McGill Outreach Symposium

September 28, 2023

Join us in creating a community outreach event with a focus on best practices in youth engagement, promoting access to education for all, working with historically underrepresented populations, as well as incorporating equity, diversity, and inclusion in planning and efforts. The ultimate objective of the McGill Outreach Symposium is to create a space where attendees exchange ideas, gain new insights, and collectively work towards building more equitable, diverse, and inclusive communities.

The schedule at a glance

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Sarah Pash

Dr. Sarah Pash holds a PhD in Educational Success for First Nations Students, a Master’s degree in Education focused on Community & Parent Involvement, and two Bachelor degrees as well as certificates at the post-secondary level.

During her earlier career, she served as a secondary teacher, curriculum developer, and consultant with the Cree School Board. From 2015 to 2018, she led the Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute in Oujé-Bougoumou as Executive Director, and currently serves on the Reconciliation Council of the Canadian Museums Association, and the national Indigenous Heritage Circle.

She was elected to the Office of the Chairperson of the Cree School Board for two terms, one in July 2018 and the other in July 2021.


9:30 AM - Opening Remarks

Gillian Nycum, University Registrar and Executive Director

Yolande E. Chan, Dean, Faculty of Management

Ann Deer, Associate Director of Indigenous Initiatives


String Quartet


Justin Almazan

Winner of the Sylva Gelber Foundation Award and the Eleanor Stubley Recording Prize, Justin Almazan is a Canadian-American violist and researcher based in Montréal. As an orchestral musician, Justin has performed with the Seattle and Toronto Symphony orchestras and toured internationally with Montréal and Vancouver Symphony Orchestras.

As a chamber musician, Justin has performed with Kim Kashkashian, Joseph Silverstein, James Buswell, and Philip Setzer of the Emerson String Quartet. He was selected to compete in several international quartet competitions, including Premio Paolo Borciani in Italy and the Trondheim International Chamber Music Competition in Norway. Justin also toured Italy with the Milton String Quartet as part of Fischoff Competition’s Grand Prize .

Currently a doctoral candidate at McGill’s Schulich School of Music, Justin studies with André Roy and Victor Fournelle-Blain. Previously, Justin studied at the Colburn School and Cleveland Institute of Music with Arnold Steinhardt, Paul Coletti, Lynne Ramsey, Jeffrey Irvine, and Robert Vernon.


Aaron Chan

Born in Canada, Aaron was raised in Hong Kong where he was granted a full scholarship at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts’ Junior Program, where he also studied viola as a double major.

Aaron received a Bachelor of Music at the Cleveland Institute of Music and McGill University’s Schulich School of Music, where he studied with Jinjoo Cho, and also minored in Music History. He then continued on to his Masters’s degree at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music.

In 2018, Aaron won the classical concerto competition and chamber competition with his quartet (Quatuor Lafontaine) at McGill, granting him performances at the Pollack Hall and the Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur.

Currently, Aaron is a resident of the Rebanks Family Fellowship and International Performance Residency Program at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto.


Ladusa Chang Ou

Montreal born, Ladusa has won several competitions, including the Canadian National Music Competition’s Grand Prize and laureate of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra competition.

Ladusa has appeared as guest soloist with the Longueuil Symphony Orchestra, I Musici de Montréal Chamber Orchestra, the Montreal Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, Appassionata Chamber Orchestra and les Violons du Roy Chamber Orchestra.

She has worked with many renowned violinists such as Masuko Uchida, Michael Frischenschlager, Pinchas Zukermann, Patty Kopec, Sylvia Rosenberg, James Dunham, David Finckel. and has collaborated with world class musicians such as Martin Beaver, Rafael Rosenfeld, Wolfgang Redik. As a member of the Lorne Quartet, she has won the McGill Chamber Music competition, and has attended Aspen Music Festival's Advanced String Quartet fellowship program, and McGill International String Quartet Academy.

Ladusa is a graduate of McGill's Schulich School of Music and recently completed her master's in violin performance at Yale University's School of Music.


