Current Team Members:

Dr. Gül Çalışkan (She/Her)
Sociology Professor at St. Thomas University (STU)
Lead on the research project.

Gül is an Associate Professor of Global Sociology at St. Thomas University on Unceded Wolastoq Territory (Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada). She received her PhD from York University in Toronto, where her dissertation focused on the diasporic citizenship of Turkish-background residents of Berlin, Germany. Gül joined Sociology Department at STU in 2013. Her research and teaching focus on the broad areas of citizenship (as a social practice) and global social justice within global and transnational sociology. Postcolonial Studies and Postcolonial Feminism inform her research and teaching. In her research, she engages in the narrative inquiry to examine the complex relations between global processes and everyday realities. Gül teaches Introduction to Sociology; Sociology of Globalization; Globalization and Gender; Racialization and Ethnicity; Global Justice; Orientalism Islamophobia and Postcolonial Transgressions; Advanced Theory; Research for Social Change; and Qualitative Methods.


Sebastián Salazar (he)
Cultural Consultant.

Sebastián is a community planner and the former community liaison with the City of Fredericton. Salazar created spaces for enhanced interaction between recent immigrants and longer-term residents, including conversation groups and a living library. He has partnered with initiatives for an LGBT+ group for immigrants, refugees and international students, a petition to give permanent residents the right to vote in municipal elections, and assisted with Housing First initiatives. Salazar’s community connections and proficiency in several languages are vital for the project, as he will take an active role in all of the project’s events.


Dr. Sophie Lavoie (She/Her)
Professor of Culture and Media Studies at UNB.

Sophie was born in Moncton and grew up in Sydney, Nova Scotia. She is Professor in the Department of Culture and Media Studies at the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, where she teaches Spanish Latin American language, literature and culture, Women’s Studies and film. Her research publications are on women writers of Central America and social change, mostly in Nicaragua. She has also published on Latino-Canadian writers’ narratives of integration (Lady Rojas Benavente, Carmen Aguirre, Carmen Rodríguez). Along with editing two anthologies of Latino-Canadian women’s poetry, she is a literary translator with various books published in English, French, and Spanish. Notably, she translated Mi’kmaq poet Rita Joe and Ojibwa-Cree elder Ma-Nee Chacaby’s memoirs into French, recently published a translation of NB Anglophone poets in two volumes, and is finishing up a translation of NB LGBTQIA+ writers for Frog Hollow Books.


Auralia Brooke (She/Her)
PhD candidate in Education
May 2023 – present

Auralia is currently completing her PhD in Education at UNB with funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS) Doctoral Award. Her research is focused on student belonging and well-being. She teaches a community-engaged learning course at St Thomas University (STU), where she brings together non-profit community organizations and students to theorize community, university, and what it means to belong. She currently holds a Harrison McCain Faculty Research Grant from STU for data mobilization work with the Promise of Home team, and will be coordinating the Home is Here audio-visual exhibit.


Charles Pan (He/Him)
M.Ed, PhD candidate Graduate Research Assistant, videographer
January 2022 – Present

Native of China, new permanent resident of Canada and citizen of the world, Charles’s education and career life spans far and wide. He has a junior diploma in Elementary Education, diploma in Music Education, master in Educational Leadership (Australia), post-graduate certificates in Journalism – New Media, Advanced TV & Film (Canada). Charles started his career as a Chinese language teacher, soon transitioned to a live TV & radio host (the pioneer in his city), then to editor and director of a provincial radio station. He is the recipient of over 40 top national and provincial arts and media awards in China. Since 2014, he has been actively engaged in the Canadian higher education sector in both learning and teaching roles. His remarkable storytelling capacity made him the keynote speaker at 2018 TIFF Sheridan. He is also an invaluable contributor to the Greater Toronto Area and Greater Moncton Area, utilizing his superior leadership, event planning and multimedia production skills to serve his immediate community by delivering numerous large-scale art and cultural events. Charles is a classical pianist and music educator in his after-work hours. Currently, he is teaching Photography Media Arts at McKenzie College in Moncton, and a PhD student in education at University of New Brunswick. Charles brings to the POH team a wide spectrum of knowledge and skills, particularly in the field of social media marketing, video and graph production and presentation, and storytelling capacities.

