SUNIA Staff

 

meet our team

With book worms, athletes extraordinaire, theatre geeks, science whiz-kids, debate queens and dancers ranging from "damn" to "Dad," SUNIA Staff is certainly a diverse group. If you're a fan of anything, or if there's something you're super passionate about... chances are that one of us is too! As different as our interests may be, we maintain at least one thing in common: our commitment and passion for SUNIA. We possess in-depth knowledge about all relevant subject matter, and are mature, trustworthy and responsible, meaning you can always count on us for whatever you need out at camp. We are super excited to see you at SUNIA in August! 

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Emma Jones

director@sunia.ca

Emma Jones is a third-year Political Science student at the University of Alberta. She has been in love with SUNIA since she attended as a student six years ago, and is super excited to be back for another year as the Executive Director of the program! When she isn't busy making a list or colour-coding her agenda, you can find her at debate club, listening to trashy pop music, or accidentally dying her hair pink. Emma is passionate about everything from student journalism, to gender representation in politics, to reading every possible book she can get her hands on. Formerly the Opinion Editor at the Gateway, U of A's student newspaper, she now works as the Student Governance Officer at the Students' Union.

jenna mulji

jenna@sunia.ca

One of the most amazing people on staff, and the Assistant Director of SUNIA, is Jenna Mulji! She is currently a Biology Major and a Drama Minor at the University of Alberta. She is an absolute gem whose smile radiates happiness, and she is always down for a deep discussion. Jenna lives her life by one motto: "NO RAGRETS." She's a seasoned veteran and is active in Edmonton's MUN scene. Her skills as a delegate are sure to floor you. One thing is for sure: you will make lifelong friends coming out of SUNIA, and Jenna will be one of the most memorable.

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ayman adwan

Ayman@sunia.ca

Ayman is a first-year engineering student at the University of Alberta who is passionate about hip-hop, good vibes, and being a pal. Ayman is super active on campus, serving on Students' Council and the General Faculties Council, which is the highest academic body at the U of A. When he isn't busy representing the student voice, Ayman likes to hang out and have deep talks with his friends. This guy can talk to you about anything, from the meaning of life to which Kanye track slaps the hardest. His optimism and chill attitude will make you feel right at home out at SUNIA.

alex erickson

registrar@sunia.ca

Alex Erickson is a witty, friendly and, according to him, HILARIOUS counsellor who loves anything and everything related to international affairs. He loves MUN, volunteering, and wearing hiking boots literally everywhere. He serves in student government at various levels, and works with both the Edmonton Community Foundation and the Stollery Children’s Hospital. He’s also a competitive rock climber, because his lack of basic coordination disqualifies him from most other sports. He’s a poli sci nerd, so his best Jeopardy category of all time is certainly “US Government”, though “Shakespeare” is his worst. Alex loves talking to people about what they think, and will always be open to discussing new ideas with you… he genuinely loves to have his mind changed by a fresh perspective!

Alex serves the double role of Registrar & Recreation Coordinator on SUNIA Staff, and so is more than happy to answer any of your questions about all of our thrills, chills, and payment procedures. He can be reached at registrar@sunia.ca or by phone at (780) 863-0563.

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ATHUL Rajagopal

athul@sunia.ca

He goes by many aliases: “Baloo Bear”, “Batkid”, “the Big Bool”, and his personal favourite, “King Abool”. But if there’s anything Athul loves more than coming up with maniacal nicknames, it’s having a blast out at SUNIA! A friendly and silly Calgarian who’s just barely surviving Grade 12, Athul is the kind of guy to offer you life advice at a moment’s notice, but can’t guarantee that it actually helps. Don’t be too concerned by that, however, as you’ll probably forget about all your troubles anyway after hearing some of his high-quality jokes. Alternatively, he also loves singing and playing non-competitive sports, so he’s always ready for a jam sesh or a pickup game of b-ball! It’s also worth mentioning that he’s basically always down to have a chat–whether it’s about politics, science, memes, or just life in general–he’s your guy. TL;DR? “Don’t be a fool, say hi to Athul!”

Andrew zhao

Andrew@sunia.ca

Andrew Zhao is SUNIA’s resident international affairs expert, and the Security Council Coordinator for SUNIA 2019. Andrew studies Political Science and Philosophy at the University of Toronto, where he focuses on public opinion, electoral politics, and the regional politics of China, Canada, and the United States. Considered by some to be a “MUN nerd,” Andrew has been involved for several years in running UTMUN in Toronto and NHSMUN in New York City. In his free time, Andrew likes to unwind by watching Jeopardy! with his friends and yelling at the TV even though Alex Trebek can’t hear him. He is an amateur impressionist (ask him to do Bernie Sanders, or maybe Donald Trump), and is a big indie music lover. Whether it’s Vampire Weekend’s new album, or the latest international crisis, ask Andrew all about it at SUNIA 2019!

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Alexandra padilla

apadilla@sunia.ca

Alex ‘Padillo’ Padilla is our resident aspiring artist. With big dreams and a big heart to make up for her short stature, she’s sure to entertain you. In spite of her self proclaimed ‘awkwardness,’ she’ll find something to talk to you about no matter what, helping you lose track of time as you breeze up Mt.Baldy. When she’s not re-watching Ratatouille for the umpteenth time, you can find Alex educating her friends on the importance of corals and why sharks are one of the more majestic species the ocean has to offer. She’s creative, HILARIOUS, and just a teensy bit socially inept. Be sure to talk to her out at SUNIA this year, as she’ll be sure to make your day.

