We're proud to showcase our 2015-2016 CoPilots. Discover their stories and projects by clicking on their photos. If you want to get in touch with our CoPilots,
let us know.

Ishita Aggarwal

Ishita Aggarwal

Emily Miernik

Emily Miernik

Carter Vance

Carter Vance

Melissa Kargiannakis

Melissa Kargiannakis

Ainsley Munro

Ainsley Munro

Zainab Mahdi

Zainab Mahdi

Tevis Shkodra

Tevis Shkodra


ISHITA AGGARWAL

Ishita recently completed her HBSc in Cell and Molecular Biology, Neuroscience and Psychology from the University of Toronto. During her degree, Ishita was highly committed to her school and local community. As an Access and Equity Blogger for U of T Student Life Blog, Co-Director of Events for Women in Science and Engineering, and an Examination Invigilator at AccessAbility Services at University of Toronto, Ishita gained diverse experiences and developed a keen interest in social justice issues, particularly gender equality. In her spare time, she enjoys reading mystery novels, eating copious amounts of sushi, and spending time with friends and family.

Project Description
Ishita is launching a new E-Zine (called BEHIND-THE-SCENES Magazine) that will feature anonymous stories of women's personal experiences with prejudice and discrimination. In doing so, she hopes to highlight the prevalence of micro- and macro-aggressions that still exist today.

CoPilot Fellowship
The CoPilot Fellowship has been a phenomenal experience. It has transformed the way I see the world, its problems, and my project in particular. Furthermore, it has introduced me to a group of the brightest, most committed young minds I have ever met. Finally, and perhaps most unexpectedly, it has given me confidence in my project and in myself. Now, I am more focused on executing my project rather than worrying about if it is a project worth executing! 


MELISSA KARGIANNAKIS

Project Description
Heuristext is a for-profit social enterprise that aims to make the internet easier to understand.

CoPilot Fellowship
The CoPilot Fellowship provided some of the best anti-oppression training I have ever experienced. Building a social enterprise, it is important to understand the impact of systemic oppression. Coaching calls with Jay from the CatalystX team have been very supportive through the opportunities and challenges of building Heuristext.

Twitter: @melkargi
Website: heuristext.com


ZAINAB MAHDI

Zainab is a lover of all things artistic and social justice related. She is currently completing a HBSc in Health Studies with a minor in English at the University of Waterloo. Over the past few years Zainab has adopted spoken word poetry as her artistic medium of choice and has performed in various venues across the GTA. She works with different organizations within her community to help encourage art as a therapeutic form of self expression, while also advocating for the use of art as a form of resistance and a tool to promote social justice.

Project Description
Zainab's project centres around creating spaces and opportunities for individuals of marginalized groups in her community to use art as an avenue to express themselves and overcome the adversities they face. This project will hopefully leverage the local talent in her community to provide services, workshops and events that will help foster artistic expression for people who do not typically have access to these opportunities, and create a more tolerant and cohesive community.

CoPilot Fellowship
The CoPilot Fellowship was an amazing experience. Not only did it allow me to connect with inspiring, like-minded individuals also striving to help their communities, it provided me with tangible tools and systems design thinking techniques that have helped make my project more realistic. The Fellowship illustrated for me the importance of doing primary research to assess the needs of my community and to reach out to possible organizations and individuals that could help me through my journey. The best allies I've made so far are those I have met during the fellowship, however I'm also looking forward to the relationships I hope to form within my community.

Twitter: @zainabmahdi_


EMILY MIERNIK

Emily is currently going into her third year at York University, completing a BSc in Global Health. Her interests lie in the realm of human (specifically children's) rights and health. She is a strong believer in providing access to necessities which include the basics (safe environment, water, food) to creating a better system in our own homes to provide the right care for Canadian children.

CoPilot Fellowship
In all honesty, what made the CoPilot Fellowship such an enriching experience is the people it brought together. I have met some great thinkers, writers, dreamers and doers. I have never been in a room full of people with so much heart.

I came in with the idea that I'll recreate the health care system. Rookie mistake. Though, throughout the next few weekends I learned that there are so many overlapping themes in our ideas which we can build off-of: 1) Helping others to have access to something that cannot be easily accessed; Finances, Self-worth/Identity, Tolerance. 2) Finding the means. And the means that have been brought up have been well-thought out and made a bit more attainable with the heavy networking and financial help we've been guided towards.

