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Alumnae 2021

Bana Hafian

My name is Bana Hafian and I am a first year student in the Life Sciences program at the University of Toronto. I am looking forward to specializing in either Neuroscience or Comparative Physiology next year. During my high school career I have acquired over 13 awards for Highest Course Average. Also, during the past two years I have gained valuable experience through volunteering with multiple organizations including the NCP Youth Program, Frontline Program CVC, and PMC Youth Program, and Climate Crisis Connect CCC. Joining EmpowHer would greatly support my self-development and professional development. This program would provide me with a support system with peers who, in many ways, are in the same position as myself. It would also help me gain valuable experience and knowledge in areas that interest me such as event planning, graphic design and marketing. In which, EmpowHer provides its members with many opportunities to learn, improve and thrive. Lastly, in my free time I enjoy reading youth fiction and historical fiction novels (I'm waiting for Children of Virtue and Vengeance sequel to come out), watching YouTube videos and trying out new baking recipes and foods.

Punit Chauhan

Punit Chauhan is a high school student in the Peel District School Board, in her free time she enjoys watching movies, listening to music and reading books. Punit was born in India and immigrated to Canada at the age of 6, she wants to pursue a career in the medical field. Punit actively volunteers at various community organizations in Peel and is paasionate about gender equality and mental health. She joined EmpowHer to attend workshops and learn skills that can be applied later on in her career.

Afrah Abdul Hakeem

Afrah Abdul Hakeem is currently a grade 11 student at Holy Name of Mary C.S.S. She was born in Saudi Arabia and immigrated to Canada with her family when she was 6. Moving to a new country provided her with more opportunities to grow yet it came with its own complications. Regardless of the cultural differences, Afrah worked hard to call Canada her home while keeping in touch with her Indian roots. Though the move to a new country was definitely a big change, Afrah decided to work hard and pursue her goals one step at a time. She wishes to work in the medical field more specifically with eyes because she believes our eyesight is the best way to view the world and without it, life would be darker. Her drive to help others and to make the world a brighter space for all is seen through her volunteer work.

Her interests lie in many places allowing her to passionately give back through multiple opportunities such as her school community where she is involved with the student council, social justice club, science club, math club. Her commitment to these clubs allows her to take exec positions and make decisions along with her peers. Afrah also commits herself to activities outside of schools such as the youth program LEaD and the 'GirlSystem' mentorship program. Overall Afrah enjoys being a part of her community and spreading positivity as she works towards her ambition.

Mishti Patel

Mishti Patel (she/her) is currently a Grade 10 student attending a great high school in the Peel District School Board. She was born in Canada, but follows the Hindu religion. Her first language is Gujarati, but over time and because of family, friends and school, she can now fully speak and understand English, understand some French and understand Hindi. Mishti's dream is to attend McMaster University, and study Business. She has great cooperation skills and listening skills, and she loves to meet new people. Her interests are music, reading, sports and drawing. She loves to play soccer and badminton.

She loves to spread positivity around her, and wants to advocate gender equality and feminism. Mishti joined EmpowHer to learn more about the community, and so that she can help empower other women.

Khadeeja Binte Khalid

My name is Khadeeja Khalid, I'm currently attending Wilfrid Laurier University for a BA in Criminology and then I plan to pursue a career with the RCMP. I work part-time at Mcdonald's and plan to volunteer with Royal Candian Legion as well as EmpowHer to broaden my experience towards my career. I am a passionate writer and so far have written and presented two of my pieces at Peel Talks. I also enjoy fashion and one of my favourite hobbies is planning outfits for occasions and daily wear. Volunteering has always been a fun and learning experience for me and I cannot wait to meet more interesting people through EmpowHer.

Kashini Bulluck

Kashini Bulluck (she/ her) is currently a grade 12 student at Jean Augustine SS. She was born in Mauritius and recently immigrated to Canada with her family. Kashini's first language is French and over the years, she has taken the role of tutoring students who have difficulties in French at school. Kashini's dream is to be a Harvard student and pursue the aviation field to become a pilot. She has great communication skills, she's outgoing and she likes meeting new people. Her interests are photography, airplanes, music, and sports. Kashini plays volleyball and soccer and also likes to swim. She is passionate about advocating for feminism and gender equality, and empowerment. Kashini is an active member of the community as she volunteered with many organizations such as LEaD and CVC in the past, and continues to do so. Kashini joined EmpowerHer to empower other women in her community, to gain life-skills, and to develop connections.

