Events listed below are co-ordinated by the Arts & Science Alumni Office as well as by various Arts & Science academic units.  For a list of all U of T events, please see the U of T Events Calendar

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Backpack to Briefcase (b2B) Languages Mentorship Meal – Winter 2018

January 31 @ 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Mentorship Meals bring together alumni, faculty and students from the same discipline where you can enjoy a delicious meal while engaging in conversations about future career paths and the possibilities your degree can open up.

To be added to an invitation list for this event, please fill in our Registration Form for the Department of French, Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, Department of Italian Studies, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, or the Department of Spanish and Portuguese to confirm your interest in attending.  Dinners are restricted to 15 student per department. Attendees and final registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Please read below attending alumni for more information. This is part of the Backpack to Briefcase (b2B) Mentorship Meal series. 

Attending Faculty & Alumni: 


  • Professor Alexie Tcheuyap, Chair Department of French
  • Professor Marie – Anne Visoi, Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies
  • Amanda Colina, Consulting Analyst, Statistic Canada
  • Golam A. Khan, CEO, FabriKite Inc.
  • Denise Savoiardo, Administrative Assistant to the Director of Financial Planning & Development, City of Vaughn
  • Ted A. Kalaboukis, Managing Director, Andros Communication


  • Professor Angelica Fenner, Associate Chair, Graduate Studies
  • Professor Markus Stock, Chair Department of Germanic Languages & Literature
  • Matthew Douglas, Teacher, Toronto District School Board
  • Heidi KinKartz, Director of Compliance, Scotiabank


  • Professor Salvatore Bancheri, Chair Department of Italian Studies
  • Ashleigh Burnet, FOI & Privacy Advisor, LCBO
  • Marco P. Falco, Partner, Torkin Manes LLP
  • Sabrina Rokerya, Bilingual Telecaster Commercial Analyst – Television Bureau of Canada


  • Professor Leonid Livack, Chair Department, Slavic Languages & Literatures
  • Professor Dragana Obradovic, Associate Professor, Slavic Languages & Literatures
  • Professor Taras Kozanarsky, Associate Professor, Slavic Languages & Literatures
  • Eric Noble, General Counsel, Tax Law Division – Department of Justice
  • Amanda Adamczenko, US Immigration Attorney


  • Professor Laura Colantoni, Chair Department of Spanish/Portuguese
  • Professor Juan Rocha Osornio, Assistant Professor of Spanish, Spanish Language Coordinator
  • Rob Hong, Senior Consultant, KPMG
  • Christina Guerrero, Instructional Coach, K-12 TDSB

Attending Students:


  • Angela Gu, 3rd year undergraduate, French Literature and Ethics, Society and Law.
  • Changmo Kim, 4th year undergraduate, Neuroscience
  • Gabriel Blanco, 2nd year undergraduate, Neuroscience and Linguistics
  • Gayathri Dineshkumar, 1st year undergraduate, Political Science and French
  • Gregory Tejada, 1st year undergraduate, French Studies and French Linguistics
  • Hanna Lim, 4th year undergraduate, Life Sciences and French
  • Justin Gang
  • Maria del Mar Cuevas, 1st year undergraduate, International Relations and French
  • Michael Ghodrat. 2nd year undergraduate, Psychology, Criminology and French
  • Monica Kossewski, 3rd year undergraduate, Political Science, French and Polish
  • Rheannon Demeter, 1st year undergraduate, French and Ethics, Society and Law
  • Shanice Julia Formental Mendez, 2nd year undergraduate, French and Spanish
  • Yiwen Li, 2nd year undergraduate, French
  • Zu Yue Zhou, 1st year undergraduate, Humanities


  • Tara Costello, 1st year undergraduate, English
  • Ran Tao, 1st year undergraduate, Rotman Commerce and Mathematics
  • Theodor Antoenscu, 1st year undergraduate, Rotman Commerce
  • Krall Yu, 3rd year undergraduate, Sociology and Psychology
  • Juanita Xiong, 1st year undergraduate, Psychology and Germanic Languages & Literature
  • Diana Mezini, Masters student, Germanic Languages & Literature and Art History
  • Mariz Nashed, 3rd year undergraduate, Statistical Sciences and Mathematics
  • Fizza Mahmood, 2nd year undergraduate, Cell & Systems Biology and Immunology
  • Logan Koivu, 3rd year undergraduate, Economics and Germanic Languages & Literature
  • Yuan Zhang,  1st year undergraduate, Germanic Languages & Literature
  • Selin Goksoy, 2nd year undergraduate, Psychology and Germanic Languages & Literature


  • Antonio Calarco, 4th year undergraduate, Biology and Italian Studies
  • Laurena Casciaro, 3rd year undergraduate, French, Italian Studies and Education and Society
  • Christina Vani, PhD student, Italian


  • Daniel Ambrozuk, 3rd year undergraduate, Political Science, History and Slavic Languages and Literature
  • Chris Holmes, 5th year undergraduate, Slavic Languages and Literature and Linguistics
  • Burbuqe Cunaj, 3rd year undergraduate, Slavic Languages and Literature


  • Tiffany Hoyos, 2nd year undergraduate, Linguistics and Spanish and Portuguese
  • Qiwei Shao, 3rd year undergraduate, Economics and Spanish and Portuguese
  • Lucas Quadros Azevedo, 3rd year undergraduate, Germanic Languages and Literature and Spanish and Portuguese
  • Hinako Fujiwara, 2nd year undergraduate, Spanish and Portuguese and Nutritional Science

Faculty & Alumni Biography – French 

Professor Alexie Tcheuyap, Chair Department of French

Alexie Tcheuyap is Full Professor at the Department of French of the University of Toronto. He has previously taught in Cameroon and at the University of Calgary, and has been Visiting Professor in South Africa, the United States, Germany and France. He holds a Doctorat de Troisième Cycle in Literature from the University of Yaoundé and a Ph.D in French Studies from Queen’s University. His main areas of research are media studies, Francophone African literatures and Francophone African cinemas.

