March Showcase | Amazing YU Faculty, Alumni & Student Accomplishments

At Yorkville University, we’re proud of the accomplishments of all our faculty, students and alumni, both inside and outside of the classroom – be it winning awards, publishing books, or representing Yorkville at prestigious global conferences.

Here are some of the good news stories about Yorkville University’s talented community that we’d like to showcase this month:

YU’s Dasha Belskaya Elected to Board of PMI Canadian West Coast Chapter

Dasha BelskayaYorkville University’s Associate Director of Regulatory Projects & Accountability, was recently elected to the Board of Directors at PMI Canadian West Coast Chapter.

“This opportunity is a significant milestone in my project management career, and I am deeply honoured to have been elected by its members. I see this as a chance to make a positive impact on the chapter and community, while also growing and developing as a leader,” said Belskaya, who will serve as the board’s secretary.

As a newly elected member of PMI Canadian West Coast Chapter’s board, Belskaya said her primary goal is to support the chapter’s mission and help achieve its strategic objectives, noting that she’s particularly passionate about growing the chapter and establishing it as a go-to resource for project management professionals in mainland BC. 

“To achieve this, we aim to focus on providing valuable project management education, mentorship, networking opportunities, and knowledge sharing to practitioners and organizations, thereby contributing to the overall success of the project management community,” she said. 

Belskaya added that she’s also excited about the opportunity to represent Yorkville University in her new capacity, especially given the B.C. Campus’ Bachelor of Business Administration program with a specialization in Project Management

“As a member of PMI Canadian West Coast Chapter’s Board of Directors, I hope to leverage my connections and experience in the greater Vancouver project management community to help bridge the gap between our students and industry professionals, providing valuable networking and career development opportunities for our aspiring project managers,” she said. 

YU Business Development Specialist Andrew Woods Publishes The Audacious Ask

Yorkville University’s Business Development Specialist, Andrew Woods, recently cowrote a book on entrepreneurship called The Audacious Ask | Entrepreneurship and the Power of the Ask.

Written in collaboration with Tory Wiwchar, the book dives into the minds of eight entrepreneurs, each of whom offers up inspirational advice for anyone who is looking to make positive changes in their lives. Through their success and failures, each person profiled highlights the importance of asking and also shares different insights into their own business journeys.

“We are filled with gratitude at the volume of sales and the positive feedback we have received from readers around the world,” Woods said of The Audacious Ask’s success. 

“This book teaches aspiring entrepreneurs to ask the right questions without fear and if you have an idea and a dream, just go for it!”

The Audacious Ask – both the book and the concept – Woods added, is about leaning into the unknown and the unexpected. It’s about building up the courage to ask for things: for someone’s time, for someone’s story, for someone’s wisdom. It is about giving, not just taking. It is about sharing. It’s about asking questions, and listening to and feeling the answers. Most of all, it is less about making connections and more about connecting.

Learn more about The Audacious Ask HERE.

BID Student Julie Seymour Named YU Liaison for International Interior Design Association

Bachelor of Interior Design student Julie Seymour recently joined the International Interior Design Association (IIDA)’s student council for the Puget Sound Campus Center, assigned as the Yorkville University (YU) liaison for the Northern Pacific Chapter.

“Reflecting on the last three years as a YU interior design student, I’ve loved the flexibility of the online program; it’s made completing a degree with two young children possible for me. I’ve supplemented the ‘in-person’ element by joining the IIDA for networking opportunities and continuing education,” Seymour said of the opportunity.  

“My role is to act as a liaison for students at YU who are interested in learning more about student membership, and the many resources available through IIDA,” Seymour added, noting that the Northern Pacific Chapter covers students those based in British Columbia, Alberta, Washington, Alaska, and Idaho.

Since joining the IIDA as a student member herself, Seymour said she’s been able to access the association’s Mentorship Program, where she was matched with an industry professional for a one-on-one interview. 

“I also participated in the 2022 Student Portfolio Academic Awards and won in the Junior category. Every portfolio submission receives feedback from a panel of design professionals, which is a prize in itself,” she said. 

Seymour also noted that IIDA’s Northern Pacific Chapter recently helped launch the IIDA Vancouver City Center – “a great opportunity for Vancouver-based YU students to access design professionals in their area and be part of a growing IIDA community.”

To learn more about IIDA Northern Pacific Chapter, simply go to, scroll to the bottom and enter your email to sign up for Quick News to receive updates on events and volunteer opportunities.

Interested students can contact Seymour directly with questions regarding IIDA student membership and for more information on the resources available, both virtually and in-person. She can be reached at [email protected]

BBA Professor Peter Love Publishes Online Text About Energy Efficiency

BBA Professor Peter Love, the former Chief Energy Conservation Officer of Ontario, recently updated the free online college/university textbook Fundamentals of Energy Efficiency: Policies, Programs and Best Practices

As the only textbook in this area that focuses on energy efficiency policies and programs, Fundamentals of Energy Efficiency has been successfully used by professors across Canada as either a core reading for classes on energy efficiency policy or as supplementary reading for classes on energy policy, environmental policy, environmental economics, geography, political science, etc.

