The TYDE Team

Meet the people behind the project


Self Advocate Consultants

Shameera Rosal - Self Advocate Consultant

Shameera Rosal

Shameera is twenty-one years old. She just finished her second year in the Steps Forward program at UBCO and she is looking forward to her third year this coming fall.

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This past year, Shameera has been training in preparation for Special Olympics National’s Games, which will be held in Antigonish Nova Scotia. In addition to swimming two days a week with the Kelowna Special Olympics swim team, she has been swimming on her own two days a week and weight training another 3 days week. She continues to pursue art attending both Cool Arts in Kelowna and the Creative Room in Lake Country. She has also been working part time at the DQ in Lake Country.

Jose Figueroa - Self Advocate Consultant

José Figueroa

I completed high school in 2016. In 2017, I spent a year at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in the APPD program. I am currently working at the Langley School Board Office.

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Hello, my name is Jose Figueroa. I currently live at home with my Mom, my Aunt and my two younger sisters in Langley. My favorite things to do in my spare time is drawing and playing computer games. I was diagnosed with autism at the age of 4 and have received support from people around my life including my family. I am currently working at the Langley School Board Office. My duties include cleaning the copy rooms, mailroom, and the glass windows. I have always enjoyed working. My first paid job was at Cadenza Controls through Youth Works, Inclusion Langley Society. One of the duties at Cadenza Controls was to assemble the circuit boards by placing parts in specific places. My second paid job was at Tim Hortons in Langley which started as a work experience while attending the APPD program. Duties at Tim Hortons includes going around the dining area to clean up tables, disposing garbage and washing the dishes. I’ve previously worked at Wendell’s True Foods from August 2017 until November 2017. My main duty was to assemble cardboard boxes so that the food can be stored in them, ready to be shipped to different stores. Sometimes I went to the warehouse to pick up shipping supplies such as cardboard boxes, pallets and the pallet wrapper.

Erin Boe, Journalist

Erin Boe

Erin Boe was born in Vancouver and diagnosed with high functioning autism at 3 years old. So, for the most part, she grew up knowing she was autistic.

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She had trouble making friends so was often alone. Now in her early twenties, she graduated from Vancouver’s Langara College with a diploma in journalism in 2015. She was also a member in her college’s kendo club for 2 years.

Read Erin Boe’s full biography

David Johnston - Self Advocate

David Johnston

I work as a casual dispatched for golden cab company and I do motivation speaking. My role on BC People First is I am the treasurer.

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I like to do motivation speaking a lot more, I like advocating for other diverse ability people who have disabilities who can not speak for them self. My hobbies are bowling, swimming, going to movies, bike riding and etc.

Shameera Rosal - Self Advocate Consultant

Colton Sterling-Moses

Colton Sterling-Moses is a young Indigenous man from the N’lakapmux and Syilx people in Merritt, BC. Colton is a pow-wow dancer, a traditional hand-drummer and a knowledge keeper for his Nations. He is a role-model and an advocate for Indigenous people and youth with disabilities.

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Colton works hard to keep his culture, language and traditions alive! He currently works part-time as a Cultural Support Worker with Feel the Beat and serves as a Self-Advocate for the Transitioning Youth with Disabilities to Employment (TYDE) Project.

TYDE Partner Organizations


Dr. Rachelle Hole

Lead Researcher

Rachelle Hole is an associate professor at the UBC Okanagan School of Social Work, and she is the co-director of the Centre for Inclusion and Citizenship (CIC).

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The CIC is a partnership between the UBC Schools of Social Work and the community living sector (self-advocates, families, organizations); we work to further the inclusion and full citizenship of people with developmental disabilities and their families locally, nationally, and globally through learning, research, and community engagement.

DR. Steven J Barnes

Dr. Steven Barnes is a Senior Instructor and the Associate Head of Undergraduate Affairs in the Department of Psychology at UBC (Vancouver).  Steven received his MA and PhD in Behavioural Neuroscience from UBC.  He then did a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Neurophysiology at the Department of Epileptoogy, University of Bonn.

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Steven is particularly well known for his work related to student mental health and wellbeing.  For example, he is co-founder of the kaleidoscope, a peer-run support group for individuals experiencing mental health issues.  He is also involved in several ongoing projects aimed at improving the mental wellbeing of students by examining the relationship between learning environments and mental health. Moreover, he has two ongoing projects that involve the development of a novel learning technology. Steven is also an accomplished artist—his current art practice is centred around the production of new media pieces that aim to inspire dialogue on the ways we think about and use modern technologies.  He is co-author of the 10th edition of a best-selling textbook on Behavioural Neuroscience, Biopsychology 10th Edition (Pearson).

