Katelyn Bateman: Connecting Communities through Cans

Founder of Youth Upliftment International

Katelyn Bateman photo

Founded by 21-year old Katelyn Bateman, Youth Upliftment International is a charitable organization dedicated to the youth of Puerto Plata. Katelyn founded the organization after visiting the Dominican Republic, and witnessing the abject poverty many street children were living in. As an ongoing fundraiser to support her cause, Katelyn started a fundraising campaign called From Trash to a Class. Through this campaign, she hopes to collect 500,000 empty bottles and cans to fund a primary school for one hundred and ten children. She hopes that more people will be inspired to turn their own ideas into actions, no matter how difficult it may seem.

Monika Cefis: Musical Performer

Dawson College Student, Liberal Arts Program

Monika Cefis photo

Armed with her voice, a ukulele and a trusty pineapple shaker, this Montreal based musician studied classical piano and voice at l’École de Musique de Vincent d’Indy and obtained a Laureate in Classical Music Theory, Harmony, History and Analysis in 2011.

​Throughout her early years, Monika took part in classical piano competitions and was awarded medals ranging from bronze to gold. In addition, she has also written the soundtrack to multiple student films and authors a music column for Dawson College’s school newspaper, The Plant. She also appreciates the dapperness of penguins, and might have even written a song about it.

Simon Davies: Reshuffling the Deck

Dawson College Teacher, Cinema, Video, Communications Department

Simon Davies photo

Born in London, England, Simon moved at the age of seven with his family to Vancouver Canada. After leaving high school he worked as a Deckboy on a Norwegian tramp steamer, traveling to a number of ports in the United States and Japan. After three years in management training in the clothing and automobile industry he returned to school and completed interdisciplinary graduate studies with the Departments of Anthropology and Cinema at the University of British Columbia. These studies were interrupted by two years of travel in South America teaching, (Bogota, Colombia), traveling and doing preliminary fieldwork in La Guahira, Colombia and in the lowlands of Bolivia. He came to Montreal just as the Parti Quebecois came to power in the mid-seventies. After working on several independent feature films he started teaching at the New School of Dawson College teaching Anthropology and later Cinema. He was chair of the Cinema, Video, Communications Department from 1999-2012 and has since returned to part time teaching. He has an active art practice and works in sculpture with objects trouvé.

Daniel Goldsmith: The Universe on Your Plate

Dawson College Teacher, Humanities Department

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Daniel Goldsmith currently teaches in the humanities department at Dawson College. An avid explorer of the inner and outer worlds, his mission is to bridge the gap between science and spirituality. His courses incorporate many of the lessons he’s learned through work, meditation retreats, and teaching in places as varied as the Netherlands, Indonesia, and India.

Daniel is the author of Choose Your Metaphor, an autobiographical account of a ten thousand mile journey through five countries, the teachings of a half-dozen religious sages, love at first sight, and the human mind’s darkest reaches. He blogs about philosophy, spirituality, and life at www.chooseyourmetaphor.com.

Alex Izak Levesque: Rethinking Representation

Dawson College Student, Liberal Arts Program

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A born Montrealer and Dawson Liberal Arts student, Alex Izak Levesque enthusiastically proposes his solutions to the growing complexity and polarization of the political sphere. From his earliest experiences as the first student body president of his elementary school to his success in international debate competitions (notably at Yale), Alex has sought the world of tough decisions and philosophical conundrums. Through the inspirational efforts of the many wise and intelligent people of character that have marked his life, Alex has identified a recurring order that emerges from complexity in many various systems. He has coupled this realization along with the opportunities presented by technological advancements to deliver a powerful new way for society to approach politics.

Diane Nalini: Songs from Outer Space

Singer/songwriter, Physicist and Senior Policy Analyst at Environment Canada

Diane Nalini photo

Diane Nalini infuses a deep understanding of our planet in every note she sings. As a physicist she has researched and taught science from nuclear microscopy to astrophysics. Born in Montreal of Belgian and Goan descent, Diane’s studies and a Rhodes scholarship took her to doctoral and post-doctorate studies at Oxford. She was an Assistant Professor in the physics department at the University of Guelph for several years, before recently joining the public service of Canada through its Recruitment of Policy Leaders programme. Today she works for Environment Canada. All along the way Diane has pursued her artistic calling. Studies in ballet, jazz and modern dance led to a parallel career as a celebrated jazz vocalist. The Montreal Gazette’s Irwin Block said: “Diane Nalini has the voice, the phrasing, confidence, clarity and control to make a tune her own and turn it into a nuanced thing of beauty” while Elle Magazine Canada wrote “She captures jazz at its most sophisticated and joyous level.” “I just love Diane Nalini’s voice. This is a sassy, ‘ripe plum in the Italian sun’ kind of voice,” said CBC Radio’s Katie Malloch. Her four CDs have garnered praise from critics far and wide. Her debut album, After dusk, was described by the UK’s Time Out magazine as “a gorgeous collection of standards, sung with quiet enunciated power.” Diane composes and sings in four languages. She has sung at jazz festivals around the globe and given gala performances for President Bill Clinton and Sir Paul McCartney. She was nominated for the Grand Prix de Jazz General Motors at the 2002 Montreal International Jazz Festival, and was one of two finalists for the UK’s Young Jazz Vocalist of the Year awards for 2001. Her fourth and latest album, Kiss Me Like That, is a captivating blend of standards and original songs celebrating humanity’s fascination with the sky and stars.

