As part of our commitment to developing youth leaders, twelve student summer interns have been working alongside Coady Institute and the Centre for Employment Innovation (CEI) staff members over the last few months. We are pleased to introduce you to the four International Centre for Women’s Leadership interns at Coady Institute. (Learn more about the eight CEI summer interns on the CEI website news blog.)

Hanna Chidwick
Guelph, Ontario

MSc, McMaster University
Graduated with a Master’s degree in Global Health; PhD student in Global Health.

Jeneva Dennis
Potlotek First Nation, Nova Scotia

Fourth year Political Science student at St. Francis Xavier University.

Riley Wolfe
Antigonish, Nova Scotia

BA (Hons), St. Francis Xavier University
Graduated with a major in History with a subsidiary in Women’s and Gender Studies

Victoria Miles
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Fourth year Development Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies student at St. Francis Xavier University.

Hanna, Jeneva, Riley, and Victoria each bring unique and diverse experiences and interests to their work as part of Coady’s International Centre for Women’s Leadership team.

Hanna is a graduate of Coady’s Pathy Foundation Fellowship (2017-2018) for youth leaders through which she developed and led a community project in Tanzania.

“I explored the barriers that elderly people face in accessing treatment for chronic diseases in East Africa, and how to effectively partner with elderly people and community groups to increase access to healthcare,” Hanna explains. “These experiences expanded my interest in equitable community services and asset-based community-driven development (ABCD).

Jeneva says that her experience as a Mi’kmaw woman, a single mother, and an active community volunteer, have shaped her interest in further exploring Indigenous women’s leadership.

“I have two kids – a girl and boy. Going into my schooling, I was anxious as a single parent. My daughter was 10-months-old and attended the on-campus daycare,” Jeneva explains.

In addition to being a full-time parent and student, Jeneva also stays active in her home and school communities.

“I volunteer within my home community whenever I can, and I volunteer on campus with the Aboriginal X Society and other organizations on campus.”

Riley moved from their home in southern Quebec to Antigonish to attend St. Francis Xavier University (StFX) four years ago.

“While I’ve lived here, I have embraced community involvement and activism,” Riley says. “I was the president of X-Pride in the 2019-2020 school year and a co-coordinator of the Peer Support Program. I’ve also had great opportunities to do research through my Honours thesis, receive the RBC summer student internship grant, and work as a research assistant for Dr. Rachel Hurst.”

Riley says that after learning about the work of Coady Institute through professors and campus events, they became interested becoming part of the Coady team.

“I am very enthusiastic about being part of a team and learning from the immense amount of knowledge, especially practical knowledge connected to applying theory and research, that the people in the Coady women’s leadership programs have.”

Victoria says she also became interested in joining Coady’s team by learning about the Institute’s work through her experience as a StFX student.

“Through my development studies courses at StFX I have had the privilege to meet many amazing people at Coady, and I was able to learn more about the different types of work that Coady is involved in,” Victoria explains. “It sparked my interest right away and I knew I wanted to be a part of a positive, hardworking, network and learn more.

“From a young age I became very interested in advocacy and volunteering,” she explains. “I love exploring new places and meeting new people.”

Each intern has had the opportunity to explore a variety of topics throughout their internship thus far.

While Hanna explores intersections of ABCD with a various fields and disciplines, Jeneva is diligently working to research course content for Coady’s Indigenous Women in Community Leadership program. Riley is improving inclusivity through the development of a 2SLGBTQ+ allyship starter guide, while Victoria is connecting with Coady graduates to explore disability and mental health in the global south. The interns have also active roles in areas such as COVID-19 response and community responses to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), developing the One People, One Heartbeat: Creating Connections through Art exhibit, supporting the Coady Webinar Series, and preparing for an upcoming women’s peace and security conference.

As they each prepare to return to their studies in September, Hanna will begin a PhD in Global Health “exploring how ABCD through sport can engage young women in greater understanding and access to sexual and reproductive healthcare”. Jeneva will complete her final year of undergraduate studies with the goal of attending law school, Riley will begin a MA in History at York University with the goal of pursuing a PhD, and Victoria will complete her final year of undergraduate studies with the goal of obtaining a MA in Economic Development, and a certification in Welding.

“I am hoping to help break down barriers of women in trades…to create connections and bring more knowledge of the trades into the global south to give women more opportunities for work that stem outside traditional gender roles.”

We thank Hanna, Jeneva, Riley, and Victoria for contributing their knowledge, skills, and dedication to our work at Coady Institute, and wish them each the best of luck as they continue to create positive change in our societies.