Alumnae Stories

Where is she now? Everywhere

We are always impressed with where we find the Women of Ban Righ after they graduate – but never surprised.

Click on the tabs below to watch a video and read the stories of some of the women who were part of the Ban Righ Centre while at Queen’s University.


Where is She Now? 

A presentation showing where some Ban Righ Alumnae can be found now!

Meet Arlene Drake, Senior Exploration Analyst. Tax and Exploration. Economic, Financial and Social Analysis Branch. Minerals and Metals Sector, Natural Resources Canada.

In my fourth year I was offered a job at Natural Resources Canada, in Ottawa. I did accept the position as Exploration Analyst with the Minerals and Metal Sector of Natural Resources Canada and am happily employed by the Federal Government, tracking trends in the Canadian mining industry. I cannot say enough good things about Queen’s and the Geology Department, I found the staff and other students helpful, supportive and encouraging. The Ban Righ Center was an island of calm and camaraderie during a hectic time.

Meet Dr. Hong Wang, (PhD ‘Ed) Associate Professor in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL), Mount Saint Vincent University.

I have so many fond memories of my years at Queen’s, of the many supportive professors, staff, colleagues, classmates, friends, and family members, who generously helped me in one way or another during my time there. I especially want to thank the people at the Ban Righ Centre who supported mature women students like myself and tried so hard to make the centre a home for all of us. Thank you all so much for your kind support!”

Meet Kim Cheena, Canadian Ranger Master Corporal

Queen’s University was a great experience for me, as an Aboriginal woman from the north. Leaving my community of Moose Factory Island to pursue my education, was a difficult journey. The Ban Righ Centre and The Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre instantly welcomed me and made my time at Queen’s a pleasurable experience. Afterwards, I did some teaching at a local elementary school and high school and then at Northern College. In 2006, I joined the Canadian Forces as a Canadian Ranger (then earned my rank as a Master Corporal) to work with the Junior Canadian Rangers, a youth program for Aboriginal youth living in isolated areas. Our main job is Search and Rescue. We are the eyes and ears of the north! The Canadian Rangers is a big part of my life today. I want to say Meegwetch (Thank You) to The Ban Righ Centre, to the friends and colleagues and instructors I’ve worked with who made my time at Queen’s an experience I will always remember! Meegwetch!”

Meet Kristin Finkenzeller, M.D. Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Queen’s University.

I moved to Kingston in 2001 to begin medical school at Queen’s. As a single parent, my life was quite different from most of the students in my class. At Ban Righ I found my peers, sympathetic students in similar situations, and a valuable source of support. Although it sometimes seemed impossible, and often seemed like it would take forever, the time has flown by. After finishing a residency in obstetrics and gynecology, I happily returned to Kingston, a place that always felt like home, thanks to Ban Righ.“

Meet Lori Latendresse, Risk Management and Emergency Preparedness Specialist at The Scarborough Hospital.

Returning to University studies as a mature student provided me the opportunity to embark on a new career path. This was both exciting and at times frightening. During my third year I received a devastating blow when I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. The Ban Righ Centre was extremely supportive during my treatment, and continued that support and encouragement when I returned to health and later to the classroom. The Centre provided a place of warmth, encouragement, and endless support for which I am eternally grateful. Upon completion of my Honours BA in Sociology and Psychology, I went on to complete a MA in Disaster and Emergency Management from one of only two programs offered in Canada, leading me to become a practicing Emergency Preparedness Specialist for a multi site Health Care Organization. Thank you Ban Righ Centre. I could not have done it without you.“

Meet Marney Simmons, Mayor of Mulgrave Nova Scotia.

Queen’s began as an experiment to see if I could actually pass a course, take lecture notes, write an exam and turn up for class despite the fact that I had just embarked on the path of single motherhood. That initial course led to an Honours BA in English Literature and then a Masters of Urban & Regional Planning! None of this would have been possible without the Ban Righ Centre. I discovered the welcoming acceptance of Ban Righ women early on and will be forever indebted to their acceptance, warmth, encouragement and love. For mature women students, the Ban Righ Centre is the greatest asset on the Queen’s campus.“

Meet Martha Reisberry, BSc, MD, CCFP.

I discovered the Ban Righ Centre while a mature medical student and mother. My partner worked away from home. The Ban Righ Centre changed my life and my educational experience. It was a home away from home, providing soup, which I still crave, a bed to sleep in post- call before hitting the books during exams and an on- campus family. I also found my research assistant and my best friend at Queen’s there. I am a rural family physician and currently I am teaching advanced cardiac life support at the Michener institute in Toronto.”

Meet Siziwe Bebe, Executive Director, co-founder and Technology Officer, DAS Innovations Corporation.

I received my PhD. at Queen’s in 2008 in Chemical Engineering, specializing in polymer kinetics. Presently, I am the Executive Director, Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of DAS Innovations Corporation, a research and development company that creates sustainable solutions to everyday challenges. We collaborate with local universities and colleges, that way, we train students to use current innovative technologies in nano and polymer materials to address these challenges. While at Queen’s, the Ban Righ Centre was there when I was in need of financial and emotional help. It became my second home. The staff there have big hearts . They have helped so many women through their amazing counsel.”

