Youth Delegation

The AquaHacking Youth Delegation is a structured and supported cohort of recognized rising generation leaders from various fields with experience in the domain of water, committed to determine a legitimate action-oriented change strategy in which they will engage stakeholders.


Read and sign the youth declaration 2017
Austin Bartos
Austin Bartos

Austin is currently in his 4th year at the University of Toledo, Ohio in the Environmental Science program. Throughout his academic career he has conducted research involving: the modelling of invasive species movement through ship ballast water in the Great Lakes; an analysis of potential phosphorus sorbing materials to be used in a nutrient interceptor in the Maumee River watershed; and quantifying the efficacy of a new metropark that contains a wetland to remove pollutants before they reach Lake Erie. With all of the knowledge and experience he has gained through these projects, his ultimate career goal is to pursue a graduate degree in wetland or stream ecology and focus on how water quality affects wetlands and the landscapes that surround them.

Sherry Du
Sherry Du

Sherry received her MSc in biology at McMaster University in 2017, where she explored the biological impacts of wastewater exposure on fish in Lake Ontario. During her graduate studies, Sherry was chair of the McMaster Water Network Student Chapter and helped launch several student- and community-based water and sustainability projects. Her interest in the multidisciplinary nature of water led her to pursue a diploma from United Nations University, where she studied international water governance and security.

Sherry enjoys cooking, traveling and painting.

Kahentakeron Deer
Kahentakeron Deer

Kahentakeron grew up on the Six Nations of the Grand River reserve in Ontario. He is from the Mohawk nation, and Bear clan. He was raised participating in traditional Haudenosaunee ceremonies throughout his life which has given him a deep respect for the land and ecology. He Currently works as Cultural/Ecotourism Coordinator at Kayanase, a First Nations owned and operated Ecological Restoration company. His formal education includes Fish and Wildlife and Environmental Technology at Sir Sanford Fleming College in Lindsay Ontario. Kahentakeron connects to the water by being involved in planting projects, learning about medicinal plants, participating in the local Aka:we canoe club and continues the traditions of hunting and gathering from the Grand River, lakes and creeks throughout the watershed.

Natalija Fisher
Natalija Fisher

Natalija has staffed Ontario’s Minister of the Environment and led the Water Program at Environmental Defence Canada. She helped advance Great Lakes legislation and policy implementation by engaging diverse constituencies towards shared freshwater protection goals. Her writing and interviews on freshwater security, water quality and stormwater management have appeared in print and online. Engaged internationally, she has shaped youth inclusion in global water governance by organizing the Youth Forum of the 2016 Budapest Water Summit and sessions at other global forums. As a Board Member of the Water Youth Network, she advocated for the inclusion of a specific water goal in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. Natalija has an MSc in Water Resources Management from UNESCO-IHE in the Netherlands, and a BA from the University of Toronto.

Emily Hines
Emily Hines

Emily Lorra Hines is a recent graduate from Oxford University, completing her Masters of Science in Water Policy, Science and Management. Prior to this, she attended St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia for Aquatic Resource and Public Policy. Emily focuses on aquatic and environmental policy, with an emphasis on the social and community implications policy has. She has analyzed policy at the regional, national and international level, and aims to make policy more accessible to the public. With her interdisciplinary background, Emily is keen to be a part of the AquaHacking team to promote inclusive solutions to our water management strategies.

Andrew Holdsworth
Andrew Holdsworth

Andrew is a systems control operator at Port Dalhousie pollution control facility for the Niagara region. Born and raised in Fort Erie, he lived in many places for a few years, including Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. He is an environmentally conscious father of 3 year-old twins, and has taken it upon himself to regularly clean up the beaches on Lake Erie, where he lives with his wife and daughters. A lifetime in Ontario's woods and on the Great Lakes has developed in him a deep seated dedication to the conservation and protection of our greatest natural resources. Andrew is committed to bring about education and change in how we treat our receiving water bodies. Dilution should no longer be the solution to water pollution (motto from across Canada, for years, was dilution is the solution to water pollution).

Allison Turner
Allison Turner

Allison Turner, from Channahon, Illinois, is a Purdue University graduate and a current Master’s student at the University of Waterloo. Her Master’s research examines decision-making on the Detroit River Area of Concern. Allison has been institutionally and nationally recognized for her leadership on environmental change, earning awards that include a Fulbright Canada student grant, two Udall Scholarships, an international Ontario Graduate Scholarship, and the France A. Córdova Award for Leadership in Action. After her thesis defense this summer, Allison will work as an Innovation Consultant at enFocus Inc. in South Bend, Indiana, focusing on water issues in the Michiana region.

