Three uOttawa students receive the Pathy Foundation Fellowship

Posted on Tuesday, April 14, 2020

The Pathy Foundation Fellowship provides community-focused experiential learning opportunities for graduating students to become active and effective change-makers, bringing new ideas and working closely with communities to foster sustainable and positive social change in Canada and around the world.

This year, three students from the University of Ottawa have been selected by the Pathy Foundation and have received $40,000 towards their project. With that money, Daniella Gallardo, Nayaelah Siddiqui and Samantha Elizabeth Dignam will be able to affect real change in communities that are important to them.

A smiling students stands beside a Pathy Foundation sign.

Daniela Gallardo is a major in Linguistics with a Minor in Science. She was also a mentor at the Learning and Technology Center, a way for her to merge her studies with her personal interest.

After working at the Learning and Technology Center at uOttawa and volunteering with the the Multicultural Association of the Greater Moncton Area (MAGMA) in New Brunswick during the summer of 2019, Daniela realized there was a need to help newcomers to Canada with basic computer skills.

Digital literacy is an important part of what makes a person employable in a technologically advanced country. Basic computer skills are almost required to have a job and to participate in daily life in Canada. As such, Daniella envisioned a program dedicated to help newcomers with their digital literacy and employability. The program would help them develop basic digital skills, such as writing a cover letter, constructing a CV, using softwares or applications, and navigating job search websites.

“I want to see this project become community owned and a sustainable initiative. This would mean more experienced newcomers to Canada would teach more recent newcomers.”

Daniella also doesn't want the program to be limited to English. People come to Canada with so many different backgrounds, she envisions a future where more experience newcomers could mentor recent newcomers in their own language. Being taught by someone who understand their background, language and culture could help these newcomers feel more comfortable.

A smiling students stands beside a Pathy Foundation sign.

Nayaelah Siddiqui began her studies as a biochemistry major with a minor in management. However, she soon realized she wanted to put her focus on her grassroots organization, Empower’em, that she started just out of high school, and changed her major to changed her major to Bachelors in Commerces with a specialization in International management at Telfer School of Management to help her manage and grow her organization.

Empower’em provides accessible and culturally inclusive leadership training as well as creating safer spaces for women of color in Ottawa. Nayaelah created Empower’em because she wanted to see more representation of visible minorities in leadership roles in her community by creating a form of sustainable mentorship and leadership development program for women of color. She also wanted to create a culture of celebrating identities and inclusivity.

“In order to build a strong community, humans need to understand and appreciate each other’s differences. Through our cultural exchanges, we hope to build a communal understanding of each other’s practices, breakdown stereotypes while also celebrating the simple fact that people belong to multiple intersects and no one person is ever the same.”

A smiling students stands beside a Pathy Foundation sign.

In the summer of 2018, Samantha Elizabeth Dignam interned in Zomba, Malawi with Art and Global Health Centre, which “develops innovative projects that creatively address pressing social issues.”

She identified and discussed challenges to develop objectives in bringing more skills to the community, ensuring the needs and ideas of the community were being addressed. Samantha is still in contact with the community and she says that it is “great to have a project where you can have a special connection with the people/ place you love.”

Samantha has a major in International Development and Globalization and has always wanted field experience as she’s interested in both arts and health issues. She was nervous to apply as she was doubting her skills but thought it was very important to give a purposeful application to the community in Malawi. For the next coming summer months she will be focusing on leadership training, budget management and project planning with a deadline of September to really set the project in motion.

“I would like to thank uOttawa for giving me the connection for the internship, campus work for giving me great reference/ support, and Michäelle Jean Centre for Global and Community Engagement for giving me tips for my application and offering help.”

We wish these three students good luck with their projects! We know they will have a significant impact.

Students who wish to apply for the fellowship next year can contact the Michaëlle Jean Centre for Global and Community Engagement for more information.

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