Professor Marie – Anne Visoi, Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies

Dr. Marie-Anne Visoi is an Associate Professor at St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto where she has developed and taught courses on The Western Tradition, The 20th Century French Novel, French Cultural Studies, and Advanced French Language. Her research interests include textual criticism relating to world literature, reader-response theories and cultural studies. She is the author of “Transgression, Stylistic Variation and Narrative Discourse in the 20th Century Novel”,Cambridge Scholars Publishing; “A Thematic Approach to French Cultural Studies: Love, Sex and Desire in French Literature and Cinema”, Universal Publishers; “Reading Nara’s Diary in the volume “Generic Instability and Identity in the Contemporary Novel”, Cambridge Scholars Publishing; “Parody in the Postmodernist Novel: Se una notte d’inverno un viaggiatore”, Modern Language Studies. Her pedagogical research has extended into the integration of culture in the second language curriculum and the development of oral and written proficiency through multimodal assessment and experiential learning.

Amanda Colina, Consulting Analyst, Statistic Canada

Amanda Colina is a lifelong learner and traveller who has spent many years furthering her education at the University of Toronto.  She received her Bachelor of Arts with a combined specialist in French and Italian in 1993 at UTM and then ventured downtown to complete a major in Spanish in 1994, a Bachelor of Education in 1996 (intermediate/senior levels for French and Spanish) and a Masters in Adult Education in 2005.  She has taught English as a second language in Mexico and South Korea, French as a second language in Mississauga and Toronto and Spanish as a second language in Colorado.  She has also worked at the Canada Revenue Agency as a bilingual Taxpayer Services Agent and can confidently file her own tax return.  Currently she serves Canadians as a bilingual Consulting-Analyst at Statistics Canada, Canada’s national statistical agency.


Golam A. Khan, CEO, FabriKite Inc.

I had been very active with the student movement in U of T and served on the board at UTSU as the Minister of Education and Outreach. I also helped establish WUSC at UTM which sponsors students from refugee camps to study at U of T, a program which continues to date. After, graduating in 2008, I moved to Montreal to work in the logistics industry, since then I have worked with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and a Nobel Laureate for Peace. I currently own 3 businesses, in apparel manufacturing, software development and music management. My music management company is validated by the Canada Council for the Arts, and my apparel company sponsors Starup Fashion Week, Fashion Art Toronto and FutureEra. My extra-curricular activities at U of T, such as producing a world music show on the campus radio has helped me identify my business interests in later years. I currently mentor youth at Futurpreneur and Youth Employment Services. My music management company is overseeing business for 88Camino of the 88Glam project and our apparel manufacturing company is working with designers out of Supreme which I consider to be milestones for our companies in 2017. To learn more about FabriKite Inc., please visit: 

Denise Savoiardo, Administrative Assistant to the Director of Financial Planning & Development, City of Vaughn

Denise Victoria Savoiardo (nee Banks), has been an active contributor, within the City of Vaughan since 2010, when she joined the Budgeting and Financial Planning Team as Administrative Assistant to the Director – which now has evolved into the Financial Planning & Development Finance Department.Denise is a passionate Administrative Assistant with over a decennial of high level executive support roles, perpetually coveting to expand on existing administrative and growing leadership assignments to advance Service Excellence. Prior to joining the City, Denise has held similar administrative roles commencing from junior positions as general reception and administrative support at Mitsubishi Canada Ltd. and the Canadian Football League Head office in Toronto to Executive Assistant to the Vice President of Services at Bombardier Transportation.  She remained there for 8 years until the birth of her twin girls in 2005, as she decided to take a 5 year sabbatical to raise them. Denise has also had extension leadership roles during her tenure at University of Toronto – St. Michael’s College as Councilor and SMCSU Commissioner from 1992-1994.  Denise had also participated at the Varsity Level and both the Women’s and Men’s Fencing Teams and is a T-Holder member – she was inducted into the Midland Sports Hall of Fame in 2000 as a special Recognition by her hometown of Midland for her contribution to the Sport of Fencing (she was truly one of the pioneers of women’s sabre fencing, seeing that the sport was opened to women in the early 90’s.)   She also holds a technical coaching certificate. A zeal for public service, Denise is a champion of Service Excellence and change management    advocating continuous improvement and innovation within her department and throughout the Finance Office.


Ted A. Kalaboukis, Managing Director, Andros Communication

Ted Kalaboukis is Managing Director of Andros Communications, a strategic marketing consultancy to the beverage alcohol industry — current clients include Wines of Germany (Deutsches Weininstitut), Wines of Chile (Viños de Chile), Wines of Peloponnese (ENOAP- Greece) and the British Columbia Wine Institute. Ted was Associate Director of SOPEXA Canada from 2005-2008 and Project Manager from 1998-2004 developing strategic marketing plans and overseeing the implementation of public relations and promotional programmes across Canada for key clients in the wine sector such as France AgriMer, Bordeaux Wine Council (CIVB), Burgundy Wine Bureau (BIVB), and South of France Wines.  Previously, Ted worked as a Management Consultant for Fox Jones & Associates focusing on industrial recruitment, as Public Relations Coordinator for the Greek National Tourism Office in Canada, and as a Market Research Analyst for food services operator Sodexho S.A. based in Paris, France, and in Athens, Greece.  Mr. Kalaboukis graduated from the University of Toronto (Innis College) with an Honours BA in International Relations and Geography (French minor) in 1987.  After several years of experience in the working world, he went on to the University of Ottawa and the Reims Management School in France (now NEOMA Business School) graduating with an MBA (Ottawa)and Dîplome (Reims) in 1994.


Faculty & Alumni Biography – German 

Professor Angelica Fenner, Associate Chair, Graduate Studies

Angelica Fenner is cross-appointed Associate Professor of German and Cinema Studies at the University of Toronto and the current Graduate Coordinator in the Cinema Studies Institute.  She is the author of Race Under Reconstruction in German Cinema (University of Toronto Press, 2011), co-editor of The Autobiographical Turn in Germanophone Documentary and Experimental Film (Camden House, 2014), and currently completing a book project on first-person film-making in contemporary Germany. Her interests encompass intersectional politics of gender, race, class in visual cultures; gender and authorship; migration and diaspora in European cinemas; documentary theory and history; and German film history.