Hira Abid

Hira Abid is currently a grade 11 high school student attending Holy Name of Mary C.S.S. She was born in Pakistan and immigrated to Canada at the age of 6 with her family. Through the struggles of language and communication barriers, Hira pushed to improve herself at a young age and therefore, is always eager to learn new things, take initiatives, and seek useful resources. Hira wishes to advance from societal norms, conservative mindsets, and break the barriers of gender inequality to show women in a light of power and success. This is one of the main reasons she has joined the female youth program, EmpowHer. In the next few years, Hira intends to develop her communication, problem-solving, and leadership skills by volunteering with various organizations within her community. In the past, she has volunteered with her school's social justice club in which she gained event planning experience through various food drives. She has also volunteered for a market event in which she partook in planning and organizing a marketplace, using organization and creative event planning skills. Hira is interested in pursuing a career in the medical field and has taken initiative in gaining experience and mentoring in terms of her education. Many of Hira's additional interests lie in the creative spectrum. She has a high aptitude and skill for digital art. Moreover, Hira loves traveling and dreams to tour the world someday as she is a fan of meeting new people, exploring places, cultures, languages, and religions. Overall, Hira is a person of passion, dedication, and commitment that strives to push herself everyday.

Keonna Harriot

My name is Keonna Harriott and I am a grade 12 student attending St Edmund Campion Secondary School. I like planning events so you can imagine how excited I am to pursue a career in the Hospitality and Tourism Management field. The Empowher program has been a big help to me to better the skills that I am already working on. With that being said, I like to keep myself organized and manage my time wisely.

Avani Kalicharran

Avani Kalicharran (she/her) is in her first year at X university studying Fashion Communications at The Creative School. Avani has worked with EmpowHER in numerous ways, most recently through planning and leading a town hall for the 2021 federal elections. She is passionate about advocating for gender equity and women empowerment. As well as learning about the systematic structures in place (i.e policies, programs) in order to drive effective changes. Avani is an active member in her community as she volunteers and works with many organizations, such as EmpowHER, that lead and encourage change through youth lead initiatives. "We move forward when we recognize how resilient and striking the women around us are" -Rupi Kaur

Nabeeha Ahmed

Nabeeha Ahmed is an eleventh-grade high school student in the Peel District School Board. From a young age, she developed an interest in photography, video editing, and digital design. To this day, Nabeeha is following this passion and pursues photography as a side hobby. She is a great leader, communicator, and a peoples' person. Nabeeha joined the EmpowHer team in hopes of creating meaningful connections, working on her transferable skills, and becoming a better person to give back to her community.

Nusarath Reddyapalle

Hi, I am Nusarath, I have done my graduation in Computer Science Engineering from India. Volunteering has been a key part of my life since high school. I enjoy meeting new people and learning from their experiences. I am passionate about investing my time in different sectors within the community, always exploring something new to learn. My hobbies are making videos, editing videos. I use my skills in my own YouTube channel to create content videos, wherein I regularly post food recipes, DIY crafts and home decors and general household tips and tricks.

Sarah Siregar

My name is Sarah Siregar. I am an extraverted youth who had once provided my service at Connections Source as a Customer Service representative. After receiving a firsthand experience working in the company, I realized the importance of honesty and transparency towards the people I was accommodating with and it was through EmpowHer that I could make that work in the field of nonprofit organization.

I'm passionate about the arts, particularly the works of literature which derive from my love of books and my education. I have provided assistance on event management for the Hart House Literary and Library Committee and at the Canadian Writers Summit. Additionally, I dabble in the world of historical fiction and speculative fiction; one work titled It could've gone worse was published on Social Distanziner in December 2020.

Alisha Thapar

Hi, my name is Alisha. I was born and raised in the GTA. I am currently in my second last year of high school. I wish to pursue a career in the business industry as it is my dream to be a successful entrepreneur alongside the greats. I have decided to join EmpowHer to gain beneficial skills such as transferable skills from workshops.

