, musician, and entrepreneur. I have always loved to explore my curiosities and find ways of strengthening inspiration in my life and others. I have been drawn to being more conscious and focused in the moment to the wonders in the moment. As Assistant Professor at Algoma University, in the School of Business and Economics (Sault Ste. Marie, ON), I explore ways to strengthen entrepreneurship, teams, strategy and strength-based cultural developments that can enhance our work lives. I am also a Leadership Consultant at Vive Strategies Consulting. I have enjoyed engaging others in transformation efforts that renew focus, positive growth and results-oriented action plans for individuals, organizations and communities. With a Ph.D. in Educational Studies in Leadership and Policy (Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, ON), I was introduced to the importance of narratives, and arts-integrated approaches in research. I explored intrapersonal development in my research, looking to investigate ways we can heighten consciousness or self-awareness via contemplative and meditative inquiry. I am also a serial social entrepreneur, who has led, supported and/or launched many enterprises over the past twenty years.

I received a Canada Graduate Scholarship (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada) to complete my Masters of Arts degree in Leadership and Training (Royal Roads University, Victoria, BC). Some accolades include: the Athena award, the Innovative Educator of the Year award, and delegate of the Governor General’s Candian Leadership Conference 2020.

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.

Dr. Laura Wyper

Dr. Laura Wyper

Assistant Professor, Department of Community Economic and Social Development

Dr. Laura Wyper is an Assistant Professor of Community Economic and Social Development and 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 research interests include food sovereignty, translanguaging, equity of access in higher education, and community mobilization.

Research Associates

Gayle Broad

Dr. Gayle Broad

Professor Emerita, Department of Community Economic and Social Development

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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Sue Chiblow (Ogamauh annag kwe)

PhD Candidate; Assistant Professor, 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, and a M.E.M. in Environmental Management. 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 has recently been successful in securing a tenure-track appointment to the faculty of the University of Guelph at the rank of Assistant Professor in the School of Environmental Sciences, Ontario Agricultural College, effective November 1, 2021. She will be part of the new Bachelors of Indigenous Environmental Science and Practice program.

Sue is a PhD candidate at York University expecting to complete her PhD in the winter of 2021. As a PhD candidate, her 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  

Elaine Ho

Dr. Elaine Ho-Tassone

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Elaine is a PhD Candidate, Social and Ecological Sustainability (Water), at 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. 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. In addition, she has also been a driving force in the growth and development of several social-economic ventures. 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. Current volunteer positions include sitting on the Board of Directors at the Long Point Biosphere Reserve and representing North America (Canadian representative) on the global Action for Sustainable Development Facilitation Committee. She also continues to be involved in various volunteer initiatives which she previously began in a remote Maasai community in Kenya, including a women’s bead cooperative. A new Research Associate, Elaine’s first project with NORDIK aims to develop a community-led, two-eyed seeing biomonitoring pilot program for water quality in partnership with Garden River First Nation, supported by six other organizations (including Algoma University), by spring 2022.

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).

Website: https://www.granderiestudy.ca

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Haley MacLeod

PhD Candidate 

Haley is a PhD Candidate in the Natural Resource Management department at Lakehead University. Haley has earned an Honours Bachelor of Science (BSc; Biology, and Environmental and Resource Sciences) from Trent University, and a Masters of Science (MSc) 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 


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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.

Zachary Low

Community Based Justice Project Coordinator


Zachary has been hired as the Community-Based Justice Project Coordinator. Zachary is working with the Indigenous Women’s Anti-Violence Task Force and the Indigenous-led Baawaating Justice Committee on the Restorative Justice: Anti-Racism Youth Diversion Initiative. This initiative opens a dialogue on a Community-Based Justice Model for urban Indigenous youth in Baawaating who may be interacting with the criminal justice system. This project aims to systematize a local approach to restorative justice and increase the capacity of all service providers in the justice system to contribute to more equitable outcomes for Indigenous communities.

Zachary has a BA in Community Economic and Social Development from Algoma University and has knowledge and experience in community development having worked in various sectors across the Algoma region in areas such as: adult education, Early Years child care services, Indigenous youth anti-racism programming, social enterprise and entrepreneurship, food security, strategic planning, marketing and communications, philanthropy, mental health and addictions, etc. Zachary has also worked in the nonprofit sector for many years, including 20 plus years involvement in the arts and culture sector.

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Samantha Harris (Waawaaskooneh)

Indigenous Youth Justice Liaison


Samantha Harris ndiznikaaz, Waawaaskooneh niin anishinaabe nooswim. Makwa, jijaak miinwaa waawaashkesh doodemak. Wiikwemikoong n’doojibaa. Baawting n’daaw.

Samantha Harris (Waawaaskooneh) comes from the bear, crane and deer family clans, and comes from Wiikwemikoong Unceded Territory on Manitoulin Island. She is the Indigenous Youth Justice Liaison with the Restorative Justice: Anti-Racism Youth Diversion Initiative, in collaboration with the Indigenous Women’s Anti-Violence Task Force. She graduated with honours from Police Foundations at Northern College, and brings extensive knowledge of the family court system and youth restorative justice. She plans to attend Algoma University for Law and Justice to learn and continue to work on Indigenous issues within the criminal justice system and reconnect youth culturally to reintegrate into the community.

Elizabeth MacMillan

Elizabeth MacMillan

Outreach and Engagement, Social Enterprise & Entrepreneurship


Elizabeth is an Algoma University Alumni, with a B.A. in Community Economics and Social Development and in 2019 awarded Algoma Public Health’s Public Health Champion title. She is an active member of the Sault Ste Marie community, where she was born and raised. Her unique passion for food sustainability led her to volunteer in various educational gardening projects throughout Algoma, and in 2012 found the ‘Algoma Educational Gardening Committee’. Elizabeth recently co-founded ‘Sharing Knowledge Interactive Learning Local Sustainability’, also known as ‘SKILLS’, which is a non-profit organization that is focused on building an urban food industry.

Since 2016, Elizabeth has supported a number NORDIK research and community development initiatives including Hornepayne Strategic Plan: Planning for a Resilient Community, NORDIK’s Social Return on Investment, and the Social Enterprise and Entrepreneurship (SEE). Her current position focuses on engaging underserved women entrepreneurs and developing programming tailored to meet their needs.

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Andrea Diaz

Jessie Wright

Jessie Wright

Communications & Marketing Assistant


Jessie Wright is the Communications and Marketing Assistant for NORDIK Institute’s upcoming podcast series, The Packsack Project, aiming to promote resilience in Northern Ontario. Jessie is a recent graduate of the Broadcast Radio program at Conestoga College, where she found a passion for auditory storytelling, digital content creation, and networking. She practices these skills as an intern at NORDIK Institute by editing and recording audio content, creating episode drafts through research, organizing interviews and recording schedules, and managing social media accounts to market The Packsack Project. As a newcomer to Sault Ste. Marie, Jessie has used her experience with NORDIK to learn about the area and make lasting connections with those she meets.

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Graham Slater

Research Assistant


Graham Slater is a fourth year student in Law and Political Science at Algoma University. He is assisting Dr. Nustrate Aziz’ research on tourism and the labour market in Northern Ontario.

Board of Directors

Pedro Antunes (Chair)

Stephanie Boyer

Lauren Doxtater

Mitch Case

William Hollingshead

David Thompson

Dawn White

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