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Alumni: Giving U of T more reasons to be proud


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Stories of our alumni and the communities they support

The Full Circle: From Athlete to Coach to Leader
Rhonda Vanderfluit (B.Ed. 1997) takes pride in seeing people go on to become leaders. It comes from within for the athletes she coaches at the synchronized swimming clubs and the young people participating in the Youth Parliament of BC Alumni Society.

Changing What It Means to be Physically-disabled
Dr. Mahadeo Sukhai (PhD 2007 Medical Biophysics) defended his doctorate degree at 27 and is now one of the youngest fellow cancer researcher at Princess Margaret Hospital. Beside science, his life and his work focus on creating opportunities for physically-impaired youth.

Pets and Humans You Can Count On!
With her therapy dogs, Gael Ross (Dip 1966 Physical & Occupational Therapy) comforts seniors, helps individuals regain their motility, and educates the community about driving safety.

Paying it forward
Vinitha Gengatharan (BA 1999) helps those who need it the most, both, in her Scarborough hometown, and the Sri Lankan community she emigrated from.

Living a happier life by reducing overconsumption
Melanie Duhamel (BASc 2000 New, PhD 2005 ) is dedicated to environmental progress. She works in environmental engineering research, volunteers for an organization that educates on overconsumption, and started a scholarship for environmental engineering undergrads.

Creating a World of Positivity with Positive Psychology
Lisa Sansom (MBA 2000 Rotman) pioneers the use of Positive Psychology to help improve the levels of well-being of Canadians through her work with the Canadian Positive Psychology Association.

Building a foundation to serve the professional community
Valdemar Nickel (BA 1995 Urban Geography & MScPI 1997 Urban Planning) fosters personal and professional development as a leader and mentor in his industry.

Contributing through leadership in medicine, health policy, and governance
Allan Grill (MD 2000 Faculty of Medicine) leverages his leadership skills and public health expertise to serve Canadians beyond his community-based family medicine practice.

Musicologist turned secret spy saves 3,228 Syrian Jews
Working with smugglers, bribing government officials, and developing an underground communication network with rabbis in the Syrian Jewish community, Judy Feld Carr (Mus.Bac., Mus.M. 1968 Musicology & Music Education) secretly saved thousands of lives.

Math, money sense and magic!
Combining his professional skills in engineering and marketing with his talents as a magician, Rick Ross (BASc 1966 and MASc 1967 Industrial Engineering) fosters the interest of young people in business, mathematics and engineering.

Putting the spotlight on youth
Mike Branch (BASc 2003 Computer Engineering) fulfills his passion for acting and his belief in volunteering by helping at-risk youth develop self esteem through productions with Streetwise Actors.

Established entrepreneur and social investor
John Maggirias (BSc 2002 New College, DDS 2009) is an entrepreneur and a social investor who looks for ways to empower others. He is a strong advocate for the mental health movement in Canada.

Fostering youths’ personal enrichment and growth through sport
Alf Scharlach (BA 1995 Trinity), a Cressy Award winner, continues to contribute to his community through coaching and convening a series of rugby tournaments, and facilitating international excursions for high school students on a voluntary basis.

From volunteering to lifelong health advocacy
Kathy Sparrow (BPHE 1999) chose to become involved with Special Olympics and the Community Advisory Group with the Rouge Valley Health System to bring awareness to issues surrounding healthcare.

Making an impact on a Little Sister and her family
Tanya Jarvis (BASc 1997+PEY Chemical Engineering) knows that a weekly visit can leave a lasting impression but there are 300 kids in Peel alone that are waiting for a mentor at Big Brothers Big Sisters. They need you.

Finding lifetime balance by volunteering with health organizations
Ted Wheatley (BASc 1985 Geological Engineering & MBA 1987 Faculty of Management) believes that charitable organizations benefit from the skills that he got from higher education at UofT and is motivated by a duty to give back.

Building capacity through education in developing countries
The ultimate alumnus with a lifetime of community and military service, Major John Stewart (BA 1995 Woodsworth) sets a great example of how to make a positive impact on lives at home and abroad.

Science for everyone!
Mayrose Salvador (PhD 2007 Physical Chemistry) started Pueblo Science to increase science literacy in low resource Canadian communities and remote areas across the developing world.

