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2020 program


Career Panel


Our moderated career panel exposed the students to a wide array of careers. We welcomed five industry professionals in medicine, film, social work, UX design, and product management to share their journeys and experiences. The panel provided students with insight into what specific careers entail and with tips for exploring their own career interests.

University Panel


Our University Panel featured five undergraduate and graduate students studying a diverse range of majors, including advertising, creative writing, law, medicine, marketing and communications, biological sciences, computer science, international relations, and Spanish. Schools represented were York University, University of Toronto, University of Waterloo, Ryerson University, and OCAD University.

Scholarship Panel


Accessibility and education are core values for Step Up Virtual. 

Our Scholarship Panel provided students with tips and resources to find scholarships and other financial aid for university and beyond.

Social Impact


Public Health 

with Maxime Le

Maxime has been a patient advisor at The Ottawa Hospital since 2017. His ''job'' is to represent patients, and provide a patient perspective on research projects that affect them, their families, and caregivers. 


He holds an Honours Bachelor's degree in Interdisciplinary Health Sciences from the University of Ottawa, where he is currently finishing a Master's degree in Communication, specializing in Science, Society, and Public Policy. Professionally, Maxime is a communications consultant, and currently works at the Public Health Agency of Canada to help inform the Government of Canada's response to the COVID-19 pandemic for children and youth. He has worked in municipal public health as well, and is very much interested in all things health and science, and has a passion for mental health and systems change.




Problem Identification 


One of the first steps to making an impact is identifying an issue you are passionate about solving. In our Problem Identification workshop, hosted by Manisha Narula, current Director of Community at League of Innovators, we learned how to break large issues to find the root causes. 


Solution Ideation


In our Solution Ideation session with entrepreneur and innovator Michael Trinh, we explored the process of generating and creating solutions. The students learned the core elements of design thinking and the importance of getting to know your end-user.

The Power of Storytelling


The “Power of Storytelling” workshop was led by the talented award-winning poet Namitha Rathinappillai. She hosted an interactive session on how to recognize, craft, and share personal stories with ourselves and one another. Students were able to express their creativity and connect with themselves and each other.

The Art of Creative Thinking


Creativity is an integral pillar to innovation and problem-solving because it pushes you to look at problems from new and different perspectives. Our Creativity Workshop was led by former teacher, principal and Student Achievement Officer with the Ontario Ministry, Cloyce Weaver. Cloyce led students through a series of interactive exercises and demonstrated the opportunities of possibility when students push themselves to think outside the box. 



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Brett Hanley has worked with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) since 2010. WFP works in more than 80 countries around the world, feeding people caught in conflict and disasters, and laying the foundations for a better future.

Over the last 10 years, Brett has held assignments with WFP in Chad, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Lebanon and Yemen, directly implementing WFP core programmes including emergency food assistance, cash transfer programmes, nutrition and school feeding programs. 

Before joining WFP, she worked in the humanitarian field in Tajikistan and Afghanistan. Brett is currently assigned to the WFP New York office in the External Partnership division. Brett has a BA in Anthropology from McMaster University and MA in International Humanitarian Assistance from Uppsala University, Sweden and is a Canadian citizen.

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