Braden McConnell

Based in Montreal, Branden studied with Amir Eldan at the Oberlin Conservatory, Susan Moses at the Indiana University String Academy, and Richard Aaron at the University of Michigan before attending McGill University to study with Brian Manker. Braden toured Brazil and Argentina with the Indiana University Violin Virtuosi and performed at Carnegie Hall with Gilles Apap.

As a member of the New York String Orchestra Seminar, he performed two more times in Carnegie Hall with Leon Fleisher. Braden earned first prize at the David Popper International Cello Competition in Várpalota, Hungary. He has also won first prizes in the McGill Concerto Competition, the Sigma Alpha Iota Competition and the Cleveland Cello Society Competition.

A National Merit Scholar, Braden received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, triple-majoring in Cello, Mathematics, and Economics and a Master of Music from McGill University. He also has been a part of both the Persée String Quartet and the Myriade String Quartet, and has collaborated with artists including Andrew Wan, Philip Chiu and Jamie Parker.


10:30 AM - Morning Plenary

Communities Speak: Building effective and equitable relationships with under-represented learners 

McGill’s recent student census and other existing research identify Indigenous, Black and learners in/from foster care as being the most underrepresented and underserved in higher education. The invited speakers are community-based advocates who identify among the previously listed groups and who will bring forward their experience and best practices in creating solid bonds with under-represented learners.

Invited speakers are community-based advocates who identify as Indigenous, Black and having lived experience in Quebec's child protection system. 


Meet the speakers

Jayne Malenfant

Jayne Malenfant is an Assistant Professor in Social Justice and Community Education at the Department of Integrated Studies in Education at McGill University. Their work looks at the intersections of the right to education and the right to housing, with a focus on community leadership in research, advocacy, and action.


Michaële Aubourg

Michaële Aubourg is a U2 undergraduate student at McGill University. She is completing a Bachelor of Arts and Science in Cognitive Science. She is interested in philosophy, neuroscience, psychology, linguistics and social sciences. She is currently involved in a research project chaperoned by the BCRC with two other Mcgill Undergraduates where she examines the non-financial factors that could explain the low graduation rate of black students in higher education.

Marcelle Partouche



Drake D'Souza


Kadiata Kaba



13:10 - Kitchen Table Conversation on Indigenous Outreach

Imagine yourself gathered with diverse individuals, in an informal and welcoming environment that will create the perfect space for engaging in conversations on fostering stronger connections with Indigenous communities.  As we explore the subject of Indigenous outreach at McGill, we'll delve into the multifaceted aspects of building meaningful relationships, promoting cultural understanding, and working toward reconciliation. Participants will have the opportunity to share personal experiences, insights, and innovative ideas, fostering an atmosphere of mutual respect and learning.


Meet the speakers

Lynnsey Chartrand

Lynnsey works with Branches as its Advisor for Indigenous initiatives, including the IMPRESS program. In this capacity, she is committed to working collaboratively to increase access and remove barriers to higher education for Indigenous students.

Prior to working with Branches, Lynnsey spent six years doing policy work within the innovation sector, including on issues related to equity, diversity and inclusion within higher education. Lynnsey’s background is in Sociology.

Lynnsey’s work with McGill aims to support the Calls to Action laid out in the Provost’s Task Force on Indigenous Studies and Indigenous Education, as well as those of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission more broadly. Lynnsey was born and raised in Treaty 4 and her father's family is Red River Métis.

Matthew Fidel Coutu-Moya


Thomasina Phillips

Associate Director, Indigenous Student Success, Office of Indigenous Initiatives

Kim Martin

Dean of Indigenous Education at John Abbott College

Geraldine King

Assistant Professor; Senior Advisor, Indigenous Curriculum and Pedagogy (Office of Indigenous Initiatives)

Alex Allard-Gray


13:10 - EDI at McGill: Getting our house in order before inviting others in

The intent of this roundtable is to explore how EDI work at McGill attempts to make the campus accessible and a welcoming space for learners historically under-represented in higher education. Ensuring our house is in order needs to happen in parallel with recent efforts to increase outreach to these learners, otherwise, we risk causing more harm and negatively impacting retention and graduation rates.