I would encourage anybody who is even slightly interested in this group to become acquainted, or learn more about us!


AINSLEY MUNRO

Ainsley is a passionate community builder who believes in the power of people and ideas. She loves using her creativity and facilitation skills to bring ideas to life with the people and places that create them. When she is not sharing ideas and/or making projects happen with fellow creators and changemakers, she is most likely exploring city neighbourhoods by bicycle, planning her next adventure, or catching up with her favourite channels on YouTube.

Project Description
Ainsley is passionate about community and emerging ideas. She is currently in the development stage for several projects including a local bicycle parade, food reclamation and transformation, and a social media series that engages millennials in Canadian politics.

CoPilot Fellowship
I've attended several training sessions in the past, but CoPilots is different in that the support exists long after the event is over. Working with some of Ontario's best young thinkers and doers is inspiring and motivating. I am excited to share my project developments with our small, tight-knit group! I'm really happy to know that my project ideas resonate with others and I have things to offer fellow CoPilots. Using systems thinking on a regular basis to suss out problems before they arise (and have a plan in place to handle them when they occur) has been really helpful in bringing projects to life.

Twitter: @speakingspark


TEVIS SHKODRA

Tevis is finishing his BA in Global Studies and Social Entrepreneurship at Wilfrid Laurier University. He loves to think about and work on social problems affecting youth (such as the future of education and networking for graduating students in an ever-changing dynamic). He is a keen observer of international development trends and activities, as well as being an avid traveller and writer.

Project Description
SPRING is an interactive social media platform allowing university students to network with alumni in the workforce.

CoPilot Fellowship
The CoPilot Fellowship has inspired the growth and development of my idea in its theoretical phase. Through collaboration and cooperation with other fellows, I was able to improve my idea through systems thinking, as well as discover and critically assess new ideas from other fellows.  

Twitter: @tevisshkodra


CARTER VANCE

Carter is a student, writer and professional interested in projects that increase community capacity for socially just development. He has worked in a wide range of organizational capacities, from policy work on Parliament Hill to frontline social service agencies, in the pursuit of these goals. He first became specifically interested in social enterprise through working with Emmaus UK in London, England on projects to improve youth employment outcomes and address the impacts of homelessness. Carter has obtained a Bachelor's in Psychology from the University of Ottawa and a Bachelor's in Social Work from Algoma University . He will be beginning a Masters in Political Economy at Carleton University beginning in the fall of 2016.

Project Description
Common Space[s]: A Digital Sharing Platform for Non-Profits is an online platform which seeks to mobilize existing community capacity in order to better address the challenges dealt with by various non-profits and social enterprises. The platform would consist of both a website and a smartphone application through which organizations could call for and offer-up non-monetary resources. The underlying basis of the system would be similar to auction-based websites such as eBay, but would operate on a first-bidder basis for offered resources. These resources might range from office space to excess food to the expertise of individual professionals within organizations, with the overall goal of reducing waste (in both physical and resource senses) and improving efficiency and community-mindedness in service delivery. The key difference as opposed to other existing platforms which might be used (e.g. Kijiji) is that this would be both specific to the community development sphere and have a verification capacity in order to avoid situations where promised goods or services are not delivered. The platform would also be used as a regularly-updated local knowledge database for the social economy sector (in a Wikipedia-style), which would allow a single-stop resource for agencies and clients to gain definitive information.

CoPilot Fellowship
I've gained a lot of knowledge about financial and other resources through being connected to the group, as well as being exposed to a great group of ideamakers. The workshops did also assist in terms of refining some of my thinking going forward, especially as regards the importance of mapping out impact metrics of a particular project beforehand. There's a lot of different perspectives, in terms of backgrounds, geographies and interests, represented in this group, which was really reflected when we came together. I'm hoping to be able to work with some joint projects with the rest of the CoPilots moving into the future and as I'm going to be a bit closer to most of them physically. In particular, a few of us did generate some interesting ideas on youth political engagement that I think could be carried forward in a number of forms.

Twitter: @cartervance