Matthew Douglas, Teacher, Toronto District School Board

Matthew Douglas is a public educator with a focus on English language learning, experiential learning and the integration of education technology. He currently teaches English as a Second Language, Cooperative Education and Business Studies at Bloor Collegiate Institute in the Toronto District School Board. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he is the lead advisor of the school’s DECA Ontario chapter.Matthew studied History, Politics, and Germanic Languages and Literature at the University of Toronto and holds a Master’s degree in European Studies (Cultural Studies, Economics, International and European Law) from the Viadrina European University in Frankfurt (Oder), Germany. He completed his Initial Teacher Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. He is fully bilingual in German and English.Before joining the teaching profession, he worked as a textbook editor for the Westermann Gruppe, a scholastic publishing house in Braunschweig, Germany. He is currently the regular contributing editor of the Special Features section in Praxis Englisch, a bi-monthly magazine for German teachers of English that offers educational resources and reading selections for English language learners. In his free time, Matthew volunteers as a Director at Large of the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada and is a Chevalier and Adjutant to the Grand Master in The Order of Saint Joachim, an organization that raises funds for small, grassroots charities that are otherwise overlooked in the world.


Heidi KinKartz, Director of Compliance, Scotiabank

Heidi graduated, with distinction, from St. Michaels College in 1988 with a B.A. in German and History. She went on to obtain an LL.B. from York University and was called to the Ontario Bar in 1993. Heidi has spent her professional life in the financial services industry.  The initial years of her career were spent practicing law in-house in a life insurance company and subsequently in a bank.  In the latter role, she expanded her insurance experience to include a retail banking practice. More recently, Heidi has spent almost nine years in a compliance function where she is the Director, Global Sanctions at Scotiabank, leading a team of four compliance professionals. The role provides an opportunity to apply her legal skills in a context that takes advantage of her interest in foreign affairs, history and other cultures.  Every day presents new and interesting challenges given evolving world events and the impact of foreign policy measures on sanctions compliance. In her spare time, Heidi enjoys yoga, walking and especially travelling.  She has been fortunate to have had the opportunity to visit regions on every continent except Antarctica . . . the latter ultimately not to be excluded, as it remains a travel destination on her bucket list!


Faculty & Alumni Biography – Italian

Professor Salvatore Bancheri, Chair Department of Italian Studies

Professor Bancheri is the Chair of the Department of Italian Studies at the University of Toronto. He has published on textual criticism, Boccaccio, religious drama, Eighteenth-Century literature, theatre: theory and performance, Sicilian literature, Italian-Canadian studies, secondlanguage acquisition and media technology dedicated to the teaching of Italian. He has developed Instructional software for Language Teaching. He has co-authored many Italian language textbooks with some of the most prestigious publishing houses in North America. He is the Director of the Frank Iacobucci Centre for Italian Canadian Studies, and the Editor of Italian Canadiana from 2004 to present. He has created the Digital Archives of the Iacobucci Centre and the The G.P. Clivio Online Dictionary of Italiese. Prof. Bancheri is currently the Secretary/Treasurer of the American Association of Italian Studies (AATI), for which he has created the AATI digital archive. In 2007 his course ITA 312/313Y Italian Theatre: Text and Performance was nominated for inclusion in the College Board AP World Languages Best Practices Study in Italian Language and Culture).

Biagio Aulino, Teacher, York Catholic District School Board

Dr. Biagio Aulino obtained his Doctorate of Education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at OISE, University of Toronto, in the area of Second Language Education. He also has a Master of Arts degree in Italian Studies from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Education degree. His research interests include second language acquisition, adolescent speech varieties, sociolinguistics, cyberlanguage and teaching of the Italian language at the high school level. In the last few years, Dr. Aulino has been working as a Research Assistant in the Department of Language Studies, Mississauga Campus, University of Toronto with the principal investigator, Professor Michael Lettieri  along with other colleagues .Their research focuses on the teaching and learning of Italian language. Doctor Aulino is a past president and current executive board member of the Ontario Association of Teachers of Italian and is a Board of Directors member for Centro Scuola for which he has taught Italian language courses and Classical Civilization over summer months in Italy. He has also served as an Administrator of the International Languages credit courses program offered at York Catholic District School Board. Dr. Aulino is the recipient of the Toronto Star Teacher Award Nomination for 2012 and has received travel grants to present his research in Rome and Naples. Currently, Dr. Aulino is Department Head of French and International Languages in the York Catholic District School Board. He has taught part time at OISE/UT in the pre-service and continuing education  department and at Niagara University in Ontario a Methods course in French, Italian and Spanish. He has also served as External Examiner for Master of Education degrees in the area of French as a Second language at Nipissing University.


Ashleigh Burnet, FOI & Privacy Advisor, LCBO

Ashleigh Burnet is currently a senior FOI & Privacy Advisor at the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO). Prior to joining the LCBO, she served as the FOI & Access Specialist at the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) where she delivered the FOI program for more than six years. She holds an HBA in Italian Studies and Renaissance Studies, a M.A in Italian Studies, and a MI in Critical Information Studies from the University of Toronto. She is also a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/C) and holds a Freedom of Information and Privacy certificate from the University of Toronto.


Marco P. Falco, Partner, Torkin Manes LLP

Marco is a partner in the Litigation Department at Torkin Manes. He provides written advocacy and opinions on a range of topics in the civil litigation and corporate/commercial context. He has drafted legal memoranda, facta and materials for all levels of court, with an emphasis on applications for judicial review and civil appeals. While his practice engages the full spectrum of legal services offered at Torkin Manes, his areas of focus include administrative law, commercial litigation, professional discipline, labour and employment law, corporate law, and insolvency. Marco has published many articles on a host of legal issues and is Chief Editor of Torkin Manes LegalWatch. His legal articles and analyses have been cited in a leading national newspaper.Marco is also actively engaged in the University of Toronto’s Alumni Mentorship programs, providing mentorship to students in the Faculty of Arts & Science and the Faculty of Law. In 2017, Marco was recognized as a leader in his field in The 2017 Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory.


