“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

What influenced you to become a change-maker?

I’m a women and children’s health researcher, community builder, and a “world-class daydreamer” according to my mom. Born alongside my identical twin brother in rural India, I was diagnosed with a developmental abnormality called intussusception at the age of two. This was an especially stressful time for my family, as the condition was life-threatening and the privatized rural health care system in Kerala was far from ideal. When I was six, we immigrated to Canada seeking out opportunity, investing in my early education. As I matured, I came to the realization that equality, sense of belonging, and respect was not always the status quo. Facing more challenges forced me to adapt and become resilient. This drove me to act—for children, for families, and for society.

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

As I work towards promoting women’s rights and gender equality, I believe it is important to consider the role of women as mothers. My undergraduate research involved studying iron-deficiency in mothers, a particularly prevalent issue in developing nations where accessibility to iron or other nutritional supplements are limited. I have also piloted the Physical Literacy for Active Youth (PLAY) program, a student-led physical literacy program in which university students lead play-oriented sessions at campus daycare centres. By fostering healthy habits in children from a young age, not only do children learn to integrate physical and mental health in their lives, but also university students gain these same benefits by teaching the children.

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

In 2030, I’d like to see a world where our social systems offer equal opportunity for women and children. As we are all living lives as members of different families and communities, I believe our policies should be reflective and more empathetic towards our different situations. In this way, we can develop our society to innovate, grow, and sustainably develop.

More 2019 Top 30 Alumni

Daryl Kootenay

"We must support gender equality in our gatherings by creating spaces in which female leaders can learn, engage, and act on each other’s ideas." -Daryl Kootenay Age: 27 Hometown: Morley, Alberta Currently Residing In: Morley, Alberta Affiliations: Stoney Nakoda Youth Council, Banff Center for indigenous leadership, Mni Ki Waka: Decade of Water Summit Since I was in high school, I have always felt a deep sense of the need and desire to help others. This aligns with my identity as a Stoney...

Karl Narvacan

"Be inclusive and accepting of other people’s ideas and habits, and you can be a changemaker for gender equality." -Karl Narvacan Age: 29 Hometown: Manila, Philippines Currently Residing In: Edmonton, Alberta Affiliations: Spinal Cord Injury Treatment Centre Society, Choosing Wisely Canada As first-generation immigrants from the Philippines, our family faced a common challenge—navigating the health care system. I vividly remember going to the ER one day when I had a severe toothache, only to...

Mabel Smith

"It is important to find something that you love doing and that you feel has a positive impact on the world." -Mabel Smith Age: 22 Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta Currently Residing In: Edmonton, Alberta Affiliations: Engineers in Action I have always felt a strong sense of environmental and social responsibility. While still in elementary school, I became an obsessive recycler as well as a vegetarian, and I would carry home banana peels and apple cores to compost. More recently, I have developed...

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...

Sonia Lal

"Reflect on the stereotypes and prejudiced views you may apply to others. Recognize if you’re discriminatory, and rectify your behaviour. Change starts with you." -Sonia Lal Age: 18 Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta Currently Residing In: Edmonton, Alberta Affiliations: John Humphrey Center for Peace and Human Rights (ACGC Member) Students Invested in Health Association, Live Different, Big Brothers Big Sisters From a cheerleader with a bow in her hair to a Taekwondo competitor gearing up to spar on...

Glenielia Ariel Crawler

"Be a changemaker by being a leader. Think big and believe in yourself. Be resilient; work with communities. Do what moves you." -Glenielia Ariel Crawler Age: 27 Hometown: Big Horn First Nation Currently Residing In: Morley First Nation Affiliations: Nakoda Youth Council- Mni Ki Wakan My name is Glenielia Crawler, but I also go by Ariel Waskewitch. I am Nakoda Sioux and Plains Cree, and I come from the small community of Big Horn First Nation. I am a proud mother to my three-year-old daughter...

Elizabeth Roden

"You don’t have to do something on a grand scale; just live your values and stand up for what you believe in." -Elizabeth Roden Age: 29 Hometown: Glendon, Alberta Currently Residing In: Calgary, Alberta Affiliations: Operation Eyesight (ACGC Member) From an early age, I’ve always believed that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. I helped form a leadership group at my high school and was eager to learn more about world issues. In 2007, I moved to Calgary to pursue a degree...

Stephanie Southgate

"Never underestimate the effect that your actions have on other people. Follow your interests and skills, and use them to make a positive impact." -Stephanie Southgate Age: 28 Hometown: Ipswich, United Kingdom Currently Residing In: Calgary, Alberta Affiliations: CAWST (ACGC Member) I have always been driven to make a positive contribution to others and the world. However, during a university internship in rural India, my resolve to shift my career path towards education was solidified upon...

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...

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...
Share This