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John Abraham

Academic Dean, Continuing Lecturer and Manager of International Work Experience for the INDEV and MDP programs

John Abraham spent most of his childhood and youth living across four countries on three continents. It was here that his interdisciplinary academic journey began. He completed an undergraduate degree in Religious Studies at the University of Calgary, followed by a Masters in Philosophy degree in Modern South Asian Studies at the University of Cambridge, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Politics and International Relations from Royal Holloway, University of London. Subsequently, he undertook two postdoctoral fellowships: one on Community Based Conservation at St. Mary’s University (Halifax, Nova Scotia) and the second on Social Innovation at the University of Waterloo (WISIR), before serving as Assistant Professor of Global Studies and Social Entrepreneurship at Wilfrid Laurier University between 2016-19. Following the completion of that appointment, he joined the International Development Program at United College.

His current research takes an interdisciplinary focus, engaging with issues of religion, political economy, environment, social innovation, and decolonization. His recent and forthcoming journal publications have addressed issues of social innovation, the intellectual history of international development, and the global political economy. Two of his longer-term research projects include a book-length study of the political economy of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party in India and a decolonial analysis of the life and work of the English activist and clergyman Charles Freer Andrews. He actively engages with the international development professional community and serves as a Board member of both the Mennonite Central Committee, Ontario and the Ontario Council for International Cooperation.

Jacob Crane

Indigenous Entrepreneurship Program Manager

Starting his career selling bubble gum at pow wows at the age of nine, Jacob Crane describes himself as a lifelong entrepreneur. Coming to United College from Tsuut'ina Nation in Alberta, Jacob brings two decades of experience and a passion for supporting Indigenous communities in Canada and the United States. Most recently, Jacob worked as the Executive Director for the SLC Air Protectors, a non-profit organization dedicated to serving Indigenous people in Utah. He also co-founded and runs a media production company called The Arrow’s Journey, which showcases the stories of successful small Indigenous youth-led businesses and non-profits across the United States. He has been recognized with several awards and grants for his efforts in supporting Indigenous communities. 

In his role, Jacob looks forward to making a positive impact on the economic futures of Indigenous youth and empowering them to take charge of their lives by gaining the critical skills that come from being entrepreneurial. 

Tania Del Matto

Director of GreenHouse

Tania Del Matto has supported the launch of hundreds of ventures and has nurtured the entrepreneurial mindset of thousands of undergraduate and graduate students. Prior to her role at United College, she co-founded and operated a social venture with a national mandate to help organizations adopt more sustainable consumption and production practices. Tania is currently pursuing a PhD in Higher Education from the University of Toronto at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Her research focuses on how students assimilate the knowledge, skills and values gained through their social entrepreneurship education into their personal and professional identities and how graduates perceive their social entrepreneurship education in relation to their career choices.

Rob Greene

Graduate Student Representative

Rob Greene is a mature student in 3rd year Planning at the University of Waterloo, specializing in Land Development Planning and Geographic Information Systems.

Erin Hogan

GreenHouse Programs Manager

Erin Hogan is the Programs Manager at GreenHouse, a social impact incubator at the University of Waterloo. In her role, Erin manages many of GreenHouse’s relationships with faculty and instructors, external partners, and student participants. She has an interest in experiential and place-based education and youth engagement. Erin graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Knowledge Integration and a specialization in Collaborative Design. She also holds a certificate in Adventure Tourism from the Westcoast Adventure College.


Sami Iskandar

Manager, Marketing and Communication

Sami Iskandar is a graduate of Schulich school of business, and a master graduate of business, entrepreneurship, and technology from the faculty of Engineering at the university of Waterloo. Sami has long held the beliefs that it is one’s duty and privilege to serve and help others, and in so doing come to frame the best course of action forward.

Benjamin Ross Makela

Director of Flint Hub

Benjamin grew up in a family-owned business that served the remote Indigenous communities of northwestern Ontario. This lifestyle cultivated his entrepreneurial mindset at an early age and instilled the need for more Indigenous-led businesses to serve our Indigenous communities.

Staying near to the family business of building material supply, he majored in Architectural Technology & Construction Management although realigned himself closer to his true passion for entrepreneurship after taking a Master’s degree focused innovation and entrepreneurship at the Smith School of Business at Queen's University where he deepened his knowledge of venture creation.

Since graduating, Benjamin has been working with a Toronto-based venture studio, working alongside seasoned entrepreneurs forming ideas into viable businesses. This experience has given him a wealth of knowledge and insight which he is excited to share with his fellow entrepreneurs at Flint Hub.

Peter Pillsworth

Facilities Manager

Growing up in the small town of Englehart in Northern Ontario, Peter is the longest-standing staff member at St. Paul’s, having been with the College since 2009.

Stephen Prentice

Director, Student Life

Growing up in the small town of  Newcastle, Ontario, Steve has been a part of the UWaterloo community since starting his undergraduate degree, majoring in Anthropology and Religious Studies. Coming to campus accompanied by his twin brother, he lived at Ron Eydt Village and enjoyed the excitement of a large residence.

Malak Sameh

GreenHouse Student Engagement Coordinator

Malak is a recent graduate of Global Studies with a specialization in International Development and an option in Social Entrepreneurship from Wilfrid Laurier University.  In April 2022, Malak founded Sporas Scattered to help uplift Palestinian identity within the Palestinian Diaspora youth community. As founder, she has hosted various cultural programs that have provided the Palestinian community in the Kitchener-Waterloo Region to connect with their roots. In 2021, Malak was awarded a fellowship from the Social Innovation Academy, deepening her understanding of social innovation and entrepreneurship while working alongside various social and environmental start-up projects. 

Malak looks forward to helping students discover their passion for social or environmental change and guiding them on through engaging with their target audiences.

Evan Vandermeer

Flint Hub Coordinator

Evan started his professional journey at an industrious gas station and diner located on Oneida of the Thames. Throughout his twenties, he honed his skills in the hospitality industry and continuously sought out opportunities for further education and unique career experiences. In 2016, he transitioned to the real estate industry where he worked as a buyers agent and OSA. In his spare time, Evan has also run various pop-up businesses, including catering and teaching others how to cook and grow mushrooms. Currently, he is a BSc. candidate at the University of Waterloo and in May 2022, he founded a mushroom biotechnology company with the goal of supporting a sustainable future. This start-up has received recognition and grants from the Waterloo innovation community. Evan is excited to share his experiences with aspiring entrepreneurs and encourage them to embrace the uncertainty that comes with pursuing their passions.

Lily Viggiano

Senior Project Manager

Lily Viggiano is driven by a profound belief in fostering an accessible, equitable and just society for all.  As GreenHouse’s Senior Project Manager, Lily created and leads Changemaker Labs, a program that invites changemakers from across the Waterloo Region to come together and take climate action. This initiative is aligned with Canada’s goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050 and operates an intergenerational participation model. In her previous role at the Halton Youth Initiative, she empowered over 300 young leaders to make meaningful community contributions. With a focus on developmental relationships and leveraging assets, Lily mobilized a dedicated group of adult allies that played a vital role in the project’s success.  A recognized expert in youth engagement, she was seconded by Volunteer Canada to develop a youth engagement curriculum for the Canada Service Corps. Lily has a Bachelor of Public Relations from Conestoga College.