Sabrina Rokerya, Bilingual Telecaster Commercial Analyst – Television Bureau of Canada

Sabrina Rokerya completed her Honours Bachelor of Arts with a Specialist in French and Italian Teaching and Learning, and a Language Citation in Spanish at UTM, as well as her Bachelor of Education at OISE in the Concurrent Teacher Education Program, both in 2013. Sabrina currently works for thinktv, which was formerly the Television Bureau of Canada. As a Bilingual Telecaster Commercial Analyst, she reviews and approves all English and French TV commercials before they reach Canadian broadcast TV stations for airing. Serving as the “eyes and ears” of the broadcasters, but also helping advertising agencies get their commercials on air, Sabrina has learned a lot and utilized many skills acquired through her education and professional development. On the weekends, she is a Supervisor at Lufthansa German Airline, a company she has worked with part-time, for the past 9 years. Once Sabrina graduated from the University of Toronto, she wanted to pursue her passion for languages and her ability to do many things at once, enabling her to teach languages (she taught French to adults at Alliance Française), become a Media Analyst, and spend her weekends at an airline. Sabrina’s passion has always been foreign languages. She speaks, reads and writes in 9: English, French, Urdu, Spanish, Italian, Arabic, German and Malay, and has started studying Turkish at UofT’s School of Continuing Studies since this past summer.

The University of Toronto was a place where Sabrina honed her linguistic skills and aptitudes. She was a founding member and President of the Language Studies Academic Society, worked with UTM’s Department of Language Studies and the UTM Library as a French Multimedia Assistant, as well as held executive positions with the ÉFUTM (Étudiants francophones de UTM) and OLAS (Organization of Latin American Students). Sabrina promoted language and culture at UTM by hosting and organizing French Talents Shows, French, Spanish and Italian Conversation Hours, Foreign Language Film Nights, Language Exhibitions, and she participated in the annual Italian Play as an actor and volunteer.

Sabrina strongly believes that in order to fully learn and acquire a new language, one must also learn and immerse into the foreign culture. Sabrina is a big advocate for foreign language learning, and she believes that learning goes beyond the classroom and beyond graduation. Sabrina has also travelled a lot after graduating from UofT, and has had the chance to put into practice her foreign language skills.

Recently, she returned from a Volunteer Service Trip in Morocco, an eye-opening and inspiring experience. Sabrina looks forward to sharing her insights and dynamic experiences with many.


Faculty & Alumni Biography – Slavic

Professor Leonid Livack, Chair ,Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures

His research interests include 19th and 20th century Russian literature and culture, 19th and 20th century French literature and culture, Modernist studies, Jewish studies, comparative approaches to literary and cultural studies.  He is a specialist in nineteenth and twentieth century Russian and European cultural history. He is the author of numerous studies of Russian modernist and Russian emigre literatures; as well as of Russian-French and Russian-Jewish cultural history.

Professor Dragana Obradovic, Associate Professor, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures

Dragana Obradovic is an associate professor in the Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures at the University of Toronto. A native of Sarajevo, she received her PhD from University College London, UK. She is the author of Writing the Yugoslav Wars: Literature, Postmodernism, and the Ethics of Representation (University of Toronto Press, 2016). She has published articles on post-socialist literary poetics and contemporary feminist cinema in the Balkans. Her other academic interests include the Holocaust in Yugoslav fiction, themes of diaspora and exile, and the essay genre.

Professor Taras Kozanarsky, Associate Professor, Ukrainian

His research interests lie in Ukrainian and Russian literatures in the first half of the nineteenth century; national and cultural identity; modernism and avant-garde. Current research project: “The text of Kyiv: constructions of the city in Ukrainian, Russian, Jewish, and Polish literary and cultural imaginations, 1800s-1930s.”

Eric Noble, General Counsel, Tax Law Division – Department of Justice

In undergrad, Eric majored in history and did minors in Russian and French languages.  He was enrolled in the combined M.A. and Diploma program at the Centre for Russian and East European Studies before completing his LLB at the University of Toronto.  Since then he has worked for the federal Department of Justice for 27 years mostly in the income tax litigation area


Amanda Adamczenko, US Immigration Attorney

My name is Amanda Adamczenko and I graduated from the University of Toronto in 2008, having pursued programs in Philosophy, French, and Polish Studies. Upon graduation, I worked at the Toronto Star, but given the downturn affecting newspaper journalism, I was laid off approximately one year later. Uncertain of the next steps I should take, I decided to travel as much as I could, as I planned on a return to academia not long afterward.  As I possessed a fascination with US political structure and their Constitution, I decided to apply to law school in the United States. I attended the Florida State University, College of Law, where I also benefited from the warmer climate. There, I completed a Juris Doctorate and an International Law Certificate, with honours. I also gained experience in international humanitarian and human rights law, child advocacy, and refugee and asylum law, while also developing oral argumentation skills by participating in the Jessup International Moot Court Competition. Since graduating and becoming a member of the New York Bar, I have delved into US-bound immigration law here in Toronto, while I pursue getting licensed to practise in Ontario.The knowledge, cultural understanding, and language skills that I gained at U of T have proven to be immensely beneficial throughout the years. This is especially true now, as I aim to assist clients who are often all over the world and have varying needs and objectives. Creating a relationship with a client based on trust requires forming a bond, and the skills I acquired at U of T have helped me to excel in this area.


Alumni Biography – Spanish/Portuguese

Professor Laura Colantoni, Chair Department of Spanish/Portuguese

Laura Colantoni received her BA in Linguistics from the University of Buenos Aires and her PhD in Hispanic Linguistics from the University of Minnesota. Her research focuses on sound change and categorization and the second language acquisition of variable phonetic parameters. She is currently working on two research projects. The first one, supported by SSHRC, is entitled “Quantitative and laboratory approaches to the study of micro and macro sound variation and change in Spanish.” The second project, in collaboration with Jeffrey Steele (Department of French), involves an experimental study on the phonetics, phonology and acquisition of obstruents-liquid clusters in French and Spanish.