Valeria Solis (She/Her)
STU, Interdisciplinary Honours Student, Research Assistant
May 2023 – Present

Valeria was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador and immigrated to Fredericton in 2021 for her undergraduate studies at St. Thomas University. Now in her fourth year, Valeria is a research assistant at Promise of Home doing transcription, community outreach, and academic writing.


Dora Szemok (She/They)
UNB, International Development Studies and Political Science Student, Research Assistant
September 2023 – Present

Dora was born in Tata, Hungary, and immigrated to Canada in 2005. She’s in her third year at the University of New Brunswick studying International Development Studies and Political Science. Dora is a research assistant for Promise of Home, and her tasks include, data analysis, community outreach, and academic writing.


Shamy Illiza Rukokora (She/Her)
STU, Majors in Criminology & Human Rights, Minor in Psychology, Research Assistant
October 2023 – Present

Shamy was born in Kigali, Rwanda and arrived in Canada 2022 for her undergraduate studies at St. Thomas University. She is a second-year student hoping to major in Criminology and Human Rights, and minor in Psychology. Shamy is a Research Assistant for Promise for Home and she hopes to have a great impact and contribution to the team.


Zachary Girard (He/Him)
STU, Majors in Sociology & Communications, Minor in Psychology, Research Assistant
January 2024 – Present

Zachary was born in Edmundston, New Brunswick, Canada, and moved to Fredericton in 2016. He is currently in his second year at St. Thomas University, majoring in Sociology and Communications and minoring in Psychology. In addition to his potential pursuits in higher education, Zachary is passionate about social research and looks to gain hands-on experience in the field, aiming for equal contributions to the Promise of Home research project.




Former Team Members:

Bianca Prăjescu (She/Her)
STU, Sociology Student, Research Assistant
May 2022 – October 2023

Bianca was born in Bacău, Romania, and immigrated to Canada in 2010. Now she’s in Fredericton in her fourth year of undergrad at St. Thomas University, honouring in Sociology. As a research assistant for Promise of Home, her tasks included narrative research (data collection), project management and academic writing. Outside of her academic life, Bianca is interested in visual arts (traditional and digital) and exploring Romanian culture through art.       


Daniel Abreus Santana (He/Him)
UNB, Business and Administration Student, Research Assistant
September 2022 – April 2023

Daniel Abreus Santana was born in the charming city of Cienfuegos, Cuba, where he spent his early childhood surrounded by the warm and welcoming culture of the Caribbean. Growing up, Daniel was always passionate about helping others and had a natural talent for connecting with people from all walks of life. This love for people ultimately inspired him to pursue an undergraduate degree in Business and Administration. Currently, Daniel is in his 4th year of the program, where he has been able to hone his skills in management, finance, and entrepreneurship. Throughout his studies, he has gained a deep appreciation for the intricacies of the business world and has developed a strong desire to use his education to make a positive impact in his community.


Bernarda Delgado (She/Her)
STU, Political Science Students, Research Assistant
September 2022 – April 2023

Bernarda was born in Quito Ecuador and immigrated to Canada by herself for her undergraduate studies. She is a first-year student at St. Thomas University planning on majoring in Political Science. She is a research assistant for Promise of Home, and her tasks include, taking notes at interviews, transcription, translation (Spanish to English), and subtitling videos. Bernarda Hopes to further her education and hopefully go to law school abroad. Her interests are diverse from law to human rights, and women and gender studies. In her personal life, Bernarda enjoys reading romance novels, listening to music and dancing since it forms part of her Latina culture.


Justine Thomas (She/Her)
STU Sociology Student
Research Assistant
January – April 2022

Justine was born in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. She is a fourth year undergraduate student completing her Honours in Sociology with a double minor in Psychology and Native studies. Justine’s work has involved assisting Çalışkan with research tasks, such as editing work, reviewing literature, and assisting with drafting a grant application for Promise of Home. Her duties include project management roles such as activity organizing, record maintenance, promotion for the project, and communications. She will also be involved in the writing, presentation, and publication of the project’s outcomes.


Anthazia Kadir (She/Her)
Educator, narrative researcher, and writer.
March 2019 – February 2021

Anthazia completed her teacher education program at the Cyril Potter College of Education, Guyana, where she majored in Theatre Studies. She taught internationally in her native Guyana for ten years then moved in 2007 to York University in Toronto and completed a B. A (Hons) degree in English & Philosophy. After York University, she journeyed to Saskatchewan and taught high school for two years in Indigenous Education. After Saskatchewan, she moved on to the University of New Brunswick in 2016 and completed an M.Ed. in Curriculum Studies. Among her many academic pursuits, Anthazia is an educator and storyteller. Presently she facilitates narrative writing workshops for seniors and immigrants to Canada.


