School for Advanced Studies in the Arts & HumanitiesWestern Arts and Humanities

Student Profiles

First Cohort of SASAH Students 2012-2013

tamarMy name is Tamar Bresge. I’m from downtown Toronto. I write stories. I read books. I read poetry.  I write poetry. I write music. I play music. I sing. I draw.  I take pictures, thousands of pictures. I make short films. I spend an embarrassing amount of time on Tumblr. Marie Antoinette is my idol. I know, unquestionably, that I was French in a past life, although, unfortunately, the language hasn’t come as easily this time around. I don’t know exactly where I want to be four years from now but whether my name will be in the opening credits at Cannes Film Festival, on the cover of a New York Times bestseller, or on a teenager’s iPod, I want to do something extraordinary. I know that SASAH is the perfect place for me to explore and pursue my passions and will help me discover the right direction for my career and my self.


danielleMy name is Danielle Brideau and I’m from Strathroy, Ontario. I attended and graduated from Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School with Honours and in 2011 continued on to become part of BealArt, a program at H. B. Beal Secondary School focused completely on visual arts and culture and taught by artists well-known to London. At Beal, I was exposed to a more socially conscious school of art, which ended up being a life-altering experience. After much technical and conceptual growth, I was inspired to continue my studies in Visual Arts as I moved on to postsecondary education at Western University last September. I am now going into my second year as part of the BFA Honours Specialization program in Studio Art and am also embarking on the journey into my first year as a Major in the School for Advanced Studies in the Arts & Humanities. My studio work is very conceptually aware as I consider the relationship between visual art and literature in most projects I take on. Through SASAH, I hope to encounter a new process of thought through everything that is offered in this program – intellectual diversity, cultural experience, and intense research – in order to take my work to another level and begin truly to develop as a young artist.


megMy name is Meg Cormack and I’m coming to Western from Guelph, Ontario.  I spent this summer studying written composition in Europe where I picked up a myriad of skills that I am excited to cultivate as an English major.  I am thrilled to begin the SASAH program as I hope through it to develop not only my love for academics, but also my passion for philanthropy.  Recently, I have pursued the latter by combining my artistic interests in music, drama, and dance by co-founding an amateur theater troupe that donates all profit to local charities. This is one example of the faith I have in the power of the arts to create change.  While looking to further explore this, I am hoping my education will eventually culminate in a career in law where I can work professionally to apply my perspective on social and political justice in real-world situations.


jenI’m Jennifer Courteau, but everyone calls me Jenn. I am 18 years old and come from Toronto, Ontario, but I have also lived in Ottawa and Montreal! I have a fraternal twin sister, as well as two older siblings. I am going into my first year at Western and am really looking forward to beginning the SASAH program. In addition to this program, I have the Ivey AEO status.  I will be living in Med-Syd with a roommate this year. I love playing sports, watching horror films, knitting, listening to country and hip-hop music, and volunteering in my free time. My favourite book is currently Catcher in the Rye and my favourite movie is Breakfast at Tiffany’s.


rachelMy name is Rachael DiMenna and along with the SASAH program, I intend to study English and Business (I simply have too many interests to pick one field of study). When not vehemently pursuing my academic goals, my passions include dance, theatre, literature, and developing new skills- evident by my overflowing bookshelves, stacks of playbills, and my admittedly unimpressive collection of athletic awards (this is not my strong suit). In the future, I hope to incorporate my passions for business and arts in a management position. I also believe that our purpose in life is to make the world a better place and even if you are responsible for improving only one life, that purpose has been fulfilled. However, I’m not the type of person who settles on attaining the bare minimum.


nicoleHello everyone!  My name is Nicole Dube and I’m from Toronto.  I’m so thrilled to be a part of the inaugural SASAH class and I’m looking forward to the unique learning opportunities it presents.  Beyond this program, I’m interested in pursuing an honours specialization in Classical Studies. In the future, I hope I will be able to have a career that is intellectually challenging in some way.  I can easily picture myself being an archivist or working in a museum.  Outside of school, my interests include travelling, yoga, stand up paddleboarding, watching documentaries and – of course – reading.  I can’t wait to see what the next four years have in store.


rosieHi! My name is Rosie Elphick, I’m 18 years old and I live in Toronto, Ontario. I’m very excited to be here at Western, and especially to be in the first class of SASAH!. My second major will most likely be in visual arts (a passion of mine). Other than that, I love drawing, playing piano, running, and finding new (and most likely slightly eccentric) music to listen to. My interest in film comes through in my love of great movies and TV shows: I love the Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, anything Alfred Hitchcock and old classic horror movies. I feel so lucky to be part of this program and I couldn’t be more excited!