Serenity McLarty

Serenity McLarty is a recent graduate from Carleton University, with a degree in both Law and Human Rights. During her time at Carleton, Serenity was a Dean's List recipient for four consecutive years as well as an active member of the Golden Key International Honour Society. Moreover, at Carleton, Serenity served as a mentor for incoming students to help make the transition to university smoother. She mostly mentored first-generation students along with fellow law and human rights majors. Apart from her academic background, Serenity has been in the customer service industry for seven years. Her professional work experience varies from the restaurant industry, retail, as well as government. Serenity's favourite part of customer service is being able to interact and form connections with individuals from all walks of life. She believes it is rewarding to help and service others, even if it is in a small way. In her spare time, Serenity loves to spend time with friends, family, and her Shih Tzu Colby. Serenity loves trying new foods, so restaurants are her favourite place for socializing with those close to her. She also enjoys playing sports and going on road trips! Serenity joined EmpowHer to gain the necessary skills to succeed both personally and professionally. She also seeks to develop meaningful connections with other empowering women within the Peel Region.

Sabina Gautam

Sabina is a passionate, and hardworking university student pursuing her study in Bachelor of Nursing degree. She migrated to Canada in 2017 from Nepal. She has a passion of helping others, so she utilizes her free time volunteering and giving back to community that she is part of. She has worked with various age group and loves to interact with children, teens, and older population. She has worked as a summer camp leader in region of peel for few years. Currently, she is working as a Vaccine clerk in Covid-19 vaccination campaign. She hopes to contribute more to society when her scope of practice expands after she graduates university and become a RN. Being a part of EmpowHER has given her endless opportunities to develop life changing skills like discipline, communication, and leadership. It has also allowed her to network with people/mentor who she adore. She feels privileged to be a part of such an uplifting, motivating and supporting organization.

Reeba Abid

Hi my name is Reeba Abid. I am a 15 year old grade 10 student from Holy Name of Mary Catholic Secondary School. I was born in Pakistan and came to Canada when I was 6-7 years old. Ever since my life has made drastic changes. It was hard for me to adjust in a new place, new environment and with new people. Not knowing the new language and how to communicate with other kids at school I had a lack of self confidence. Although it took time for me to adjust to this new environment I took the initiative to bring myself through and learned how to be confident in myself and in what I believe. I joined many clubs at school to let out my competitive side and to show others that I am just as capable as they are to achieve my goals. Gaining more confidence in myself and proving to myself my capabilities is one of the many reasons I joined EmpowerHer. I believe EmpowerHer for me is a source to grow in my personal and academic life, being able to learn about so many opportunities and new things I can do going further into my work life. My interests and hobbies include traveling and gardening. Although communication is not my greatest skill I am really interested in traveling and meeting new people to learn more about the outside world. My goal is to improve myself and my skills as I further move on in life and joining EmpowerHer for me is moving one step closer in doing so.

Rukhaiya Fareed

Hi, my name is Rukhaiya and I am currently in grade 11. I am the youngest of four sisters. Some of my hobbies and interests include editing videos, photography, and running my small business. I would love to volunteer to not only help others but to also gain hands on experience. I am a very hardworking and goal-oriented. In the future I plan on pursuing a career in the medical field. I hope to play a role in making a difference in our society.

Tarman Sohi

Tarman Sohi is currently a high school senior in the Peel Region. She grew up as a timid kid, which limited her from accomplishing her goals, but through volunteering has found her confidence in her abilities. She discovered her love for volunteering through EmpowHER, which has led her to become an active member of her community. She has volunteered for Ontario Health Coalition, Create Change Foundation, HOPCP Charity and much more. She hopes to get into a biomedical program this year while continuing to pursue volunteer work in different sectors. Through this year, she has developed her professionalism, critical thinking and interpersonal skills, which she will carry into her future experiences. Tarman's Linkedin is ( for more information about her professional experiences!

Christiana Ifeoluwa Odeleye

Hello, I am Ifeoluwa. I have always had a passion for volunteering and uplifting women. So when the opportunity to volunteer for this organization came up I was ecstatic. Their work is invaluable. I am 15 and currently attending high school. I enjoy singing and playing my ukulele whenever I have the time. Hanging out with friends is also something that makes me smile. But I think my greatest passion is music. I am excited to start volunteering and can't wait to expand my knowledge and become an important part of this team.

