About Us

What is GPESA?

The Graduate Programs in Education Students' Association (GPESA) is a student run, volunteer organization that strives to represent and be the voice for graduate students in Graduate Programs in Education (GPE) at the University of Calgary.  Our goal is to increase the quality of the programs offered through the GPE by representing students on the various committees within the University of Calgary, increase ties with communites and professionals outside the university that are related to GPE specializations, and facilitate the potential for students to network and build beneficial relationships that could enhance participation in their relevant field during and after their studies.

Contact Us

Feel free to e-mail us at gpesa@ucalgary.ca or contact our executive/your EDSA representative to voice your ideas, concerns, or provide comments regarding your experience as a GPE student at the University of Calgary. 

Meet the Team - 2022-2023

Courtney Miller

Courtney Miller, Co-President (EDPS)

Courtney is in her first year of her PhD in School and Applied Child Psychology. Courtney's research area is childhood neurodevelopmental disorders (e.g., ADHD) and social-emotional functioning. Courtney is so excited to be a part of GPESA this year and work alongside her colleagues to support students both on-campus and online. Outside of school, Courtney enjoys spending time with family and friends, exploring the outdoors, and going to the gym.

Lyliam Jardine

Lyliam Jardine, Co-President (EDER)

Lili is in her second year of her EdD in Adult Education. Her area of research is understanding the holistic transformative experiences of professional Colombian immigrants in Canada, in  terms of the intercultural communicative competence. She has a background in systems engineering, languages, high school and adult education, and entrepreneurship. Her role this year is to provide opportunities and resources to Werklund School of Education graduate students to make the graduate journey easier.

Anna Marrello

Anna Marrello, V.P. Academics

Anna is in her second year of her MSc in School and Applied Child Psychology. Anna’s research area is students with learning disabilities and co-occurring mental health difficulties (e.g., anxiety, depression). Anna has two undergraduate degrees, one in Neuroscience and Mental Health, and the other in Social Work. Anna is looking forward to supporting the students of Werklund with academic-based events. In her free time, Anna enjoys reading, boxing, and watching hockey (Go Flames Go!).

Apoorve Chokshi

Apoorve Chokshi, V.P. Finance and Operations

I am starting my 4th year in a PhD in Educational Research (Learning Sciences specialization). I completed my B.Sc. & M.Sc. in Computer Science before spending the years prior to the PhD teaching at SAIT Polytechnic in their Software Development Diploma program. My research focus is in creating anti-racist pathways in Computer Science/coding.
A fun fact: I am looking to re-start some beginner tap dance classes, and when not dancing, I enjoy spending time playing tennis and soccer with my kids.

André Pires

André Pires, V.P. Student Life

André is a third-year MSc student in School & Applied Child Psychology. His thesis research is investigating how nature-based/outdoor education in Alberta positively impacts social and emotional learning. Merging his passions for psychology, the outdoors, and community development, André hopes to work with families, schools, and policy-makers to facilitate educational and therapeutic nature experiences for learners of all ages. As your GPESA V.P. Student Life, André will endeavour to bring people together and support student well-being through engaging events and initiatives. In his free time, André can be found adventuring outdoors, volunteering at his church, and playing with his two cats, Ember and Neko.

Natasha Portela

Natasha Portela, Secretary

Natasha is a second-year MSc student in the School & Applied Child Psychology program. She is researching the role of school psychologists in the Covid-19 pandemic and its future implications. Natasha has a background in psychology and behavior therapy in Brazil. She is excited to assume the secretary role at GPESA as it will broaden her social network and allow her to work together with colleagues to support students at Werklund School of Education. Natasha enjoys doing yoga, running, hanging out with friends and playing with her cat in her free time. Feel free to get in touch if you have questions or concerns.

{TBD}, Distance Education Officer


Razieh Alba

Razieh Alba, Promotions & Media Relations Officer

As a visual and conceptual artist, Razieh Alba has gained considerable experience in curating thoughtful and engaging social media posts to raise awareness about not only her own work, but about the exciting achievements and events on campus and around Calgary. Alba is currently enrolled in the University of Calgary’s PhD program for Educational Research in Curriculum and Learning. She also works as a Sessional Instructor for the Department of Art and Art History. Having also completed her BFA in Visual Arts and her MFA in Research Creation in the Visual Arts at UofC, Alba is deeply tied to the campus community and is thrilled to be able to give back in her position as the GPESA Social Media Officer.

