2024 UTSCAA Executive Team

Board of Directors

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President – Melanie Ratnam (BSc 2007, PhD 2018)

Since 2019, Melanie has made significant contributions to the UTSCAA, most recently in the role of VP Governance, where she was instrumental in developing processes and procedures to establish better board governance. Melanie studied neuroscience and biology, followed by her PhD at UTSC. She is the Founder of Indaggo, a startup dedicated to easing pain points for lab researchers. She currently coaches other entrepreneurs through UTSC’s The Hub to help others launch their businesses successfully. She is also currently the Director of Policy and Impact with the Society of Canadian Women in Science and Technology, and was recently part of the National Council of Women of Canada Delegation at the United Nations’ annual Commission on the Status of Women session.

 

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Vice-President, Alumni & Student Engagement – Chevon Riley (BSc 2020)

Chevon Riley is a Jamaican Canadian who completed his BSc as a Chemistry Specialist at the University of Toronto Scarborough. He is a dedicated entrepreneur with companies in the cosmetic, entertainment, and insurance industries. Chevon founded Natural Organic Matters (NORM) through UTSC’s incubator, “The Hub,” and “The Black Founders Network,” winning grants totaling $30,000. His goal is to pave the way for like-minded individuals to grow and succeed in a conducive environment. Chevon aims to use his knowledge, networking skills, and resources to aid the UTSCAA Board in engaging alumni and students through meaningful and enriching experiences.

 

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Vice-President, Governance – Scott Johnson (BA 2010) 

Scott graduated from UTSC in 2010 with a double major in City Studies and French. During his studies at UTSC, he spent much of his free time volunteering in the local communities of Kingston-Galloway and Malvern, as well as internationally in Kenya and Cambodia. Scott currently works in a quality assurance role at Kubota Canada Ltd., a Japanese equipment manufacturer. He enjoys hiking, dragon boating, rock climbing, and spending time with family. He recently reconnected with his UTSC community and is looking forward to working with the UTSCAA to help highlight this vibrant slice of the city.

 

 

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Treasurer – Edward Henley (BA 2003)

Edward studied political science and social sciences at the University of Toronto Scarborough. He has served on the UTSCAA for many years. He is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and a Certified Management Accountant (CMA). He is currently the Director of Corporate Services and County Treasurer at Bruce County. He looks forward to continuing to serve on the UTSCAA.

 

 

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Director, Alumni Recognition  - Barbara Ratnam (BA 2015)

Barbra Ratnam is a professional educator for the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB). She is a proud member of UTSC’s alumni community, having completed her BA at UTSC and her Master's in Teaching at OISE. She has been part of the UTSCAA for a few years and previously served as Secretary for UTSCAA, working with the executive committee. Barbra is committed to the academic and social development of young students and has over 7 years of experience working with children who have special needs. She developed a passion for science as an avid science fair competitor and a former national gold medalist of the Canada-Wide Science Fair (CWSF). To support this type of experiential learning, she began Ultimate Science – a volunteer initiative for elementary students from diverse backgrounds, through which UTSC alumni, graduate, and undergraduate students provided one-on-one mentorship for over 300 unique student-led STEAM projects. The program was awarded the Innovative Exemplary Award in 2019 by the TCDSB, featured on CBC’s Metro Morning, and was recognized by The Honourable Minister of Sports and Science, Dr. Kirsty Duncan, and the beloved TSN Sports Analyst, Jack Armstrong. Barbra is a long-distance swimmer and has over 15 years of artistic expertise as a professional magician and entertainer, which she has used to fundraise for various charitable organizations in the GTA.

 

 

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Director – Ali Aghayan (BBA 2022)

Ali graduated from UTSC in 2020 from the Management Co-op (BBA) program, specializing in Finance. During his time at UTSC, he was involved in a leadership capacity with DECA, UTSC Model United Nations, Management Student Executive Board, and UTSC Student Managed Fund. Ali completed co-ops at OTPP, Anson Funds, and Goldman Sachs. Upon graduation in 2020, he spent one year in Calgary as a Commodity Trading Analyst at Goldman Sachs before internally transferring to the New York-based Commodities Principal Investments team, where he currently focuses on deploying the firm’s capital in complex commodity-linked transactions.