Professor Juan Rocha Osornio, Assistant Professor of Spanish, Spanish Language Coordinator

Professor Rocha Osornio is Assistant Professor of Spanish – Teaching Stream, and Spanish Language Coordinator. He has a Ph.D. in Hispanic Studies from Western University (2013), a M.A in Spanish Language, Literature and Culture from Texas A&M University-Commerce (2009), and a B.A in Spanish & English also from Texas A&M University-Commerce (2006). In addition to that, he holds a graduate certificate in Sexuality, Culture and Society from the Graduate School of Social Sciences at the University of Amsterdam (2015). He teaches undergraduate courses and oversees the curriculum development and coordination of Spanish for Beginners, Intermediate Spanish, and Advanced Spanish. Professor Rocha Osornio brings years of experience in language pedagogy and literary review in Canada and abroad. He incorporates an interactive nature with the aim at providing students the opportunity to engage in inter- and intracultural experiences. For this reason, he has partnered with different local Hispanic community organizations in the Greater Toronto area.

Rob Hong, Senior Consultant, KPMG

My name is Rob Hong and I graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish. After completing my BA, I went on to pursue a Master of Theological Studies, also at U of T, but realized that the crowded job market in the humanities would significantly harm my career prospects. I ended up leaving academia to pursue a career in finance and consulting, working at a small investment management shop, then at KPMG as a strategy consultant, and finally at Bell Canada in corporate finance before leaving to start up my own business in 2015, Sapling Financial Consultants Inc, which helps small businesses to make better business decisions. My language studies provided me with the confidence that I could succeed in whatever I want to do, and showed me how to learn. I remember being intimidated by all the fluent Spanish speakers, as I just started Spanish in first year, and telling myself how I’d attain fluency by repeating words to myself and listening to news podcasts. Eventually I became fluent, and have since believed that if I could do that, there isn’t much I can’t do if I work hard and pursue it passionately.


Christina Guerrero, Instructional Coach, K-12 TDSB

Dr. Cristina Guerrero is a K-12 Learning Coach with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB). In this centrally assigned role she supports teachers and other school staff with their work towards increasing student achievement, equity, and well-being. She recently completed two years as an instructor at OISE/University of Toronto’s Master of Teaching program, through which she taught courses like Fundamentals of Teaching, Education Research, and Anti-Discriminatory Education. Her doctoral research, which informed her system-wide work with the Latinx and Portuguese student achievement portfolios, addressed the ways in which youth participatory action research can provide vast opportunities for personal, social, as well as educational change.


Student Biography – French


Angela Gu, 3rd year undergraduate, French Literature and Ethics, Society and Law.

Angela Gu is a third-year undergraduate student pursuing a double major in French Literature and Ethics, Society and Law. She has a wide range of interests, and is also completing a minor in Environmental Biology. She is currently a research assistant at the Centre for Ethics here at U of T. In addition to school and work, she is currently the student chair of the Hart House Literary and Library Committee, and volunteers at Hart House Library as well.  She writes in her spare time: for the Salterrae, for Society19, and for her own blog. She is the treasurer of the newly founded student foreign languages magazine Lingvo. She loves learning languages and speaks Mandarin, as well as a little Italian. She is currently exploring various career paths and would appreciate any guidance!

Changmo Kim, 4th year undergraduate, Neuroscience

I am a fourth year Neuroscience specialist student at U of T. Though my French is lacking, I realize its importance in my life in particular. I wish to attend medical school after graduate studies at McGill university; being able to integrate myself with the culture and have the province treat me as their own would be an incredible honour. To do so, I should raise my French to some degree of competency. Moreover, I am an avid rock climber. France is respected in the community for establishing and advancing the power and technicality with sport climbing during the nascent times of free climbing. Lastly, I carry a strong passion for beatboxing, in which the art form thrives in France. I hope to gain insight as to the arts and sport culture from the alumni, as well as their challenges with learning the language.

Gabriel Blanco, 2nd year undergraduate, Neuroscience and Linguistics

I am a second year student currently studying neuroscience and linguistics. I have a passion for new languages as well as science. I am interested in neurolinguistics, the science of how our brain processes language. I have done research in both science and linguistics and I have found this area to be fascinating.  However, I am not sure as to what career path I would like to follow. I want to see how far my passion for languages can take me and what decisions were taken to find success in their field. As I approach my third year, the pressure to make a decision increases and I hope to find guidance from this dinner

Gayathri Dineshkumar, 1st year undergraduate, Political Science and French

I am a First Year student who wishes to pursue Political Science and French as part of my degree, in order to achieve my long term goal of foreign services work. I am currently studying French as a Second Language, and am also a student in the VicOne Pearson Stream. Although I have a general idea of my ambitions, I wish to better understand the ways in which a French language qualification will benefit my career upon graduation. I believe that this event will provide me with a valuable networking opportunity to learn of what my options are after graduation, and what I can do over the course of my undergraduate studies to begin working early towards success. I have a strong interest in international relations, politics and culture and hope that this event will broaden my horizons through the successes of the mentors who will be attending.

Gregory Tejada, 1st year undergraduate, French Studies and French Linguistics

Hello, my name is Gregory Tejada and I am an 18-year-old, first-year student at UofT, hoping to specialize in French Studies and French Linguistics. I was born in Scarborough but raised in Toronto, attending high school at Bishop Allen Academy which is in the Etobicoke (West end Toronto). I’ve been speaking French since the age of 6 and still to this day, find the knowledge of French culture and language very useful in contemporary society. I work as a member of the Canadian Armed Forces of two years, serving primarily as a part time reserve infantryman. I am very positive that attending this meal with alumni will be able to broaden my comprehension of the use of the language in life after graduation. Being able to learn and see where people have gone and what they have done with French will fuel me with new ideas of things to pursue after university. Thank you.

