About

What We Do

Pinnguaq Association, a not-for-profit organization, incorporates STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) into unique learning applications that promote storytelling, health, wellness and growth with rural and remote communities. At its core, Pinnguaq embraces diversity and creates opportunities in order to empower all people.

Our Staff

Ryan Oliver

Director

Ryan is the Founder of Pinnguaq. His experience includes eight years in the Economic Development and Transportation Department in Nunavut and six years as the Executive Director of Pinnguaq. He has conceptualized and delivered the te(a)ch program since its inception and has a solid portfolio of business and community relationships in Nunavut that support the project.

Brandon Bunnie

3D Artist

Brandon is a 3D artist and game designer. He builds and textures 3D objects for game environments as well as Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality experiences. He dabbles in computer programming for game mechanics and is well versed in the Unity and Unreal engines. Brandon graduated from the 3D Game Art program at Centennial College and holds a degree in Graphic Design from George Brown College.

Hailey Bennett

Program Admin

Hailey provides company-wide administrative support. Specifically, she manages the Computers For Success Nunavut program and assists in the lesson development Pinnguaq’s programming. Hailey also creates content and manages Pinnguaq’s social media accounts. Professionally, Hailey is interested in furthering her understanding of mental health and care. Her interests include biking, music, and all animals.

Maria Alejandrina Coates

Development Manager

Maria coordinates partnerships that support Pinnguaq’s programs. She liaises with key stakeholders, funders, and investors to ensure the long-term sustainability of the organization and its initiatives. Maria has a long history of working with non-profit media and arts-based organizations. She holds a Master of Arts in Art History and Curatorial Studies from York University.

Jennie Cross

Curriculum Developer

Jennie is Pinnguaq’s Curriculum Developer. She provides holistic leadership for the design of each lesson in the program. Jennie is a graduate of OISE, University of Toronto, with a Masters of Education and has over 16 years developing education programs and resources for organizations such as the Toronto International Film Festival and ArtsCan Circle.

Ashley Beamer

Digital Projects Manager

Ashley is the Digital Projects Manager, overseeing design and technical development. Her academic background is in Archives, Information, and Open Data. She moved back to Ontario in 2018 after living abroad in Scotland for 15 years. While she was away, she worked at the Royal Commission and the National Galleries of Scotland as an Agile Project Manager setting up mass digitisation programmes and managing web development. She also loves building and using technology to facilitate storytelling, art, and learning.

Emily Canfield

Graphic Designer

As Graphic Designer, Emily is involved in the branding of multiple company and client projects. Emily holds diplomas in Web Design and Public Relations from Durham College. She has a wide range of professional industry experience, having previously worked as a designer in agency and corporate settings.

Nathan Gardiner

Program Delivery Manager

Nate oversees the delivery of programming in the communities that Pinnguaq partners with. A recent graduate of the Trent BEd program and holder of an HBA and MA, he has focused his academic background on early Canadian history and reconciliation. Coming from a strong background in education, he has taught in various communities across Canada and in a village in Tamil Nadu, India. A lifelong learner, he always looks forward to learning alongside his students and peers.

Joel McConvey

Publication Manager

Joel oversees Pinnguaq’s publications department. Joel is a writer and producer who began his career in print journalism and has written for publications like The Walrus, The Globe and Mail, and Canada’s History. His production credits include the Genie and Gemini-winning National Parks Project, the CSA-nominated Mission Asteroid and the Canada 150 project, SESQUI. He also writes fiction; his first collection, Different Beasts, comes out in 2019.

Ian MacLean

2D Artist

Ian is a Jewish artist of West Indian descent. He is passionate about all forms of art, but has a particular interest in “purist” pixel art, pen and ink, and watercolours. An honours graduate of the Illustration program at the Ontario College of Art & Design, he has worked primarily in the video game and role-playing game industries.

Courtney Milne

Digital Steward

Courtney is a Digital Steward delivering programming in partnering communities. Courtney is mixed Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee and Scottish heritage, currently residing in Nogojiwanong (English name: Peterborough) with her family roots in Kahnawake Mohawk Territory and Chippewas of Nawash First Nation. She holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and a Masters of Education degree in Language, Culture and Teaching. She has spent her career working with Indigenous communities both urban and on-reserve, in a variety of fields including program development, child & family wellness, community wellness, post-secondary education and research. Courtney is a beadwork artist who uses her cultural knowledge and teachings to guide her artwork and tell a story.

Michael Foote

Lead Makerspace Manager

Michael is a lifelong learner and educator, with several advanced degrees and teaching experience across preschool, elementary, high-school, undergraduate university, and doctoral levels. With college education in Early Childhood Education, Auto Mechanics, and Carpentry, degrees in Biology, Psychology, Bio-Physics and Neuroscience, sabbatical research in 3D printing and robotics, and a Doctor of Medicine, Mike has a wealth of knowledge to share and the enthusiasm to match.

