Home Office

Sophie Helpard– Executive Director


Sophie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Western University, where her interest in post-secondary education advocacy began. While at Western, Sophie volunteered on campus and eventually served as the President of the University Students’ Council. From there, Sophie explored the East Coast of Canada working as the Executive Director of Students Nova Scotia, the provincial advocacy organization for students in NS. In her spare time Sophie enjoys talking about new restaurants, feminism, Gilmore Girls, municipal politics, and good books (and a few bad ones too). 


Martyna Siekanowicz – Research & Policy Analyst


Martyna holds a Master of Arts in Political Science, specializing in Public Policy and Political Theory, from McMaster University as well as an Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto where she studied Political Science. She has spent her time volunteering with groups like Amnesty International and WE Movement, as well as actively supporting her student unions while studying at McMaster and UofT through her activism and research work. Martyna enjoys spending time outdoors, taking naps with her cat, and fostering a vast amount of knowledge about The Office.


Colin Aitchison – Research & Policy Analyst


Colin holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from Wilfrid Laurier University, where he focused his studies on the Holocaust and North American political history. During his studies, Colin volunteered for the Student’s Union in a variety of capacities and eventually served two terms on their management team as both Chair of the Board & Chief Governance Officer and as Vice President: University Affairs. Outside of student government, Colin also had the opportunity to work as a Local Issues & Policy Manager during the 2015 federal election, developing policy and advising his candidate on a wide-variety of policy issues. Outside of work, he is an avid sports fan who can be found cheering on the Ottawa Senators, Ottawa Redblacks, and the Toronto Blue Jays.


Deborah Lam – Operations & Communications Director 


Deb holds an Honours Bachelor Business and Administration degree from Wilfrid Laurier University with a concentration in Marketing and Brand Communications. Heavily involved in volunteering in her undergraduate career, she moved on to help students enjoy their undergrad experiences just as much as she did. As the former Programming & Promotions Manager at the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union, she developed a passion for events and organization. She loves to help undergraduate students get the most out of their experiences. In her spare time she crosses new countries off her bucket list and adventures in her own backyard. 


Catherine Dunne - Advocacy & Communications Intern

Cat recently finished her third year of an Honours Specialization in Political Science at Western University. She has spent her time on campus being involved with the Leadership and Mentorship Program, Residence Staff, and different clubs at Western. She became familiar with OUSA through her work in the Vice President portfolio at Western’s University Student Council and is enthusiastic about the overlapping goals of the organizations to improve the post-secondary student experience. Originally from Newfoundland and Labrador, Cat is excited to take advantage of her summer in Toronto by eating at as many different restaurants as her bank account will allow, exploring different running trails in the city, and wandering upon different cultural hubs of the city!


Mackenzie Claggett - Research Intern


Mackenzie recently completed an Honours Bachelor of Arts from Western University where he studied Political Science and History. He will be attending the University of Toronto to pursue a Juris Doctor degree in the Fall of 2018. Outside of academics, Mackenzie has volunteered for organizations including the Learning Disabilities Association and the Ronald McDonald House Charities, while also conducting research for the student mental health advocacy club, Active Minds Western. In his spare time, Mackenzie enjoys cooking new dishes, reading the news, and watching episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race.