Meet the Moderator and Speakers

Nia Fernandez

Inaugural Manager of E-IDEA (Engineering Inclusivity, Diversity, and Equity Advancement)

Brittany Williams

Karrie-Noelle Plohman is an experienced non-profit director and intergroup dialogue facilitator with a long track record of supporting and growing non-profit organizations and programs in the areas of anti-oppressive practice, transformational justice and structural change.

With a career based in Manitoba, she has spent over twenty years playing key leadership roles in the child welfare and disability sectors; Karrie-Noelle has prioritized community and relationship building as a pathway towards radical change, the institutionalizing of equity practices and transformative growth. Karrie-Noelle has placed a high value on volunteer work and serving the community; in 2006 she co-founded a coalition called Connecting Communities which advocated on behalf of Indigenous and Newcomer populations confronting the challenges of HIV/AIDS, in 2012 she was appointed President of the Child and Youth Care Workers’ Association of Manitoba and went on to become a steering committee member and training coordinator for the Braids of Strength Community Network.

Karrie-Noelle values the principles of transparency, community led movement and revolutionary growth through dialogue. Most recently, she served as the Program Director for two restorative justice programs in Winnipeg.

Claudia Flynn

Claudia Flynn is a learning and development specialist with E-IDEA (Engineering, Inclusivity, Diversity, and Equity Advancement) and is a natural-born go-getter with a passion for learning and working with others. She holds a BSc in Chemistry and Mathematics from Dalhousie University and is currently at McGill pursuing a MA in Teaching and Learning, specializing in Science and Technology. From the west coast of Newfoundland, Claudia is a founding member of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq first nations band and draws on her past experiences to shape her views of the future.

Karen Diop

Associate Director, Black Inclusion, Success, and Strategic Initiatives

Karrie-Noelle Plohman

Assistant Dean of Students / Dean’s Lead, Black and Indigenous Flourishing · McGill University – Faculty of Law

13:10 - Making knowledge accessible and research relevant for youth and families

The goal of this discussion is for researcher-practitioners to discuss best practices, obstacles and aspirations for presenting the work and use of academic research to young people in a way that can get them inspired about embarking on a university and possibly a research path. Especially for those whose families and ancestors only knew research as harmful, filled with empty promises and producing myopic public policy. We could also talk about how scholars can make complex information and phenomena both palatable and exciting for young people (i.e. understanding diverse theoretical frameworks, positionality, etc).

Meet the Moderator and Speakers

Gregory Gooding

Gregory Gooding is currently completing his Master’s Degree in Experimental Medicine at McGIll. As a Black Community Program assistant with Branches, he participats in developing, revising and organising the Pick Your Path program. 

Tanya Matthews

Dr. Tanya Matthews is a speech language pathologist with a Ph.D. in communication sciences and disorders from McGill University. Her doctoral research focused on the differential diagnosis and development of interventions to treat children diagnosed with severe speech sound disorders. She was awarded the McGill Third Century postdoctoral research fellowship, supporting her research investigating the relationship between income inequality and reading outcomes. She is conducting an ethnographical study to document the oral language and preliteracy practices in the homes of Black families in Montreal. Her other research goals are to foster reading acquisition by developing e-books that aim to mimic one-on-one parent interactions and to create health literacy tools that are culturally sensitive to the health needs of individuals in Black communities.

Emily Booker

Emily Booker is a settler of mixed European heritage. She grew up and is currently located on the shared unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations (Vancouver, BC). She completed a Bachelor of Arts in 2016 and a Master of Arts in 2020, both from McGill University. Emily has worked in research addressing community-specific issues relating to sexual and gender-based violence through youth-led, arts-based and creative methods with the More Than Words project since 2019.

