Trailblazers x uOttawa
Stories of exceptional Black Alumni
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.
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).
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.