Meet Norah Mooney, Barrister and Solicitor. Lackowicz & Hoffman. Whitehorse,YT

After many years of living in Canada’s Yukon Territory I returned to school at Queen’s in 2003. I received my law degree in 2006. After I obtained my degree I returned to Whitehorse where I practice law at Lackowicz & Hoffman. I practice primarily in family law, wills and estates and elder law. As a single parent with teenage children, financing my education was a struggle. The financial support I received from Ban Righ was a huge help. Hearing the stories of other women who reached their goals with the assistance of Ban Righ was inspirational. Thanks Ban Righ for helping so many women follow their dreams!

Meet Dinah Jansen; PhD Candidate/Teaching Fellow

When I started my undergrad at Queen’s, I was in my early thirties, single, and a mother of two. I found it difficult at first to find peers with whom I could connect among fellow undergraduates, at least until I started visiting the Ban Righ Centre. Not only did I enjoy so many conversations and great bowls of soup, I became part of a great community at Ban Righ. Alongside new and dear friends, I regularly did course reading and exam study in that wonderful space. To give a little back, I helped raise awareness about the Centre during fee campaigns and promote upcoming events. We also launched ‘Women’s Word’, a program by women and for women on CFRC 101.9 FM, a program that is still on the air. It was an amazing time. After graduating, I went to Carleton for my MA. Currently, I’m a 5th year PhD candidate in History at Queen’s where I also teach Russian and Modern European History. I am the Occupational Health and Safety Officer for PSAC 901, the TA, TF, and Post-Doctoral Fellow Union on campus and the incoming Vice-President Graduate for the Society of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS). I’m busy as a bee these days, but it is always nice to know there’s a comfy couch, a bowl of soup, and some really friendly faces there in the brown brick house on Bader Lane. 

Meet Georgette Fry, Maestra for Shout Sister Choirs and Performer

For this bewildered “mature” student starting university in 1980 at the age of 27, the Ban Righ Centre was the place where I could find other women who needed a space that wasn’t constantly brimming over with the boisterous energy of our coeds. I have the distinction of being the first person ever to be registered in the new Women’s Studies Program in 1985 and the Ban Righ living room was the site of many excited discussions; it was always easier to think in there. By 1991, after three children and a move to London, ON, I was ready to take a break from my part-time studies and turned my attention to the another integral facet of my life – music – which set me on a trajectory that would bring me back to Kingston where the discovery of my Life’s Work awaited me. Thirteen years after creating Shout Sister, a non-reading, non-auditioning, women’s community ‘pop’ choir, my commitment to provide a safe haven for women who aren’t so sure of themselves connects directly back to those days. I am ever so grateful for the warmth and safety I found there!”

Meet Jennifer Brown; Hydrogeological Engineer

Since I left Queen’s Geological Engineering in 2010, I have had a variety of great career opportunities; from working as an Engineer on the Trans-Canada Highway-One expansion project, as an Underground Hydrogeologist in mining, and currently, as a Hydrogeological Engineer in consulting. Queen’s Geology and Geological Engineering department provided the support and education that allowed me to be successful with all of the opportunities presented. The Ban Righ Centre and the staff provided the emotional support that I needed to work through and complete my education requirements.”

Meet Sara (Gittens) Forte, Employment Lawyer

More than a decade has passed since my three years at Queen’s Law, and some of my most treasured memories are of my time at the Ban Righ Centre. I was lucky to be hired into a part-time student job at the Ban Righ Centre. I was a mature student, but a young one by Ban Righ standards, having only been out of school for a few years before returning to law school. I was still single and had no children. While the initial plan was a student advocacy role, I found myself gravitating to the kitchen. With very little cooking experience, I was quickly mentored in the art of soup-making, and this became my job. The kitchen, to me, was the heart of the Ban Righ Centre. Everyone passed through, and many stopped for a hello and a chat, some soup sampling and tips. Women of so many different ages and cultures each added their own unique suggestions and special ingredients. One woman, whose name I have forgotten, but whose smile I can still see, always thought the soup could use a hint of lemon juice. Others suggested, salt, curry or herbs. All were incredibly supportive of me and my efforts. Now I am a mother of three, balancing a busy law practice with a hungry family. I spend a lot of time making meals for my family (including many soups). I can only now appreciate how much it meant to the students at Ban Righ, many mothers themselves, to have someone make them a home-cooked lunch. I also know that soup is just one small part of what Ban Righ provides.

Meet Shannon Nuttall; Occupational Therapist and Peer Specialist

As a student in my early thirties, leaving a partner and stepchildren behind, my experiences differed significantly from the average student in the program. University studies are difficult enough without adding the complexities of isolation and loneliness. In 2012 I graduated with a Master’s of Science in Occupational Therapy from Queen’s and in 2013 I returned to Kingston to take on the role of Occupational Therapist and Peer Specialist on Providence Care Mental Health Services’ Community High Intensity Treatment Team. I have the privilege of working with individuals living in the Kingston community with severe, persistent and complex mental health issues. I meet clients in their environments and support them to continue to live in the community. For my time at Queen’s, the Ban Righ Centre was a place on campus that became my second home where I could connect with individuals and receive emotional support.”