My name is Stephanie Ye-Mowe, and I’m the Vice President, Education of the Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association (WUSA), as well as VP Finance of OUSA.
My post-secondary pathway has been... rather unconventional (to say the least). But I’d like to think that despite all the ways things went sideways, upside down, and inside out— I’ve come to learn and understand the world around me in ways that I never would have otherwise. And (luckily for OUSA and WUSA), a lot of that does pertain to how the post-secondary sector functions.
I’ve been involved in student politics for some time now, sitting on WUSA’s Students’ Council for 2.5 years, attending five OUSA General Assemblies, and doing a bunch of work at the faculty level (including overseeing a $1M endowment fund) before eventually hopping over to this role. But even with all that, I don’t think anything ever really prepares you for these types of positions. Thankfully, I don’t have to navigate the world of provincial advocacy alone. That’s something I get to figure out alongside the eight other wonderful humans that make up OUSA’s Steering Committee. As happy as I am for the work OUSA does as a provincial advocacy body, I’m even more thankful for the community and mentorship it offers student leaders.
You’ll find that most of the advocacy work I do pertains to accessibility and disability inclusion. I think it’s a largely under-examined and forgotten area of advocacy that warrants closer inspection, and as a student with a disability, I think it’s important to use my position to advance that awareness. Beyond that, I’m also very passionate about how universities are funded. I live for nuances and using a critical lens to look at system behaviours to ensure what we’re trying to accomplish is actually what’s happening.
Outside of my job, I enjoy reading analytic essays on pop culture, video editing, and creative writing. At the University of Waterloo, I study Knowledge Integration (which can be roughly described as an arts-and-science program with a UW twist). Through the program, I’ve gotten to do a lot of cool stuff, including designing and building a physical museum exhibit for my third-year capstone project. Key research interests of mine include:
- The role space and place play in shaping economic systems
- How individuals experience work, and its impact on their sense of self
- Examining cities as socio-ecological systems
- The societal and personal implications of technological innovation
- The DIY movement
I’m not sure where I plan to work in the future, but I’m hoping it’s in a sector that - rather than ‘having a hammer and seeing everything as a nail’- recognizes problems for what they are and works to acquire the appropriate tool(s) for the job at hand.