Dr. Joan Bottorff

Dr. Joan L. Bottorff is a Professor in the School of Nursing and Director of the Institute for Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Prevention at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus in Kelowna, Canada.

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Her current research focuses on developing more inclusive understandings of health behaviour, and the development of gender-sensitive and gender-specific interventions to promote health. She has extensive expertise in qualitative research methods and is currently Editor of Global Qualitative Nursing Research.

Jenna Christianson-Barker, MBA

Jenna Christianson-Barker is faculty at the Douglas College Department of Disability and Community Studies.

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Having spent most of her career supporting initiatives that foster meaningful economic inclusion, Jenna is now pleased to be involved with the TYDE Research Initiative. Jenna currently teaches in the Department of Disability and Community Studies at Douglas College, primarily focusing on courses within the Supported Employment Specialty Program. Previously, as a founding member and Director of Strategic Partnerships and Adult Programming at Pacific Autism Family Network, Jenna led the implementation and delivery of adult employment programming, including the federal initiatives, Ready, Willing & Able and EmploymentWorks Canada. Jenna also has a strong connection to the social enterprise sector, having run a consulting firm that supports employment social enterprises as well as leading a social enterprise café that creates employment opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities. The value of inclusive communities, neurodiversity in the workplace, and the benefits of purpose-driven business are some of the topics Jenna regularly speaks on. Jenna is an alumnus of Pepperdine University’s political science program and holds an MBA from Loyola University, New Orleans.

Researcher Dr. Jon Corbett

Dr. Jon Corbett

Jon is an Associate Professor at UBC Okanagan, the director of ICER (the institute for Community Engaged Research) and the director of the Spatial Information for Community Engagement (SpICE) Lab.

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Jon is an enduring map geek. The practice side of his research explores how digital multimedia technologies can be combined with maps and used by communities to document, store and communicate their spatial knowledge.

Dr. Cameron Crawford

Cameron Crawford (PhD) is an Adjunct Professor with the School for Disability Studies at Ryerson University in Toronto and also teaches with the Disability Studies program at King’s University College in London, Ontario.

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He has taught at York University in Ontario, where he is presently a Postdoctoral Visiting Scholar with the Critical Disability Studies Program. He consults with university-based, NGO and governmental initiatives on disability, human rights and social inclusion and was previously the President and Director of Research at The Roeher Institute and IRIS (Institute for Research and Development on Inclusion and Society).

DR. José F Domene

Dr José F Domene is a Professor in the counselling psychology specialization area within the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary.

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His areas of teaching include career development and counselling, counselling psychology ethics, and qualitative and quantitative research methods. Over the past 15 years, his program of applied research has addressed issues related to the relational contexts of career development, young people’s transition into the workforce, the impact of technological advancement on counselling and career development practice, and professional issues in counselling and counselling psychology in Canada.

Dr. Leyton Schnellert

Leyton Schnellert is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at The University of British Columbia – Okanagan.

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Leyton’s research attends to how teachers and teaching and learners and learning can mindfully embrace student diversity, inclusive education, self- and co-regulation and pedagogical practices that draw from students’ funds of knowledge to build participatory, collaborative, and culturally responsive practices. Leyton’s work contributes a counterargument to top-down positivist approaches that operate from a deficit model often grounded in elitism, ableism, and tokenism and instead recognizes the need to draw from communities’ funds of knowledge to build participatory, collaborative, culturally responsive practices in formal and informal settings working from epistemological orientations to living and learning that are community honouring.

Dr. Tim Stainton

Tim Stainton is professor and Director of the Centre for Inclusion and Citizenship in the School of Social Work at UBC.  He has workd extensively on issues of disability over the past 35 years with a primary focus on policy and practice.

Dr. Robert L. Williamson

Dr. Robert Williamson

Dr. Robert is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University in BC, Canada with a focus on research in the area of inclusive practices.

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Robert’s research focuses on the examination of inclusive practices from the perspectives of the diverse student, professional educators and social/governmental systems. These perspectives on inclusive practices individually as well as how they interact are of primary interest.

DR. Alyssa Wise

Alyssa Wise is an associate professor at NYU Steinhardt and the Director of NYU’s Learning Analytics Research Network (NYU-LEARN).

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Her research sits at the intersection of the learning sciences and educational data science, focusing on the design, use and study of technological systems to support learning across broad spectrum of topics and contexts. She holds a particular interest in collaborative learning and the development of online spaces to support conversations and communities.