haleyHi, my name is Haley Everitt. I am entering my second year at Western University and I’m very excited to be enrolled as a SASAH student this upcoming year. Along with the SASAH program, I hope to pursue an Honours Specialization in Creative Writing and English Language & Literature. Outside of class, you will most likely find me curled up watching a classic Disney movie, pinning awesome DIY projects on Pinterest, or hiding in a coffee shop with a warm beverage and a good book. I am also a member of both the A&H Soph Team and the AHSC at Western. I’m eager to begin my journey through the SASAH program and would like to wish all the first-year students in the program good luck. I hope you fall in love with Western as I did in my first year.


taraMy name is Tara Filipovich. Pronounce ‘Tara’ whatever way you’d like. I’ve come to London from the lovely capital city of Ottawa, but my background is not simply Canadian. I am part of a proud Serbian family. As much as I love my hometown and the country that my family originates from, I am thrilled to be studying at SASAH. I hope to study philosophy or film in addition to the School. After my studies at SASAH I look forward to continuing on with my education and obtaining a Master’s degree. Outside of school I have a passion for music and a love for travelling. I have a strong desire to live in a foreign country either during my studies or permanently after my schooling. I live by the idea that the world is a book and those who do not travel only read one page. If I could end with one thought I would say that I hope I never stop learning and never stop travelling because the more I learn the less I know.


hannahHannah Foulds: I became fascinated with culture, language, and human connection growing up in Toronto, one of the most diverse cities in Canada. In Toronto I learned that despite many social and emotional barriers, there are many factors that connect us. I have experienced these connecting factors through choir, coaching gymnastics, and competitive swimming. Choir has taken me to international audiences who have been moved to tears by a song without words. I’ve taught high-fives and class rules to gymnasts who didn’t speak English or French. I’ve been congratulated by the swim relay team mine beat by about two tenths of a second. Through the School for Advanced Studies in Arts and Humanities and my education in the creative writing program I will continue my cross-cultural education, and exploration of human connection. Eventually I hope to start my own international school with a curriculum involving cross-religious education, meditation and mindfulness, music and sports.


amalieI’m Amalie Frehner. Amalie is pronounced like ‘family,’ without the ‘f.’ I live in London, but grew up in Montreal. I have three younger siblings and one pet hamster. I’m good at playing the piano and making smoothies. I enjoy reading, baking and watching TV. In high school, my favourite subjects were History and Guitar. In the summer time, I work at camp lifeguarding and making evening snack. I’m excited to be a part of this new Arts and Humanities class at Western, and hope to help set a good precedent in this field of studies for students to come!


mariHello! My name is Mari Fujiwara and I am from Japan. I just arrived to Canada for university and I am so excited about everything happening in the near future at Western. I chose SASAH because I don’t have a clear vision of my future and I think being a part of SASAH will help me make a right decision and open my eyes to every single aspect. As you can tell from my profile picture, I love eating food. I love to travel many places and see how people live their lives. I love Music as well. I have been playing the piano for so long, as well as the clarinet and percussion. Meeting new people is so much fun. My goal is to meet and interact with as many people as possible and make this world connected in some way, which I will find out here at Western.


rachelMy name is Rachel Goldstein and I am from Kingston, Ontario. In addition to SASAH I plan to study classical civilizations and to become fluent in French by the end of my degree. Outside of school I spend most of my time playing sports or reading. I am an avid runner and skier (alpine and water) and I also try to swim as often as I can. I read habitually, my favourite works being the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger. My greatest passion in life, however, is traveling. My last expedition was to Jodhpur, India. In the future I hope to be working with animals. My current goal is to be a large animal veterinarian, either for a zoo or for farm animals


grassiMy name is Jacqueline Grassi and I am from the small town of Tecumseh, Ontario. I am currently entering my second year at Western, completing a major in Art History and an Honours Specialization in Visual Arts, as well as the Scholar’s Electives program.  My general research interests are the concept of art as a form of ‘play’ and issues of authorship. I plan on pursuing graduate and doctoral studies in Art History, hopefully in Europe, aspiring one day to be an Art History professor. Outside of school, my greatest love is travel and I am an avid photographer. I also enjoy creative writing and I can most often be found with a notebook, or sketchbook, in hand.