The text consists of three sections: 

  • The first section covers the core material, including: background on energy/power/energy services; the different types of energy efficiency; drivers/barriers/policy options; economics; measures; roles in energy plans; policy/program development; and evaluation. It includes 33 figures, 95 definitions and 86 references. Most chapters end with a Kahoot! questionnaire that students can take online to test their understanding of the material in each chapter.
  • The second section includes 10 case studies, with five on approaches by different governments and one on industrial energy efficiency audits by fellow Yorkville Professor Amit Kohli
  • The third section consists of sample course materials, such as templates for cabinet submissions (one actually used by a provincial government) and writing a briefing note. 

Fundamentals of Energy Efficiency can be downloaded HERE for free.  

MACP Student Tonia Cianciulli Celebrates Podcast Appearance, Release of New Song & Book

 Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology student Tonia Cianciulli has also had much to celebrate over the last couple of months. 

The award-winning singer and songwriterauthor, and NLP Heartmath expert not only appeared as a special guest on an episode of the Air Kraehmer Podcast, but also released a new song, and is preparing to release a new book. 

Over the course of Cianciulli’s “highly relatable” 50-minute podcast episode, entitled Diving Into the Depths of Depression, she walked listeners through the process of creating their own “no more depression” toolkit.  

“I’m not an expert, but I’ve ridden enough waves of anxiety and depression to have compiled a toolbox of things that help me when I’m struggling. I’m constantly doing the work to help myself, and others who ask me about my experiences,” she said. 

Aimed at artists battling depression, business women with anxiety, and mothers of children with depression or anxiety, Cianciulli’s episode of the podcast was billed as a “must-listen” one by the its host, bestselling author Airica Kraehmer

“This podcast was such an honour to be on. These conversations are so important to have, because we are not alone and we don’t have to muscle through life,” Cianciulli said, urging those who may be struggling to never hesitate to seek assistance from loved ones. 

Listen to Cianciulli’s Feb. 4 episode of the Air Kraehmer podcast HERE

On March 8, the opera singer-songwriter also released her latest song, Thousand Cries, which she wrote about her lifelong journey to overcome anxiety and depression. 

“The song and video contribute greatly to the conversation of mental health,” she said of the project, noting that her 16-year-old daughter, Sophia, stars in the video for the song as her “inner child.” 

Cianciulli also has a book, entitled Flick You Heart Light On, Let Your Fears Be Gone! – which was illustrated by daughter, Sophia – set to come out on Mother’s Day. 

Read more about Cianciulli HERE.

Academic Coordinator Natalie Ryan Leads Languages Canada Workshop 

Toronto Film School Academic Coordinator Natalie Ryan recently traveled to Halifax, Nova Scotia to conduct a workshop at the annual conference of Languages Canada – Canada’s premier language organization representing its two official languages: English and French. 

“Being among so many of my peers who have the same passion and drive for the language education sector in Canada is inspiring,” she said. “The theme of the conference was ‘community’ – and I definitely felt part of a group of professionals who want to provide the best and most informed language instruction in Canada to international students and newcomers.”

Ryan, who oversees the ESL Pathway Program for Yorkville, delivered her session on EAL Teacher Training: Are We Doing Enough?which focused on English as an Additional Language teacher training in Canada. 

She characterized the opportunity to representing YU and its affiliate, Toronto Film School, at the conference as a “special” experience, noting that many other conference attendees were curious about the schools’ programs – especially the ESL Pathway Program, which she created six years ago, and the nature of the ESL students who attend our institutions.

“I look forward to attending the Languages Canada Conference again next year and learning more about how to bolster our ESL Pathway Program – and our institution at large – to make the international student body an even more integrated part of our school community,” she said. 

Dr. Rosina Mete Named Keynote Speaker at 2023 LABCON

Dr. Rosina Mete, Director of Faculty for the MACP program, was recently asked to be the keynote speaker at the Canadian Society of Medical Laboratory Science annual LABCON conference in Whistler, B.C. in May. 

“I was honoured to be asked again to promote mental health among medical laboratory professionals who diligently support Canada’s health care system this year,” Mete said, noting that she previously presented at last year’s event in Winnipeg on renewing emotional energy during times of uncertainty. 

“This year, my presentation further expands upon the theme of values connection and provides participants with reflective exercises to identify their values and current connections.” 

Those who attend her keynote, Mete said, will learn how to integrate values within their daily life and  how to replenish their minds, hearts, and souls. She also plans to highlight and explain self-care practices. 

“I’m looking forward to providing an interactive presentation, connecting with attendees, and promoting mental health awareness and education,” she said. 

Dr. Mete also recently celebrated the publication of her article, What is your Roadmap to Fulfillment?, in the Fall 2022 edition of the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science journal. 