Carolina Cruz-Vinaccia

Trottier Space Institute Program Administrator for Inreach, Outreach EDI

14:20 Black Outreach: Enhancing Access to University

McGill’s Action plan addressing Anti-Black Racism on campus was launched in 2020. As a predominantly white institute, McGill has to develop concrete strategies to enhance Black student access in order to be consistent with the objectives of this plan. This roundtable will bring together people who have launched and/or work in programs established across the university to enhance black student access to higher education, more precisely to McGill. Amongst the topics related to this topic, the roundtable will focus on the multiple approaches and initiatives taken to enhance McGill's relationship with Black Students and connect actively with Montreal's Black community to allow our campus to reflect our city’s strong demographic diversity.


Meet the Moderator and Speakers

Camille Georges

Camille joined the Branches team as the Black Community Outreach Associate. She is dedicated to facilitating access to higher education for Black youth as part of McGill’s Anti-Black Racism Action Plan. She collaborates with McGill and Montreal Black communities to co-develop mentoring programs that address the systemic challenges faced by Black communities in accessing University.  Outside of McGill, Camille works closely with non-profit organizations on projects that drive social change. Rooted in a community-centered approach, Camille’s experience is in leading and co-creating programs related to the social inclusion of racialized youth with non-profit organizations in Montreal.

Charles Gyan

Dr. Charles Gyan is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at McGill University. Dr. Gyan embodies a harmonious blend of intellectual pursuits and a deep-rooted passion for effecting social policy change, transnational social work practice, and community development. His multifaceted journey has seamlessly interwoven his academic and research interests with a profound dedication to advancing social justice. At the heart of Dr. Gyan's scholarly pursuits lies a conviction that society can be transformed through the pursuit of equity and fairness. His program of research reverberates with a resolute commitment to dismantling systemic barriers and championing the rights of marginalized communities. In every inquiry, he seeks to unveil the invisible threads that perpetuate inequality and inequity, striving to pave a more just and inclusive path forward. Dr. Gyan is the founding chair of Black Access McGill (BAM), an initiative that echoes his unwavering mission to create pathways that empower Black students within the McGill School of Social Work. Under his leadership, BAM has ignited transformative pathways, forged avenues that amplify outreach, recruitment, retention, and the graduation of Black students within the McGill School of Social Work. He was the recipients of the 2023 McGill University’s Award for Equity & Community Building - Academic Staff category.

Ommu-Kulsoom Abdul-Rahman

The Frederick Phillips Summer Program

A B.C.L. & J.D. candidate at McGill University's Faculty of Law. Ommu-Kulsoom holds a joint-honours B.A. in Political Science and Islamic Studies. Experienced and highly skilled in research, document review, drafting reports, social media and branding. Her interests are largely business law, international human rights law, global politics and diplomacy.

Antoine-Samuel Mauffette Alavo

Antoine-Samuel Mauffette Alavo (BA ’07) joined the equity team as Black Student Affairs Liaison. In this role, Antoine-Samuel is responsible for connecting with and supporting Black students across McGill at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, to ensure that their needs and interests are communicated effectively to the University and addressed in a timely and effective manner. Antoine holds an MA in International Studies from Université de Montréal. He has worked as a Liaison Officer and Field Studies Officer with McGill’s Faculty of Arts and Faculty of Science. He also worked as a coordinator for the Côte-des-Neiges Youth Center. Antoine wants to help all Black students reach their full professional and academic potential and connect with the Montreal Black community.


Hendrick Paquette-Ambroise

Director, Outreach & Advocacy, Black Medical Student Association; Mentor, Community Supports Program in Medicine and beneficiary of Black Candidate Pathway


14:20 - EDI in Student-led Outreach groups 

Join a discussion amongst some members of McGill’s student outreach groups. Listen to these students' insights on how they approach outreach, their goals and what gaps in education their group addresses. The work that goes into making cross-campus collaborations work, with other student groups, faculties and admin units as well as the work into building community partnerships. How is impact measured when working in these groups?