dessaMy name is Dessa Hayes and I was born in a faraway land called Ottawa, Ontario. At a young age, I developed an unquenchable passion for writing. A self-professed Renaissance woman, my myriad of academic interests includes Literature, History, Anthropology and Biology, though they have failed to stimulate my delight as much as writing does. I hope that a degree in Creative Writing and English, along with my SASAH degree, will help me achieve my dream of becoming a full-time author. If the ever-competitive publishing industry does not favour my aspiration, I am considering becoming a lawyer or a superhero as a backup. When I am not slaving away at school or concocting story ideas, I enjoy reading every book I can get my hands on, learning about ancient civilizations, quoting The Three Stooges, listening to rock music and playing crazy guitar solos, among other things.


adamMy name is Adam Helmers and I hail from the city of Kitchener, Ontario. Along with the SASAH module at Western University, I plan to study English and History and look forward to the exciting opportunities that have already presented themselves and will present themselves in the near future. I come from a large family, and my interests range from sports to books; with a free afternoon, I enjoy friendship, biking, reading, shopping or music. My goal for education is a doctorate. I love learning and consider the road ahead to be endless and ever expanding. After completing my undergrad studies, and with completion of grad studies, it is my dream to provide in the form of novels, books, and articles, scholarly research and thinking to aid in the decision making and problem solving of the present and future age.


averyHey, I’m Avery Lafortune and I’m coming to Western from Kincardine, Ontario. Kincardine is a small beach town on the coast of Lake Huron and is where I have spent most of my childhood. Although I’m accustomed to small town life, I’m excited for the transition into ‘city living.’ In addition to SASAH, I will be studying Fine Arts. Outside of school, I like to read, run, and hang out at the beach. I’ve worked at the local pool as a lifeguard and swim instructor for the past several years and recently became a freelancer for the newspaper. As for my future career, I can’t say too much other than it’s going to be something I love. I enjoy studying languages and writing as well as creative endeavours and plan to follow these interests wherever they may lead. Coming from a ‘University of Waterloo’ type of family, I am already beginning to carve out my own path and I can’t wait to see where it goes.


haileyHello! My name is Hailey Lessard and I’m from Welland, Ontario. As well as taking part in the SASAH program, I will be studying English and I absolutely can’t wait to get started! I love to read and write, especially dystopian and contemporary novels. I also love to dance, both in classes and just for fun. In the future, I hope to be an editor in a publishing company. I would love to spend my life reading novels, correcting grammar, and making the dreams of authors come true. Watching a story come to life just from words on a page never ceases to amaze me, and I would love to be a part of this process. I am very excited to be a Western Mustang and to meet the other students participating in SASAH. The next chapter of our life awaits!


melodyMy name is Melody Mastache. I am from Toronto, Ontario and have a Mexican background. I went to Central Technical High School for my graduating year, but attended SEE, a little known alternative school, for the first three years of my high school career. This school taught me about social justice issues and the LGBTQ community, instilling in me a deep interest to create social change. I spend most of my free time reading, writing or making crafts. I’ve also been playing guitar (badly) for about four years. I own a violin but still don’t know how to play it. In the future I want to have a successful career as a novelist, as well as dabble in anything else that comes to mind. I am passionate about words and would love to use that passion to address social justice issues.


rachelI’m Rachel McGuire and I am very excited to be a part of Western’s SASAH program in the Arts and Humanities. Being born and raised in London, I am proud to be involved in the university that brings my home city global renown. I have always had a passion for ancient cultures and societies so I am eager to begin my studies in Classics.  Hopefully, my studies in Classics will take me to the Mediterranean in the near future and support my dream of one day travelling the world. Along with that, having a second language is crucial, so my studies in French will also benefit me. My interests outside of school include drawing, painting, biking, and reading.


oliviaHello, everyone! Olivia Neale is my name and I hail from Brantford, Ontario. Though I originated in Brantford, I’ve spent more time away from it than I have in it. I spent most of my childhood in a village by the name of Mount Pleasant and shortly after returning to Brantford moved away again—this time to Japan! I was an exchange student living in Japan for a year and it was an absolutely fantastic experience. When I’m not travelling I love to read, write, paint, and draw, not in any particular order. I’m a huge history buff. In concurrence with the SASAH program, I will be taking either Museum Studies or German. I’ll have to see where my path takes me!