Hanna Lim, 4th year undergraduate, Life Sciences and French

My name is Hanna Lim, and I am currently in my 4th year of Study at the University of Toronto. I am completing a degree with life sciences as my focus, however I am also completing a minor in French. I am interested in attending this dinner as I am trying to figure out my options for obtaining a job that I would be happy with after graduation. I had wanted to minor in French because I was considering possible career choices in the field, and consider it a very useful language skill and asset in Canada and around the world. By being able to meet alumni, faculty, and other students, this event would provide me with an opportunity to gain insight into the realities of the field and some advice on the methods of job acquisition.

Justin Gang

Maria del Mar Cuevas, 1st year undergraduate, International Relations and French

Maria del Mar Cuevas is a first year student who is planning on majoring in International Relations and French Studies.  She began her studies in the French language when she was in high school and received her DELF B2 certification last year.  She is passionate about learning new languages and wants to continue improving her French by taking courses available in the French department.  Outside of academics, she is a youth activist who is passionate about making a difference in her local and global community. In the past, Maria has served as a Trade and Economic Development Ambassador for Global Vision Junior Team Canada, where she worked to represent various sectors of the Canadian education and biotech industries in China. Currently, she is serving as the Canadian Country Coordinator for the Commonwealth Youth Peace Ambassadors Network.  Maria wants to pursue a career in diplomacy and is curious about the different career opportunities that a French major could help her achieve.

Michael Ghodrat, 2nd year undergraduate, Psychology, Criminology and French

My name is Michael. I’m a second-year student at UofT pursuing a degree in Psychology and Criminology with a minor in French. I’m originally from Ottawa, but I also lived in Los Angeles and San Francisco earlier in my teens. My career goal is to be a criminal lawyer—not sure yet whether I want to be a defence lawyer or prosecutor but I want to get into law school and see where life takes me. I’m also very interested in mental health (hence, psychology), and would like to do volunteer work in this area later this year.

I look forward to attending the faculty meal for several reasons. Firstly, I love learning French, and would like to meet more alumni, faculty, and my peers who also do. I also want to meet and talk with alumni to build my professional network and get a better picture of possible avenues for life after graduation. Can’t wait to meet everyone!

Monica Kossewski, 3rd year undergraduate, Political Science, French and Polish

Hi there! my name is Monica Kossewski, I am a third-year student currently working on my specialist in politics as well as my minors in French and Polish. During my time at the university I have taken part in St. Michaels orientation as a leader, UNICEF at UofT, as well as the pre- law society. I am also part of AIESEC the largest student led organization in the world, where I service internships internationally. This past summer I received the opportunity to teach English in Italy, where I got to fulfil my passion of travelling. When I do find time between school, AIESEC and my part time job, I invest my time in travelling adding countries to my list, slowly checking off things on my bucket list.

During this event, I will be looking for advice on the first steps towards building my career.

Rheannon Demeter, 1st year undergraduate, French and Ethics, Society and Law.

Hello to all! My name is Rheannon Demeter and I am currently in my 1st year of undergraduate studies looking to major in French Language Learning and Ethics, Society & Law. Though my love of French continues to grow, I am also interested in psychology, philosophy, law and education. Aside from my studies, I officiate competitive indoor volleyball and enjoy learning new songs on the ukulele.

Throughout the years, I’ve narrowed down the list of potential career paths to a select few, but have yet to determine which one to follow. It would be highly beneficial to meet alumni from the French academic unit with whom I can discuss personal academic journeys and how they came to choose their career path stemming from French studies, seeing that it’s what I’m currently leaning towards. They were once in my shoes, and who knows? One day I may follow in their footsteps.

Shanice Julia Formental Mendez, 2nd year undergraduate, French and Spanish

My name is Shanice Julia Formental Mendez. I am a second year undergraduate student. I love learning different languages and cultures. I was born and spent my childhood in Cuba and Spanish is my first language. When I moved to Canada I was able to admire for the first time the richness of diversity that there is in this country and specially in a city like Toronto. As a result, I started learning French and Portuguese to begin with my personal challenge, as soon as I improved my academic level of English. I am currently studying FSL, and literature in Spanish. In this meeting, I would like to learn about what my possible career opportunities after graduation with a major in French.

Yiwen Li

I am a student at the University of Toronto who wants to network with alumni and discover the different career paths I can take with my French degree.  I want to hear advice from alumni who were once in my shoes, and I also believe that this b2B meal is a great opportunity to network with my peers and speak with faculty members from my academic unit.  I am an avid long-distance runner, and a part of the UofT clubs French Course Union and Friends of Medecins sans Frontieres.  I like to paint and enjoy having conversations with friends.  My hobbies include reading novels, listening to music, and having fun with friends.  I was a part of the Vic One program in my first year at the University of Toronto, and am now a Vic One Mentor.  I am currently considering a career in medicine.

Zu Yue Zhou, 1st year undergraduate, Humanities

This is the second winter I have lived in Toronto and this is a colder one. Mandarin is my mother tongue and I acquired Japanese as my second language while I lived in Japan. As I am still learning English as my third language, I am also taking French courses from the 100 level. Graduating from the Academic Bridging Program last April, I am a first-year undergraduate student in Humanities stream. I find languages fascinating and I am interested in the cultural and historical contexts of various languages; however, I am not sure what I can do with them in the future, other than teaching them. I hope this event can help me to meet alumni with similar background but serving in different industries, such as Ms. Amanda Colina.


Student Biography – German

Tara Costello, 1st year undergraduate, English

My name is Tara Costello and I am eighteen years old. I am a first year Humanities student and I am a part of Victoria College. I enrolled in GER150, “Introduction to German Culture”, because I have German heritage and wanted to learn more about Germany. I have also travelled to Germany and I intend to go back one day. I am planning on majoring in English, however I have recently been considering a minor in German studies, as I really enjoy the class I am in now and would be enthusiastic about taking the language. I would like to attend this meal with alumni because I am interested in hearing what they have to say about their experiences in the Department of German Languages and Literature. I have been unable to attend any Kaffeestunde’s because of a class conflict, so I would love this alternate opportunity to explore this department.

