The Brescia University College Alumnae Association takes great pride in recognizing our bold alumnae for their outstanding career achievements and tremendous contributions to their communities. This recognition is demonstrated through The Carmelle Murphy Alumnae Award of Distinction, Sister Mary Lou McKenzie Young Alumnae Award of Merit and Alumnae Trailblazers, which are all acknowledged and nominated by fellow alumnae, staff, faculty and community members.
Living in a house with three sisters and four brothers can be challenging – especially
when it comes to accessing commonly used personal hygiene products. This was something
that Brescia alumna, Mandi Fields, ’95 regularly experienced growing up, in particular
when it came to feminine hygiene products. While touring the London Food Bank many
years later, Mandi –
now working as an Associate Manager, Brand Partnerships in the Eastern Region at Bell Media – noticed there were no feminine hygiene products available. When asked, the Executive Director of the London Food Bank, Jane Roy, explained that people simply do not think to donate them. Based on this conversation, just one month later, Mandi and CTV London created TAMPON TUESDAY.
The first challenge for this emerging new charity was finding a location to host its inaugural event. After several “no” responses and unreturned voice mail requests, Mandi finally received a “yes” from Chrystie Thompson, Manager of Jack Astor’s Bar and Grill in London. On April 7, 2009, six women attended the first Tampon Tuesday event, donating several boxes of pads and tampons. From here, Tampon Tuesday has grown tremendously across Canada and the U.S. benefiting many grassroots organizations and schools to date.
In addition to her work at Tampon Tuesday, Mandi is also the Producer of Approachable
Conversations with an Indigenous Man - a speaker series with Ray John Jr from Oneida
Nation. Mandi embraces her role due to its connection to the community and her love
of telling people’s stories, two qualities which lie at the core of her motivation.
Mandi’s love of her community also extends to various roles, which include: Co-Chairing
of The Pledge to End Bullying, volunteering
at The London Food Bank, spearheading a Women in Agriculture Focus Group for Fields to Forks, and being the Creator and Chair of the Atlosha Peace Awards – to name a few.
In recognition of her dedication and humanitarianism, Mandi received the Leading Women Leading Girls Provincial Certificate in 2016 and is also a finalist for a 2020 Pillar Community Innovation Award, under the Leadership category.
When asked what advice Mandi had for the next generation of Brescia change-makers, she enthusiastically replied, “Just do it! If you see an injustice, or have a fire in your belly, make sure you step up and make a change.” She goes on to say, “Don’t wait to be invited. If you see someone doing the good work, join them. Help them. This is what we are here for – to help one another and your community.”
When Elizabeth Sarma, ’10 began her post-secondary journey she was debating her major. While she had always excelled in English, there was something inside of her that was pulling her towards the study of human behaviour. Because of this passion, Elizabeth chose to study psychology at Brescia University College. Once in the program, it was the faculty, particularly Dr. Jennifer Sutton, which kept her engaged and helped nurture her passion. Through Brescia’s well-respected and dedicated faculty, Elizabeth was provided her with what she calls, “an incredible foundation” for her change-making career.
Fast-forward ten years later, Elizabeth has channeled her passion to become a Cancer
Prevention Fellow at the U.S. government's principal agency for cancer research: the
National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Washington, D.C. Her compassionate and
multi-faceted research focuses on health psychology, health services research and public
health – particularly looking at how psychosocial factors influence engagement in early
A self-described “life-long learner”, following her graduation from Brescia in 2010, Elizabeth went on to earn her doctorate in Social and Health Psychology from Stony Brook University in 2016. Most recently, she received an M.P.H., with a concentration in Quantitative Methods, from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Today, she continues this love of learning at the NCI, where she believes in the power of mentorship – learning from senior health care staff and readily lending her skills and knowledge to peers and the next generation of health care leaders.
As a London-born Canadian now living in the United States, Elizabeth has regularly observed the inequalities and disparities in the American health care system – recognizing that many do not have access to basic health care. Because of this, Elizabeth feels that she has a new life purpose and mission to challenge and improve American health care, saying, “Canada will always be my home. But, I need to use the skills and knowledge that I have to help those here who face a discriminatory system – especially when it comes to early cancer screening.”