June 29, 2022 | 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM (EDT)

Please join members of the Thriving on Campus research team and community partners to learn about key findings as  well as policy and practice recommendations.

Particular attention will be given to the experiences of trans, BIPOC, and disabled students.

Si vous avez des questions ou des commentaires sur les présentations du webinaire, veuillez nous contacter à lgbtq2scampusresearch@wlu.ca.

Please share this webinar event with your networks! You can download a shareable poster here or a social media image here.


Presentation TitlePresenter
Welcome & IntroductionDr. Michael Woodford &
Dr. Simon Coulombe
Snapshot: 2SLGBTQ+ Student Experiences of Campus Climate and Its ImpactsDr. Harrison Oakes
Snapshot: The Experiences of BIPOC 2SLBGTQ+ StudentsChristina Arayata
Snapshot: The Role of Disability in 2SLGBTQ+ Students’ Campus ExperiencesIsabel Krakoff
Discussion with Community PartnersModerated by Dr. Zack Marshall
Q & AAll Panelists
Closing StatementDr. Michael Woodford


Community Report Snapshot: 2SLGBTQ+ Student Experiences of Campus Climate and Its Impacts

Presenter: Harrison Oakes (he/him) is a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow at University College London, UK. He joined the Thriving on Campus project as data consultant from 2020-2022. As a mixed methods scholar, he is passionate about combining quantitative and qualitative data to develop deeper understandings of lived experiences. By applying a critical lens to his quantitative analyses and privileging study participants’ rich narratives, he aimed to highlight aspects of 2SLGBTQIA students’ experiences at universities in Ontario.

Community Report Snapshot: The Experiences of BIPOC 2SLBGTQ+ Students

Presenter: Christina Arayata (she/her)Christina is a first-year Ph.D. student in Higher Education at OISE, the University of Toronto. Her MA thesis focuses on understanding how undergraduate STEM students understand and express their identities through demographic surveys. Christina has been involved in various research projects focused on student wellbeing, race/ethnicity, access/admissions, and survey methods. She has been involved with Thriving on Campus as a Qualitative Research Assistant and later served on the BIPOC Community Report Working Group. 

Community Report Snapshot: The Role of Disability in 2SLGBTQ+ Students’ Campus Experiences

Presenter: Isabel Krakoff (she/her) is a doctoral student in sociology at York University. Her interests include mixed methods research, political sociology, affect theory, and computational social science. She has supported the Thriving Project since 2020 in a variety of roles, including working as a quantitative data analyst and serving as a core part of the working group that put together the community report on the experiences of 2SLGBTQ+ students with disabilities.


Romina Avila (they/she) is the Campaigns and Communications Coordinator with the Canadian Federation of Students Ontario. They have a background in mental health, community organizing and social justice. Romina has worked with queer and disabled students for more than four years. They participated with Thriving on Campus, sharing their insights as a professional and their lived experiences on mental illness and queerness as a racialized individual.

Allison Burgess (she/her) is a Sexual and Gender Diversity Officer at Université de Toronto. The U of T Sexual & Gender Diversity Office develops partnerships to build supportive learning and working communities at the University of Toronto by working toward equity and challenging discrimination. The Office provides innovative education, programming, resources and advocacy on sexual and gender diversity for students, staff and faculty across the University’s three campuses.

Shemar Heckett (he/him) holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Social Psychology, a Masters in Political Management, and a Minor in Religious Studies. After completing his undergrad degree, he served as the Vice-President (Education) for the McMaster Students Union and worked with OUSA to advocate for students across the province. Throughout his term, he focused on post-secondary affordability, campus accessibility, and building safe and inclusive communities. After obtaining his masters, he worked for a government relations firm in Ottawa, supporting clients in the financial services and technology sector. In his downtime, Shemar enjoys pottery, playing video games, and watching movies.

Debbie Owusu-Akyeeah (she/her) is an award-winning Black feminist with over 8 years of local and international advocacy experience through feminist initiatives in the Ottawa-Gatineau region and through working at Oxfam Canada and Global Affairs Canada. She became the new Executive Director at the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity (CCGSD) in July 2020. The Centre promotes diversity in gender identity, gender expression, and romantic/sexual orientation in all its forms on a national level through services in the areas of education and advocacy.

Nona Robinson (she/her) is the Associate Vice President of Students at Trent University and a representative from the Ontario Committee on Student Affairs (OCSA). OCSA consists of the senior administrator at each Ontario university holding responsibility for student issues, the student experience and the majority of services and programs designed to serve and support students at the institution. The OCSA provides a forum for information sharing and discussion of emerging policy and practice on student issues facing Ontario’s universities.

Organizers & Moderators


Dr. Simon Coulombe (he/him) is an Assistant Professor in Community Psychology for the Faculty of Science
at Wilfrid Laurier University. Guided by positive psychology and socio-ecological approaches, Simon’s research examines resilience in LGBTQ2S+ individuals and people from other stigmatized communities, exploring how they can achieve wellbeing despite challenges and discrimination. Simon’s work contributes to understanding and reducing inequities faced by communities in stigmatizing circumstances (e.g., LGBTQ2S+ people with mental disorders or disabilities, people living in public housing, etc.) by considering the social and ecological factors that impact their well-being. Simon’s work supports the empowerment of these communities by ensuring that his research can yield positive impact – for participants, researchers, and practitioners.

Dr. Zack Marshall (il) is an Assistant Professor for the School of Social Work at McGill University. With over 14 years experience in the areas of health and mental health, Zack’s practice has focused on working with sexual and gender minority youth and communities, people labelled with intellectual disabilities, and people who use drugs. Committed to transformative social change, his interdisciplinary program of research explores ethics, engagement, and knowledge synthesis with respect to marginalized and underrepresented communities. 


Eric J. Van Giessen (he/him; they/them) is a doctoral student in Sociology at York University. His research interests include critical sexuality studies, lived religion, and queer methodologies, including community-based research and arts-based methods. Eric has been a research assistant with the Thriving Project since 2019. During this time they have served as one of the qualitative interviewers, have been coordinating the finalization of the community reports and have helped to organize several Knowledge Mobilization webinars including this one.

Dr. Michael Woodford (he/him) is a professor of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University. His research addresses the intersection of campus climate, mental health, and academic development among diverse LGBTQ2S+ university students. He is the principal investigator for Ontario-wide study, Thriving on Campus.