Ran Tao, 1st year undergraduate, Rotman Commerce and Mathematics

I am a first-year student at the University of Toronto, currently pursuing a bachelor of commerce at Rotman Commerce. I intend to specialize in finance and economics, as well as major in mathematics. Presently, I am learning German, perhaps with the intent of eventually working German-speaking countries. I was born in China, and grew up in the province of Quebec. I am fluent in English, French, and Mandarin. My favorite hobby is karate, which I am black belt now. As extracurricular activity, I take part in RC Toastmasters, a public speaking club. I wish to attend this event because I am still undecided about my career path, and would like to explore opportunities as well as meeting alumni from U of T, who, I believe, will inspire me greatly.

Theodor Antoenscu, 1st year undergraduate, Rotman Commerce

The reason I want to attend this dinner with alumni is to have a better understanding of how I can make use of my multilingual skills throughout university and hopefully in my future career. German is the fourth language I would like to be fluent in as I currently know Romanian, English, and French. Since moving to Canada when I was 5, my parents have regularly brought me on vacations, so I have grown to love travelling. In the future I hope to work abroad which is what has motivated me to learn new languages. My greatest passion is skiing which I try to do as often as I can. Over the past 4 years I have worked as a ski instructor. I am currently a first-year student in the Rotman Commerce undergraduate program and will focus on finance and economics in the next 3 years. I am interested in hearing about the steps these alumni have taken that lead to a successful career.

Krall Yu, 3rd year undergraduate, Sociology and Psychology

I am a third-year undergraduate student specialist in Sociology and minor in Psychology. I am taking German language course right now and find it particularly interesting. I wonder the future potentials with this language skill and want to hear and learn from people’s successful stories.

Juanita Xiong, 1st year undergraduate, Psychology and Germanic Languages & Literature

A lot can happen by chance. From the city of mountain and fog in China, I started taking English seriously six years ago by chance, started studying German three years ago by chance, and chose U of T last year, also partly by chance. That’s why I can be here in the first place. Right now, I am a first year Life Sciences student pursuing a specialist in psychology with two minors in sociology and business German. After my German B2 this year, I intend to study French, Japanese or Arabic next year, but I’m always open to new options. I’m curious to find where chance, combined with other reasons, would lead me next. I know I must put myself forward to know and to experience more in the first place, before I can have such chances. That is essentially why I would like to have this lunch with alumni.

Diana Mezini, Masters student, Germanic Languages & Literature and Art History

I graduated in Translation and specialized in PTSD – Posttraumatic Disorders at SAL
School of Applied Linguistics Zurich, Switzerland in 2012. The aim of my specialization on Posttraumatic Disorders in Psychology was related to my work as translator in UPD –Universitäre Psychiatrische Dienste Bern. I worked as official translator for various Institutions and Organisations in Switzerland for 13 years. In the meantime, I did volunteer work approximately one year as Assistant of Professional Painter in a non-for-profit project for professional and social integration. The University of Toronto provides a great opportunity to discover many interesting aspects. Throughout my primary studies I experienced in teaching. In MA studies in last semester I was able to exchange and expand experiences as Teaching Assistant for German. I’m curious to hear in which areas I can apply my knowledge, therefore, I’m applying for Event Mentorship Meal – German (Winter 2018)

Mariz Nashed, 3rd year undergraduate, Statistical Sciences and Mathematics

I am currently in third year majoring in Statistics and minoring in Mathematics and German. German has always been the fun or break part of my degree. I never thought I use my minor as a career option but over the years, I have been quite open to the idea of having different career options. I have enjoyed learning the language and culture immensely and want to explore the different options of where can I apply my minor in German. I would like to meet different people who put their German language degree to use and get inspiration by listening to their experience and advice. I would also like to meet other students outside of my German classes that share the same passion for the language and the culture. I am planning on doing a course in Germany this summer. So it would be great to meet someone who had that experience.

Fizza Mahmood, 2nd year undergraduate, Cell & Systems Biology and Immunology

Hi, I am Fizza Mahmood and currently a student who is in second year. I am doing minor in German and Immunology. I have a major in cell and molecular biology. I have been attending B2B programs since my first year and I find them very beneficial in terms of interacting with Professors and other members of the faculty to learn from their experiences. I find it really advantageous to interact and share my future plans with people through this pathway and get good pieces of advices as well.

Logan Koivu, 3rd year undergraduate, Economics and Germanic Languages & Literature

My name is Logan Koivu and I am currently majoring in Economics with a double minor in German & Geographic Information Systems. In addition to my academic achievement, I have been involved in many facets of business, engaging with GIS-related, Statistics-related, and Business development-related internships in Canada and Hong Kong over the past few summers.  Moreover, the focus of these internships centered around land planning & design, marketing & business development, and Canadian census analysis.  Through my experiences, I have honed the ability to problem-solve and communicate effectively while in a team-centered environment.  I hope this event will allow me to explore my career path and find the ability to connect it with my interest in German.  I also hope to connect and exchange ideas with alumni, faculty, and peers; ultimately permitting me to learn more about my future.

Yuan Zhang,  1st year undergraduate, Germanic Languages & Literature

This is Yuan Zhang and I am a first year student from the Faculty of Engineering. At the same time, I am taking GER 100 year course due to my interest. I went to Berlin and lived there for 1 month last summer. It motivated me to learn German and go back to Germany again (I love the environment).

There are several reasons why I want to participate in the Alumni Dinner event. First I hope to meet some peers who are willing to practice German after class (since I am in the Engineering program, it is hard to meet people who are learning the language). Second, I hope to meet some alumni and get to know some information about the future career opportunities. Also, I hope to meet some people and increase my networking and get to know more people who are interested in the same field.

Selin Goksoy, 2nd year undergraduate, Psychology and Germanic Languages & Literature

Selin Goksoy is in her second year at University of Toronto where she is interested in Psychology and Germanic Languages. After watching her aunt being a Psychologist (Dr.) and teaching high school level English, she knew at a very young age that she also wanted to follow a similar path. In high school, Selin worked as a German tutor for two school terms and realized how a different experience it was to develop one self’s communication skills when teaching. From this experience, she learned the value of hard work, efficiency, and communication. In the future, she hopes to continue her aunt’s legacy and be a clinical psychologist, instructor or a kindergarten teacher. Selin spends her spare time doing sports and cooking for friends and family.

