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International Women’s Day at OISE: “What woman inspires you?”

OISE alumna Cristina Guerrero (above) was inspired by OISE postdoctoral fellow Leila Angod (photo by Lindsey Craig)

To recognize International Women's Day, OISE News took to the halls, lounges and labs of OISE and asked, “What woman inspires you the most?”

Cristina Guerrero, OISE alumna and PhD: “The woman who most inspires me is Leila Angod. She breaks a lot of barriers when it comes to being a woman, and she's not afraid to challenge systems and people.” (Leila Angod is a PhD postdoctoral fellow at OISE specializing in critical race feminism.) 

Ifrah Saeed, a third-year Life Sciences student: “Right away I think of Chemistry Professor Barb Morra. You could tell she was very young, but she was already doing her PhD. It was so inspiring. I was in awe. And her teaching style, it just kept you focused. She made you see how chemistry was connected to real life. You could tell she really enjoyed what she was doing.”  

Jingyi Yang, a fourth-year Chemistry student from the University of Toronto Mississauga and international student form China: “My auntie. Without her, I wouldn't have come to Canada for my studies. She's never been here, but she knows the stories and history, and told me about it. She saw that Canada is an open society and people always share love to each other. I'm so grateful.”

Mark Richardson, on-site technician at OISE: “Rebeca Dilio, my grade 12 teacher at Central Commerce Collegiate. If not for her, I probably wouldn't have graduated. I took an extra year of high school, and of the eight classes I needed to graduate, I had her for six of them. She was very motivating. Even though I wasn't the best student, she always pushed me to be great.”

Kimberly Payoe, a second-year student of Political Science & Ethics, Society and Law: “Mother Teresa. She inspires me the most because of her dedication in the face of adversity.”

Armen Shahnazarian, an OISE alumnus with Master in Sociology and Equity Studies and BEd: “Tori Amos is a huge inspiration. She represents my first point of entry into showing me the power of the feminine mystique, the creativity housed within a woman, about motherhood and the nature of motherhood. And, most importantly, about politics from a woman's perspective, and the move away from patriarchal systems of government.”

Hera Kashmeri, an OISE alumna: “I was so inspired by OISE TESOL professor Carolyn Cote. She was so nonchalant in her teaching, but she knows her craft so well. She makes you feel more creative by being that way... She just has this way of teaching. I would also say my OISE bridge program teacher, Visjna Cuturic. She taught grammar to ESL students and had immense patience. After class, she would sit down and go through it with you if you were having trouble. Few profs would do that. I remember once I needed help. She was on holiday break and actually came in from Guelph to help me. I couldn't believe it.”

Kazi Aditi Zahir, a fourth-year Neuroscience student: “My mom. She’s the best at everything she does. For example, she recently got her HR certification – and she was on the dean's list.”

Shamsun Binte Hossain, a second-year Economics student: “My mom inspires me the most. I'm from Bangledesh, and being the eldest daughter, I should be there caring for my parents. But my mom did not think of her own emotions. Instead, she supported me to go away and pursue my studies.”