Who we are

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Board Members

Rahael Koshy Jalan

Rahael received her PhD in mathematics from the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay. She arrived in Canada in 1983. Rahael has designed and created programs at the postsecondary level to help Aboriginal students gain access to math and science based careers and professions. She created the “Math Yes We Can” program and the “Language of Mathematics” books to help increase graduation rates of Aboriginal students from high school with Academic Math.

Pradeep Jalan

With a B.Tech in Chemical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, and a Ph.D in Finance from the University of Alberta, Canada, Pradeep has acquired strong technical and management skills over the course of a varied career that spans more than 35 years. He is able to view the issues relating to education, social and economic development with a critical eye that is attuned to the values that prevail in developed and developing nations. He served as a volunteer with the Canadian Red Cross for 18 months as the Finance & Administration Delegate overseeing the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC, Geneva) refugee operations in Uganda.

Kory Wilson

Kory Wilson is a Lawyer and the Executive Director of Indigenous Initiatives & Partnerships at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Kory is a descendant of the Musqamagw Tsawataineuk and Laich-Kwil-Tach peoples and comes from a long line of political leadership. Her father is Chief Bill Wilson and her sister Jody Wilson-Raybould was BC AFN Chief and was the Justice Minister of Canada.

Ashok Abhyankar

Ashok Abhyankar is a Management consultant and Business Advisor. Ash graduated from IIT Bombay in Engineering, received his Master’s degree in Saskatoon. He is a graduate of IBM’s advanced Executive Management Development program at Harvard University. His 50+ year career spans senior management positions at IBM across North America, AT&T Canada, Business Development roles at Teldon, ecMarket, Burntsand and Fujitsu in Vancouver. Currently he is Senior Manager at Conexiom by ecmarket, a Software and a service organization focusing on Digital Transformation of manual processes and serves on two not-for-profit boards.

Prof. George Bluman

George Bluman is Professor Emeritus and former Head of Mathematics at the University of British Columbia. He was a Vice President and Chair of the Education Committee of the Canadian Mathematical Society (CMS). He received the inaugural PIMS Education Prize (2000) and the CMS Adrien Pouliot Award for outstanding achievement in mathematics education (2001). He has given over 125 math workshops to BC students in about 75 BC elementary and high schools. He has served as an appointed member of the BC Ministry of Education Board of Examiners. George Bluman is the author or co-author of five mathematics books. Three of his books have also been published in China.

Lyn Daniels

Lyn Daniels is the Director of Instruction, Aboriginal Learning, Surrey Schools, British Columbia. Lyn received her Doctor of Education degree from the University of British Columbia. Lyn has played a leadership role in Promoting Performance Standards; evaluating resources for provincial grade collections and submissions, curriculum framework for the Western Canadian Protocol on Social Studies and on Aboriginal Language and Culture; Reviewing Aboriginal Language curricula. Her vision and dedication to “Making Math Meaningful for Aboriginal Students”, made it possible to get the “Math Yes We Can” program on its way.

Alan Reid

Alan Reid is the first Aboriginal student to graduate from UBC with a Bachelor of Science in mathematics. Like many others, he struggled with mathematics in elementary school when he was held back a few grades. This all changed when he participated in Rahael's "Math Yes We Can" program in his transition year from elementary school to high school. He completed the program and would push on to greater heights. He was the first Aboriginal student to graduate from Templeton Secondary School, Vancouver with Math 12 which he completed in Grade 11 and AP Calculus which he completed in Grade 12.

Former Board Members

Melissa Vanvliet (Board member 2014 - 2016)

Melissa is a teacher at the Outreach Alternative Program for Aboriginal Youth in grades 10, 11 and 12 at Britannia Secondary School, Vancouver. This is Melissa’s 5th year teaching the “Language of Mathematics” program. She has also taught at the Summer Mathematics Camp created by Rahael Jalan and hosted by the Native Education College.

Alexandra Bella (Board member 2014 - 2017)

Alexandra Bella is a recent graduate of UBC's Dual Degree Program in Math and Education. Her interest in supporting Aboriginal students in math education began when she was placed in 8J/9J Alternative Learning Program classroom by Dr. Jalan. There, Alexandra became involved as a math tutor, eventually branching out into the main school's First Nations Success Club as well as the Summer Math for Aboriginal Learners course hosted at the Native Education College.

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Vimbai Nyatsambo

Vimbai grew up in Johannesburg, moved to Cape Town in 2004 to study at the University of Cape Town and has a Post Grad degree in Social Development. Vimbai writes: “In my second year at UCT, the reality of what life is hit me. I was placed on this earth to fulfill a purpose. This lies in being an individual who helps create opportunities that allow people to live lives that they value. My hunger for self-development and empowerment made me realize that my purpose is to extend what I got from my opportunities to those who don’t have access to the same.”

Tshiamo Molefe

Tshiamo has a Postgraduate Diploma in Enterprise Mangement from the University of Cape Town (“UCT”) and also holds a Bachelor of Science (Biological Sciences) degree from the University of the Witwatersrand (“WITS”). Tshiamo writes: “I am a budding entrepreneur with a keen interest in not only creating wealth for myself, but also inspiring those around me to realize their capabilities and the opportunities that surround them. I aim to bring together young like-minded individuals and ultimately help to build networks across the African continent. Through these networks, the potential that the continent has to offer can be unleashed and we can inspire others to learn more, dream more and become more. I, personally, am inspired by Africans as a people and the spirit and potential of the continent and I believe that Africa’s ‘rawness’ is one of its unique selling points for positioning within the global arena.”

Ntabiseng Ncholu

Ntabiseng has over 8 years' working experience in both the legal and financial services environment which has enabled her to build-up an understanding of compliance management. Ntabiseng writes: “Before joining Leaf Capital as a Compliance Officer, I worked for various Investment Banks and Asset Managers in South Africa and London including, Investec, Merrill Lynch, HSBC and the Bank of New York.”

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Board Members

Nandini Sonthalia

Nandini Sonthalia graduated from Mumbai University with Psychology, Hons. She has a Masters in Social Work & a Diploma in Social Communications Media. She conducted training programs for secondary school teachers in methodology and content for Social Service while teaching at the College of Social Work, Nirmala Niketan Mumbai and has worked at Mumbai Doordarshan. Currently she is on the committee of an NGO, VOne whose objective is to get the handicapped self reliant and on the committee of the Indian Federation of University Women’s Association. The “Maths Yes We Can LLP” was registered in March 2017 through Nandini’s efforts. She is very excited about getting the “Math Yes We Can” program to India.

Sharad Sonthalia

Sharad Sonthalia is an entrepreneur. He started in a relatively new industry in India forty years ago, manufacturing polyester buttons. Today he is one of the leading manufacturers in India. He is keen to help disadvantaged youth get an opportunity to excel in mathematics needed for success in math and science based professions.

Swati Bedekar

Swati Bedekar, a science educator is a consultant, for developing online teacher training modules in Chemistry, to the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), which is an autonomous organization of the Government of India. She has worked with over hundred schools in small towns helping teachers teach math and science innovatively in the local language. Concerned at the large dropout rate of girls, she founded the NGO Vatsalya Foundation whose flagship project is ‘menstrual hygiene management’ (MHM) which helps young girls stay in school. This project runs nationally and internationally. It has earned her a place on the national consultation committee for policy formulation on MHM. Swati sees the need for effective strategies to teach & learn mathematics and is eager to see the “Math Yes We Can” program implemented in Indian schools.