Anupriya Sharma

My name is Anupriya Sharma, and I am a high school student starting 11th grade this fall. I am very eager to take part in the many opportunities that the new school year will bring. My most favourite courses at school are French as well as Science, which happen to be the two that I excel at the most. When I don't have my nose buried in a book, I enjoy cooking and baking, going on long walks, as well as spending time with my family. I am very passionate about giving back to my community in whatever way possible as it has provided so much for me and my family. My biggest aspiration is to pursue a career in medicine and one day be in such a position that I am hopefully able to inspire young students to follow their dreams!

Vera Lynn Petkovski

It is the serendipity of Vera's (she/they) life and resiliency that has enabled her to embark on a scenic journey of personal development and a deeper understanding of the human experience. Currently, Vera is an undergraduate student in the Child and Youth Care program at Ryerson University, and is completing a double minor in Criminology and Disability Studies. She is passionate about youth justice, youth advocacy, and interdependency, as her practice is based on a process of learning and unlearning, self-reflection, and deconstructing societal notions which continue to perpetuate social injustices. As Vera's background is interdisciplinary, rooted in Media/Creative Arts and Tourism, she creatively integrates these knowledges within her current fields of study and community work, which allows her to engage with children and youth in an unconventional, yet meaningful and therapeutic way. As a wounded healer who continues to experience mental illness, Vera perseveres in her everyday life, while inspiring others to look within and activate their own power and untapped potential.

Kainat Faizi

My name is Kainat Faizi, I'm 16 years old and I'm in grade 11 at high school. I was born and raised in Afghanistan and I was 10 years old when I moved to Turkey. When I was 14 years old I came to Canada. I love to help people and volunteer.

Mahnoor Abid

Mahnoor Is a high school student who will soon be starting grade 11. She is a socially active person who likes to be surrounded by people. She is energetic and lively and wants to explore the possibilities of living a highly purposeful life. She has an interest in science, art, photography, video editing, and computer technology and hopes to continue her passions in these fields of education. She is an artist at heart and loves to create unique artworks to inspire everyone around her. She aspires to live through experiences that will develop her as a person and contribute to the goodness of the community. Mahnoor enjoys giving back to her community and wants to impact the lives of others in a positive way Most of all, she loves helping people and doing what she can to bring happiness and ease into their lives. Recently, she has joined EmpowHer and looks forward to attaining amazing new skills and opportunities that will allow her to grow.

Bahar Wakili

Hi, my name is Bahar Wakili, a grade 11 student at Harold M. Brathwaite Secondary School. Although I am still in high school and do not have a diverse professional history, I hope to be a lawyer in the future. I am very passionate about law and politics and hope to put that passion to use in the future. Being so interested in our justice system and politics and possessing so many opinions yet having no real power to make change is very frustrating. I want to be a lawyer so I can make an impact, even if it is trivial. I am very excited to be a part of EmpowHer to the volunteering experience and the skills I need for the future. I am elated to be a part of such a supportive community.

Reem Halawi

My name is Reem Halawi; I have BA Degree in Journalism from Lebanon where I immigrated from. I love to volunteer and invest my time in different sectors within the community, always eager to learn something new. Communication and building connections are always a life altering experience. I enjoy reading, writing, listening and playing music.

Nadia Huaco

I am Nadia Huaco a first-generation immigrant from Peru, I have lived in Canada for 18 years now. I studied at Ryerson University in the Languages and Intercultural Relations program, with a major in Spanish and a concentration in Organizational Behavior in the workplace. In my free time I like to sing, dance, write and create videos that express how I feel at the moment or shed light on any important issues/ concepts. I've had the privilege to study abroad in Spain and work as a research intern in Brazil back in 2019, I've also volunteered with Ryerson to be a Student rep many times. Through those experiences I've found the value in global learning, learning to work with a community and most importantly to give back. I don't believe I am done with my academic career just yet, I am taking time to explore different paths and I believe EmpowHer will help put me on the right track. I look forward to the new chapter of my life, connecting with like-minded motivated women like myself and having new experiences that will enhance my knowledge and develop new skills!