Becky Wright

Lead Digital Skills Teacher

Becky is the Lead Digital Skills Teacher at the Lindsay Makerspace. Becky is a former semi-professional water polo athlete for team Ontario, Canada who then went on to play for the University of the Pacific in the NCAA. At Pacific, Becky completed a BA in Liberal Studies with a Special Education Major, and a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction. For the past four years, she has been teaching in a variety of International Private Schools in Bangkok. Becky strives to create and implement lessons that have students wondering, asking questions, getting excited, exploring, and trying new things.

Stefanie Kuzmiski

Digital Steward

Stefanie is a Board Certified Medical Illustrator. She is of mixed Néhiyaw and European ancestry and currently lives in Toronto, Ontario. She holds an MSc in Medical Art. Her work has focused on cellular animations that illuminate the miraculous inner workings of the human cell, thus enabling us to learn about our bodies, and our connection to the world around us. At Pinnguaq she is invested in using a decolonial teaching praxis to facilitate discussions surrounding the ways new technology and art can inspire critical reflection on the ways we move through, exist within, and share our environments.

Jonathan Weber

Digital Steward

Jonathan is a Digital Steward based out of Ottawa, Ontario. He has worked in a variety of fields, including software development, educational research, and, more recently, in teacher education and teacher professional development, focusing on coding, robotics, and computational thinking. He also spent many years volunteering with STEM outreach organizations, doing school and public outreach activities in Ottawa and the surrounding areas, as well as in Cree communities on the Quebec side of James and Hudson Bay. Jonathan is currently a doctoral candidate in the Faculty of Education at the University of Ottawa, where he studies teacher identity, teaching practices, and making practices. In his free time, he enjoys playing video games, making things, and petting his cats, Charlo and Bok Choy.

Cheyenne McNenly

Outreach Coordinator

Cheyenne is the Outreach Coordinator for the Kawartha Lakes. She represents the Pinnguaq Lindsay Makerspace in public events and builds relationships and partnerships within the community. She helps with marketing and social media, as well as administration at the Makerspace. Cheyenne pursues music when she is not at work and also enjoys exploring and making art.

Mary McDonald

Digital Steward

Mary is an educator, writer, and media artist who loves to collaborate. She creates poetry films and augmented reality art installations. Mary gets really excited about participatory media and digital arts projects and believes in the potential for creative technologies to inspire individuals and connect communities. Mary’s next adventures include creating geo-fenced sound collages of WWI and WWII letters. Mary has a B.Ed, specializing in Special Education and Language Literacy and is currently finishing off her Master’s of Educational Technology degree through UBC. She has taught in Canada and at international schools in Africa and in Asia. Mary loves travelling to meet new people, learn about different ways of being, and experience new landscapes.

Marie-Lee Singoorie-Trempe

Digital Support Worker

Marie-Lee is an Inuk/Québecoise traveller and artist with a strong passion to learn and connect. After spending one year living in New Zealand and experiencing the rich, inclusive nature of its indigenous culture, Marie-Lee was inspired to find new ways to explore and share her own heritage, particularly through digital and non-digital art, music, film and photography. Marie-Lee enjoys being outdoors, hiking, hunting and fishing.

Alyssa Amell

Digital Artist

Alyssa is a Digital Artist at Pinnguaq. With 3D modeling, texturing, concept art, and animating skills she develops video games alongside the great artists at Pinnguaq. Alyssa also develops curriculum about 3D modeling and how to use freeware art programs. Her hobbies include watching and playing video games, creating art, and learning new skills.

Trevor Hutchinson

Bookkeeper

Trevor is Pinnguaq’s Bookkeeper and Financial Guru. He also works as the contributing editor and writer-at-large for The Lindsay Advocate and is a volunteer for Kawartha Lakes Food Source. He has previous experience as the Financial Manager of the Ontario Federation of Students and is the former Associate Publisher of This Magazine.

Talia Metuq

Curriculum Developer

Talia Metuq was one of the first students in the te(a)ch program, back when it was still called just Code Club. Talia went from te(a)ch, to the Vancouver College of Art and Design in BC, and has been with Pinnguaq now for three years. Talia helps develop curriculum, leads programming, and is a developer on all major Pinnguaq projects.

Reagan Mcfadden

Web Developer

Reagan is a creative problem solver who aspires to work on projects that make the web a much more informative and vibrant place. As Web Developer, he is involved in video game development, server and database administration, creating tools and configuring tooling, developing websites and mobile apps, and mentoring. He holds a degree in Internet Applications from Fleming College.

Mac Pavia

Makerspace Educator

Mac is our youngest staff; our techy Intern. Although born in Alberta, Mac has lived all over the country and now resides in Iqaluit, Nunavut where he is loving every second of it. He is currently attending Inuksuk High School. His interests includes 3D printing, robotics, HTML, and a new VR Beat Saber addiction.

Amoudla Kootoo

Makerspace Educator

Amoudla was born and raised in Iqaluit, Nunavut. She graduated from the Computer Systems Tech Program at the Nunavut Arctic College and has an extensive background of working with computers. Her interests include travelling, food, and hiking.

Tobi Ogunnowo

Administrative Finance Officer

Tobi Provides support for the Finance Department. A previous banker and a member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants UK (ACCA), she holds a master degree in Business Administration from Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria. She is in the process of obtaining her membership with the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario (CPA). She contributes to managing the books of Pinnguaq. Tobi loves traveling and meeting people.