Student Biography – Italian

Antonio Calarco, 4th year undergraduate, Biology and Italian Studies

My name is Antonino Calarco and I currently pursuing a double major in Biology and Italian Studies. I am currently exploring the various options that I may pursue following my undergrad. Backpack to Briefcase is an excellent opportunity to engage with alumni, as they communicate how they transitioned from academics to the workplace. I hope to expand my knowledge of graduate programs and possible career paths from their first-hand accounts.

Laurena Casciaro, 3rd year undergraduate, French, Italian Studies and Education and Society

Hello, my name is Laurena Casciaro. I am an undergraduate student in my third year in Humanities. I am in the process of completing a Major in French Language Learning, a Minor in Italian Studies and a Minor in Education and Society. My goal is to successfully complete my Bachelor of Arts degree and attend OISE for their Masters Program in Child Studies and Education. I aspire to be a teacher with a specific focus on teaching languages. I have known for a very long time that teaching was the career path for me for I love working with children.  I believe that attending this mentorship meal will provide me with opportunities to network with professionals that were once in my shoes. I look forward to asking alumni for any advice they may have regarding work abroad and any tips they may have that helped them achieve their goal.

Christina Vani, PhD student, Italian

As I complete my thesis and as my defense and graduation approach, I am mindful of the open world before me—and I am excited and invigorated! I have at least two translation contracts ahead of me (from Italian to English) and a personal goal to publish my thesis as a standalone book.

Still, I am conscious of the yearning in me to share the knowledge I have accrued; I will miss teaching Italian, but I know that I will need a bit of time away from academic after six years of postgraduate dedication. For this reason, I will not immediately dive in to applying for academic employment.

I intend to approach this mentoring event with an open mind and heart, to learn about similar career conflicts or receive some unbiased advice. I extend my gratitude in advance to all those whose efforts make these events possible!

Student Biography – Slavic

Daniel Ambrozuk, 3rd year undergraduate, Political Science, History and Slavic Languages and Literature

Hi! My name is Daniel Ambrozuk, I am a third year student majoring in political science and minoring in history and Polish language . I am looking into either completing a M.A. in political science or getting a bachelor’s in law.  I have been an active member of the Polish community in Mississauga as I have volunteered and organized charitable events for St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish. I am looking forward in networking with many different professionals in order to gain better insight on future career opportunities. I have been volunteering and working with the Canadian Red Cross society in the fields of rescue work. I am also an active member of Delta Upsilon and have contributed to many philanthropic activities in Toronto and across the world. I have volunteered for the Global Service Initiative in Negril, Jamaica by helping to build schools for children in order to further their educational opportunities.

Chris Holmes, 5th year undergraduate, Slavic Languages and Literature and Linguistics

I’m currently in my final year of my undergraduate degree in South Slavic Studies, Russian, and Linguistics. I’m interested in pursuing graduate studies, but I’m still trying to figure out a specific direction. This seems like it will be a great opportunity to hear what others in my shoes have done, as well as to meet with faculty and other students.

Burbuqe Cunaj, 3rd year undergraduate, Slavic Languages and Literature

I am Burbuqe Cunaj, a third year student at the University of Toronto. I am specializing in Slavic languages and literature and wish to know what those who have been in my position before have gone out to do with their degrees. I was a refugee from Kosovo and took interest in this major because of the courses that UofT offers and how much there was to know about a continent I came from, but have little knowledge about. I hope to one day be able to take what I have learned and teach others about how the European Slavs are full of rich and deep history and literature that is worth knowing and reading about. This major has truly helped me discover myself as an individual and understand not only who I am as a person, but helped me connect with my family better and travel much more confidently with the knowledge that I have gained from the courses I so far have managed to take.

Student Biography – Spanish/Portugese

Tiffany Hoyos, 2nd year undergraduate, Linguistics and Spanish and Portuguese


My name is Tiffany Hoyos and I am of Colombian descent. I am currently in my second year of my undergraduate studies, pursuing a major in Linguistics as it is riveting to me how humans acquire language and all so intuitively. I am also doing two Minors in Spanish and Indigenous Studies. Among my studies I have taken French as well and can speak fluently. I am a very passionate student and individual that enjoys the different worlds and personality each language I study allows me to embody. I love to embrace my strong Latina roots and share my energy with others! Some of my hobbies include dancing, public speaking and constantly organizing my school binders.

I would love the opportunity to establish new connections with Alumni and faculty from the Department as it would give me the chance to engage in conversation and ask the many questions I have about where my studies can take me, what opportunities are available and to hear the valuable advice that can be offered.

Qiwei Shao, 3rd year undergraduate, Economics and Spanish and Portuguese

Lucas Quadros Azevedo, 3rd year undergraduate, Germanic Languages and Literature and Spanish and Portuguese

My name is Lucas Azevedo and I’m a third-year undergraduate student. Coming from a family of Portuguese descent, I chose to study Portuguese at U of T as a way of connecting with my roots. I also have a passion for learning languages and enjoy taking language classes. My interest in the German language and culture brought me to choose it as my major, however my two minors include Portuguese and Spanish. In the near future, I am interested in pursuing Graduate Studies and possibly a career in academia.

Hinako Fujiwara, 2nd year undergraduate, Spanish and Portuguese and Nutritional Science

I am Hinako Fujiwara, a second year student at U of T currently pursuing a double major in Spanish and Nutritional Sciences. Culture, language and food have been my interests for the past few years, which is why I made the decision to combine the two contrasting programs. However, I am still not very certain how or whether I can apply my knowledge from these two fields of study once I enter the workforce. I am curious to hear about the paths the graduates have taken—I believe that it will open my eyes to career options that I may have never considered before. I would also like to know how they have applied their skills and knowledge from their degrees in the workplace. Furthermore, I am excited to meet students who are in the same program and hear their thoughts and plans for the future.


January 31
5:30 pm - 8:00 pm


Backpack to Briefcase