Juana Singh

My name is Juana Singh, I am 17 years old, and a grade 11 high school student. My pronouns are she/her. My hobbies/interests include reading, math, playing with my dog, sleeping, and watching movies. I believe that we must always finish what we start, that is why I never leave a task unfinished. I am an ambitious and determined individual. I am extremely passionate about equality (gender and race). I wish to leave the world a better place through my endeavors. I believe that in order to create a better world (and strive for a utopian reality), we must always be kind.

Akshita Kumar

My name is Akshita and I am a grade ten student. I am passionate about volunteering, developing new skills, and giving back to my community. I also have an interest in the language of French, and I hope to continue learning French after high school. In the future, I aspire to be a physician or a specialist in the medical field. For fun, I like to play badminton and watch drama movies.

Zaynab Syed

Hi, my name is Zaynab Syed, and I'm a Grade 11 student at Harold M. Brathwaite SS. I was born and raised in the GTA, and I love travelling with my family! I enjoy mathematical subjects and even prefer them over the sciences. I used to be a big bookworm: however, now I read books very occasionally. Some of my current hobbies include swimming, skating, and spending time with friends. I also love graphic design and am looking forward to improving my skills in some of the workshops here at EmpowHer. I have very little work and volunteer experience and am very excited to get started and join the community at EmpowHer!

Fabiah Mahmood

Hi, my name is Fabiah. I will be completing my degree for Bachelor of Science, majoring in Biology, at the University of Waterloo. I love teaching and mentoring students; I have worked as a Teaching Assistant in summer camp and at my university to help students become more confident and tackle their challenges. I found I also like research when working as a RA for a risk factor study for women at risk for ovarian and breast cancer. Talking to these women and learning more about them has provided me with the motivation to try new things and get out of my comfort zone. Through EmpowHer I hope to gain more relevant skills, strengthen my resume and gain the experience I need to build my career.

Jyoti Kalsi

Jyoti is a student and advocate who knows all too well the barriers that women and minorities face in the world. She is currently studying political science and geography at the University of Toronto and has been avid in her journey studying politics at the local, provincial, national and international level. During her free time, she likes to go on long walks, especially nature walks and likes to learn more about the world through meeting new people and learning more about the injustices that are occurring. She has volunteered in many different organizations that span from female empowerment, climate change and social justice. The skills she has learned will one day help her in the career in social justice and the legal profession. She loves to be a part of change and loves to see women empowered in politics and in the legal profession.

Jasmeen Kaur Bhuller

My name is Jasmeen Kaur Bhuller and I'm from Brampton, Ontario, Canada. I'm 16 years old and am currently a second year at Holy Name Of May C.S.S. I enjoy learning as much as I can about the people around me, being more open about myself, and would like to reach out of my comfort zone. When I'm older, I would love to pursue a career related to the social sciences and food and nutrition to do my part and help others around me! I enjoy studying Japanese and Japanese literature in my time and hope to visit the country one day! I would love to close the gap between women having fewer opportunities to excel in academics and be paid less in the workforce. I want to raise awareness-especially towards the younger generations to explain what goes on in society, what is right and wrong, and how we can use our knowledge and understanding to impact the world and make it a better place!

Aliza Khan

My name is Aliza Khan, and I am now in grade 11 at the age of 16. Reading, creating stories, physical activities, baking, listening to music, and spending time with my friends and family, as well as meeting new people, are some of my favorite pastimes. In the future, I'd like to pursue a career in business or law because those are sectors in which I'm both enthusiastic and skilled, and in which I've had a long-standing interest. I am a high school student that enjoys having opportunities to give back to the community while also having the opportunity to work on myself and meet new people and creating a bigger network for myself. EmpowHer was a great way for me to grow as a person and acquire a variety of skills that I will be able to utilize in the future. I also like raising awareness among individuals not just at my school but also in my community. I like being busy, which means that I am able to devote a significant amount of time to clubs, school, events, programs, and volunteer work. I joined EmpowHer to assist not only increase my education but also raise awareness about the challenges that face our community.

Paloma DSilva

Experienced bilingual developer analyst with experience in the environmental and technology industries with a proven track record of troubleshooting and solving Development inquiries. I am always seeking to learn new programming languages to be able to build stuff and keep up with the latest tech trends. I am particularly interested in web design, accessibility and user experience. Female, visible minority, and seeking to make a difference in the community. 3+ years' work experience in IT.