Dr. Richard Young

Richard A. Young is Professor of Counselling Psychology at the University of British Columbia, where he holds the Myrne B. Nevison Professorship in Counselling Psychology.

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His current interests include the application of action theory to a variety of topics including the transition to adulthood, families, career development, counselling, developmental disabilities, health, and suicide.

Research Assistants and Staff

Cindy Chapman

Coordinator of the Centre for Inclusion and Citizenship

The Centre for Inclusion and Citizenship is Canada’s only university-based research centre with a dedicated focus on intellectual disability policy and practice.

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  • LIFELONG LEARNING we are committed to fostering, supporting, and maintaining a culture of lifelong learning to support growth, innovation and excellence.
  • ACCESS everyone needs and has a right to live in a safe and comfortable place that they can call home ~ to engage in meaningful work for fair pay ~ to enjoy reciprocal relationships ~ to have access to public facilities ~ and to live a full life in the community

Shelley Cook Graduate Research Assistant

Shelley Cook

Graduate Research Assistant

Shelley Cook is a former leader in the non-profit sector with over 20 years experience working with extremely disadvantaged populations in community-based and institutional settings.

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In her role as Executive Director of John Howard Society in Kelowna, a position she held for over 11 years (left position to pursue doctoral studies) Cook was responsible for developing over 100 units of social housing, as well as innovative employment training programs for people with disabilities. For her efforts, Cook received multiple awards/recognitions for program and housing development.

Cherise Lowe

Sandra Polushin

Research Assistant

Sandra Polushin is a faculty member and coordinator with the Disability and Community Studies Department and the Faculty of Child, Family and Community Studies at Douglas College.

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With a passion for people’s human rights, her primary focus is on developing paraprofessional capacity, skills and knowledge in the areas of family support, person-centred planning, community building and employment supports in campus-based, hybrid and online learning environments. Sandra is a PhD student in the Educational Technology and Learning Design Program at Simon Fraser University and is focusing on inclusive online teaching and learning in the post secondary sector for diverse learners, supported through inclusive research practices.

Cherise Lowe

Joseph Pruner

Research Assistant

Joseph Pruner is an Undergraduate Computer Science student at UBC-Okanagan focusing on web development and data science.

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While he is interested in full-stack development and data science, he is also passionate about mental health and people living with disabilities. He is pursuing a career where he can combine these fields in creative and innovative ways in order to help struggling and disadvantaged communities.

Cherise Lowe

Sue Sterling-Bur, MSW, RSW, ECE

Graduate Research Assistant

My name is Sue Sterling-Bur and I am from the N’lakap’mx Nation and the Sto:lo Nation through her mother. I am an advocate for breaking down barriers, addressing colonization and promoting healthy and positive change within Indigenous communities for children and their families.

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I am a proud member of the Dumdehmyoo (Bear) Clan with the Nadleh Whut’en from the Carrier Sekani Nation, as well as a student in the Doctoral Program PhD. in Interdisciplinary Studies – Indigenous Studies Theme. My Doctoral research will be focused on gaining a better understanding of an Indigenous perspective on the belief of giftedness. My purpose will be to learn more about the belief of giftedness for Indigenous peoples in BC and the sharing of family stories of raising a gifted child/youth and supporting them to be successful with their own innate abilities.

kʷukʷscémxʷ/Thank you

Cherise Lowe

Emma Smith


Emma Smith is an undergraduate student at UBC Okanagan with a major in Psychology and a minor in Computer Science.

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She is interested in the research processes of the social sciences and how data analysis can have positive community impacts. Diagnosed with ASD in Grade 6, she has also been involved in the local autism community as a self-advocate. She hopes to continue to work in positions that allow her to take advantage of both her academic and personal expertise.

Cherise Lowe

Emily Giroux, MSc.

TYDE Research Coordinator

Emily Giroux recently graduated from UBC Okanagan with a MSc. – Health and Exercise Sciences theme. Her thesis focused on developing recommendations for supporting people aging with spinal cord injuries.

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During her MSc., she developed a passion for working with populations with disabilities and ensuring that research is meaningfully put into practice. She also has experience working with advocacy, public policy, and government relations at Spinal Cord Injury Ontario, a community organization aimed at improving the lives of people living with Spinal Cord Injury. She is extremely excited to begin working on the TYDE project!

Cherise Lowe

Linnea Ritland, BFA.

TYDE Video and Animation

Linnea Ritland holds a BFA in film production from UBC and has a self-taught background in animated instructional videos. Her work as a writer/director, including the award-winning short “Violet and June”, can be seen at