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Story Curators

Meet our story curators

Whether you are a student, a community member, or PARO is always open to collaborating with you! Email us at for more information.

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Dilshan Fernando

Story Curator

I pursue social science research to design accessible and mature organizations. I am committed to ensure equity and justice for people with disabilities. I am currently studying long-term, digitally enabled, workplace inclusion supports for workers with disabilities in India for my PhD at the University of Guelph. My research aims to build inclusive working futures for everyone. In the past, I worked with communities in Myanmar, India, and Sri Lanka conducting disability research and organizing grassroot trainings. Also, I have advanced research on disability policy, assistive technologies, and inclusive education practices in South Asia.

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Karli Longthorne

Story Curator

Karli (she/her) is a mixed-methods researcher, who is passionate about learning from, and telling stories about diverse lived experiences. As a current graduate student at the Ontario Veterinary College, she is working alongside Dr. Andria Jones-Bitton to investigate, develop, and evaluate institutional-level interventions to support the mental health and well-being of faculty, staff, residents/interns and students at the OVC. Karli decided to join PARO to gain further perspective on the lived experiences of minority peoples’ living in rural Ontario.


“I take great pleasure in having the opportunity to connect with some familiar rural faces, while learning from those who have such interesting stories to tell in connection with rural Ontario. Working at PARO has sparked creativity, joy, and connection, and has in many ways, re-connected me to my rural roots.”

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Sophie Samek

Story Curator

Sophie is going into her fourth year of her undergraduate degree at the University of Guelph studying Psychology. Her current interests are forensic psychology, behavioural psychology and mental health advocacy. Her research work focuses on violence against women, through this she has seen the lack of knowledge on underrepresented individuals especially those in rural locations. She has worked as a Communications and Media Assistant where she creates content surrounding mental health advocacy. With PARO, she creates engaging content for our media accounts and explores new outlets of research through interviewing others to share their valuable stories. She hopes that through her work on their media accounts and interviews, PARO can build a platform where individual’s stories reach a wider audience


Barry Marshall

Story Curator

I am a second-year graduate student in the Tri-University History Program. My research interests and focus are related to Rural Ontario history and agricultural history. I grew on a farm in rural Ontario. Some of my fondest childhood memories are from when I was growing up in rural Ontario. All my work experience has been directly involved with agriculture or focused on it in some peripheral capacity. 

Our Past Curators

Jessica Lukawiecki

Tasha Falconer

Vanessa Cunningham 

Philip Rich

Aadyashree Pant

Lauren Chang

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