Amelia zaiane

amelia@sunia.ca

Amelia “Mango” Zaiane, SUNIA’s resident bee lifeguard, is a University of Alberta design student. When she’s not busy at a drafting table designing even more zero-waste packaging, you can find her sorting elderberries and digging up carrots at the UAlberta green and gold garden, and writing poetry about wanting winter to be over. Amelia has a deep love for languages and language learning. She fluently speaks one third of the UN Official Languages and is currently working hard to make it one half! (not to mention the non-UN languages she knows) In her spare time, Amelia also loves swimming, dancing, and binge-watching documentaries. Amelia is really approachable, super stoked for SUNIA 2019, and she can’t wait to meet everyone out at camp!

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Gabe Elliott

gabe@sunia.ca

Gabe Elliott is an easygoing, reliable counsellor who will always be there to support you. While not a member of many organizations, largely because he hates competition, there’s a ton of things he’s into, including swimming, languages, and international politics. He also loves all kinds of pop culture, ranging from Tron to the Damned to French TV (ask him about A Very Secret Service). So, whether you’re up for debating the merits of foreign policy strategies, or just nerding out over music, Gabe is absolutely your guy. He can’t wait to meet everyone at camp, so if you want a friend who will never leave your side, make sure to talk to Gabe out at SUNIA!

 

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Salma Farag

salma@sunia.ca

You may know her best by her major Instagram clout, but behind the fame, Salma Farag has so much more to her beyond what’s directly seen by the public eye. On a regular day, you’ll often find her un-ironically playing Fornite, despite being well beyond the socially acceptable demographic of the game. But don’t let this diminish your image of her, as we promise she has some redeeming qualities as well. As an avid traveler, Salma has voyaged far and wide across 6 continents and 24 countries, but has reported that her favourite destination on these travels by far has been the exotically beautiful Goldeye Centre in Nordegg, Alberta. As a woman with few substantive skills and many useless talents, including partially dislocating her jaw to eat more food and perfectly reciting the Finding Nemo script in its entirety, Salma’s skills, while seemingly absurd, have proven critical to our operations out at SUNIA. She is a first-year neuroscience student at the University of Calgary.

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samina rashiq

samina@sunia.ca

Samina “Samshiq” Rashiq is our resident Dora the Explorer and an all around sweetie. She’s currently a general science student at the University of Alberta. She’s involved in cool stuff like volunteering at the Boys and Girls club, is a real life coach for her Junior High Basketball team and is the J.R. Smith of her basketball team. In her time away from ballin’, Samina likes to experiment in the kitchen. You might find her making hummus, the primary source of joy in her life. If you’re ever looking for some smooth tunes, hit Samina up for music ranging from hip hop to experimental electronica. Samina is always down for a good time so hang around for a travel buddy and someone who will stop Swiper from swiping for you. Come to SUNIA and you’ll have the once in a lifetime opportunity to meet this cutie.

 

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michael demarco

michael@sunia.ca

Michael "Mickey" DeMarco is SUNIA’s in-house Chief Technology Officer and helps direct SUNIA's marketing along with Ayman. Michael is passionate about all things current affairs and hopes he can put his interest in technology to use in giving back to his community. When he isn't busy churning out emails, Michael can be found at the local chess club, on the soccer pitch, or listening to the latest Cage The Elephant project. Michael is also a member of the City of Edmonton Youth Council and Edmonton Public School Board Student Senate. A sturdy source of wisdom and all-around whiz, Michael is a key component to the SUNIA engine - though he wishes we would call it a motherboard. You can also check out his blog at blog.michaeldemar.co.

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Roisin Graham

roisin@sunia.ca

Between her time spent as an Arts student at the University of Alberta, Roisin is involved in debate (aka. public humiliation club) and HSMUN. Roisin is a witty, approachable, and charismatic counsellor that you will have a great time with out at SUNIA. Ask her about her love for the big ugly fish on BBC’s Blue Planet, or the thrills of not-so-intense baking on the Great British Bake Off. For a good time, Roisin enjoys a fun camping trip with friends, cooking (followed by eating) a nice snack, or sipping a cup of Yorkshire tea in the New Zealand countryside on a balmy spring afternoon. If you ever need cool TV recommendations, groovy dance moves, or a genuinely great friend, Roisin is the right person to talk to.

aryan Patnaik

aryan@sunia.ca

Aryan Patnaik is not only one of the coolest people you will ever meet, but he is also a national champion weight lifter, a musical genius on the guitar, and a complete sweetheart. When he’s not at the gym or looking for new music on Spotify, you can probably find him playing with his golden retriever Bruno, or chilling with his friends. In fact, he’s already probably made a couple of new friends in the time it’s taken you to read this bio — that’s how friendly and outgoing he is! Aryan is always down for a new adventure, whether it’s skydiving, midnight picnics, or waking up at 4 am to watch the sunrise. Full of surprises and hidden talents, Aryan is always a good time, and he is so excited to meet all of the amazing students who come out to SUNIA this year!