“Everyone can be a change-maker for gender equality by educating themselves about the prominent issues and showing respect for diversity.”

-Vivian Kwan

Age: 26

Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta

Currently Residing In: Edmonton, Alberta

Affiliations: Centre for Race and Culture, UN Women, Edmonton Mental Health Awareness Committee, World Economic Forum Global Shapers Community, Lieutenant Governor’s Circle for Mental Health and Addiction

Tell us about yourself!

Growing up in a traditional Chinese family, I was never encouraged to speak about mental health. However, in my third year of university, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, and I lost friends to suicide. These experiences prompted me to become vocal about mental health issues, especially mental health in a cultural context. In 2015, I was inspired by my peers to run for student government and was elected as the Vice-President of Student Life with the University of Alberta Students’ Union. I was surprised to find out my willingness to share my vulnerability and put myself in the spotlight encouraged other females to challenge the status quo.

How does your work promote gender equality in Canada and around the world?

My first experience opening up about my personal struggles made me realize how powerful dialogue is to addressing mental health. As a result, I committed myself to opportunities where I am able to interact with underrepresented populations to talk about stigmatized topics like mental health. As a summer intern with UN Women, I created a summer magazine feature highlighting stories of female interns from different demographic backgrounds who struggle with mental health issues, providing inspiring tips for enduring difficult times. Furthermore, I also helped work on the HeforShe social media campaign by featuring young men’s views on gender equity in Canada. In January, I will be joining the Centre for Race and Culture board to work on initiatives specifically in reducing inequalities and building strong institutions.

What change would you like to see in the world by 2030?

My biggest dream is to be able to witness a change in history, such as being alive to see the very first female secretary general being appointed to the United Nations. A lot can happen between now and 2030, so I am hopeful that we will be able to make progress if we work together. I also hope to see an increased awareness for mental health in ethnic communities. It would be amazing to see mental health become a mandatory component of the school curriculum for young students.

More 2019 Top 30 Alumni

Koshin Mohomoud

"The most important thing for anyone wanting to make a change is to get involved. Whether you are able to volunteer a little bit of your time or a lot, it is always important." -Koshin Mohomoud Age: 29 Hometown: Surrey, British Columbia Currently Residing In: Edmonton, Alberta Affiliations: Edmonton Somali Professionals I am currently a senior policy advisor with the Government of Alberta. Prior to my current role, I worked in both the public and private sectors and spent time working in my...

Aditya Chaudhuri

"Realize that when you do not contribute to achieving gender equality, you are limiting the world from reaching its full potential." -Aditya Chaudhuri Age: 25 Hometown: Calgary, Alberta Currently Residing In: Calgary, Alberta Affiliations: Engineers Without Borders Canada (ACGC Member) I’m a musician, an engineer (in training), an absolute animal lover, but most importantly, a global citizen who is passionate about contributing towards a sustainable tomorrow. I used to think the world was only...

Saige Godberson

"In the face of adversity, do not settle but rather speak up and create change." -Saige Godberson Age: 23 Hometown: Spruce Grove, Alberta Currently Residing In: Spruce Grove, Alberta Affiliations: Youthnited Nations International, Stollery Children’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Sigma Nursing Honors Society, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Special Olympics Edmonton I often say that “if everyone makes a small change, together we will make a big difference.” As a registered nurse in...

Sara Kardash

"Listen to the stories of the women and gender-diverse people in our communities and take the time to unpack your unconscious biases." -Sara Kardash Age: 22 Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta Currently Residing In: Edmonton, Alberta Affiliations: Engineers Without Borders Canada (ACGC Member) I am in my final year of civil environmental engineering at the University of Alberta, where I have been involved with the on-campus Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Canada chapter as co-president. I went into...

Janica Altea L. Echavez

"Encouraging young women and men in STEM is key to gaining more leaders and problem solvers that can address our current concerns in new, innovative ways." -Janica Altea L. Echavez Age: 23 Hometown: Cebu, Philippines Currently Residing In: Calgary, Alberta Affiliations: Next 36 Canada, Canadian Commission for UNESCO Youth Advisory Group, Science Expo Canada, Foundation of Student Science and Technology I was born and raised in the Philippines. While we owned a family exporting business, I was...

Gideon Mentie

"Stories can multiply the impact of a good initiative, so let’s learn how to be captivating storytellers!" -Gideon Mentie Age: 22 Hometown: Brooks, Alberta Currently Residing In: Calgary, Alberta Affiliations: SPECT, FullSoul Uganda, CAWST (ACGC Member), Canadian Foodgrains Bank I am a 22-year-old Ethiopian-Canadian civil engineering student, born and raised in the little prairie town of Brooks, Alberta. Growing up in Brooks, where over 100 different languages are spoken, I was always...

Peter Anto Johnson

"People become change-makers when they work towards a mutually benefiting outcome, one based on tolerance and respect." -Peter Anto Johnson Age: 22 Hometown: Angadical, Kerala, India Currently Residing In: Edmonton, Alberta Affiliations: Run for Support and Health (RuSH), University Infant Toddler Centre – University of Alberta, Student Health Committee, Health & Wellness Movement, Obesity Canada - Students & New Professional I’m a women and children’s health researcher, community...

Tina Guo

"As young individuals, we have a unique opportunity and responsibility to advocate for marginalized populations, and strive to effect positive change in our communities." -Tina Guo Age: 22 Hometown: Calgary, Alberta Currently Residing In: Calgary, Alberta Affiliations: Students Against Domestic Abuse Association, Outrun the Stigma Calgary, Student Run Clinic Born to a poor, first-generation immigrant family, I understood at a tender age the irreplaceability of diligence and tenacity. However,...

John Christy Johnson

"I urge you to pay back to community, leave a trail of breadcrumbs for the prospective engineer, scientist, or astronaut, and pass the baton as you strive for personal success." -John Christy Johnson Age: 22 Hometown: Angadical, Kerala, India Currently Residing In: Edmonton, Alberta Affiliations: University of Alberta Rehabilitation Robotics Laboratory, ClickandPush Accessibility Inc., TEDxUAlberta As an Indo-Canadian and identical twin, I spend a fair proportion of my time thinking about...

Bryce Thomsen

"I invite all youth in our community to identify opportunities to create change and to not be afraid to pitch their ideas to mentors for support." -Bryce Thomsen Age: 23 Hometown: Camrose, Alberta Currently Residing In: Edmonton, Alberta Affiliations: TEC Edmonton, Health City, University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine Growing up in a small town in rural Alberta, I always wondered what life was like on the global stage. I was fascinated with various cultures and their ways of life, but soon...
Share This