Taya Sharman

Marketing & Communications

Taya is Pinnguaq’s Marketing and Communications Lead, also managing Pinnguaq’s day-to-day social media. She is a graduate of Durham College, where she received an advanced diploma in Music Business Management. Taya has previously worked with emerging artists and small businesses in helping them brand and develop an online presence. When she’s not online, she enjoys listening to music on vinyl and playing old school Mario Kart.

Brandon Jackson

Software Developer

Brandon is a software developer at Pinnguaq, working primarily on web and mobile apps. He began developing websites at a young age and his passion for technology has only grown since. Lifelong interest in the psychology of learning and the potential of artificial intelligence led him to a double major in Computer and Cognitive Science at the University of Toronto. Now he looks to leverage these passions to create impactful apps and games to further Pinnguaq’s mission of empowerment.

Jessica Williams

Human Resource Manager

Jessica oversees that the values of Pinnguaq are encompassed within organizational policies and practices, and simultaneously ensures employees are supported with a holistic approach. She holds a Certification in Human Resource Management and a Masters Degree in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Waterloo. Her interests in this field include identifying the multifaceted roots of conflicts and exploring culture and art as a means to peacebuilding.

Contributors

Contributors are people who work with us on a part time basis, on contract or as partners in the work we do.

Gail Hodder

Iqaluit Makerspace Manager

Gail graduated with her BFA from NSCAD. She moved to the North soon after, where she would spend the next five years immersed in Inuit art and culture. With several more years raising two computer geeks, organizing education for an art gallery and periodically running her own business, she moved said geeks and the rest of the famjam, including pets, to Iqaluit where all are enjoying life in the Arctic. Interests; photography, digital media, social media, anything art, atv adventures.

Miranda Parson

Digital Support Worker

Miranda recently graduated from teacher’s at Trent University. She holds a BA in Visual and Fine Arts and is interested in teaching how to integrate technology and art with students.
She currently resides in Brampton, Ontario.

Chelsea Singoorie

Community Coordinator

Chelsea Singoorie is the Community Coordinator based out of Iqaluit. She liaises and consults with community leaders to implement Pinnguaq’s programming in Nunavut. She has extensive experience with the private airline industry, economic development, and with contracting and procurement related to Designated Inuit Firms.

Michael Pewatualuk

Education Facilitator

Michael Pewatualuk is from Pond Inlet, Nunavut and has completed two years of the Nunavut Sivuniksavut college program. He enjoys composing music and dabbles in many instruments including guitar, bass, drums, and piano. He will be attending Carleton University in the fall. Michael joins Pinnguaq as an Education Facilitator, delivering the joy of computer coding and game design to kids around Nunavut.

Michelle Jilesen

Education Facilitator

Michelle is an Education Facilitator who delivers and develops curriculum for Northern Ontario and Nunavut. She is a graduate from the Concurrent Education program at UOIT with a focus in mathematics and science. She loves camping and being outdoors. Michelle enjoys finding creative ways to incorporate technology, like Scratch and Robotics, into lessons. One of her passions is to inspire girls to be interested in math, science, and technology.

Kim Smith

Videographer

Kim leads the video department and is responsible for any and all video recording and video editing associated with the company. Her interests include wildlife videography and photography, as well as survival, crafting, and building video games. She has BA with honours in Film from Brock University, an education from Sheridan College in Advanced Film, and is currently a Fleming College student in Outdoor Adventure skills to further pursue wildlife video and photography in a professional guiding setting.

Leah Jackett

Software Developer

Leah is a Software Developer at Pinnguaq, supporting ongoing projects where necessary. She is a Durham College graduate with an advanced diploma in Game Development. She has worked on multiple software projects including two video game prototypes and one source engine game. She has extensive computer and software knowledge and is also talented in art. Ultimately she aspires to become a biologist with a focus in oceanography, conservation, and animal behaviour.

Jaime Fortin

Education Facilitator

Jaime is an Education Facilitator who delivers curriculum to communities in the Mushkegowuk region, as well as in Nunavut. She has previous experience working with youth of various ages both on and off reserves. Jaime is from Chapleau Cree First Nation but attends Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario during the school year. She is currently working towards a degree in Indigenous Studies and Gender Studies, with an emphasis in Law and Policy.

Sim Knickelbein

Education Facilitator

Simeonie is a motivated Inuk from Iqaluit, Nunavut who is a part of our curriculum development team, teach coding team and also Pinnguaq’s first Twitch streamer. Sim has been playing video games since he was four years old on the Nintendo 64.

Kita

Office Dog

Kita is a retired sled dog who joins the team from the Halliburton Forest Wolf Centre. In retirement, she spends her days guarding the Pinnguaq Lindsay office space, chewing on bones, and demanding walks along the beautiful Scugog River. So far all of her project ideas have been politely rejected.

Awards

Best Social Enterprise 2017

Startup Canada Awards • North

Best Social Enterprise 2017

Startup Canada Awards • Canada Wide

Artic Inspiration Prize 2016

Artic Inspiration Prize