Meet the 2015-2016 SWSU!

Your Chairs!

Michael Friedman: Co-Chair 

Contact Info:

Michael BioFor general

My Role: I am one of the two Co-Chairs on the SWSU. My role is to work with students, faculty, and fellow union members to meet the needs of our wonderful social work students. This includes, but is not limited to: Planning informative and/or social events with union members, representing the needs of the student body as best as possible, being aligned with the program’s values, and having an all around great year!


Musician – A part of various musical projects ranging from progressive metal to background jazz music

Poetry – writing and reading slam poetry!

Animals – Shout out to the RU Therapy Dogs

What can I do for you?

  1. Answer your questions
  2. Direct you to helpful resources and people on campus
  3. Advocate for you at faculty meetings
  4. Run some awesome events

Fun Facts:

  • I live in a house with six other family members
  • I used to take breakdancing lessons, and broke my tooth trying to do the worm
  • My family goes out for burgers on the 26th of each month

Anna Stevenson: Co-chair


My Role: Hey everyone! My name is Anna and I am one of your co-chairs for the union. My job on the unionIMG_4653 is to work with Michael (your other co-chair) and the rest of the union to act as a liaison between you (the students) and the faculty and administration. Also, as a co-chair I help plan and execute events tailored to Social Work students with other faculties and programs! This is my second year on the Social Work Students’ Union and I’m excited to get my hands a little more dirty this year! We’re planning big things this year and we hope to see you around campus soon.

– I enjoy lifting weights after class (RAC > MAC anytime)
– I’m always listening to EDM (trance/dnb/house)
– I’m obsessed with cute little pitbulls

Fun Facts:
(1) I live with five other girls in downtown (crazy, crazy house)
(2) I’m originally from Niagara Falls
(3) I’ll be doing my placement for third year internationally during the 2016 summer time.

Communication Execs!

union pic

Andrea Dekeseredy: Communications Executive 

Contact Info:

Twitter: @andiToronto 

My Role: I spend a lot of time yelling at undergrads to register to vote. Just kidding! (kind of). My role in the union is to build a cohesive community amongst the social work students through different means of communication. This includes but not limited to publicizing events, putting together the blog and maintaining an active social media presence.

Hobbies/Interests: Specific to social work my predominant interests are violence against women, feminist theory of practice and queer issues.

Other interests include: complaining about Seaworld, and eating.

Fun Facts!

I perform stand-up comedy.

I live in West Virginia for most of the year.

My favourite musical act is Milli Vanilli.

Eden Filonov: Communications 

12181873_10153744154469743_1344582257_nHi everyone! My name is Eden Filonov and I’m one of this years Communication Team Members! I’m a 3rd year student in the Social Work program here at Ryerson. I’m currently doing a placement in a legal setting and really enjoying it. Seeing how adaptive Social Work is in any environment has really broadened the scope on where I see Social Work taking me in the future! I’m very excited to be in the SWSU because it gives me a great opportunity to meet new people with the same interests and drives as me, it also allows to me to share with all of you the great things the union has to offer! I’m looking forward to meeting and working with many of you. I’m excited for whats to come this year. Feel free to contact me or approach me at any time.

Emma Sodergren: Communications

Contact Info:

My Role: I am a part of this year’s Communication Team, which involves posting on our blog, helping out with events and getting in touch with Social Work students.

Hobbies/Interests: In terms of Social Work, my interests are focused on disability rights and women’s issues. Other than that I really enjoy any sociology class and eating japanese pancakes.

Fun Facts!

  • I tricked my whole school that I could read for all of JK.
  • I’ve spent half my life in Sweden and the other half in Toronto.
  • I talk to myself so much that I have to hold my cell phone by my ear when I’m in public.

Kat Yerro: First Year Ambassador

Contact Info:, or Kat Yerro on Facebook

My Role: I am one of three First Year Ambassadors on the SWSUkatswsu. This is a new position for this year. My job is to be available to new students in undergraduate social work. I answer questions, direct you to further resources, and post useful information. I’m here to help students transition into the social work program.

Crafts – Much to the chagrin of my roommate, I sew, cross-stitch, scrapbook, do paper-crafts and take on small DIY projects that require me to wield a jigsaw.

Reading – Much to the chagrin of my roommate, I read while cooking, eating, walking, and cleaning. If you need ebooks, I’m your girl.