Olivier Saint-Jean
Olivier Saint-Jean

Olivier est géophysicien, musicien et explorateur. Il aime se servir de la science collaborative pour sensibiliser le public à la protection de l’eau. Pendant sa maitrise en géomatique et télédétection de l’environnement,  il a commencé une start-up qui développe une solution complète pour engager le public et mieux répondre aux problèmes environnementaux (application de smartphone, jeux géographique, senseurs).

Il a participé au Water Innovation Lab en Inde, ce qui lui a permis de développer l’idée de lier la musique et la science pour engager le public. Il a donc organisé des ateliers de travails au sein de la communauté indigène, de plusieurs universités, et dans des écoles, où il a eu l’occasion d’interagir avec beaucoup de gens et de raffiner mon idée de science collaborative.

Ashlynn Schindler
Ashlynn Schindler

Is a fifth year biology teacher at Cuyahoga Falls High School. She graduated from the University of Akron with a Bachelors in Education and is currently completing a Masters at Hiram College. Additionally, she connects local students with international students through Igniting Streams of Learning, a program which sheds light on water access across boundaries. Ashlynn has collaborated with the city of Cuyahoga Falls on restoration of a Cuyahoga River tributary and was awarded a grant from the GAR Foundation for empowerment of students through media creation. Ashlynn is excited for the opportunity to impact water conservation on a larger scale and show her students the what they can achieve.

Lauren Smith
Lauren Smith

Having grown up on the shores of Lake St. Clair, which feeds into Lake Erie, and as a recent graduate from the Master of Sustainability Management – Water program at the University of Waterloo (an involvement with the Water Ins$tute), Lauren has learned from farmers, First Nations groups, academics, professionals, and fishermen. She has seen first hand the impacts of climate change, pollution, and lack of awareness and action on Lake Erie over many summers spent on its waters. She is also volunteering and working with local environmental groups to aide in better water management, most often with stormwater diversion tactics such as implementation of rain gardens, rain barrels, and flood prevention methods. Her master’s research involved utilizing social marketing 
campaigns to create the most effective behaviour change programs. She is also participating in the  AquaHacking Challenge, working on an innovative microplastics project, that she is super excited to share!

Emily Shildrick
Emily Shildrick

Emily has studied General Arts and Science at Fanshawe College with a focus on Native Studies, Psychology, and English. She holds a dual diploma in Fish and Wildlife Technology and Environmental Technology from Fleming College School of Environmental and Natural Resource Science. She has led and completed Environmental and Natural Heritage projects with Ontario Parks and the Township of Clearview. She is a certified RMO/RMI under the Source Water Protection Act and during her time with Clearview, was a Source Water Protection Committee Member. She is a member of the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation and now works with their Water Department as an Operator in Training. Emily enjoys travelling, music, and any time spent outdoors with her dog, friends, and family.

Steve Watts
Steve Watts

Steve is the Communication and Programs Manager at the Bay Area Restoration Council in Hamilton, Ontario. With a Master’s degree in Communications and New Media, Steve has a strong interest in the need for education and action on water issues locally. His work ranges from stormwater management projects (such as rain garden design and construction), education about water in local schools, and communicating with the public about issues facing Hamilton Harbour. Similar to Lake Erie, there are seemingly endless issues around the cleanup of Hamilton Harbour, most of which involve complex scientific concepts, and Steve is trying to convey as many of these issues to the public (especially youth) in accessible ways.

Dona Geagea
Dona Geagea

Dona joined Waterlution in 2011, with a mission to grow a local hub of impassioned young water leaders and professionals. Over three years she built a robust network across Toronto and Southern Ontario and supported hubs across other hotspot cities in Canada. Ever since, she has been channeling her passion for using creative methodologies and techniques in designing experiences for people and projects at the intersection of social and environmental (water) innovation as an engagement process designer. Trained in the Art of Hosting and as a member of the global organisation Water Youth Network, she has hosted and facilitated international water-focused workshops, in community, academic and corporate settings and with diverse stakeholder groups. 

She is now Project Lead with Waterlution on the global expansion of the Water Innovation Labs.