Speaker bios

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Claire Sanders: 

Claire is originally from Edmonton where she obtained her Bachelor of Science at the University of Alberta. She moved to the Essex region in 2007 where she obtained both a Masters degree in Biology and Bachelor of Education from the University of Windsor. Claire has been with the Essex Region Conservation Authority for over six years, first as the Remedial Action Plan Coordinator for the Detroit River Canadian Cleanup, and now as the Climate Change Specialist. In these roles, she facilitates partnerships and helps identify research and work plan priorities for the many individuals and agencies needed to address regional ecological challenges that are too complex to be addressed by a single organization alone.

Réjean Dufresne 

Réjean Dufresne is an Academic Consultant at Conseil scolaire catholique Providence. He is responsible for Environmental Policies, Identity Building, Catholic Education and LGBTQ+ issues. He has been an educator for over 30 years: 21 years as a High School Teacher and over 10 years as an Academic Consultant. He is a father of 3 daughters (24-22-20) and climate change issues are very important to him as he is concerned for the future of his children and for the generations after. He urges everyone to work together to address climate changes!   

Jane E. McArthur

Jane E. McArthur is a Ph.D. Candidate in Sociology/Social Justice at the University of Windsor. She combines her educational background in communications with her twenty-five years of working on issues of environmental and occupational health through community-based research, education and advocacy. Jane has received multiple awards and scholarships for her research and public engagement, including Social Sciences Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Top 5 Storyteller, Sociologists for Women and Society, (SWS), is an Informed Opinions Expert, an Affiliated Researcher with Health Research Centre for Violence Against Women (HRCVAW), a Research Assistant with Flip the Script, a founding member of the environmental group WOW (Windsor Essex on Watch ) and she participates in the Windsor Cancer Research Group (WCRG).

With past experience in Research Coordination and Assistance on projects including the “Risk Exploration Project”, “Living and Working in Essex and Kent Counties”, and “Lifetime Histories Breast Cancer Research Study”, Jane’s work is rooted in community-based health investigations with a view to prevention.

Though her recent work for improved well-being and justice has often had breast cancer as a focus, she also works through broader issues of health and well-being as they intersect with climate change, environment, gender, racialization, class and inequalities in power, all with a view to systems change, citizen empowerment and social change from the grassroots up through various levels of governance.

With a recognition of the importance of the role of the media in contributing to the construction of realities in contemporary society, investigating the production of discourses are a pivotal aspect of Jane’s ongoing work in community environmental health perspectives.

Jane’s dissertation research examines how women who work in an environment with an identified risk of breast cancer construct understandings and narratives of their risks and how women perceive and exercise agency in the acceptance, avoidance or negotiation of those risks.

She expects to graduate with her Ph.D. in 2020.

Dianne Saxe 

Dr. Dianne Saxe is one of Canada’s most respected environmental lawyers, and was the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario 2015 to 2019. She was appointed unanimously by all MPPs to report to the Legislature on Ontario’s environmental, energy and climate performance, and to be the guardian of the Environmental Bill of Rights. Now heading SaxeFacts Law Professional Corporation, providing legal and strategic inspiration and direction on climate, energy and environment.

Sarah Cipkar

Sarah Cipkar currently works as the Community Developer at the Downtown Windsor Community Collaborative, a United Way funded partner focused on neighbourhood revitalization. Over the past 5 years, she has connected with residents and various community stakeholders with one goal: making the downtown neighbourhood a better place for all ages. From chairing the Downtown Windsor Farmers’ Market committee, to municipal budget workshops, much of her experiences have been about learning, engaging people and advocating for the needs of the community.

She has also been heavily involved with the University of Windsor, graduating in 2015 with a Masters in Political Science with a thesis studying Citizen Participation in Detroit public transportation planning. During this time, she worked as both a research and graduate assistant, co-authoring and publishing several articles.

Lastly, Sarah was recently elected as a Trustee with the Greater Essex County District School Board in October of 2018. She has a commitment to pursuing evidenced-based decision-making, community-driven leadership, and equitable investments in our education system across Windsor and Essex county.

Sarah currently lives in downtown Windsor with her 4 year old daughter, Harvest.


Waasekom is of the Turtle Clan from Saugeen First Nation and Kettle and Stoney Point First Nations along the south eastern shores of our great Ancestor, Lake Huron. He is a ceremonial helper and learner of the sacred Anishinaabe language. 

Waasekom is an avid volunteer, advocate and action-ist for First Nations led initiatives; as well as a trained chef specializing in Indigenous foods, Waasekom also walks with and supports non-indigenous communities on their journey to decolonize. 

In 2017, Waasekom paddled the Great Lakes alongside the Earth and Water Walk to raise awareness about the state of the Great Lakes, and to petition for Great Lakes Personhood. 

