Profiles

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Victoria Atabakhsh

PhD student, Aging, Health and Well-being

Victoria's research focuses on the care partnership between adult daughters and their older adult parents. She is interested in exploring intergenerational cohabitation and the way that it influences daily life, relationships and leisure.

Haley Baxter

PhD student, Recreation and Leisure Studies

Influenced by her own experiences as a community-based female coach, Haley Baxter's research investigates the experiences of women and girls as volunteers in the community sport context. 

Lisbeth Berbary

Associate Professor

Approved master's and doctoral dissertation supervisor

Research interests: Liberatory social theorypractices (critical, feminist, critical race, Black radicalisms, abolition, poststructural, queer, decolonizing/anti-colonialist, post humanist); Qualitative methodologies and decolonizing critiques of inquiry as invasion; Sociopolitical mobilizing/organizing/transformation with/in community; Creative Analytic Practices/Reverse research that extracts from the university towards community liberation

Jessica Bondy

Director of Housing Services, House of Friendship

After 10 years working at the University of Waterloo supporting incoming undergraduate students, Jessica Bondy, MA Recreation and Leisure Studies alumnus was looking for a career change where she would be able to give back to the larger community. Now, working as Housing Director at the House of Friendship, she's able to do just that. In March of 2020, she would face her biggest challenge yet - how to find shelter for people experiencing homelessess in Waterloo region during a global pandemic.

Chris Bourne

Rehabilitation counselor and athlete role model

An accomplished wheelchair racing triathlete – gold, two silver and a bronze medal in world championships – and avid water skier, Bourne has spent decades promoting a physically active lifestyle for people with all types of disability.

Karin Browne

MA (coursework) student, Recreation and Leisure Studies

Growing up on a Caribbean Island, it was always interesting to Karin Browne that - for a place surrounded by water - it was apparent to her that few people were competent swimmers. Inspired by this and her love for swimming, Karin's Master of Arts Recreation and Leisure Studies work and research involves increasing access to aquatic programs for BIPOC populations.

Dawn Carr

Executive Director, Canadian Parks Council

Dawn Carr works with the Canadian Parks Council to protect, enhance and promote the multitude of Canada's national parks. As their Executive Director, she oversees the projects that are dedicated to showcasing the beautiful landscapes that our environment has to offer and even brings her office to work remotely in Georgian Bay during the warmer seasons. Dawn completed both her undergraduate degree and MA in Recreation and Leisure Studies at the University of Waterloo, which is where she first discovered her passion for parks and protected areas.

Victor Cheng

President and CEO of iLogic

Don’t let Victor Cheng’s quiet demeanour and humble spirit fool you. He has an intense passion and drive and understands that owning your own business is something one should never take lightly. President and CEO of iLogic, a Toronto-based reusable asset management software company, Cheng knows that he is ultimately responsible for his own fate and that the decisions he makes affect the livelihood of his people.

Dorothy Dowling

Senior Vice President, Marketing and Sales, Best Western International

Named one of the world’s top 50 CMOs by Forbes, Waterloo caught up with Recreation and Leisure Studies alumna Dorothy Dowling to chat about her role as senior vice president marketing and sales for Best Western International, the award, and her advice for aspiring marketing gurus.

Dylan Flannery

Supervisor of Operations, Central Park

Working for the City of Waterloo's Parks and Trails division as an undergrad inspired Dylan Flannery to apply to the MA Recreation and Leisure Studies program at the University of Waterloo. Within months of graduating, he landed an amazing position as Supervisor of Operations at New York City's world famous Central Park. He picked up and moved to a city he had never even visited, and has never looked back.

Andrea Gardi

Director of Projects and Operations, Regional Tourism Organization 4 Inc

A​ndrea Gardi is working in her dream job as the Director of Projects and Operations at Regional Tourism Organization 4 Inc. Part of her role is to expand tourism in the local areas of Waterloo, Stratford, and many other towns and cities through coordinating digital/physical hygiene projects that improve visitor experience. As a world leading institution in recreation and leisure, Andrea knew that coming to the University of Waterloo to pursue a Master's degree would be the best way for her to prepare for a successful career in tourism. 

Bryan S. R. Grimwood

Associate Professor, Associate Chair for Graduate Studies

Approved master's and doctoral dissertation supervisor

Research interests: geographies of nature-based travel; tourism, outdoor recreation, and leisure; tourism ethics and environmental responsibility; arctic tourism, livelihoods, and special places; community-based participatory research; experiential education and outdoor learning

Taylor Kurta

PhD student, Aging, Health and Well-being

Growing up, Taylor Kurta witnessed the age-related stigma her grandparents faced in the health care system. Connecting her passion for music with a drive to improve care for older adults, Taylor's PhD Aging, Health and Well-being research aims to use collaborative song writing with people living with dementia as a tool to expose and challenge the harmful consequence of dementia-stigma.

Kimberly J. Lopez

Assistant Professor

Approved master's and doctoral dissertation supervisor

Research interests: narrative inquiry; participatory action research; community engagement; qualitative methods and methodologies; critical social theories; caring and care work; leisure, wellness, well-being, and health; inclusive/therapeutic recreation and leisure; leisure, aging, and later life; difference and marginalization; digital storytelling, body mapping, photo-elicitation and photo voice, digital, arts-based methods and representation

Andrew McDonald

Research and communication analyst, Ontario parks

Andrew McDonald (MA Recreation and Leisure Studies '19) developed the first Ontario Parks smartphone application for the Pinery Provincial Park. Now working full-time with Ontario Parks, Andrew is making an impact in a career that he loves.

Ami Richter BA ’01

Co-founder, Lug

One morning, after less than a year in business, the travel accessory entrepreneur picked up her office phone to learn that one of her company’s products had caught the eye of Oprah and was going to be featured in an upcoming issue of O Magazine.

Arany Sivasubramaniam

PhD student, Aging, Health and Well-being

Arany Sivasubramaniam has always had a passion for health care. For as long as she can remember being able to help people has always been something that she cares about. Now enrolled as a PhD Aging, Health and Well-being student her research is looking at how to abolish the medical industrial complex by looking at the experiences of the BIPOC community.

Joseph Todd

PhD student, Recreation and Leisure Studies

The world of video games is evolving. Not only has gaming become a massively popular spectator sport, even universities are growing their varsity rosters with e-sports teams. Joe Todd's PhD Recreation and Leisure studies research examines the capacity of online gaming to create community and friendships that can transcend the online space.

Bronwen Valtchanov

PhD student, Recreation and Leisure Studies

Supporting a close friend who was going through a separation and divorce in her late 20s inspired Bronwen Valtchanov to find out more about research and resources for women in similar situations. Bronwen discovered that there were very few social supports and academic literature on the subject. It became the focus of her PhD Recreation and Leisure Studies research.

Teaching interests: therapeutic recreation, mental health, facilitation techniques, inclusion and accessibility, wellness and well-being

Crystal-Jade (CJ) Cargill

Recreation and Leisure Studies master's thesis student

Recreation and Leisure Studies master's thesis student CJ Cargill shares her research interests focused on the impact of unprocessed grief on racialized health-care workers.

Marcus Thomas Pereira

Recreation and Leisure Studies master's thesis student

Recreation and Leisure Studies master's thesis student Marcus Thomas Pereira focuses on gentrification and its implications for Toronto’s Little Jamaica neighbourhood.