Hiking?! – I’m going to join a hiking club. In the spring. I swear!

What can I do for you?

  1. Answer any questions you may have about the program or Ryerson
  2. Be straight up about how the program and school work
  3. Help you ease in to university life

Fun Facts:

  • I can throw rocks with my toes
  • I once took a stripping class
  • I often get trapped in string and tape

Susanne Nyaga: First Year Ambassador 

Contact Info:

For general inquiries:

My Role:

I am one of the First Year Ambassadors on the Union. We are a team of three which includes myself, Kat ad Kezia. Our primary goal is to meet the needs of first years and provide them with advice form an upper year perspective. We host events that focus on making the transition easier from high school to university and will hold study group sessions for when exam season comes around. We understand that first year can set the tone for your whole university experience so we work hard to make sure that it’s a good one!

Hobbies/ Interests:

Activism: I am really interested in the black lives matter movement and love to advocate for racial equity

Music: Music is Life! I listen to almost all genres of music and love having discussions about conscious music.

Being Active: I try my hardest to live a healthy and active lifestyle. I also really enjoy playing team sports for fun

What can do I for you:

Provide an upper year perspective to first year students

Answer questions you may have or connect you with those who have the answers

Listen to your concerns and try to act on them

Host great academic and social events

Fun Facts:

  • I am always changing my hairstyles, as you can tell, I never keep the same one for too long.
  • I swear I am the only person on this earth who doesn’t like Nutella or Bacon.
  • I am the biggest J Cole fan you will meet.

Kezia Kydd: First Year Ambassador

Hi! I’m a first year ambassador.1374925_496842777080809_422084238_n

My role: Assisting first years’ transition into university and helping them find the resources needed to make this transition comfortable.

A few facts about me: I am in second year social work. I enjoy the performing arts: singing, acting as well as writing and performing spoken word.

Cristal Hines: First Year Liaison

Contact Info:

Hey! Nice to meet you! Let’s get to know each other. I am in love with this program and I plan to pursue law school after this degree. I believe social justice begins with critical consciousness and feeling uncomfortable about current social arrangements. I enjoy debates, I love presentations and I cristaldon’t believe in failure.

My Role: Beyonce. Oh, you meant on the union? My role entails coordinating exciting events on campus related to Social Work – both academic and social! In addition to relaying questions, concerns or suggestions between the first year students to the union. Furthermore, I participate in meetings with the SWSU and provide both input and insight on behalf of the first year students. Overall, I seek to foster cohesiveness between the students and their union while upholding the objective and contributing to further development for the union.

What I can help you with: I want to be of any assistance that I can, answering questions or being a support network when needed – whatever you need to ensure a smooth transition, count me in! Lets talk!


  • Spoken Word
  • Public Speaking
  • Yes I’m a church girl
  • Watching documentaries then proceeding to have insightful discussion or debates on the topics in question

Fun Facts:

  • I drink hot sauce
  • I take myself out on dates
  • I’m a manager at McDonalds

Jolene Taker: First Year Liaison (2nd Year Direct Entry)

Contact Info:

Hi there! I’m Jolene (AKA Jo) and I use she/her pronouns. I’m one of the first year representatives, but my experience is a bit different; I’m a direct-entry student that started in second year. Currently, there is no 12010646_10154290373023275_2238755743642377336_oposition that targets direct-entry students so here I am!

I’ll be working with the other members of SWSU to plan and coordinate events for all undergraduate social work students, as well as working with Cristal to plan an event in March specifically for first-year students.

I’m interested in social justice and activism; I love attending rallies, demonstrations, and discussion panels (hello there professors, please take your classes to some of the larger events on and off campus). I’m always interested in learning and hearing new perspectives and thoughts, so please don’t be shy! Say hello, let’s grab a drink and chat. Or forward me articles, blogs, or suggestions for books, movies, and documentaries that you enjoy. :3

Some other hobbies and interests: reading books (Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut is my favourite), reading comics and graphic novels, coffee dates, watching a lot of Netflix, playing video games, walking my pug Kiwi, being a magical girl, and drinking tea.

Hannah Kurchik: Second Year Liaison

Contact Info: hannah.kurchik@ryerson.ca12359473_1055107484540051_1572881933_o

My Role: My role is to not only represent the second year students in the social work program, but to also be a key source of communication and a voice for my fellow peers. Message me if you have any issues, ideas, or just want to talk!

