My name is Malika Dhanani and I’m so excited to be joining OUSA as the newest Research and Policy Analyst.
I did my undergrad at the University of Guelph, graduating with a Baccalaureate of Applied Science in Child, Youth, and Family. Just last week, I finished my Master of Social Work (MSW) degree at the University of Toronto, and will be graduating from the Social Justice and Diversity field of study.
Advocacy is an integral principle of the social work profession but is not something I heavily considered when I started my MSW – I was sure that I was going to do direct/clinical practice. That quickly changed once I started my degree and realized that my passion lies in policy analysis and advocacy. I found myself gravitating towards macro-level work, genuinely enjoying the process of conducting research to inform policy advocacy.
From there, I did everything I could to immerse myself in macro-level work which included enrolling in more policy courses, attending webinars, improving my writing, and finding policy-based practicum placements. I wanted to maximize my opportunities to become the best advocate I could be. Through this, I was able to engage in policy work/advocacy on youth homelessness and housing in Canada, national home care, and childcare in Ontario.
I’ve also been involved with my student communities during both of my degrees. In my undergrad, I was an active member of my religious community’s student association, joining the executive team for almost all my years there and planning events with similar associations on other campuses across the province. During my graduate degree, I was a part of the faculty’s Communications Committee serving as the MSW representative to provide the student perspective on communication initiatives being distributed within and outside the faculty.
What I appreciate and admire most about OUSA is the thorough collaboration with students from across the province. Advocacy is truly effective and meaningful when the voices of the population affected are amplified and uplifted, and I am really looking forward to working alongside so many bright and passionate student leaders in Ontario to address these issues.
When I’m not working, I’m typically channeling my inner music library and singing my way through life. I also read a lot and am a sucker for a good enemies-to-lovers trope. I’ve recently been working on my photography skills and love spending time outdoors (fun fact: I’ve been going camping every summer since I was two!)
I’m so happy to be starting my journey here at OUSA and am looking forward to learning from all of you!