nickMy full name is Nicholas Kenneth Pincombe. My full name is Nicholas Kenneth Pincombe. I was born in London, Ontario and have lived in London all of my life. This summer I spent five weeks learning the French language in Trois-Pistoles, Québec, with the MyExplore French immersion program. I had a really fantastic experience, and I recommend this program to anybody who has an interest in learning a second language. I lived in Elgin Hall for my first year at Western. While I greatly enjoyed the freedom and lifestyle of residence, I have returned to my parents’ basement to enjoy their company and the fine dining that accompanies it. I will complement my SASAH major with a major in philosophy and the Scholar’s Electives module. My research interests for the coming year include theories about the inner self and spirituality in general. My favourite writers include Alan Watts, Ayn Rand, Rumi, Chogyam Trungpa, and Richard Alpert. I love to practise yoga and meditation, exercise, and I am a fan of the television shows Death Note, Dexter, Workaholics, and Breaking Bad. My taste in music is varied, but my palette is currently delighting in the dark beats and sinister verses of Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All member Earl Sweatshirt’s newest album, Doris. I truly enjoy connecting with other people and am excited to become a part of the School for the Advanced Studies in the Arts and Humanities. My future aspirations have more to do with personal development than concrete career plans. I want to improve my ability to speak, write, and read in French; to have a stronger and more flexible body; and most importantly, to continue to develop into a compassionate, wise, and loving person. 


Hi, my name is Annie Rueter and I’m from Toronto, ON. I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of SASAH’s inaugural class! Outside of SASAH I plan on majoring in visual arts, although I have many other academic interests such as English, History, and Political Science. Needless to say I do not envision myself on a specific career path as of yet. Outside of the classroom my interests mainly focus on being active. I am a runner and hope to make the varsity track team this year. I am also a camp girl through and through and would prefer to be canoe tripping to doing pretty much any other activity. Overall I am extremely excited for the academic challenges and extra curricular opportunities Western and SASAH offer and know it will be a great year!


paulHi, my name is Paul Scala. When I was 12, I traveled to New York City to play in the North American Chess Championship. In my graduating class of General Arts and Science at Georgian College, I managed to attain the highest average after returning to post-secondary studies as a mature student. I served on Student Council as the Academic Director for my program, created a campus chess club and volunteered to help international students learn the English language. I love philosophy and I intend to research connections between legal philosophy, morality, and ethics while focusing on rights, freedoms and values as they relate to the formalization, reformation, and institutionalization of law. This is why I am entertaining the thought of applying to law school to attain a J.D or L.L.M. I am currently a member of the UWO Chess Club, Pre-Law Society,Western Chamber Music club, and I hold an executive position on the German Club. I love tennis and cannot wait to play at the UWO tennis dome. Since beginning SASAH, I have decided to learn to read sheet music so I can develop my skills on the violin. In the future, I hope to embark on an exchange to Germany and to travel Europe.


sarahHello Western! My name is Sarah Shaughnessy, and I’m proud to be one of Western’s newest students! Accepted with a 97% average and a National Scholarship, I’m leaving my hometown of Brantford behind in order to become a Mustang. Creative writing has been my passion since childhood. At 15, I published my first novel, and at 16, my second. Reading and writing books is engrained in the very fabric of my being; a life without the study of literature would be unimaginable for me. This is what prompted my decision to pursue an Honours Specialization in Creative Writing and English Language and Literature. I am enrolled in the School for Advanced Studies in Arts and Humanities as well as in the Scholars Electives module in order to diversify my degree and give me the most out of my Western experience. These next years will become the foundation for a career in law. I have a long way to travel yet, but I’m excited to begin my journey as one of Western’s own!


jasminHello! My name is Jasmeen Siddiqui and I am a graduate from Cawthra Park Secondary School. I am thrilled to begin my studies at Western and I plan on coupling the SASAH program with an Honors Specialization in Creative Writing and English Literature. My general interests outside of school include music—particularly singing—reading, writing, dancing (badly), photography, coffee, and making horrible jokes. I can’t name a single place I see myself in the future because my goal is to travel to as many places as I possibly can and make as much of a positive difference as I possibly can in all of said places. Culture has always held an importance and interest in my eyes and I am itching to get out in the proverbial “there” and become a citizen of the world.


samMy name is Samantha Urquhart and I was born and raised in London, Ontario. I am looking at Comparative Literature and Cultures as my secondary major at Western.  My interests outside of school include reading, music, and cooking. I also enjoy watching movies and being with friends. When I was sixteen I traveled in Europe with an international summer course and since have been eager to travel back to those places and many others to learn about the history they possess, their people, and their food. I hope to travel as a part of my university experience to put some of my knowledge to use and network outside of Canada. In the future I would also like to live in Europe and work in some of the fantastic museums that hold so much of the histories that intrigue me so much.