Category Alumni

Top 10 After 10: Dr. Danielle Shafiepour

Dr. Danielle Shafiepour graduated from Bishop’s with an Honours B.Sc. in Biochemistry in 2006 when she was also awarded the Governor General’s Silver Medal Graduation Prize. She continued her education as an Anesthesia resident at McGill University where she earned an M.D., C.M., followed by certification in Anesthesia by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and finally a Thoracic Anesthesia Fellowship at theUniversity of Toronto.

During the COVID crisis, Danielle was part of a team that developed a simulation task force at the Montreal General Hospital to facilitate pooling of resources and led hospital-wide simulation sessions to prepare for the management of COVID patients. She organized, executed, and debriefed faculty simulation sessions in the  operating room, intensive care unit, emergency room and the wards.

Her professional accomplishments also include the integral role she played as the “CBD lead,” transitioning the anesthesia residency program into the new “competence by design” model mandated by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

Currently, as Leader and Director of Simulation at the Junior Resident Orientation  Program, an integral part of McGill’s Residency Program in Anesthesia, Danielle coordinates the curriculum development, organization, and execution of the two- month annual program.

Top 10 After 10: Dr. Leigh Sowerby

Dr. Leigh Sowerby graduated from Bishop’s with a B.Sc. in Biochemistry in 2003. He then graduated from medical school at the University of Calgary in 2006 and from residency at the University of Western Ontario in 2011. He completed further sub-specialty training in Rhinology and Anterior Skull Base Surgery at the University of Alberta and was subsequently recruited back to London, Ontario to help treat the large volume of rhinosinusitis patients there. He went on to complete a master’s degree in Health Management at McMaster University while back in practice.

Dr. Sowerby’s area of interest and expertise is in nasal obstruction and nasal reconstruction (septorhinoplasty), rhinosinusitis and sinonasal disorders, endoscopic orbital surgery, and anterior skullbase surgery. His research interests include novel therapies for chronic rhinosinusitis, health economics and process optimization, as well as olfactory disorders and COVID-19.

Leigh still manages to get out to play lacrosse from time to time.

Top 10 After 10: Dr. Amy Svotelis

Dr. Amy Svotelis graduated from Bishop’s with an Honours B.Sc. in Biology with Distinction in 2001. She has also earned a Master of Science in Anatomy and Cellular Biology and was a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research  Council Fellow for her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Université de Sherbrooke.

She began her career as a research facilitator in her role as Clinical Research Coordinator in Orthopedic Surgery at the Research Centre of the Centre hospitalier universitaire de Sherbrooke (CHUS), which is part of the Integrated University Health and Social Services Centre of the Eastern Townships region. Amy rose rapidly to the Assistant Director position.

Amy returned to the Bishop’s community in January 2020 as Director of Research and Graduate Studies, where she applies her team approach to leadership management. Amy is currently at the heart of several strategic decisions for the positioning of Bishop’s research reputation, demonstrated by  her presence on the Board of Directors of the Association of Deans of Higher Education in Quebec, at the table of university business liaison officers at the Bureau de coordination inter-universitaire, on the Board of the SAGE Innovation regional economic development agency, and on the Board of the Association of Quebec University ResearchAdministrators.

Amy is known for her passion for research, the advancement of knowledge and interdisciplinary collaboration, and forbeing an inclusive leader.

Top 10 After 10: Mark Lawson

Mark graduated from Bishop’s with a B.A. in Political Studies and a Minor in English in 2009.

While at Bishop’s, Mark was President of the Student Representative Council (2008-2009) and participated in the Model UN. From 2017–2019, Mark served as President of the Bishop’s University Alumni Association, working with the team to set up Alumni Association chapters across Canada.

In addition to his enthusiastic and loyal support of the BU Alumni community, Mark’s career has seen him serve at the highest levels in politics, as Chief of Staff to Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development, Deputy Chief of Staff and Head of Policy to the Premier of Ontario, and Chief of Staff to Ontario’s Minister of Finance.

Currently, Mark serves as Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at Enthusiast Gaming, a Nasdaq-listed esports and gaming company headquartered in Toronto.

In addition to his degree from Bishop’s, Mark holds a Master of Energy and Earth Resources from Queen’s University and is a member of the Banff Forum.

Mark and his wife Jessica live in Toronto with their mostly trained dog, Bruce.

Top 10 After 10: Erin O’Neill

EErin O'Neillrin graduated from Bishop’s with a B.A. Honours Geography, Major in History, and Minor in Education in 2005. She also holds a Master in Rural Planning and         Development from the University of Guelph.

Upon completion of her master’s degree, she made the move from Ontario to Fort McMurray, Alberta, where she was given the opportunity to help build and shape that  community.

In her roles as Chief of Planning and then Operations Manager, she led the Recovery Task Force for Fort McMurray during the wildfire of 2016. She was responsible for the  re-entry of 90,000 people to their homes, helping the community rebuild and recover. Her contributions to this enormous undertaking led to her role with the Government of Alberta, doing natural disaster recovery on a provincial scale. In 2020, when the pandemic struck, her focus shifted to the COVID Emergency Operations Centre.

Erin believes in investing in her community and dedicating her time and abilities to the public she serves. She became President of the Alberta Professional Planners Institute, the face of the planning profession within Alberta, Northwest Territories and Nunavut to serve the public’s interest by providing regulation, advocacy, promotion, and services for its members.

She credits her success to her time at Bishop’s University. “It sometimes feels surreal that I have been given the opportunities that I have. I am truly honoured to be able to help build communities and help them recover following disasters.”