My Hobbies:

  • Painting
  • Writing (mostly poetry)
  • Hockey

Lexxy Ovenden: Second Year Executive

Contact Info: alexys.ovenden@ryerson.calexxyovenden

My role:
I am the second year representative on the Social Work Student Union. I am here to represent you, the second year student body in our union to further connect us to our program and faculty. If you ever need anything feel free to contact though my e-mail or in person. I love meeting people and it’s nice to know people in our program.

Hobbies and Interests:

  • reading
  • music (listening and attending concerts)
  • cuddling my puppy Bentley

Fun Facts:

  • My favourite band is Green Day
  •  I used to work for Boys and Girls Club
  •  I love sushi ( I could literally eat it everyday)

Alexandra Duarte: Second Year Liaison

Contact info:

11986917_493069254208619_6845755150039688593_nI’m a Second Year Liason for the Social Work Student union. My job is to represent the interests, concerns and worries of my peers in meetings as well as aid in planning events for you to enjoy! My hobbies include painting, overeating, working too much and living on the beach. I can be contacted at my Ryerson email if you have any questions or concerns as well as ideas for how to make second year more enjoyable!

Nature – I am a hippie at heart.

Fun facts:

  • My dad graduated from the Ryerson acting program.
  • My grandmother started the union at Children’s Aid in Toronto. I
  • I’ve lived in four houses on the same short street

Emma Esselink: Third Year Executive

Hello! I am the 3rd year representative this year on the Social Work Student’s Union and I look forward to getting to know you better! I am very passionate about helping others and I hope to one day work in a hospital setting. I love to play tennis, run long distance, and most people don’t know that I actually starred in 3 high school plays a few years ago! I also love to sing and have a passion for travel. I’m always happy when I’m learning something.

Rebecca Katzman: Third Year Liaison


rb swsuHi Everyone, My name is Rebecca and I am one of two Third Year Liaisons on the Social Work Student Union (SWSU). My role is to connect you to the SWSU as well as being open to hearing your concerns and answering your questions. If there are any pressing issues that you may face throughout the school year, feel free to bring them to me and I will make mention of them at weekly SWSU meeting. I will be happy to help in any way that I can! I am very excited that I will be responsible for planning events with Erin and Emma for the upcoming school year. The events that we plan will be fun and educational for the Social Work students in our year as well as in our program. I am very active in student life on campus and I cannot wait to channel my energy into the union.

Erin Kelleher: Third Year Liason


erin swsuHi friends, I’m Erin, one of the third year liaisons on the social work student union. My role is to act as a representative for current third year social work students and aid in the planning and running of events throughout the school year. My role also includes working with the other third year representatives to plan an event specifically geared toward third year social work students this February.

Please email me if you have any questions about the program or events! Also email me if you have any suggestions or ideas for an event that you would be interested in attending!

Dana Robbins: Fourth Year Executive

My Role: 4th year executive and I work with Adam and Luc to plan events as well as attend meetings that address curriculum changes.Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 23.58.04

What I can do for you: I can help people get connected to the right individuals if they have an issue

Fun facts: I have a twin sister and I met Rick mercer once…

Adam Jefford: 4th Year Liaison  

Contact Info:

My Role: My role is to organize an event for the social work program. I will also be participating in many social work related events on campus to stay up to date on social work issues and social progression. I also give input at the meetings and work with other liaisons and members to support the social work students as best as possible.


Music: I play guitar, drums, and bass. I love listening to music, creating music and performing.

Some bands and artists I’m listening to right now are: Flying Lotus, Run the Jewels, Tame Impala, Drake, Thundercat, and D’angelo (Go listen to Black Messiah, it’s the best album of 2015).

Reading: My favorite book right now is Any Known Blood by Lawrence Hill. I am currently reading We the Living by Ayn Rand.

Going to Toronto coffee shops: I like coffee.. and espresso.

Baseball: I love playing baseball and going to Blue Jays games

Lucas Julien: Fourth Year Liaison My role: As one of the fourth year liaisons I will be collaborating with other members of the union to organize events that bring together the social work student community. I aunion lucm also interested in improving the placement process so all students have meaningful experiences during their 3rd and 4th years at Ryerson. Please e-mail me any time with questions or comments regarding our program.

Hobbies/interests: Music – playing it, listening to it, reading about it, and of course dancing to it.

Film – I have spent many an afternoon not doing my homework at the movies.


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