Abbey LeJeune (They/Them)
STU Sociology Graduate
Research assistant
November 2019 – April 2021

Abbey LeJeune grew up in Fredericton, NB and was raised by their two adventurous, entrepreneurial parents. Since graduating high school in Fredericton, Abbey completed their undergraduate studies at St. Thomas University in the April 2021. They studied Sociology, Environment and Society, and Native Studies, with hopes of doing a Master’s in Occupational Therapy. Abbey worked with Dr. Ҫalişkan as a teacher and research assistant at St. Thomas University. Abbey works to be heavily involved in social activism in Fredericton around the topics of queerness, reproductive justice, racialization, Indigenous rights, climate justice, and immigrant and refugee issues. Outside of studies, employment, and social activism, Abbey spends their time in their cozy apartment with their partner, Megan, and cat, Jinx, reading books, cooking, baking, and playing cards.


Aaron Beaumont (They/Them)
STU Sociology Graduate
Research assistant
June 2020 – August 2021

Aaron grew up in Riverview, New Brunswick and moved to Fredericton in 2016 to begin studying at St. Thomas University. Aaron completed an honours in Sociology and major in Native Studies in April 2021. Their honours thesis involved collecting narratives from fat transgender folks in Atlantic Canada about medical care and resistance. Aaron hopes to continue onto grad school to become a counsellor for the LGBTQ2S community. Outside of academia, Aaron is committed to social justice in Fredericton and online around topics of transgender rights, fat liberation and Indigenous rights. Other than activism, Aaron is an artist, book-lover and enjoys biking. They have been gratefully working with Dr. Ҫalişkan on multiple projects including Promise of Home since the spring of 2020.


Emily O’Donnell-Shaw (She/Her)
STU Sociology Student
Research assistant
June – August 2021

Emily grew up in McNamee, New Brunswick and moved to Fredericton in 2018 to study at St. Thomas University. Emily is going into her fourth year at STU and is working on completing an honours in Sociology, along with a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies. In addition to working with Dr.Çalışkan on the Promise of Home project, Emily has also worked as a research assistant in STU’s history department and in the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Narrative. Emily is an avid volunteer with the University Women’s Centre, and enjoys reading, crafting, and roller skating in her spare time.


Pierina Rivas Robbiano (She/Her)
STU Journalism Student
June – August 2021

Pierina was born in Lima, Peru, but now lives in Fredericton, NB. She moved to Canada in 2019 in order to get a double major in Journalism and Communications and Public Policy, with a minor in Fine Arts at St. Thomas University. One of Pierina’s long-term goals is to travel around the world, getting stories and meeting new people while discovering new places. Besides being passionate about visual journalism, her favorite hobby is dancing, which allowed her to be a dance instructor in Fredericton.


Patricia Saad (She/Her)
STU Journalism Graduate
December 2019 – December 2020

Patricia completed a major in English with a Concentration in Drama and a triple minor in journalism, fine arts and criminology at St. Thomas University. She is primarily a theatre technician and lighting designer in the Fredericton community, but is making her way into the multi-media industry. Patricia is a freelance photographer and cinematographer in the Fredericton area. Her freelance work includes projects at the St. Thomas University and with production companies in the Fredericton community. Patricia worked alongside the team as the videographer for Phase 1.


Kyle Reissner (He/Him)
STU Sociology Student
Research assistant
May 2019 – April 2020

Kyle was born in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. He is in his third year of Sociology at St. Thomas University, and plans on going to graduate school for social work. His passion for social issues and inequality has given him the opportunity to work alongside Dr. Ҫalişkan, a professor of Sociology at St.Thomas University, as her research assistant. Over the past two years, he has published two book reviews with Dr. Caliskan, and is in the process of publishing another. The majority of his work involved assisting Dr. Ҫalişkan with research tasks, such as reviewing literature and editing her work, as well as drafting an extensive ethics application for Promise of Home. His position entailed managing and securing funds for project expenditures, as well as venues for various events related to the project. His main role was leading the first phase of the project, and it was his duty to be in direct communication with participants and other contacts involved in the project.