Pamela Rice: Enabling Girls by Connecting the Dots

Provincial Commissioner, Québec – Girl Guides of Canada – Guides du Canada

Pamela Rice photo

Pamela Rice is currently Provincial Commissioner – Québec for Girl Guides of Canada – Guides du Canada. Pamela joined Guiding as a girl of 10 and has over the years worked as a Guider (leader) and remains active with girls as a Ranger Guider (girls 15-18). Additionally, she has worked and continues to work in volunteer administrative capacities including the role of a Board Director from 2007-2010.

In her “day” job, Pamela worked for most of her career at VIA Rail Canada. There she held a wide variety of positions covering such diverse departments as railway operations, customer service, strategic planning, property management and marketing.

Dr. Gad Saad: The Evolutionary Roots of Human Decision Making

Concordia University Research Chair in Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences and Darwinian Consumption

Dr. Gad Saad photo

Gad Saad is Professor of Marketing at Concordia University (Montreal, Canada), and the holder of the Concordia University Research Chair in Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences and Darwinian Consumption. He has held Visiting Associate Professorships at Cornell University, Dartmouth College, and the University of California–Irvine. Dr. Saad received the Faculty of Commerce’s Distinguished Teaching Award in June 2000, and was listed as one of the ‘hot’ professors of Concordia University in both the 2001 and 2002 Maclean’s reports on Canadian universities. For more than 15 years now, his work has operated at the nexus of evolutionary psychology and consumer behavior. He is the author of The Consuming Instinct: What Juicy Burgers, Ferraris, Pornography, and Gift Giving Reveal About Human Nature (Prometheus Books, 2011), and The Evolutionary Bases of Consumption (Lawrence Erlbaum, 2007), and editor of Evolutionary Psychology in the Business Sciences (Springer, 2011), as well as a editor of a special issue on the futures of evolutionary psychology published in Futures (Elsevier, 2011). He has published 70+ scientific papers, many at the intersection of evolutionary psychology and a broad range of disciplines including consumer behavior, marketing, advertising, psychology, medicine, and economics. Professor Saad’s work has been covered in 250+ international media outlets leading him to be designated a Concordia University Newsmaker on three separate occasions. Dr. Saad is a highly popular blogger for Psychology Today. Since November 2008, his articles have amassed 2,019,000+ total views. He received a B.Sc. in mathematics and computer science (1988) and an M.B.A. (1990) both from McGill University, and his M.S. (1993) and Ph.D. (1994) from Cornell University.

Dilini Sumanapala: A Facelift for Science Journalism

Research Coordinator, Penhune’s Laboratory for Motor Learning and Neural Plasticity at Concordia University

Dilini Sumanapala photo

Dilini Sumanapala works as a Research Coordinator at Concordia University for Dr. Virginia Penhune’s Laboratory for Motor Learning and Neural Plasticity. Since graduating with a BA, Honours in Psychology (Concordia University, 2011), Dilini has worked on multiple projects in motor learning and recently spoke at TEDxYouth@Winchester in her home city of Dubai, UAE (November, 2012). Aimed at generating curiosity in neuroscience amongst a youth audience, her talk, entitled “What if we could control the brain?” explored the applications of some of the most cutting-edge brain stimulation techniques used in research today. In addition to pursuing graduate studies in neuroscience, Dilini hopes to keep stumbling on newer platforms to discuss all things Brain, Psychology, and/or Science.

Henry Tsang: Designing the Green Planet

Architect and Researcher at Living Building Challenge Collaborative, Ph.D., MRAIC, LEED Green Associate

Henry Tsang photo

Dr. Henry Tsang is an architect and researcher based in Montreal. His design and research work focuses on building healthy and sustainable communities. His creations include the University of Indonesia Hospital (Indonesia) and the San Felipe Hospital Outpatient Clinic (Honduras) as a staff architect at Japanese architecture firm Nihon Sekkei Inc. In parallel with his professional practice, he is also an active member of Habitat for Humanity, supporting poverty housing and post-disaster reconstruction projects in Canada, United States, Japan, China and Thailand. He is a certified LEED Green Associate and a prominent consultant and educator in architectural and environmental design. In the past, he has been a guest lecturer at Nihon University (Japan), Hanyang University (Korea) and visiting design critic at McGill University (Canada). He studied architecture at McGill and holds a Ph.D. in architecture from the University of Tokyo (Japan).

James Watts: Impossible Dreams

BA & B.Ed. Concordia University, M.Ed. McGill University

James Watts photo

James Watts is an enthusiastic speaker who uses many different methods to convey messages to a variety of audiences. He is a husband, a parent of two teenagers, and an annual presenter at QPAT. Additionally, he has been published in Montreal Gazette on a variety of topics numerous times, is the founder of Education Plus High School, and a veteran high school teacher and principal. He is also the author of Happy Parent – a novel about parenting teens. In his spare time he runs marathons and competes in triathlons.