Natasha Dennis

MA Russian alumna; Data and Information Specialist, ConnexONTARIO

Natasha Dennis (Kazanecki) BA ’03 (Slavic Studies), MA ’04 (Russian), Data and Information Specialist for ConnexONTARIO, says that it was the small class-sizes and friendly environment that attracted her to the Slavic Studies program during her BA.

Originally, an International Business student, Natasha was required to take an elective language course for her program. She was drawn to Russian because of her Polish/Russian heritage and she found that it in a smaller department it was a different experience than she was used to in a much larger program and so she switched programs.

Growing up in Sarnia and raised in a household with strong European culture and values, Natasha cites working for the Ministry of Immigration as her lifelong goal. She wants to be able to help people who are moving into the country establish a life here; she wants to do something meaningful in her career.

After graduation, Natasha worked for SunLife Financial in the disability department gaining valuable experience before moving on to ConnexONTARIO an organization funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. As Data and Information Specialist, Natasha is responsible for gathering the information on programs and funding regarding the Mental Health Service Information Ontario program (one of three that the company works with). Although she is not working for Immigration, she is one step closer to reaching her final goal.

Natasha says that it is the disciplined nature of the Slavic Studies and Russian programs that have helped her get to where she is now. Both in her BA and MA she was able to develop organization, leadership and communication skills not possible in larger programs, it was because of the program’s small size that she was able to enhance these valuable skills. She will never forget the great support that she received from the faculty, who were always wishing to see her succeed and always there for her.

Natasha encourages students to “ask as many questions as you can because this is a one-of-a-kind experience that you’ll never forget and you’ll miss it once it’s gone!”

Affiliation: 
University of Waterloo

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