Nine UWinnipeg folks selected as CBC Future 40 finalists

The University of Winnipeg community congratulates the following for being singled out by CBC Manitoba as leaders in its 2017 Future 40 campaign.

Andrew Kaplan – BA 2003

Andrew has been shaping the lives of students in many different ways throughout his career. Mr. Kaplan’s energy and passion act to inspire and educate his students both in the classroom and in the variety of programs he supports. He helped start his school’s first gay-straight alliance group, which won the Sybil Shack Human Rights Youth Award.

Andrew is also the vice-president of the Manitoba Speech and Debate Association and helps to foster and support a program that instills the values of critical thinking, understanding of political landscapes, thoughtful listening and critical response.

He has travelled all around the world as a debate coach for Gray Academy and this fall is co-hosting the International Independent Schools Public Speaking Competition, one of the largest English international public speaking tournaments in the world.

Alexandra Froese – BA4 2010; MSC 2016

Alex is an outstanding Manitoban who works tirelessly to help protect, study and propagate burrowing owls while engaging Manitobans in efforts to conserve this federally listed endangered species in Canada. 

She has built the Manitoba Burrowing Owl Recovery Program, which aims to reintroduce owls, perform research and collect valuable data on wild and captive owl populations, and raise awareness about grassland conservation efforts focused on burrowing owls.

Alex has dedicated countless hours, days, months and years to working with landowners to install artificial nest burrows and establish good owl-nesting locations in southwestern Manitoba. 

She has fundraised and applied for grants that have kept the MBORP in operation for seven years while finishing her wildlife biology master’s degree.

Alexa Potashnik – BA4 2017

Alexa Joy has established herself as a potent political activist, a vigilant community leader and a talented beatbox performer. She is the founder of Black Space Winnipeg, an organization that creates safe spaces for Winnipeg’s black community. Alexa recently completed her bachelor of arts in human rights at the University of Winnipeg. While in school, she volunteered as the racialized student commissioner, advocating for students of colour across Manitoba.

Alexa’s current commitments include serving on the OurWinnipeg community advisory committee, working for Jazz Winnipeg and hosting a radio show called Raw Colours. Alexa is in the midst of redeveloping Raw Colours as a podcast and artist network to foster connection and support for artists of colour.

Jarita Greyeyes photo supplied

Jarita Greyeyes photo supplied

Jarita Greyeyes – BA 2006

Jarita Greyeyes is the director of community learning and engagement at the University of Winnipeg, where she says her primary role is to develop connections between the university and youth in surrounding communities. That work includes building bridges to families in the inner-city through the Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre and it’s weekly Pow Wow Club, Sacred Seven Hoop Dancing and after-school homework and computer clubs.

Greyeyes, 32, graduated with a master’s in Indigenous governance from the University of Victoria, and she previously served as chair of the National Aboriginal Caucus of the Canadian Federation of Students.

She was surprised if not taken aback by the news that she had been selected as a Future 40 finalist.

“I certainly work very hard, but really I am part of a team,” said the Saskatchewan transplant from Muskeg Lake and Red Pheasant Cree Nations. “It was really exciting to be acknowledged for the work and efforts that I do, but at the same time I know I am just one of many that supports the work we do at the university.”

It was on the suggestion of one of her high school teachers that Greyeyes moved to Winnipeg.

“As an Indigenous person, Winnipeg — with the largest urban Indigenous population and certainly a whole community of service organizations that are Indigenous-led — there some things I think Winnipeg really gets right, and I think this Indigenous approach to community development is one of them,” Greyeyes said.

‘It’s about trying to make everyone have access to the opportunities they need and the support they need to achieve their dreams.’ – Jarita Greyeyes

“Winnipeg has given me so much that through my work I just try to give back even a fraction of what I’ve received as a person who has decided to make Winnipeg their home.”

Greyeyes sits on the Indigenous Advisory Circle at the Winnipeg Art Gallery and is currently a co-chair of the board at Ka Ni Kanichihk, a not-for-profit that provides programming and services for Indigenous Peoples in Winnipeg.

Her ultimate goal is to make university a reality for more youth in Manitoba. She challenges her fellow Future 40 finalists to take up volunteer positions on boards for local community organizations, and to reflect on how they can use their successess to support others.

“I’ve been given opportunties and support by many different people. So in my life I am always thinking, ‘How can we provide a system of support and networks to give everyone those same opportunities who may not have them?'” she said.

