Meet the mentors causing vibrations in S.T.E.M & Health Research!
Where did it all begin? Dilesha Stelmach was born Dilesha Williams to two Jamaican Immigrant parents. Her father, a chef and mother, a nurse always emphasized education and social accountability. As such, Dilesha has spent a large amount of her time addressing the biases and barriers to STEM literacy and careers. Dilesha Stelmach is a group benefits underwriter/benefits analyst by trade. She represents the Math branch of STEM. As a social entrepreneur, Dilesha founded and runs the science, technology, engineering & mathematics based not-for-profit, Oui STEM Academy. Dilesha has amassed an amazing networks of STEM warrior that she networks with, providing opportunity and exposure to youth from the communities she serves. Dilesha is an Award winning, world-renowned speaker, author and all around advocate. Her areas of focus are always intersectional and interdisciplinary in a deliberate attempt to reclaim the voice of black womanist thought from patriarchal and colonial narratives and control. Dilesha was not always a STEM Warrior, as a student she was well aware of the opportunities STEM based careers presented but she did not feel connected to the learnings. As a result of these experiences, Dilesha’s life mission has been to present academia in an accessible light.
My name is Sarah Meteke and I was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario! I studied Biology at the University of Western Ontario and obtained an Masters of Science in Control of Infectious Diseases from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the UK. Currently, I’m working as a Researcher at the Centre for Global Child Health at the Hospital for Sick Children where I am systematically reviewing the evidence base of public health interventions in conflict settings. I’m also working remotely as a Knowledge Translation Consultant at Women’s Health in Women’s Hands for the MSAFIRI (“Understanding HIV Transmission in African and Caribbean Black (ACB) communities following arrival in Canada”) cohort study. Overall, I’m interested in topics that thematically tie into infection control and global health policy, with a strong passion for promoting health awareness, education, and equity. Outside of work, you could usually find me exploring new restaurants in the city with friends, or attending concerts or art shows in Toronto’s bustling creative scene!
Kisha McPherson is a faculty member in the Humanities and Social Sciences Department at Centennial College in Toronto, researching and teaching courses in the fields of cultural studies, media, and social justice. Kisha is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in the Faculty of Education at York University, focusing on the impact of media and contemporary representations of Blackness and development of identity, perceptions, and well being of Black girls. In 2009, Kisha co-founded a charitable organization, The Power to Be International, which provides resources and programs for underserved youth communities both locally in the Greater Toronto Area, and in Jamaica. Kisha’s latest project Akeelah’s Room is an initiative developed to create safer spaces (physical and online) for Black girls to critically think, engage, to benefit themselves and their communities.
Hella-Genet Feshaye currently works as a Peer Research Associate at Women’s Health in Women’s Hands. Graduating from the University of Toronto’s Scarborough Campus with an Honours Bachelor of Science, Hella picked up her strong interest in the social determinants of health within her final year double majoring in Psychology and Health Studies. At the time she was also volunteering with Women’s Health in Women’s Hands as a Community Health Ambassador aboard the Know Your Status Project. Since graduation, Hella has also been recruited as an HIV Point of Care Tester and a Study Interviewer. Hella migrated to Toronto with her parents as a toddler, leaving behind extended family and friends in Ethiopia. Growing up in the northwest end of Toronto, she found that familiar feeling of warmth and community in Jane-Finch, a neighborhood she’s called home for most of her years. Her experiences as an immigrant and woman of colour like many of her peers, has influenced her efforts and eventual triumphs. They are what contribute to her interest in working with marginalized populations, in hopes of bringing forward the voices and interests of these communities.
Hello! My name is Neke Ibeh. My siblings and I were born in Bulgaria to Nigerian parents. In 2001, we immigrated to Canada (Scarborough), and my mom raised us as a single parent. Academics were always a major emphasis in the household, and I took a strong liking to Medical Science early on. After completing a B.Sc. in Mathematical Biology at Queen’s University, I completed my Masters of Science at the University of Ottawa. I conducted research on the Ebola Virus and its evolution, specifically, how its 2014 variant reached unprecedented transmission and mortality rates. I also worked on developing computational methods for predicting HIV transmission dynamics.I now work as a Bioinformatician at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. My career as a Bioinformatician challenges me on a daily basis and allows me to apply various skills to tackle the most critical questions in cancer research. During my free time, I love to play and watch basketball, read novels, watch horror movies, and most importantly- spend quality time with friends and family.As a mentor, I believe that I can offer mentees skills that would aid in their personal and academic success, such as: the ability to manage time appropriately, perseverance in the face of adversity, dedication to achieving one’s goals, collaborating with others, confidence with public speaking, the ability to access information and data across various platforms, and self-preservation. The sole factor driving my passion to be a mentor for young Black women is the need to expose young females to the vast array of possibilities when it comes to their future careers. I want to play an active role in encouraging young females to explore Science in ways that they might have never thought possible, and to help guide them as they develop their personal interests.
Natasha is a creative, full-time entrepreneur and owner of two Toronto-based companies over the last 6+ years. She left a 12-year career in the not-for-profit industry working in various outreach and facilitation roles with women and children fleeing domestic violence to become a full-time entrepreneur and travel the world working as a freelance UI/UX Designer in the tech industry. When she’s not designing, you can find her reading a new book, travelling to a new country, spending time with her loved ones or giving back to a cause that’s important to her. She believes deeply in the benefits of developing a strong sense of self-awareness, emotional intelligence and a healthy overall mind and body, which all contribute to the important aspects of our lives including a healthy and fulfilling career as well as meaningful relationships – it is within this awareness that has allowed Natasha to discover her own sense of self-worth and has taught her to manage and leverage her Dyslexia and ADD since childhood. You can expect her to be open-minded, light hearted, honest & accountable while offering resources and guidance where needed. She believes in celebrating all small victories just as much as understanding the failures and challenges that arise – of course while having a few good belly laughs along the way.
*Please note: Mentors will be added to the site until Saturday, December 15th! *
For further information on the process please contact Amma Gyamfowa :
(416)593-7655 (EXT 4884) OR email Amma@whiwh.com