Alisha Gandhi

My name is Alisha Gandhi, and I am a grade 11 student attending Chinguacousy Secondary School as well as a part of the regional Sci-Tech Program and Health and Wellness SHSM program! This is my first year on this council, and I am so ecstatic to see what EmpowHer will be able to offer this upcoming year! I believe that EmpowHer is an amazing opportunity to help me look outside my personal bubble and explore societal issues to which I otherwise would have been ignorant. It will allow me to openly discuss taboo topics and help raise awareness to how the different roles, race, and gender Play it it can truly broaden my perspective. In my free time, I enjoy to volunteer especially in the healthcare industry, going on long walks and discovering new places, and watching Netflix :) My friends would describe me as kind, approachable, and compassionate towards others (believe me, I asked)! Through EmpowHer, I hope to empower and inspire females all around the world to reach their goals and provide opportunities that help them thrive.

Urja Patel

My name is Urja and I am currently a grade 11 student. I study at David Suzuki and honestly, I love it. Some of my passions and hobbies are visual arts, including painting and sketching. I also make music and sing. I am very passionate about my body and mental health as well so I always try to stay active which leads to me playing and taking part in many school activities and sports, although my favorite sport to play would be track and field and to watch would be hockey. I am an animal lover and would gladly take care of your pet :) My main goal in life is to be happy, being successful means enjoying the things I do and making it my career which would help me achieve my goal step by step. My main career field which I am interested in moving forwards in is criminal law. What inspired me to move forwards in law was my law class, knowing that I could help change many lives motivated me to pursue further into the career as well. I decided to join EmpowHER to empower women. In our society many females are afraid to go reach out for their dreams due to society standards and I'm her to give support and confidence to them to help them preach their goals.

Juana Singh

I joined Empowher in order to improve my communication skills. I have always believed that effective communication is key to success, and if we wish to bring about change, we must be able to translate our ideas into words. Empowher provides me with the resources and training to excel. From the workshops, meetings, assignments, and networking opportunities, there are various manners by which you are challenged to step out of your comfort zone. Not only has Empowher given me the opportunity to enhance my skill set, but it has provided me the chance to give back to the community. Empowher's initiatives are aimed at uplifting and empowering womxn, helping them pave the paths of their tomorrow. I am extremely grateful for the connections I have built in this program, the Empowher family, and to help support Empowher's mission.

Romaan Waseem

Romaan Waseem is currently a grade 10 student who attends Holy Name of Mary C.S.S. She was born in Pakistan, and her family immigrated to Canada when she was 3 years old. Romaan is interested in building her leadership skills, helping others in any way she can, and giving back to her community! She has several interests, as her goal is to keep herself busy during the day, but what she enjoys doing the most are artistic activities. She has a passion for art and usually spends her time sketching realistic portraits of others or painting landscapes. She is also crazy about playing sports and has previously joined several sports teams in her school, like the basketball, cricket, soccer, and volleyball team. Other hobbies that Romaan has include reading fictional and mysterious books and writing short stories. Moreover, Romaan takes her school very seriously and has always remained an honours student.

Volunteering is a big part of Romaan's life as she wants to become active within her community and also gain different experiences. She has volunteered multiple times with the City of Brampton where she has helped to organize many events for the community. One specific event that she volunteered for was a Christmas event called Breakfast with Santa, where she helped to prepare and distribute all kinds of meals and drinks. She has also volunteered at schools where she has assisted students with completing their schoolwork.

Romaan also has very high hopes for her future. She adores all of the sciences and is hoping to pursue a career in the medical field. She wants to go into this career path because the various organs and body systems fascinate her. Furthermore, she is specifically looking into becoming a cardiologist, neurologist, or family physician. Whichever job she ends up having within the medical field, Romaan just hopes that she can help relieve the sufferings of others by providing them with medical treatment.

Recently, Romaan has chosen to become a part of EmpowHer, and through this organization, she is hoping that she can work to improve her leadership and transferrable skills. She also hopes to gain more experience, make larger contributions to her community and help to make a difference, as well as discover new things about herself!