 

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Director – Dan Bowyer (BA 1979)

Dan is currently the Principal of Toronto eSchool, Visionary Academy, Toronto Art Academy, and Toronto eLearning School. He served for 35 years with the Peel District School Board as a history and visual arts teacher, eventually becoming a School Administrator in Caledon, Brampton, and Mississauga. Dan was a Provincial Executive Member of the Ontario History and Social Science Teachers’ Association for over twenty years. He is an International Baccalaureate History of the Americas teacher and even managed to find time to coach his schools’ men's and women's field lacrosse teams. A ten-year-plus executive member with the Brampton Excelsior Lacrosse Club, Dan also volunteers at the Ontario Lacrosse Hall of Fame and Museum in St. Catharines, Ontario, as a member of their Accession Committee and as their Lacrosse Historian. Dan also played on and coached the Scarborough College Men’s Lacrosse team while he was a student here in the ’70s. He has served as a Director on the UTSCAA for the past two years and looks forward to continuing his contribution to the Board.

 

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Director – Vinitha Gengatharan (BA 1999)

Vinitha is a senior leader with over 22 years of experience in the higher education sector. She currently serves as the Assistant Vice-President, Global Engagement & Partnerships at York University, where she is responsible for advancing the University’s global engagement strategy, global learning, and the experience of international students. Her extensive experience in the Asia-Pacific region, including building institutional collaborations with institutions, industries, and governments, has honed her global perspective and ability to navigate diverse cultural contexts. Previously, Vinitha was at the University of Toronto for 17 years, where she held several progressively senior roles and led the university’s international strategy and partnerships. She has served in a leadership capacity on numerous boards, including the Agincourt Community Services Association, Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce, UofT Scarborough Alumni Association, and the Hart House Board of Stewards. She serves on the Canadian Bureau of International Education Board of Directors and is a member of AIEA's Professional Development & Engagement Committee. She is also the co-founder of Tamil Women Rising, a non-profit organization that empowers Tamil women and their allies in advancing their professional success.

 

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Director – Adnan Hoque (BSc 2006)

Adnan has been a member of the UTSC board of directors the last 2 years. Adnan studied computer science, environmental science and psychology during his time at UTSC. He's had a progressive career in the technology and data space overseeing digital transformation and modernization working at government, financial, and consulting firms. Currently, he's an Executive at TD Bank leading the bank's transition and change to Cloud platform. His hobbies include traveling with his family, gardening, and is an avid athlete playing soccer, golf, hockey, and badminton.

 

 

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Director – Janine Jivani (BA 2016)

Janine graduated from UTSC in 2016 with a double major in Human Geography and City Studies. While she was a student, she was the founding President of the Geography and City Studies Student Association (GCSA). She also worked at the UTSC bookstore and as a Research Assistant in the geography department. After graduating, Janine received a Master’s degree in Public Health and has worked in professional regulation in both the healthcare and forestry sectors since graduating. The tight-knit campus and sense of community Janine felt as a student at UTSC were among the reasons why she was drawn to join UTSCAA, and she hopes to keep other UTSC alumni connected to the campus during her term as a Director.

 

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Director – Deborah Knight (BA 1988)

Deborah Knight is a seasoned marketing and public relations professional with over 25 years of experience in the industry. As the President of dkpr public relations inc. in Toronto, a provider of full-service marketing and digital strategies, her agency has been one of Toronto’s top entertainment management and strategic marketing firms for the past 23 years. Deborah studied arts administration during her time at UTSC. She looks forward to making a meaningful impact as part of the UTSCAA.

