Meet the third cohort of Youth Water Leaders

We’re so excited about our new cohort of Youth Water Leaders that we want you to get to know each and every one of these amazing individuals.

Melissa Mascarenhas

My name is Melissa Mascarenhas and I live in Nepean near Britannia Bay. I am new to Canada and have completed a certificate in Environmental Management and Assessment from Algonquin College. My favorite thing about being around water is how it makes me feel. To be honest, cold water terrifies me and that’s what I like most about it. How terrifying a vast expanse of a waterbody is, how the gushing water calms my nerves. It is my favorite way to unwind after a stressful week or month.

Samantha Beesley

My name is Samantha Beesley, and I hail from Halifax, NS. I am a new resident of Ottawa and am currently completing my Masters of Environmental Sustainability at the University of Ottawa. I love swimming, kayaking, and riding my bike along the water, and have been enjoying discovering new spots to explore within the region.

Olivia Leon

Hi, my name is Olivia! I grew up in Barrhaven and attended the University of Ottawa. I graduated in 2019 with a Bachelor’s degree, double majoring in Visual Arts and Environmental Studies. I recently started a new job working in conservation. I’m so happy to have been accepted into the Youth Water Leadership Program! I love learning and decided to focus my energy on learning more about my own city. I love being by/on the water and my favourite activities include kayaking, canoeing, hiking, backpacking and bouldering. If you’re looking for me, you can find me outside.

Emily Toma

My name is Emily Toma and I am from Kanata, ON. I have loved being in and around the water since my childhood, and am lucky to be able to spend much of my time in and around the water as I now row competitively with the Ottawa Rowing Club. Even though I don’t get to do it much, I love scuba diving, and would say it’s my favourite thing to do in the water. I’m so excited to be a part of this cohort and can’t wait to learn more about the watershed that I live in.

Kathryn Nicol

My name is Kathryn Nicol and I am absolutely thrilled to be a member of the 2020 Youth Water Leaders Program. I grew up playing in the Ottawa River, and it continues to hold a very special place in my heart. It was this experience that inspired me to go to university for Marine & Freshwater Biology! My very favourite thing to do in the Ottawa River is swim – nothing like hopping into its cold waters on a hot summer day!

Dominique Despatis

My name is Dominique and I’m from Gatineau. I play the piano, the flute and the ukulele. I really enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking and camping. My favorite thing to do in the water is swimming and I especially like swimming in lakes.

Rebecca Lipman

Hi my name is Rebecca Lipman, I love going on adventures and exploring especially by the water. I love paddling and I am always down to go for a swim. Discovering new bodies of water especially at sunset and sunrise is one of my favourite things in the world.

Julie Breslin

Hi my name is Julie and I am a recent Carleton graduate with a BA in Environmental Studies. I love reading and nature. Fun fact: I also have a twin brother.

Carina Harb

Hello! My name is Carina Harb. I’m in my 2nd year of environmental studies at uOttawa. My watermark is Norway Bay, QC (which is part of the Ottawa River). My favorite thing to do in the river is swimming with my cousins.

Alymuhammad Irani

My name is Alymuhammad Irani and I am from Southern Ottawa close to Mooney’s Bay. I am a soon-to-be marine biologist studying at UOttawa who loves being out in nature and having a fun time with friends. My favorite thing to do by the water is partying and dancing under the stars.

Harmony Eshkawkogan

Hi my name is Harmony and I live near Rideau Falls along the Ottawa River. I am an Indigenous Woman from the 3 fires tribe and my clan is Pike. I am a guest on Algonquin territory and from an unceded reserve called Wikwemikong on Manitoulin Island which is the world’s largest freshwater lake island. I love nature journaling and find my inspiration by hiking along the river or swimming and snorkeling in the summer.

Oriana Houston

My name is Oriana and I am from Ottawa. I am studying chemical engineering at the University of Ottawa. I joined the Youth Water Leaders program to gain the knowledge and skills I’ll need to pursue a career in environmental protection. In my free time I enjoy baking, biking around the city, and hanging out with my dogs. My favourite thing to do in the water is to paddlesurf.

Stephanie Hale

My name is Stephanie and I live in Ottawa. I’m a Geography student at the University of Ottawa and I spend most of my free time trying out new recipes and volunteering with my school’s sustainability office. I enjoy taking long walks by the water or sitting down by its edge to read books.

Sierra Cole

My name is Sierra Cole, and I live in Ottawa, ON. I’m very excited to be a part of the Ottawa Riverkeeper’s Youth Water Leaders Program! I go to Queen’s University, where I study Environmental science and Indigenous studies. I love paddle boarding and swimming, but my absolute favourite water activity is canoeing.