“I’ve received that support through mentorship by other predominantly Indigenous women who have really taken the time to support me and the work I am doing, give me opportunities, teach me. And so I really try and do that in my personal life and professional life. It’s about trying to make everyone have access to the opportunities they need and the support they need to achieve their dreams.”

Anny Chen – BAH 2008; BED 2009; ESLT 2012 

Anny is a gifted facilitator, swing dancer, program co-ordinator and community educator. She brings people together and makes things work. Anny is a key part of 13 Fires Racial Inclusion Conversation Series, creating spaces for communities to share responses to racism in Winnipeg.

Working with Careers that Fight Climate Change Network, Anny connects diverse youth from inner-city Winnipeg schools with university student mentors, elders and leaders in renewable energy and food security to learn skills to build social and ecological interdependence.

A member of the Immigration Partnership Winnipeg, Anny brings her commitments to the work of helping newcomers situate themselves in ways that honour the territories of the Anishinabe, Cree and other Indigenous peoples. As a second-generation Canadian working closely with Indigenous communities, Anny demonstrates the many possibilities for creating beautiful and healthy communities together.

Kelly Leask – BA 2012

Kelly began working at Prairie Originals, a nursery that specializes in growing plants native to Manitoba’s prairies, in 2013. 

Always a nature-lover, Kelly quickly developed a strong appreciation and passion for prairie plants and the habitats they create. She has been managing the business since 2015 and will soon take over ownership, with plans to expand it on a 19-hectare property she owns. Her goal is to produce enough local seed to facilitate prairie restoration projects on a scale that is not currently possible in Manitoba. 

Aside from Prairie Originals, Kelly currently serves on the board for Gardens Manitoba and attends many gardening events within the community. 

Kelly was also instrumental in creating three waystations to support endangered monarch butterflies. Over the past few years, Kelly has spent her time educating others through speaking engagements around the province of the importance of preserving and restoring native prairie habitats (of which less than one per cent remain) and the benefits of landscaping with native plants in urban settings.

AAndeg Muldrew – Current UWinnipeg Student

Aandeg, in his third year of linguistics at the University of Winnipeg with a grade point average of 4.15, is the youngest sessional instructor at the University of Manitoba, where he teaches Introductory Ojibwe.

At 10, his grandmother and Ojibwe language specialist, Pat Ningewance, started apprenticing him as a language teacher when she took him to her language classes and revitalization camps. 

He is one of a select group of students chosen to attend the “Ojibwemotaadidaa Omaa Gidakiiminaang” in Fond du Lac, Minn., where he has enhanced his language skills in its immersion environment. 

Aandeg worked at the 7 Oaks School Division month-long language camp, teaching young students in a land-based, cultural environment. In this era of Reconciliation, Canadians are recognizing the loss of Indigenous languages and culture, and how Ojibwe language revitalization can help to restore pride and well-being. Aandeg is committed to giving back to his community by sharing his academic knowledge of linguistics and his practical skills of the Anishinaabe language.

Shanley Spence – BA 2017

Shanley Spence is a 25-year-old Swampy Cree and Aninishinaabe woman, a recent graduate of International Development Studies. She is a recognized hoop dancer who has danced on several platforms, including at Folklorama, a variety of nationwide and international performances, as well as at schools, conferences and workshops. Most recently she travelled to the Gathering of Nations where she won second runner-up for Miss Indian World.

She is a cultural ambassador and motivational speaker, a community activist, and has won the Aboriginal Youth Achievement Award for Artistic Performance, the community champion award for volunteerism, the Anita Neville Member of Parliament Award and is one of the most lovely, active and beautiful women. She is proudly indigenous and a vibrant member of our community.

Chino Argueta – Business and Partnerships manager, Recreation Services, UWinnipeg

Chino is a quiet leader who doesn’t take the centre stage but gets lots done working in partnership with others. Over the past 10 years, he has worked tirelessly to increase access to sport and recreation for inner city and under-served youth. Chino led the first city-wide initiative to give under-served kids across Winnipeg access to quality sports programs.

He also played a key support role in the University of Winnipeg mini soccer program, which allows inner city kids to play an organized version of mini soccer at the RecPlex. This was also offered at Central Park. He’s worked with Manitoba Soccer Association and Winnipeg Youth Soccer Association to address issues of access for inner city – and pockets of poverty throughout Winnipeg, addressing fees, transportation and coaching.

Profiles courtesy of CBC Manitoba website.

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