He is now presently the lead animator for Niwiijiiwok Doodemag, a grassroots initiative that is focussed on the reemergence of traditional indigenous governance. 

Larry Silani 

Larry Silani has a Master of Urban and Regional Planning Degree from Queens University, in Kingston Ontario, and is a Registered Professional Planner and a member of the Canadian Institute of Planners. He has more than 30 years of experience as a professional planner in the Province of Ontario and is the Director of Development and Strategic Initiatives for the Town of Lasalle. In 2006, Larry was invited to deliver a presentation titled “Liveable Neighbourhoods, Healthy Communities” as a Smart Growth Symposium co-sponsored by New York University and the New York Chapter of the American Planning Association. He was a recipient of the 2006 Ontario Professional Planners Institute Award of Excellent for a new “Illustrated Zoning By-law and Development Standards Manual”. He is also a co-author of the “Healthy Places, Healthy People, Smart Choices for the Windsor-Essex Region of Ontario” document that received the 2008 Conservation Award from the Essex Region Conservation Authority. In 2016 Larry was invited to deliver a presentation on “Collaborating to Connect Neighbourhoods. Building a Cycling Network” and the Windsor-Essex Bike Summit.

Miranda Baksh 

As an environmental educator with the TRCA and after completing her masters research related to park management and conservation biology, her passion lies within species conservation. However, no conservation effort can be as effective in the long-term without confronting the issues surrounding climate change.

After researching at the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre in Belize and at YorkU’s EcoCampus in Costa Rica, Miranda was able to see the effects of climate change first hand. Along with biodiversity conservation, she is mainly motivated by understanding that many communities around the world are currently facing the consequences of climate change, are highly vulnerable and the least responsible for global carbon emissions. She believes that as Canadians, though we have been slowly experiencing the effects of climate change (ticks, coastal flooding, polar bear threats…), we are privileged to have the technology and financial means to reduce our carbon footprint and alleviate the suffering of other nations and our own future.

Fumi Malott

Fumi Malott is a grade 12 student at Leamington District Secondary School. She is currently a Student Council Prime Minister and EcoTeam President. Involvement in her school’s EcoTeam has led her to where she is today -her role has given improved her leadership skills and ignited a passion for climate activism. In late 2019, she worked on organizing and hosting a climate summit for students in the Windsor-Essex County Region. The goal of this summit was to connect students with members of their municipal government and create a lasting relationship that can be used to work on climate action. Fumi plans on furthering her education at the University of Waterloo next year and continuing to have an active role in advocacy on relevant issues.

Kelsey Santarossa

Kelsey Santarossa is the Ward 3 Councillor for the Town of Lakeshore. Elected at 25 years-old, she is one of the youngest elected women in Ontario. Kelsey studied Modern Languages and Political Science at the University of Windsor and owned a small business before starting her career in the education and non-profit sectors. She first got involved in municipal politics at the age of 14 when she became a member of the Town of Lakeshore’s Youth Council. Today, she chairs this committee as a Councillor and supports the next generation of engaged youth. Outside of her political career, she works for Workforce WindsorEssex as the Community Engagement Coordinator for the WE Value Partnership – an initiative of the YMCA of Southwestern Ontario. This initiative engages organizations, agencies and institutions in moving the needle on settlement innovation in an effort to better connect newcomers to relevant services and opportunities in Windsor-Essex. She sits on several non-profit boards and committees including the Association des communautés francophones de Windsor-Essex et Chatham-Kent. Finally, in her constant effort to ensure that youth have a voice at the municipal level, she is the founder and Chair of the Youth Council Coalition of Canada, an organization working to ensure the success, development and influence of Canadian youth councils.  

Dr. Kyle Bassett

Dr. Kyle Bassett is the Community Energy Plan Administrator in the office of Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change for the City of Windsor. Kyle has spent his academic and professional careers focused on technologies enabling climate change mitigation including energy storage, wind turbine structural health monitoring and sustainable building methods. His humanitarian work has focused on environmental sustainability and poverty reduction in developing countries throughout Central America.

Nick Hector 

Nick Hector is a documentary filmmaker and film professor at the University of Windsor. He has edited or produced more than 150 documentary films and programs across the globe. Nick’s creative work focuses on social justice and the environment and explores the possibilities of constructed narrative in cinéma-vérité. His work has been screened at most major international festivals including TIFF, Berlinale, MoMA, Mumbai, Melbourne, and Sundance. In his thirty-year practice, Nick has won Canadian Screen, HotDocs, Directors Guild of Canada, Canadian Cinema Editors, and Gemini Awards.