 

 

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Director - Shiyamali Paranirupasingam (BSc 2008)

Shiyamali is a seasoned professional in digital technology with extensive experience in Canada and the UK. Her love for technology and creativity led her to establish L'Amour Pearls, an award-winning fashion jewellery brand. As a champion for women in technology, Shiyamali prioritizes cognitive equity, diversity, and inclusion. In 2020, she spearheaded the launch of the first Women in Artificial Intelligence (WAI) Chapter in Toronto. Her contributions to the field of AI have been celebrated and recognized, being featured in Re.Work's Top 25 Women in AI - Canada Edition and Top 100 Women Advancing AI Worldwide 2023. Shiyamali studied neuroscience and biology during her time at UTSC.

 

 

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Director - Fareena Rahim (BA 1997)

Fareena Rahim is a Director at TD Securities in Global Markets. She has over 20 years of experience in financial services in senior roles and has worked in both Canada and the US. Fareena is an advocate of diversity and inclusion initiatives in both her professional and personal life. She has an undergraduate degree in economics, management, and political science from the University of Toronto Scarborough and an MBA from Dalhousie University. She is also a working mom and volunteers for charitable organizations in her spare time.

 

 

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Past President - Dorinda So (BBA 2009)

Dorinda graduated from UTSC in 2009 with a double major in Management and Political Science. She has been an active alumni volunteer with UTSC in response to her overwhelmingly positive undergraduate experience. She serves as the President of the UTSCAA following nearly five years of service with the Association. As an active alumna, she also serves on the Executive Committee of the College of Electors and the UTSC Campus Council. Dorinda is currently the Executive Director of pointA, a sustainable transportation organization, holds a Master of Arts in Socio-Legal Studies from York University, and is a certified PMP.

 

 

Advisory Group

 

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Ariel Banner (BA 2020)

Ariel graduated from UTSC in 2020 with a double major in Health Policy and City Studies. During her studies, she was actively involved in campus life, serving as a member of the Geography and City Studies Student Association before becoming Co-President in her final year. Her dedication to community involvement led her to work with UTSC’s Department of Student Life as a Community Engagement Liaison, where she honed her skills in fostering meaningful connections among students. Post-graduation, Ariel remained committed to community development by joining the East Scarborough Storefront, a local Scarborough-based non-profit focused on social services and community development. In 2019, Ariel co-founded the Geography and City Studies Alumni Network to support building strong connections among alumni. As a member of the UTSCAA Advisory Group, Ariel hopes to contribute to a lasting impact within the UTSC alumni community.

 

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Valerie Damasco (BSc 2004)

Valerie Damasco is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Trent University. At the University of Toronto, she contributed to governance and committees focused on research, teaching, and learning. Guided by a firm dedication to advancing the values and principles of equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility in higher education, she held positions on the Council, Executive Committee, and Equity Committee at OISE, and served as an advisor on the Post-Pandemic Working Group. More recently, she served on the tri-campus steering committee of the University of Toronto Anti-Asian Racism Working Group. In the past, she was a member of the UTSC Academic Affairs Committee. Her influence extends nationally and globally, advising on the Social Work program at Algoma University in Canada and the Master of Science in Health Analytics and Management program at Lingnan University in Hong Kong. Prior to her academic pursuits, her professional journey spanned the private career college system, non-profit organizations, the public sector, and higher education. Her roles encompassed vocational training, program planning and evaluation, community rehabilitation services, civic learning and engagement, and employment support, empowering immigrants, refugees, and people with disabilities. Committed to social justice, she has volunteered with community organizations, supporting racialized and marginalized communities in the areas of employment, healthcare, housing, and education. Valerie earned an Honours BSc from UTSC, majoring in psychology and sociology, and completed an MA and PhD in community development at OISE.

 

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Bruce Geddes (BA 1968)

Bruce has been involved with the UTSCAA for many years and has served as a Director, President, Past President, and for the past few years as a member of the Advisory Group. His continued connection with the University of Toronto Scarborough has spanned 55 years. Bruce was part of the first graduating class of UTSC in 1968.

