Meet our Team of Facilitators
Dr. Catherine O’Brien has been actively engaged in sustainability efforts locally, nationally and internationally for more than 25 years. As a participant in the Global Forum of the 1992 Earth Summit, she served as a co-coordinator of the alternative Debt Treaty that was forged by non-governmental organizations from around the world. Her doctoral research at the Barefoot College in Rajasthan, India explored its pioneering work in education for sustainable community development.
As an education professor at Cape Breton University (CBU), Canada, Catherine developed the world’s first university course on sustainable happiness based on the path breaking concept of sustainable happiness she created – integrating sustainability principles with positive psychology with the aim of fostering well-being for all, sustainably. Her book, Education for Sustainable Happiness and Well-Being was published by Routledge.
In 2012, Catherine was invited to participate in the United Nations High Level Meeting in New York that explored the implementation of the UN Resolution on Happiness. Her recent work on Living Schools illustrates how well-being for all can be applied to education.
Further information about sustainable happiness is available at: https://sustainablehappiness.world/. Information about Living Schools can be found at: https://www.livingschools.world/
Chris Adam has taught at Dawson for 30 years. He has been recognized for his abilities in the field of education both nationally and internationally, combining his background in wildlife & fish management, education, and leadership training. He coordinates the Living Campus platform at Dawson College, is the president of several public and private organizations, and sits on the board of the Dawson Foundation. His expertise is in communicating environmental issues to the public at large and engaging people of all ages in action projects that contribute to well-being for all.
Jenn de Vera was an entrepreneur for 16 years, founding and operating “Ethan’s Playground”, a successful pre-school in Montreal and now anchors the Sustainable Dawson movement at the College. She brings her dynamic work ethic and organizational skills to the Sustainability Office and is, amongst other responsibilities, coordinating volunteers, planning major events, making sure the Dawson gardens are thriving, and outreach is taking place in schools from pre-kindergarten to universities. Jenn has a BA in Community Studies and is completing a Masters of Education in Sustainability, Creativity and Innovation. She has completed her Sustainable Happiness Facilitator training certification and has co-led a peer to peer SH introductory course in 2020 for Dawson support staff. She is an avid gardener and biker.
Katherine McWhaw is the Coordinator of Quality Assurance and Planning. She was involved in the development of the College’s current Strategic Plan and is also responsible for monitoring its implementation, which includes meeting Dawson’s sustainability goal. Her office is the first non-academic department within Canada whose staff completed a course in Sustainable Happiness. Prior to Dawson, Katherine was as a research coordinator with the Centre for the Study of Leaning and Performance at Concordia University She has published in several peer-reviewed journals. She holds a Master of Arts in Educational Technology. She has completed her Sustainable Happiness Facilitator training certification and has led a peer to peer SH introductory course in 2020 geared to Dawson managers. Outside of work, Katherine is a passionate tango dancer.
A consummate ‘academic’ with a passion for cities, social justice and education, Azra has worked as a teacher, researcher, and human rights fieldworker in educational institutions and international organizations in Montreal, London and Jerusalem. She is friendly, curious, and is mother to two boisterous young people that keep her laughing. Azra works at Dawson in the department of Human Resources, where she aims to connect people and innovative initiatives across the college. She has completed her Sustainable Happiness Facilitator training certification and has co-led a peer to peer SH introductory course in 2020 for Dawson support staff.
Myka has completed a Masters of Education in Sustainability, Creativity and Innovation, a BA in Human Relations and a DEC in Dawson’s Community Recreation & Leadership Training (CRLT) Program. She credits CRLT with helping shape her love for education and mentoring. She is a certified first responder and volunteers as a ski patroller. Myka has implemented and directed camp programs, youth centers and coordinated programs for several charitable organizations and has both participated in and led Sustainable Happiness workshops. She has completed her Sustainable Happiness Facilitator training certification.
Luisa Montes is a clinical psychologist specializing in child and adolescent behaviour. She has taught at several universities, has a diploma in community theatre, and has designed programs which seek to create violence-free female identities through personal empowerment. She has experience in producing radio and internet TV broadcasts and has an interest in the welfare of all living things. She is currently combining her sustainability and psychology knowledge as a facilitator in developing Sustainable Happiness programs in Mexico. Luisa is a published poet and has two daughters living in Morelos (Mexico).
Julia works in the Office of Academic Development where she coordinates the Faculty Hub, a teacher resource center. She contributes to Academic Matters as an Editorial Team member, supports the Communities of Practice in planning and coordination and is part of a faculty development strategic planning team. She is a member of Senate, the Sustainability Advisory Committee, the Communications Advisory Board and the College Strategic Plan Steering Committee and Graduate Profile Sub-Committee. Her experience includes teaching, marketing, communication, program development and revision. Julia credits her Latin roots for her positive outlook and optimism. Family, friends and loud music make her happy! She has completed her Sustainable Happiness Facilitator training certification.