March 15, 2022
New internship program draws upon, and supports, student leaders of diverse identity backgrounds and lived experiences
The Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (OEDI) has launched the Equity and Inclusive Leadership (EIL) program, a new initiative to support the development of equitable pathways and academic pipelines for the next generation of engaged scholars committed to justice, pluralism, and more inclusive higher education and communities.
The EIL program also recognizes and supports UCalgary undergraduate and graduate student leaders who are already using their talents for the betterment of the university and the broad community.
The inaugural Equity and Inclusive Leadership interns will focus on several OEDI priorities in the areas of equity, diversity, inclusion, accessibility, and decolonization. The 2022 EIL interns will gain EDIA competencies, knowledge, skills, and experience working with members of the OEDI team, including conducting EDIA research, policy reviews, and institutional scans of existing initiatives at the intersections of racism and decolonization, genders and sexualities, visible and invisible disabilities, pluralism, and EDI data.
Diversity, creativity and innovation
Recognizing that diversity can fuel creativity and innovation, the new EIL internship program is designed to draw upon, and support, student leaders of diverse identity backgrounds and lived experiences in institutional efforts to embed EDIA across all spheres of the university. In drawing on diverse voices and experiences, it builds on the principle, “Not about us without us,” in efforts to create more equitable and inclusive pathways.
Dr. Malinda S. Smith, UCalgary’s vice-provost and associate vice-president research (equity, diversity, and inclusion), conceived of the idea last fall. The EIL program is partly an adaptation of the Program for Undergraduate Research Experience (PURE) program as well as programs to enrich the graduate student experience.
“I am pleased to welcome this inaugural cohort of talented and engaged scholars and activists to the EDI team,” says Smith. “The EIL interns will be mentored by members of the EDI team in producing advancing EDIA literacy and knowledge, in reviewing policies and programs, and in problem-solving.
We believe the EIL internship program will support change-makers, enrich the student experience, and help create a more fair and inclusive university community.
The interns were selected after a competitive application and interview process, which brought in over 80 applications. The internships are for a period of three months, with the potential of renewal.
“We had many strong undergraduate and graduate candidates apply for the program,” says Dr. Aruna Srivastava, PhD, equity leader in residence (race, disability, and decolonization) in the OEDI, who chaired the review committee.
“We are thrilled to welcome this amazing group of student interns to the EDI team, and we look forward to mutual learning in our efforts to create an equitable, diverse, inclusive, and accessible UCalgary community.”
Here are the Equity and Inclusive Leadership (EIL) Internship Program members:
Cameron Carley (they/them) is pursuing a Master of Arts in educational research with a specialization in curriculum and learning. Carley’s main research interest is queer masculinities, as masculinity studies is often perceived through a heterosexual/cisgender perspective, and they hope that their research contributes toward creating a new ideal of masculinity that is predicated on kindness, inclusivity, and intersectionality.
In this EIL internship, Carley will examine ideas of gender, sexuality, and queerness, and viewing everything through an intersectional and anti-oppressive lens. Everyone deserves to not only feel safe, but to also feel valued, and through their work, Carley hopes to advance equitable and inclusive values of gender, sexuality, and queerness within the UCalgary community and beyond.
Cindy Kalenga (she/her) is a MD/PhD candidate in the Cumming School of Medicine with a passion for improving sex- and gender-based (SGBA+) research that examines the intersection with race and ethnicity in medicine and science. She is the lead of the CIHR Sex and Gender Trainee Network at UCalgary.
Kalenga is widely recognized in the research community as an emerging leader for her work in women’s cardiovascular health and was recently awarded the highly competitive Leaders in Medicine MD/PhD scholarship, a CIHR Women’s Clinical Mentorship Grant, and a 2021 Top 30 under 30 by the Alberta Council for Global Co-operation. Kalenga is a highly sought-after speaker at both national and international conferences.
Sepideh Borzoo (she/her) is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology. Her pronouns are she/her in support of all gender-inclusive pronouns. Borzoo’s field of research is situated at the intersection of sociology of gender, intersectional feminism, critical race theory, and work and organization.
As an EIL intern, Borzoo will focus on deepening institutional capacity in EDI research and engagement in the areas of anti-racism and decolonization, genders and sexual diversities, and pluralism.
Emily English (they/she) is primarily interested in looking at how UCalgary can work toward disability justice on campus by deconstructing ableist practices and attitudes. She is also interested in how academic access for students with disabilities can be facilitated through research, policy, program support, and financial assistance.
Grace Kabengele (she/her) is a Law and Society student at UCalgary. She is interested in the betterment of the marginalized/minoritized student experience. This work is reflected in her Gauntlet column titled The Cookout as well as collaborative initiatives, including the Violet King Engaged Scholarship, and the expansion of the African Studies Program in the Faculty of Arts.
Jackson Wright (he/him) is working toward a BSc in biological sciences and is excited to create programs to support current and future Indigenous students. Previously, he worked to promote safe and supportive learning environments within the Residence Education Team, and helped to develop undergraduate EDI initiatives in the Department of Biological Sciences.
Shaye Erskine (she/her) is a JD candidate in the Faculty of Law. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from UCalgary. In 2019, Erskine started work at Arie Consulting, an organization that offers intersectional anti-racism training, event collaboration, and consultation for communications, policy manuals and more. Her work at Arie assists organizations in creating inclusive, equitable and accountable spaces.
Erskine is an experienced anti-racism facilitator and has hosted training with Calgary Pride, Youth Central, Alberta Association of Midwives, Mount Royal School of Midwifery, and the University of Alberta.
As an equitable and inclusive employer, the University of Calgary recognizes that a diverse staff/faculty benefits and enriches the work, learning and research experiences of the entire campus and greater community. We are committed to removing barriers that have been historically encountered by some people in our society. We strive to recruit individuals who will further enhance our diversity and will support their academic and professional success while they are here. In particular, we seek to support the recruitment, retention and flourishing of members of the designated groups (women, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, visible/racialized persons, and diverse sexual orientation and gender identities).
Learn more about the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.