Using theories from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), the article discusses the importance of identifying and incorporating your values within your everyday life and outlines examples of using one’s values as a roadmap/foundation to fulfilment and happiness. 

As a counsellor educator and a psychotherapist, I see the importance of value connection on a daily basis,” she said. “Many people still feel disconnected from their values due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its disruption in their lives, especially individuals like medical laboratory professionals who are on the frontlines of health care. Acknowledging and connecting to one’s values helps with motivation, focus, and goals.”

MACP Professor Dr. Beda Bjorn Publishes Article on Sex-Positive Clinical Supervision  

MACP professor Dr. Beda Bjorn recently had an article published in the Journal of Counseling Sexology & Sexual Wellness (JCSSW).

Edited by Dr. Megan Speciale, the issue is a collection of special commentaries addressing the importance of sexual health and wellness across the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) specialty areas. 

Bjorn’s commentary, entitled Sex-Positive Clinical Supervision: A Special Commentary, highlights the importance of integrating sex-positive clinical supervision into the clinical, research, and academic training competencies. Her aim is for accrediting associations in the U.S., like CACREP, to focus on reforming the counselling and supervisory standards released in 2024 to produce sexual competency protocols for professionals in the field. 

“By providing research-based training and preparation frameworks, we provide fundamental conceptualization skills that will close the gap between counsellors in training and clinical supervisors underprepared to address and treat sexual topics,” Bjorn said, noting that it was an honour to join seasoned counsellor educators, therapists, and supervisors to advocate for revamping clinical and ethical considerations in sexual wellness and sexology. 

“The research I conducted comes from a passion that stems from the leadership roles qualified supervisors offer when preparing clinicians with evidence-based standards as they build supervisees’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes to enhance their client’s overall well-being skillfully,” she added. 

“As a therapist, qualified supervisor, and professor, I feel empowered through my training to give my students and supervisees access from a specialized lens to scaffold their understanding and conceptualization experiences that shape their confidence to follow best practices in the community they serve when addressing sexual topics.” 

General Studies Prof Andrew Fuyarchuk Wins Award for Turtle Documentary

Yorkville University General Studies professor Andrew Fuyarchuk has enjoyed many successes over the last few months. 

His SSAF-funded project, Turtles of Ontario: A Silent Cry for Help, recently won an Outstanding Excellence award at the Summer 2022 Docs Without Borders International Film Festival. The documentary is about the illegal trade of endangered turtle species in Ontario, and how the organizations that are catching them for an international market also trade in weapons, drugs and real estate. 

Andrew was also recently recognized by the Agora Hermeneutica ­– International Institute of Hermeneutics for the publication of his paper ‘Recovering Ontology in Anglo-American Interpretations of Hermeneutics: Chung-ying Cheng and Hans-Georg Gadame’ in the Journal of Chinese Philosophy 49He was recognized with the award of Professor honoris causa, which acknowledges “unique, outstanding, and internationally acclaimed individual accomplishments.”

Andrew’s research has additionally been recognized by review committees at three philosophical associations from three different countries this year. His focus is on East-West dialogue in philosophy that typically engages 20th century Western philosophers to discern patterns of reasoning that undermine themselves on important questions. This year, his focus is on how Daoist ecology functions to correct an anthropocentric bias in environmental hermeneutics.

He is set to present his research at the following upcoming conferences: 

BID Student Mary Li Wins Silver at Decorator & Designers Association of Canada Competition

Bachelor of Interior Design (BID) student Mary Li recently won silver in the Decorators & Designers Association of Canada’s Student Competition

Her entry for a restaurant called Secret Garden was recognized in the Design & Decoration – Multiple Rooms category. 

“It is a great honour to be recognized for this award. I am very happy that my design was acknowledged by the judges, who are very experienced designers.” 

Li’s Secret Garden submission to the DDA Awards was designed with features of Chinese architecture and garden design in mind, blending East and West. 

“The greeting and waiting area near the entrance has a lower ceiling and darker lighting to represent a secret tunnel to the garden,” she said, noting that the circular passageway is a common shape used in Chinese architecture, so that the next space is framed as a view for customers to admire.

Li envisioned local wood laser cut with traditional Chinese patterns as a means to decorate and cover the large concrete columns within the space, which, together with acoustic baffles, work to create two pavilions in the garden. 

“Since the space has a high ceiling, round white acoustic clouds are hung from the black ceiling to hide ducts and mimic clouds in the sky, giving the space a more open feeling. And the pathways that run through the dining hall pass by the pavilions and water features – all important elements in a traditional Chinese garden.” 

Li’s DDA award win, she said, brings her one step closer to fulfilling her lifelong aspiration of becoming an interior designer. 

“Interior design has always been a childhood dream of mine, but due to many reasons, I have not been able to pursue it as my career,” she explained.

“When I learned about Yorkville’s (BID) program, I was lucky to be given a second chance to work toward my dream. It has been a great experience to study at YU, where I have learned a lot and gotten the chance to meet others who are also passionate about design.”

Request Info Apply