Aisha Paitevien 

For the past 8 years, Aisha has been working on the development of social causes she cares about, such as healthcare for immigrant populations to Canada, and the environment. She currently works in sustainability as the Development Officer at the David Suzuki Foundation. 

Aisha grew up around nature from the forests of the Pacific North-West to the mountains and beaches of Haiti where her family is from. She is passionate about the environment and its effects on people of colour, who are most affected by climate change.  She enjoys hiking, being outdoors and exploring all downtown Toronto has to offer. Aisha is proud to represent the Canadian-Caribbean community. 

Monica Moran-Venegas

Monica Moran-Venegas is a third-year law student at the University of Windsor. She went to Windsor Law to become an environmental lawyer after reading Warrior Lawyers by Silver Donald Cameron. Monica decided to liven-up the law school by placing potted plants throughout the law school through her Pits Plants Project.

Lana Oppen

Bosnian born and raised Canadian artist, Svjetlana Oppen is an active cinematographer and director seeking to understand herself and the world around her through film. She completed her graduate studies in Film and Media Arts at the University of Windsor. Her research focuses on immigrant life in transnational society. Previous films explored subjects such as challenges in the lives of disadvantaged, under-represented, at-risk youth groups, and also newcomer youth in Canada. Svjetlana currently serves as a Technical Director of the Windsor International Film Festival, overseeing film projection and the festival’s entire technical team.

Jennifer Prashad: 

Jennifer is a third-year law student at Windsor Law and a clinic student with the Transnational Environmental Law and Policy Clinic. She is currently working on a collaborative project with Detroit Mercy  Law on litigation and policy strategies to combat the ongoing algal bloom problem in Lake Erie.

Maleeha Shahid 

Elected in 2018 as the Councillor for East Ward 4, Maleeha Shahid is serving her first term on Council.

Maleeha is the Vice Chair of the General Government portion of Committee of the Whole.  She is also the Mayor’s designate on the Whitby in Bloom Committee and the Whitby Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee.

As a successful self-employed woman for over 10 years, Maleeha knows first hand what it takes to run a business. She can directly relate to the small and medium-sized business owners who are the backbone of Whitby. Maleeha is known for her excellent problem solving, customer service and interaction with the public. This is the type of valuable experience she brings to Council in managing growth in a responsible manner.

Maleeha has been actively involved as a member of the Rotary Club of Whitby Sunrise doing her part to bring people together to help make Whitby the best it can be. She is committed to ensuring that Whitby continues to be a prosperous, safe and thriving place to live and start a business.

For over 13 years Maleeha has been a resident of Whitby. She and her husband live in the East Ward with their three children.  As a parent, homeowner, successful business person and community volunteer, Maleeha keeps an eye on issues that matter in her ward and to the community.  

Laura Hasca

Laura Hasca is a 3rd year law student at the University of Windsor. Currently, she is a member of the Environmental Law Clinic. Her current project is called “Climate Laws” and focuses on the creation of a database and methodology to critically analyze provincial  climate laws and regulations. At school, she is the Vice President of the Environmental Law society where she encourages students to learn more about pressing environmental issues. Prior to  law school, she worked for a solar energy firm where she was exposed to climate mitigation Initiatives to transition to renewable energy. In her free time she enjoys playing tennis and reading a good book.

Adara Hagman

Hagman is a 16-year-old geneticist, augmented reality developer, activist, writer and aspiring genetic engineer, marine biologist, and astronaut. She began her journey with technology at the age of 14 as a social entrepreneur at Me to We in 2017 and is now a second-year innovator at The Knowledge Society and the Co-Founder of Photome, a project to genetically engineer “super-plants” that sequester more atmospheric carbon to help slow global warming. Adara is excited about genetic engineering (plant genetics + biological ecosystem engineering) and exploration (marine, space, + terrestrial) technology spaces. She’s on a mission to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems. Currently, she’s working on how we can reach the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) using emerging technologies. Adara is an advocate for environmental issues, mental health, and women + girls in technology. Recently, she interned at Elevate (Canada’s Tech Festival). In the past, she’s spoken at the WEGLC, Think Tank 2019, and Spark Hackathon. 

Windsor Law Cities and Climate Action Forum Students: 

Peter Dalglish 

Peter Dalglish is in his final year at Windsor Law. He holds a BA in political science from McGill. Passionate about climate change and municipal law, Peter has enjoyed using his legal education to learn more in both areas through the Cities & Climate Action Forum.

Antonia Hristova 

Antonia Hristova is completing her final year in the J.D. program at Windsor Law. Her passion for sustainability developed during her prior work experience in the solar energy industry. Last year she represented Windsor Law at the Willms & Shier Environmental Law Moot Competition. She completed a semester at the Environmental Law Clinic (Faculty of Law) where she completed a research project on Transnational Climate Networks. She is also a member of the University of Windsor Environmental Sustainability Task Force. Antonia transcends her academic experience through community outreach as she plans and facilitates events in her role as the Co-President of the Environmental Law Society at Windsor Law.

