Research Assistants


Omar Elsharkawy

Omar is a master's student in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University, researching food system planning. He is a Graduate Assistant with GenUrb for the Fall and Winter 2018 / 2019 terms. He holds a B.A in Environmental Studies from Carleton University. His research interests include social procurement, food policy, and food citizenship. Omar has previously worked both as a researcher and as an organizer in grassroots and non-profit settings.

Omar is working as a Graduate Assistant on the SSHRC PG Grant, "Urbanization, Gender, and the Global South: A transformative knowledge Network (GENURB)" for Fall and Winter 2018/19.

Jamilla Mohamud

Jamilla Mohamud is a masters student in Environmental Studies, with an area of focus in Urban and Regional Planning. She is interested in city building through community partnership and understanding the intersecting issues that communities confront during the process of urbanization. Jamilla worked as a Research Assistant on the SSHRC PG Grant, “Urbanization, Gender, and the Global South: a transformative knowledge network” for Fall and Winter 2017/18 and returned as a Graduate Assistant for the Winter 2019 term.

Rawan Mostafa

Rawan is an undergraduate student finishing her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in Professional Writing. She is interested in intersectional feminism and the implications of neocolonialism on urban life in the Global South. Rawan was awarded the Dean’s Award for Research Excellence (DARE) and will be working as a research assistant on the “Urbanization, Gender, and the Global South: A transformative knowledge network (GenUrb)” project for Summer and Fall 2018.

Siya Zhang

Siya Zhang is a RAY (Research at York) undergraduate assistant with GenUrb. She is a third-year undergraduate student in Psychology, also interested in Sociology.  Siya is bilingual in Mandarin and English and will be assisting with some translations for the Shanghai City Research Team for the Winter 2019 term.


Vanessa Grace Bart-Plange

Vanessa Grace Bart-Plange is a Graduate Assistant at the City Institute at York University. At CITY, Vanessa will be working on the SSHRC Partnership Project, ‘Gender and Urbanisation in the Global South: a Transformative Knowledge Network’ (GenUrb) under the leadership of Professor Linda Peake and Dr. Elsa Koleth for Winter 2018. Vanessa is a Masters student in the Graduate Program in Development Studies at York University. She previously completed her Honors Bachelors degree at the University of Toronto with a double major in International Relations and Political Science, minor in African Studies. Her research interests include community development, education policy and curriculum reform, African government and politics, and public policy.

Melissa Hernandez Jasso

Melissa Hernandez Jasso is an undergraduate student at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. She studies International Relations at the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences, with a combination of various courses in Sociology. She will be working over the summer as a Mitacs Globalink Research Assistant in the GenUrb project. Her main interests are Marxist and critical theories, feminist studies, international migration, Latin American studies, and decolonial/postcolonial studies. She is also fond of impressionist music and painting and enjoys playing with watercolours.

Esteban Sabbatasso

Esteban Sabbatasso is a Graduate Assistant for GenUrb for Fall and Winter 2017/18. He will be helping to create and administer the project website. Esteban is an MA student in the department of Political Science at York University. His research interests include postcolonial studies, international development, indigenous studies, new social movements and civil society in the global south. Esteban has 15 years of experience in communications and project management in the non-profit sector in Latin America, including community development in villas miseria (shanty towns), and the planning and execution of school support programs and recreational events for underprivileged children.

Anjli Saddi

Anjli Saddi is an undergraduate RAY Research Assistant with GenUrb (Summer and Fall 2018). Some of her tasks include researching and writing policy briefs and compiling bibliographies. She is completing an Honours Double Major in International Development and Psychology, and a Professional Certificate in Public Policy Analysis. Through an intersectional lens, she is interested in exploring postcolonial alternatives to development, as well as examining the forms of oppression experienced by marginalized groups, with a focus on gender and race.