Trailblazers x uOttawa

Stories of exceptional Black Alumni

Tiyahna Ridley-Padmore (BScSoc) and Merryl-Royce Ndema-Moussa (BSc)
To celebrate Black History Month, we’ve teamed up with Tiyahna Ridley-Padmore (BScSoc) and Merryl-Royce Ndema-Moussa (BSc) to create portraits and poems in honour of four Black uOttawa alumni who have left a significant mark on the University.
Tiyahna Ridley-Padmore (BScSoc) and Merryl-Royce Ndema-Moussa (BSc)
Inspiring Alumni

Sharing the stories not often told

Ridley-Padmore started writing Trailblazers in 2017 as a personal project. Frustrated by learning only about civil rights leaders from the United States and remembering the absence of Black characters from her childhood books, she set out to highlight the richness of Black history in Canada in the hope that young people today can grow up seeing and celebrating these stories.

Like the stories featured in Trailblazers, the uOttawa profiles will be written in verse and illustrated by Ndema-Moussa, a self-taught artist. His digital illustrations are colourful and bold, sketched primarily on his iPad.

Inspiring AlumnaSTEM
Anna Ampaw

Anna Ampaw, PhD, an emerging scientist and leader in STEM

The two passions that unite Anna Ampaw’s academic career and her extracurricular efforts are her love of chemistry and her desire to see more women of colour represented in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).  

Inspiring AlumnaLaw
Ruth Maniriho Bansoba

Ruth Maniriho Bansoba, LLL ’20, from a refugee camp to the bar

Ruth Maniriho Bansoba’s greatest — though surely not last — achievement has been establishing an admission scholarship awarded to students of diverse backgrounds who are beginning studies in law.

Inspiring AlumnaEducation
Hoda Ahmed

Hoda Ahmed, BEd '20, on bringing inclusive education to Ottawa classrooms

As a teacher to first-grade students, Hoda Ahmed, BEd '20, fields a lot of curious questions prompted by her being both visibly Black and Muslim. Take her hijab, for example: “Somebody in my class said, ‘she’s a mom, all moms wear hijabs, my mom wears one.’ I had to laugh. Kids have their own understanding of things.” 

Inspiring AlumnusSociology
Nathan Hall

Nathan Hall, BScSoc '07, on building anti-racist workplaces where everyone belongs

Nathan Hall, BSocSc '07, has been chasing a feeling of belonging for as long as he can remember. Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Hall learned early on that a personal sense of identity only goes so far when people make assumptions based on how you look or your family’s background. 

Inspiring AlumnaEngineering
Edem Dovlo

Edem Dovlo, MASc ’11, BASc ’09, on using teaching and engineering to solve problems

Before she discovered the world of math and science and a career that could combine them both, Edem Dovlo (MASc ’11, BASc ’09) knew that she loved learning. Reflecting on the future, Dovlo says she would like to continue working on fulfilling multidisciplinary projects that help build long-lasting solutions — either in Canada, in her native Ghana or globally. 

Inspiring AlumnaFSS
Gwen Madiba

Gwen Madiba, MA ’12; BSocSc ’08, builds communities of care and opportunity

Community service has been part of Gwen Madiba’s (MA ’12; BSocSc ’08) life since childhood. Growing up in Libreville, Gabon, Madiba’s mom would come home from working at the hospital with stories of families who couldn’t afford medical services. Her mother would always fight for these people, sometimes paying for their care from her own salary.