Young Alumni Council
Misa Gillis, VP Professional Development
BSc (Global Res Sys) 2020
Misa is very excited to connect with fellow LFS graduates through the new alumni council. She graduated from the faculty in 2020 with a degree in Global Resource Systems, having focussed her studies on health sciences, global nutrition, and Spanish. She did not stray far post-graduation, and remains at UBC, now studying medicine. Her interests lie in the health of individuals and communities – previous engagements have included public health research on the nutrient intake of Canadians, organizing workshops for medical students on social medicine topics, and working on a team to research and implement telemedicine services. She is looking forward to learning and growing in these next years with the Professional Development Sub-council.
Amira Abdulhadi, Professional Development Sub-Council
BSc (Food Nutr) 2020
Amira graduated from UBC in 2021 during the pandemic with a degree in food, nutrition, and health. Her time at UBC has made her realize her passion for community work and working with children. Amira is currently an assistant senior supervisor for a childcare centre where she supervises two programs. She is responsible for program planning, field trip planning, training and onboarding, working with staff and families, and working with outside organizations. Her primary goal at work is to support participants and their families in accessing high quality and accessible childcare that provides socially and emotionally rich activities.
Akshaya “AJ” Jayaseelan, VP Networking
AJ identifies herself as a first-generation immigrant in Canada and this has largely shaped her unique perspectives and aspirations. She understands how valuable food is and most importantly, the safety behind it. Her goal is to minimize the challenges that curtails people having sustained access to safe and quality foods. Her academic background is food science and safety. She is currently working to grow Yoggu, a plant-based yogurt manufacturing start-up. Building quality systems, improving efficiency, and scaling up the company are her current professional goals. Alongside that, she has also equipped herself with a few auditing certifications to deepen her expertise:) To sum up, she is a curious and excited person who is striving to work on small goals one at a time.
Shenmiao “Ivy” Li, Networking Sub-Council
BSc (Food Nutr) 2017, MSc 2020
Shenmiao (Ivy) Li is excited to join the LFS Young Alumni Council as a member of the Networking Sub-Council. She earned her Bachelor of Science in 2017 and her Master of Food Science at UBC in 2022. Outside the classroom, Ivy was the student coordinator and secretary of the BC Food Protection Association from 2018 to 2020. At the core of her work, Ivy is responsible for organizing student-centred activities and seeks to help students build the relationships and transferable skills needed for their academic excellence and career paths. After graduating from UBC, Ivy continued her education at McGill University as a Ph.D. student in Food Science. Ivy continued her contributions to student professional development and networking as the student chair of the Chinese Association for Food Protection in North America. Staying involved with UBC has always been a priority to Ivy, so she is thrilled to be part of LFS Young Alumni Council.
Patricia Debess Utrera, Networking Sub-Council
BSc (Food Nutr) 2015
Patricia was born in Venezuela and moved to Canada as an international student in 2009. She graduated from the Nutritional Sciences program at UBC in 2015 and has worked in the food industry for 5 years. She was able to take opportunities in quality assurance and account management. Patricia currently works in human resources for the nonprofit sector and volunteers in her spare time for the Looking Glass Foundation.
Bhavana Rao, VP Entrepreneurship
Bhavana is a food scientist and a chemical engineer with a decade of experience in food, cannabis and natural health product industries. Working in various roles in different industries and countries has helped to identify the gaps in her education with regards to the business aspect. So, she has decided to come back to UBC to do her second Master’s degree in business! Through the Young Alumni Council, she wants to help bridge the gap between food entrepreneurs, current students and alumni.
Alina Hoosein, Entrepreneurship Sub-Council
BSc (Food Nutr) 2020
Alina graduated from the FNH program in 2020. She describes herself as a holistic wellness enthusiast, that is passionate about building skills and habits that allow the opportunity to build connection and resiliency. She enjoys talking to people about what their motivations are and what inspires them to achieve their goals.
Marcela Matamoros, Community Engagement Sub-Council
Marcela graduated from UBC in 2019 with Bachelor of Science in FNH, majoring in Food Market Analysis. Upon graduation, she began working at Amazon as Area Manager. She has been working with Amazon 4 years and has received 2 promotions with the company. During her time at UBC, she loved volunteering in different areas within LFS such as Agora Café, UBC Far and the Ace team.
Emily Peer-Groves, Community Engagement Sub-Council
Emily graduated from UBC in 2020 where her studies focused on plant and soil science. She moved to the traditional territory of the Haida people. She cofounded Dirt Nerd Soil Co. in 2021 a community compost and soil fabrication enterprise. She’s currently working as the Haida Gwaii’s food strategist conducting community based