Samara Wessel

Samara Wessel, EDSA Rep - Counselling & Psychology

Samara is in her first year of the MSc Counselling Psychology program. Her research is exploring how non-Indigenous clinicians can ethically align themselves alongside Indigenous helping models to provide culturally safe care to Indigenous clients. When not in school, Samara likes to go on adventures with friends and enjoys cooking and baking. Samara hopes to be a source of support for fellow graduate students and is available to chat about whatever may be on your mind.

Katy Lowe

Katy Lowe, EDSA Rep - School & Applied Psychology

Katy is in her second year of her MSc in School and Applied Child Psychology. Katy’s research looks at the role of maternal pregnancy-specific anxiety on offspring outcomes related to ADHD through epigenetic age acceleration DNA methylation. Katy spends her time outside of school raising her three children and enjoys camping and exploring new things together. This is Katy’s first year as the SACP GPESA rep, and she is so excited to be working alongside a team of enthusiastic student leaders to enhance the graduate student experience. This year, Katy hopes to work collaboratively with GPESA to create events catered to the interests of SACP students and facilitate interdisciplinary relationships between graduate students in the Werklund School of Education and the wider university community.  

Mawuli Kofi Tay

Mawuli Kofi Tay, EDSA Rep - Learning Sciences

I am a PhD candidate in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary. My dissertation explores the Spatial Reasoning Among High School Students in Ghana. I hold an Honors degree from the University of Cape Cost and a MPhil. in Mathematics Education from University of Education, Winneba in Ghana. One of my favourite things to do is playing indoor games such as Ludo and Cheekers.

Hiyat Mitchell

Hiyat Mitchell, EDSA Rep - Curriculum & Learning

Hiyat is in her first year of the PhD program in Educational Research with a specialty in Curriculum & Learning.  She completed two undergraduate degrees-first in philosophy and second in the Master’s of Teaching program, both at the University of Calgary before getting her Master’s in Justice Studies at Royal Roads University in beautiful Victoria. Hiyat’s area of interest is at the intersection of philosophy, social justice, and education where she can focus on a more equitable and fair representation of legal practices surrounding sexual assault. Hiyat values time exercising, cooking, and being with her husband and three children in the mountains. Hiyat is excited to support and represent the graduate students voice and is looking forward to connecting with you!

J. Jakobsen

Joyce Jakobsen, Chief Returning Officer

I am a first-year MEd Interdisciplinary student in concurrent programs of Collaborative Creativity and Digital Age at Werklund School of Education. My ten years of teaching experience ranges from grade one homeroom, to teaching Visual Art and Language Arts in Junior high to high school. I taught overseas in Macau with Teaching Across Boarders for two years and travelled extensively during that time. Currently, I am on sabbatical to relive the student experience and loving it. My interests include yoga, spending time with friends and family at the lake, and petting any cats within the vicinity. I am excited to be part of the GPESA team to connect with you!

Abigail Williams, EDSA Rep - Language & Literacy


Beatriz Moya

Beatriz Moya, EDSA Rep - Leadership

I am Beatriz Moya. I am in my second year of the Ph.D. in Educational Research with a specialization in Leadership. My research interests are currently in the intersections of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) and Academic Integrity. Situated in this space, I am particularly interested in exploring the process of SoTL leadership identity development in Online Learning Communities, which involve people with different professional/academic roles and from diverse disciplines. Before entering the program, I worked for eight years as a faculty and learning assistant developer in Chile and was involved in many Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion projects. My primary professional motivation is my commitment to contribute to the continuous transformation of higher education institutions' cultures in the pursuit of social justice.  I love hanging out with family and friends, going for long walks, and listening to music in my free time!

Rosalind Carson

Rosalind Carson, EDSA Rep - Adult Learning

Fall of 2022 will mark the beginning of my 3rd year as an Adult Learning PhD student. My fields of interest encompass research regarding mathematics teachers’ knowledge and mathematics teachers’ education. I have completed my B.Sc. in mathematics, B.Ed. in secondary mathematics, and M.Sc. in educational research, curriculum and learning specialization at the University of Calgary. My professional career has included the design and facilitation of professional learning opportunities for practicing mathematics teachers in a variety of learning platforms. As a mother of two children, I am passionate about education for all ages. 

Aurélia Mir-Orefice

Aurélia Mir-Orefice, GPE Peer Mentorship Coordinator

Aurélia is in her second year of her MSc in School and Applied Child Psychology. Her areas of research are resilience and illness identity. She has an undergraduate degree in psychology and a graduate diploma in youth work from Concordia University. This is her first year as part of the GPESA team. Aurélia is very excited to be a part of the team and promote the peer mentorship program.