Meet the Moderator and Speakers

Victor Sanchez-Lopez

Victor Sanchez Lopez is Associate Director, Student Involvement for Campus Life and Engagement at McGill University. For more than ten years, he has held different positions focused on youth development including Entrepreneurship Program Manager at LOJIQ – Les Offices jeunesse internationaux du Québec, International Trade Advisor for creative industries at the Ministère de l'Économie, de l'Innovation et de l'Énergie and Deputy General Manager at the Junior Chamber of Commerce of Montreal, a volunteer-led non-for-profit organization.

Anna Maria Zubieta

Content A

Jessica Ford

PhD Candidate at McGill University, Graduate Association of the Redpath Museum (GARM) and STEMM Diversity @ McGill


Chidiebere Okarah

Black Student Network (BSN)


Gajanan Velupillai

L.E.X. (Law-Éducation-Connexion) 

14:20 - WORKSHOP: Sociocultural sensitivity working with newcomers and refugees 

Participate in interactive training developed for health professionals to integrate sociocultural sensitivity into working with newcomers and refugees. A simulation-based activity will be facilitated for participants. 

Meet the Facilitator and Co-facilitators


Seeta Ramdass

Seeta Ramdass, Patient &Community Advocate and Associate Director, Office of Social Accountability and Community Engagement (SACE) of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences   

She has over 25 years’ experience in healthcare communications, community, and media relations within the fields of public health and education and is known for her advocacy for socioculturally safe and equitable health care, inclusion and respect for culturally diverse, vulnerable and marginalized populations. 

A graduate from McGill in the field of Clinical Psychology, she has several certifications and diploma courses which include: the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Core Competency course in Gender and Health, the Training Program on Human Factors in Patient Security and Safety, and Prevention of Harassment in the Workplace at APER Santé et Services sociaux. She served as a member of the FMHS Social Accountability and Social Engagement Task Force, the Quebec government Groupe Action Contre le Racisme, and is a member of the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada Standing Committee on Social Accountability. Co-Chair of the MUHC’s Committee for Action on Inclusion, Diversity and Equity, she is known for her role as co-lead researcher and author of a report highlighting systemic racism and discrimination in Quebec. 

Audrey Sika Mvibudulu-Feruzi

Audrey Sika Mvibudulu-Feruzi is the equity, diversity, and inclusion outreach administrator at the Faculty of Dental Medicine and Oral Health Sciences. As a former educator, fellow, policy advocate for English Learners, and a teaching leadership institute cadre member in Nashville, Tennessee, Mvibudulu-Feruzi actively works to promote STEMM disciplines and the dentistry career to underrepresented high school and CEGEP students in Montreal and Quebec. Mvibudulu-Feruzi is passionate about promoting outreach initiatives, inclusivity, minority affairs, diversity, and equity at McGill University and in Montreal

Grant Eshoo

Grant joined the McGill School of Continuing Studies’ new SEED Initiative as the program administrator in March 2023. In this role, he is crafting and implementing the program with a goal to increase access to professional education and career advancement. Previously, he served as a specialist for the Office of Homeless Services of Alameda County in the San Francisco Bay Area where he focused on creating and accessing permanent supportive housing opportunities for the most vulnerable of the county’s thousands of unhoused residents. Prior to working at the county, Grant worked as a specialist for the City of Alameda’s Rent Program where he implemented the rent stabilization ordinance that had been recently enacted by the city council in an attempt to mitigate the rapidly rising cost of rent and increased evictions in the community. Before working in municipal government, Grant administered fair housing programs at several non-profit organizations in the Bay Area, with a mission to ensure that equal opportunity and non-discrimination laws were observed in the rental, sale, advertising, and management of housing.

Questions? Reach out!

If you have any questions or need more information about the McGill Outreach Symposium, feel free to contact us.

McGill University is on land that long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst
Indigenous peoples, including the Haudenosaunee and Anishinabeg nations. We acknowledge
and thank the diverse Indigenous people whose footsteps have marked this territory on which
peoples of the world now gather.
Back to top