Tanya De Mello

Tanya De Mello is the third recipient of the                                           Faculty of Arts Young Alumni Award. Tanya De MelloThe award recognizes Arts young alumni who have made outstanding contributions to their professional field and in community and public service. Tanya received a BA in Joint Honours Political Science and Economics, Applied Studies Co-op. While at Waterloo, she was actively involved in student life, serving on various committees, tutoring, and working as a residence don. She has received numerous awards for her academic and leadership excellence, including the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship for graduate studies at Princeton, where she received a Dual Masters in Public Affairs and Urban and Regional Planning in 2008, and the Princeton University International Service Award. In 2011, Tanya received her Integrated BCL/LLB degree at McGill University, where she was awarded the David Litner, Q.C. Scholarship for significant contribution to the law faculty at McGill, as well as the McGill Scarlet Key Award for outstanding leadership.

Tanya’s professional career began at the Ontario Power Generation in 2002, until she assumed the role of senior consultant with Deloitte and Touche LLP in Toronto in 2004, where she managed Spanish and English projects in the U.S., Mexico, and Spain.

While pursuing further academic studies, Tanya took some time to commit to humanitarian aid. In 2006, she travelled to Geneva, Switzerland, as an analyst for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to assist in developing the Lebanon Crisis Return Plan for 600,000 displaced people. She then travelled to Senegal with the United Nations World Food Program, and in 2007, to Colombia as a field officer with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Tanya continues to contribute to her alma mater. In November 2011, she was a guest speaker at the Waterloo TEDx conference, on being a catalyst for change.

“I believe that no matter what work you do, you can find a way throughout your career and in your private time, to give back to the community,” she says.

In 2009, Tanya presented as a panel speaker for the International Trade Specialization, and in 2008, she returned as the keynote speaker at a conference on leadership and community engagement. As well, she has been an executive representative on uWaterloo’s counselling services advisory committee since 1997.

Tanya remains in contact with faculty and staff at Waterloo and says, “People like professors Larry Smith, Maria Sillato, and Bill Moul, shaped so much of who I became as an adult at Waterloo; I think of these amazing professors all the time. But it was my academic advisors, like Christine White Woods and Susan Andrews, who calmed me in times of panic and helped me navigate my academic planning...when I think of Waterloo, I think of them.”

In the summer of 2010, Tanya visited South Africa, and also spent several weeks in Nambia, Zambia, and Botswana. “I am happy to be back in Toronto again, near family and friends, after many years,” she says.

In August 2011, Tanya began her law career with Osler law firm in Toronto.