Jessica Jakubowski 

Jessica Jakubowski is in her final year at Windsor Law. She has a long-standing interest in advocating for those disenfranchised by the legal system. She completed her Master’s Degree in Criminology and Sociolegal Studies at the University of Toronto, where she dedicated her research to mandatory minimum sentencing policies in Canada. She also recognizes the importance of climate change litigation and is eager to work on heightening municipalities’ roles in mitigating climate change. 

Stefan Sistilli Sguazzin 

Stefan Sistilli Sguazzin is completing his final year in the J.D program at Windsor law. It was his time in his undergrad at the University of Toronto that sparked his interest in the environment as he studied multiple courses relating to forestry, conservation and the impacts of climate change. 

Victoria Gordon

Victoria Gordon is in her final year of the Canadian and American Dual J.D. program at the University of Windsor and the University of Detroit Mercy. She has had a personal interest in environmental issues for many years and completed her Undergraduate Honours Bachelor of Science, Specialization in Biology and Psychology at Queen’s University.  This led Victoria to develop an interest in the ethical considerations and legalities surrounding the effects of climate change and how policies can mitigate it. Victoria’s most formative experiences in law school include studying Environmental Law and acting as a Student Attorney in the Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Detroit Mercy. These experiences have made Victoria passionate about gearing her career toward one practicing with environmental issues in mind.

Sarah Gulas

Sarah is a third year law student at the University of Windsor. Prior to law school, Sarah completed her Masters of Resource and Environmental Management at Dalhousie University where she conducted research on arctic marine policy and international governance of the arctic region. Before her time in Nova Scotia, Sarah completed her Honours Bachelor of Science at McMaster University, where spent time studying the impacts of industrial contaminants on fish behaviour in the Hamilton Habour.

Ali Tejani: 

Ali holds a Combined Honors Bachelor’s degree in Arts & Science and Economics from McMaster University, is currently a JD Candidate (Class of 2020) at the University of Windsor, Faculty of Law. His current legal interests include access to justice, environmental law, legal technology and legal innovation. Ali works as a research assistant for the National Self-Represented Litigants Project, an organization that advocates for better understanding of the needs, motivations and challenges of self-represented litigants, and develops resources to improve access to justice. Ali also works for Windsor Law’s Career Services Office and Windsor Law’s Academic Success Program. Ali is also on the Executive Board of the Windsor Review of Legal and Social Issues. Ali will begin articling in August with the Ministry of the Attorney General’s Court Services Division.

Tasha Stansbury 

Tasha Stansbury (she/her) has been a dedicated activist since her teens. She completed her Honours BA at the University of Toronto in Equity Studies. Tasha continued her advocacy work throughout law school, and holds executive member positions in several social justice-oriented clubs. She is passionate about environmental activism and is particularly interested in environmental racism and food justice. Tasha loves spending time outdoors, particularly hiking and camping, and worked for three summers as a wildland firefighter. After graduating law school, Tasha will be pursuing an LLM on the subject of climate refugees.

Aadil Nathani 

Aadil Nathani is a third year student at Windsor Law. Prior to coming to law school, Aadil grew up in Scarborough, Ontario, and obtained his Honours BA from the University of Toronto where he completed his degree in Criminology and Ethics, Society & Law. Aadil is a passionate advocate, specifically focused on immigration/refugee issues, human rights and Islamophobia. Aadil has been interested in climate action for over a year now, sparked by recognizing the urgent need for action on all fronts. This past January, Aadil founded a non-profit organization, Green Ummah (“Green Community”), which will work on climate action and sustainable living initiatives within the Canadian Muslim community. Once completing law school, Aadil will start his articles with the Corporation of the City of Windsor and will continue working on climate action initiatives through Green Ummah

Tiffany Ing

Tiffanny is a third year law student at the University of Windsor. Prior to attending law school, she was a certified urban planner by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. She has pursued graduate school in London and Paris. Throughout her studies, she has conducted field work across North America, Asia and Europe. She believes in applying an international approach to better understand how cities should respond to climate change. Her commitment to urban sustainability and legal advocacy has not changed while in law school. As a mooter, she challenged herself to argue in an environmental class action lawsuit. Tiffany and her teammate won the Warren Winkler Class Actions Moot and an award for Best Defendant Factum in 2019. 

In her spare time, Tiffanny loves ‘all things green’ such as growing rare-coloured vegetables, propagating succulents/cacti, visiting repurposed urban spaces and relaxing on a green roof. She hopes to one day design her own contemporary treehouse.


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