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Who we are

About Our Team

PARO is supported by a diverse team with a variety of backgrounds and expertise, including academic research, journalism, and museum curation. There is a technical team and an editorial team, who will be responsible for overseeing the website’s functionality and content. The editorial team will be responsible for screening content, ensuring that ethical guidelines are followed, as well as commissioning submissions that are topical. Below are some of the people who are currently working with the PARO. This is a growing list of people and networks. 


Belinda Leach

Steering Committee Member

Belinda Leach is Professor in Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Guelph.  She held a University Research Chair in Rural Gender Studies and led a SSHRC funded Community-University Research Alliance, Rural Women Making Change (2004-2010). She uses ethnographic methods to study rural livelihoods, migration, and economic restructuring and has published books on labour in the rural economy, gender and class in rural spaces, and rural women’s health.  Belinda values PARO for the unique opportunity it provides for rural people to tell the stories they want to tell, and by doing that to capture change and continuity, innovation and preservation, in rural communities.


Karli Longthorne


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 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.”


Sharada Srinivasan

Steering Committee Member

Sharada Srinivasan is Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Gender, Justice and Development at the University of Guelph. She has spent over 25 years undertaking research on gender discrimination and gender-based violence in rural India. She is currently completing a research project on young people's pathways into farming in Canada, China, India, and Indonesia which introduced her to rural Ontario among other regions. Sharada’s affinity to research in a rural context inspires her engagement with PARO. She hopes PARO will be a repository of stories that rural people in Ontario from all walks of life would like to share, a repository of everyday stories which will transform the ways the rural is engaged with in learning, research and policy.  

Meet Our Story Curation & Social Media Team


Barry Marshall 

Graduate Student Story Curator. Specialty: Rural Ontario history, Agriculture

Laila Zahra Harris

Graduate Student Story Curator. Specialty: Caribbean ancestral history, Cultural identity, Postcolonial perspectives

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Dilshan Fernando

Graduate Student Story Curator. Specialty: Disabilities, Inclusion, Equity & Social Justice, South Asian Communities

Varun Joshi

Graduate Student Story Curator. Specialty: Veganism, South Asian Voices, Community & Religion

Madison Hendricks

Volunteer Story Curator. Specialty: Rural History & Archives 

Sawyer Thompson-Brown

Undergraduate Student Story Curator. Specialty: Black History, Black Rural Voices

Rachel Sinclair

Volunteer Social Media Manager

Other Steering Committee Members


Bill Barrett


Brandon Mendonca

PhD Candidate,

University of Guelph


Elizabeth Finnis

Associate Professor,

University of Guelph


Jackie Clark


Shauna Rae


Clearing a New Path Podcast

Advisory Committee Members

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The Honourable
Rob Black



Wayne Caldwell


School of Environmental Design and Rural Development, UoG


Karen Wagner


Wellington County


Deirdre McCorkindale


Department of History, University of Guelph


Ellen Sinclair

Executive Director, 

Rural Ontario Institute 


Owen Roberts

Agricultural Journalist, Faculty

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


Catharine Anne Wilson


Francis and Ruth Redelmeier Rural History, University of Guelph

Past Team Members


Our work would not be possible without the dedicated work of our past story curators and social media team members. 

Past Coordinators

Lauren Chang 

David Borish 

Josie Wittmer


Past Story Curators

Aadyashree Pant

Abhinav Kapoor

Sara Caverly

Karli Longthorne

Sophie Samek

Lori Scott

Judy Daniel

Margaret Devin

Nancy Rouble

Shipra Chaudhury

Vanessa Cunningham

Lauren Chang

Jessica Lukaweicki

Cayla Albrecht

Philip Rich

Tasha Falconer

Past Social Media Team 

Brandon Asprovski

Our Partners

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Our Funding Sources

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Partnership Engage Grant

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs


Francis and Ruth Redelmeier Professorship in Rural History


Canada Research Chair in Gender, Justice and Development

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