 

 

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Stephanie Geddes (BA 1968)

Stephanie has served on the UTSCAA for the past decade. She has held roles on both the Board of Directors and the Advisory Group. She is a proud member of the first graduating class of UTSC in 1968. A retired elementary school principal, she loves eating decadent desserts and has helped organize UTSCAA’s annual Afternoon Tea event since its inception. She looks forward to continuing her volunteer work with the UTSCAA, as she believes it’s important for the Board to receive input from a wide range of alumni, both young and old.

 

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Jason Glover (BA 2003)

Jason has been involved in the UTSCAA for many years, having served in the roles of Secretary, Vice-President, President, and most recently, Past President. In addition to his impact with the UTSCAA, he has also remained a strong supporter of UTSC by serving as a member of Campus Council and participating in mentorship programs at UTSC, such as the Partners in Leadership Mentorship Program, and by mentoring and coaching startups in The Hub. Jason studied history and political science during his time at UTSC.

 

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Vitoora Haran (BSc 2018, MEnvSci 2020)

Throughout her academic journey, she remained actively involved in the university community, demonstrating her commitment by working with the UTSC Sustainability Office and creating engaging activities for the UofT Leadership Camp for youth to explore the university and the green innovations across the campus. Through her Master's internship program, she joined the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation & Parks and currently still works there as a Program Advisor. To ensure others get the same opportunity, she joined the UTSC Partners in Leadership Alumni Mentorship Program as a mentor to upcoming graduates, providing the same guidance the university provided her to navigate her personal and professional life. Vitoora studied biology and psychology for her undergraduate degree, followed by her master's in environmental sciences, both at UTSC.

 

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Jo-An Lee (BBA 2019)

Jo-An is a dedicated professional who graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration in 2019. Currently serving as a Consultant at Oracle, she brings a wealth of experience in the fields of business and technology. During her time at university, Jo-An demonstrated leadership as the Vice President of a student association, where she honed her organizational and communication skills. Additionally, she contributed her talents as a Secretary for a local non-profit, showcasing her commitment to community involvement. Beyond her professional endeavors, Jo-An is passionate about art, traveling, and animals, finding inspiration and relaxation in exploring new cultures and environments. She believes that these interests contribute to her personal growth and enrich her perspective in both her personal and professional life.

 

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Nikita Looby (BSc 2014)

Nikita Looby completed a BSc degree specializing in Chemistry at UTSC and a PhD at the University of Waterloo in Separation Sciences - Analytical Chemistry. She is currently a science professional managing the Schroeder Arthritis Institute's Metabolomics Core Facility at the Krembil Research Institute, Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network. Nikita works in the field of biomarker research, specializing in the use of separation sciences to study small molecules in patient samples to facilitate the elucidation of disease pathophysiology and to find novel markers for disease diagnostics and prognostics. Her work involves facility management and method development, scientific project management, student development through training and mentoring incoming MSc and PhD candidates, business development, and educational and marketing strategies to improve awareness of the field of metabolomics.

 

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Naomi Omar-ali (BA 2000)

Naomi is a Learning and Development professional hailing from the Durham Region. She is a very proud graduate of UTSC (BA 2000) from the Arts Management Co-op Program (Specialist in Arts Administration, Major in Theatre, Minor in Economics for Management). Naomi is also an OISE graduate (MEd 2012) from the Adult Education and Community Development Master Program (Specializing in Workplace Learning and Social Change). She is actively engaged in UTSC, U of T, and other community events. Naomi is currently managing a team of learning professionals at the Immigration and Refugee Board (Government of Canada) to advance the quality of adjudicative education and training. Naomi is committed to contributing to furthering the UTSC Alumni objectives.

 

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Rhea Peart (BA 2019)

Rhea studied history and philosophy at the University of Toronto Scarborough. She has been an active member of the UTSCAA Advisory Group for the past few years and has assisted with some of the UTSCAA events. She looks forward to continuing to serve on the Advisory Group for another year. 