Passionate about helping Canadian soldiers and their families
Blake Goldring (BA 1981 Victoria) is co-founder and chairman of Canada Company, a group committed to bringing the business community together to help our men and women in the Canadian Forces.

A tireless advocate in the fight against type-1 diabetes
Judy Goldring (BA 1988 Victoria) is a tireless advocate for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation supporting breakthrough research to help families suffering from juvenile diabetes.

These dentists enjoy giving to the community that takes care of them
Johanna Schaeffer (HBSc 1997 New) & Harold Isaacs (HBSc 1996 Woodsworth) support business & community groups that positively impact health & opportunity for young people in the community.

The Lawyer Who Loves To Give Back
David Bronskill (BA 1996 Trinity; MA 1997; LLB 2000) gives generously of his time and energy to many initiatives around Toronto, reminding us how addictive community engagement can be.

Facilitating Civic Engagement and Policy Change in the City of Toronto
Jayme Turney (BA 2010 Victoria) lends his time and talents to the Toronto Public Space Initiative which conducts public policy research, works closely with Toronto City Council to facilitate policy change, and promotes increased civil engagement at the community level.

The Art of Living and Breathing Volunteerism
Vinyse Barber’s (B.Com 1999 Rotman) passion for volunteering has led to a career change, new job opportunities, and deep satisfaction in life.

Learning About Ourselves Through Real World Action
Mark Franklin (M.Ed. 1998 OISE) partners his narrative career management program with Compañeros Inc. to promote self-discovery through enriching travel and community development in Nicaragua.

Women and children living “Free from fear. Free from threat.”
Gabriella Simak (HBA 2010 Woodsworth) volunteers at became involved with The Redwood to understand how a community can come together to support women and children living free of abuse.

Helping Children to “Give Dreams Flight”
Tarik Kadri (MSW 2012 Factor-Inwentash) discusses Paper Kite Children’s Foundation, the charity he founded to provide basic necessities to children living in orphanages in Bihar, India

Volunteering to share in the journey to recovery
Anne Kerubo (HBA 1998, New College) is easing the way for Ontario Shores’ patients and acting as an ambassador for greater acceptance and understanding of mental illness.

Fighting for environmental protection across Canada
Gideon Forman (BA 1987 Victoria) led a campaign to ban lawn pesticides across Ontario, leading to the passage of the most health-protective legislation of its kind in North America.

Canada’s first micro-giving fund for grassroots environmental projects
Ruth Richardson (BA Honours 1992 University College) started Small Change Fund because she believes in the power of grassroots action.

Working to develop an HIV strategy in Haiti
Sara Dolcetti (BASc 2009 Industrial Engineering) volunteered her consulting skills in developing a nationwide health care costing exercise in Haiti; a project sponsored by the Clinton Health Access Initiative.

An International Student Becomes a Community Builder
Premal Brahmbhatt’s (HBSc. 2010 Woodsworth College) built a personal brand that set him apart by choosing to help others and make a difference in his community.

Achieving balance and wellness through traditional cultural practices
Marjory Noganosh (BA 1968 University College) was a widely respected Ojibway elder. She spent the better part of her life doing healing work as a practitioner of traditional Anishinawbe ceremonies.

People Helping People at the Fort York Food Bank
Ravi Sreedharan (MBA 2004 Rotman) is Chair of the Board for the Fort York Food Bank, where it’s all about people, giving and sharing what they can to improve the circumstances of their neighbours.

Project Waza
Leeat Weinstock (MBA 2006 Rotman) is helping children in Tanzania attend school by providing financial support for their education.

Athletes for Africa
A group of U of T alumni and sports fans teamed up to play in the annual Athletes for Africa Rock the Pitch tournament against local celebrities and in the process helped support African skill building initiatives.

DiverseCity: The Greater Toronto Leadership Project
Paul Nagpal (MBA 2006 Rotman) is involved with DiverseCity to make sure that the community of which he is a part is doing well.

Etobicoke Suzuki (School of) Music
Celeste Francis Esteves (BA 2003, HBA 2006 Woodsworth) believes that starting close to home is the most authentic way to give back to the community.

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