Top 10 After 10: Dr. Drew MacCannell

DDrew MacCannellrew graduated from Bishop’s in 2002 with a B.Sc. in Physics and two Minors in Biology and Mathematics.

He is currently Associate Director of Pharmacometrics with Biogen Therapeutics, a company dedicated to alleviating the suffering of those with diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and spinal muscular atrophy. He has dedicated his professional life to improving the health and wellbeing of those afflicted and impacted by these conditions.

In recent years, he has volunteered with the Massachusetts Science and Engineering fair to motivate and inspire young scientists and high school students. He currently oversees two graduate student interns, helping them to understand the role that mathematical modeling and computer science can play in the art of healing.

Drew is honoured to be invited back to his alma mater to lecture students on the path he took from his undergraduate years through to his current position; he is also proud to donate to the Drew MacCannell Award for Interdisciplinary Excellence at Bishop’s and hopes this award will contribute meaningfully to the diversity of scientific backgrounds at the University.

Top 10 After 10: Jennifer LaPlante

Jennifer LaPlanteJennifer LaPlante graduated from Bishop’s in 2000 with a B.A. in Sociology and a Minor in Women’s Studies. Jen also holds an MBA. from Dalhousie University and a Master of Science degree in Science, Computing and Data Analytics from Saint Mary’s University.

A force in her professional, academic, and volunteer lives, Jen is also a great Mom to two busy kids and is never at rest.

She has held progressively senior positions at various organizations and is now the Executive Director at Deepsense that helps companies gain competitive advantage  by providing AI-based end-to-end solutions. This past year she was named to the DataIQ Top 100 global AI list.

Jennifer is the also founder of SafePath, a way-finding start-up focused on increasing accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists. Her consultancy firm advises  people around the AI world.

As an active and engaged board member, she serves many organizations including  Halifax Harbour Bridges, Arthritis Society – National board, Victoria Hall Society,  and the AI Public Awareness Working Group. She is also a co-founder of the Halifax chapter of the Women in Machine Learning & Data Science.

In her spare time, you can find her teaching classes at GoodLife Fitness, or training for a marathon, or hiking with her family.

Top 10 After 10: Justin Smith

Justin SmithJustin Smith graduated fromBishop’s in 2005 with a B.A. Major Business and a Minor in Economics.

Justin is Chief Executive Officer at Innovation 7, a 100% Indigenous-owned company, located in the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation community on the unceded traditional territory of the Algonquin Nation. He is a subject matter expert in infrastructure project development and provides executive project oversight and management expertise to Innovation 7 clients.

Innovation 7 is a trusted advisor to Indigenous communities, governments and private sector companies helping to build longstanding and meaningful relationships in the pursuit of reconciliation. Justin is passionate about eliminating systemic barriers faced by Indigenous people, communities and businesses through meaningful consultation and sustainable economic development.

Justin believes strongly in equity, diversity, and inclusion, as well as healthy work-life balance and has woven these beliefs into the culture of Innovation 7.

When he isn’t working, Justin likes to spend time outside, hiking, camping, kayaking, and enjoying the gifts of nature. Continuous self-improvement is important to him, and he enjoys mindful self-reflection and exploring activities to improve his wellbeing. In his downtime, he likes to read and listen to music.

Top 10 After 10: Douglas Pawson

Douglas Pawson graduated from Bishop’s with a B.A. in Political Studies and English and a Minor in History in 2006. He went on to earn an MBA from Cape Breton University and Master of Philosophy in Policy Studies from the University of New Brunswick.

Doug currently holds the position of Executive Director of End Homelessness St. John’s (EHSJ). EHSJ exists to prevent and end homelessness in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Working collaboratively with community partners and public system stakeholders, EHSJ is leading the implementation of the St. John’s Community Plan to End Homelessness.

Douglas is an experienced executive with significant expertise in the non-profit sector, specifically in the areas of housing and homelessness, community mental health, and social innovation. A recognized community builder and an innovative leader, he can generate commitment from diverse stakeholders to build resilient and healthy communities.

In his role as leader of the system planning entity for St. John’s, he is responsible for a diverse team of 11, including an experienced Board of Directors and Community Advisory Board. Douglas stewards an annual budget of $3.7 million that supports and aligns efforts across all levels of government with over a dozen community organizations, while serving those who are, or who may be at risk of, homelessness.

Doug also serves in various board capacities, including Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for the United Way of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness.

Top 10 After 10: Dr. Dany MacDonald

Dr. Dany MacDonald graduated from Bishop’s in 2003 with a B.A. in Psychology (Honours). He completed an M.A. and Ph.D. in Sport Psychology at Queen’s University and was fortunate to receive a graduate scholarship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for his doctoral studies.

Dany’s research career started during his undergraduate studies at Bishop’s with the publication of his first article, and he continued to engage in research activities throughout his graduate studies. This ultimately led him to receive the National Society’s Young Scientist Award, which is given to one student in Canada who has demonstrated significant productivity during their formative years.

In 2010, Dany became the first faculty member in the newly formed Kinesiology program at University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI). Today, his research focuses on positive youth development through sport, which aims to ensure that young people participating in sports have positive experiences. He is currently working on multiple grant-funded research projects with colleagues across Canada and with one of his collaborators in Portugal. UPEI recently recognized his research abilities by presenting him with an Award of Merit for Scholarly Activities.

Dany is engaged in teaching and service activities at his institution where he has received numerous teaching awards and acted as Department Chair from 2017–2021.