 

 

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Shagufta Sadique (BSc 2013)

As a lifelong resident of Scarborough, Shagufta’s interest in joining the UTSCAA Advisory Group comes from her commitment to engaging diverse alumni in programming that fosters a community of belonging and growth for Scarborough and UTSC.

Shagufta is a passionate gender-based violence advocate and equity, diversity and inclusion practicing communications professional working in Ontario’s postsecondary sector. After graduating from mental health and community health studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough, she built her skills in feminist counselling, program development, and public legal education to support women and children experiencing violence. Her expertise in group facilitation, outreach, stakeholder engagement, and human rights law led her to facilitate public education workshops and presentations to educate Scarborough youth and Ontario workers about their legal rights against workplace sexual harassment.  

Currently, she is the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Program Advisor at Durham College, handling student complaints of harassment and discrimination. She also provides transition supports to students from equity-deserving backgrounds experiencing barriers to integrating into college life.

 

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Vjura Senthilnathan (BSc 2021)

Vijura is a Clinical Research Project Coordinator at the Hospital for Sick Children, working on research projects within adolescent medicine. She is passionate about contributing to the vibrant community and utilizing her skills and experiences to advance the mission and initiatives of the UTSCAA. Vijura earned her Honours Bachelor of Science degree from UTSC in 2021, where she specialized in neuroscience and minored in biology and psychology. While at UTSC, Vijura was actively involved in the student community, including serving as the Arts and Science Co-President of the UTSC Co-op Students’ Association and the Director of Volunteers for the Alzheimer’s Society UTSC. Vijura also completed her M.Sc. at the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute at the University of Toronto.

 

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Andrew Sudano (BA 2008)

Andrew studied English at the University of Toronto Scarborough. He has been part of the UTSCAA for several years and has served on both the Board of Directors and the Advisory Group. Professionally, he is an Associate Lawyer at Baker and Baker Family Lawyers, where he practices all areas of family law. He looks forward to continuing to serve on the UTSCAA.

 

 

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Cordel Telfer (BA 1995)

Cordel studied political science and anthropology at the University of Toronto Scarborough. He also obtained a Bachelor of Education from the Schulich School of Education at Nipissing University. He is a Senior Trade Compliance Officer at the Canada Border Services Agency. Beyond his professional role, Cordel is an active community leader. He is the president of the St. Vincent and Grenadines Association of Toronto, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the needs of the Vincentian community in the Greater Toronto Area. Cordel aims to use his experiences to contribute to the UTSC Alumni Association's growth and create meaningful community interaction.

 

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Branko Vojnovic (BA 2000)

Branko has strong international leadership and strategic development experience through a nearly two-decade-long career at KPMG in Central Eastern Europe, Canada, and the USA, holding positions of Partner in Audit, Advisory, Risk Management, and Executive Director. Currently, he is the Director of Compliance and Ethics for CAPREIT (Canadian Apartments Properties REIT), the largest Canadian residential rental real estate REIT. He is passionate about giving back to the community, and in 2001 (not long after he graduated), he established the Branko Vojnovic Accessibility Award at U of T Scarborough. This annual award continues today and has helped many students over more than two decades. He looks forward to deepening his involvement with UTSC by serving as an Advisory Group member to the UTSCAA. Branko studied management and biology at the University of Toronto Scarborough.

 

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Syed Wafa (BSc 2013)

Syed Wafa is an award-winning strategist and innovator with over a decade of leadership experience in government institutions, startups, and Fortune 100 companies such as BNY Mellon, Bloomberg, and Samsung. As the Head of Strategy and Innovation at Samsung, Syed has achieved significant professional milestones. Most notably, he pioneered the first-ever TV subscription program in the consumer electronics industry, earning him recognition as a Top 100 Global Innovator by the Top 100 Magazine. Syed is deeply committed to making a societal impact. Currently, he mentors children in local public schools and advises nonprofit organizations on enhancing access to technology in underprivileged communities. Syed is a proud graduate of UTSC, where he studied Psychology, Economics, and Statistics, and credits the institution with playing a pivotal role in shaping his professional and personal development.