Meet the Team

Aliza Lakhani

CEO & Dean

Aliza Lakhani is responsible for the vision and execution of Northeastern’s first international campus, located in Toronto. She is driven by her passion to change the world of education, one lifelong learner at a time. She has deep expertise as a transformational leader within the finance, technology, and nonprofit industries. Prior to Northeastern, Aliza was head of business development and international at the DMZ, now the #1 ranked university tech incubator in the world. Under Aliza’s direction, the DMZ tripled annual revenue through corporate partnerships with Fortune 500 companies and expanded into global markets. Aliza has worked for years in revenue-generating, strategic, and advisory roles at RBC Capital Markets, JPMorgan Chase, and Bank of Montreal in Toronto and New York. She started her career on the trading floor in fixed income sales and trading. Aliza serves on the advisory boards of C.D. Howe Institute Human Capital Council, #MoveTheDial, Wealthsimple Foundation and the Aga Khan Council for Canada. She was previously chair of the board of directors for the Rexdale Women’s Center. Aliza holds a Bachelor of Mathematics with distinction from the University of Waterloo and an MBA from New York University Stern School of Business.

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Ana-Louise Polexe

Campus Operations Assistant

Ana graduated from the University of Toronto having focused on English, Spanish and Latin American Studies. While her professional background is in the higher education field - in administrative support, customer service, and event management - she is very comfortable wearing many hats and is known for her organizational superpowers. Currently, she is taking accounting-related courses to complement her experience.

When she is not studying or at the office, Ana enjoys working out, reading books, and reminiscing about her career as a national level athlete in the sport of archery.

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Anna Choudhury

Associate Director of International Student Service

Anna has been involved in international education for almost 20 years, managing international programs and developing retention and success programming for international students. Anna completed an MA in Intercultural and International Communications from Royal Roads University, and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Immigration at Seneca College, where she also taught for many years. Anna has lived and worked overseas extensively and has been a student in five different countries, including Cuba and China. As a result, Anna enjoys the challenges of intercultural development as a way to deconstruct that which divides.

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Colin Dykes

College of Engineering’s Academic Advisor and Program Manager

Colin has a strong background supporting students, with over 15 years of international and domestic experience in education and leadership. Colin earned his Bachelors degree from Trent University double majoring in Business Administration and Hispanic Studies, and later earned his Master of Education from the University of Toronto. He committed to lifelong learning, student success, and culturally intelligent management. Colin has lived abroad in 4 different countries working as an English Language Instructor, which has added to his comprehensive knowledge of international students’ needs and the essential resources for them.

In his role, Colin will combine academic advising and program management support for students within COE. He will focus on assisting students in reaching their educational and professional goals by tailoring each advising meeting to the individual student’s needs. Drawing from his diverse experiences he aims to promote collaboration amongst all NU stakeholders to ensure first-rate quality advising and to enhance the student experience.

When away from the office, Colin enjoys traveling and learning about other cultures. He also enjoys cooking and spending time in his garden.

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David Gugel

Academic and Career Advisor

David works as an Academic and Career Advisor on the Toronto campus to support Northeastern University’s students as they navigate their programs and advance their personal and career goals. David earned his BA in History from Carleton College in the United States before moving to Canada to pursue graduate study. David holds Masters and Doctoral degrees in Medieval Studies from the University of Toronto. His doctoral research focused on late medieval Spain and examined societal understandings of adolescence, youth, and the transition from childhood to adulthood. David is currently in the final stages of completing a certificate program in career development and academic advising from the University of Calgary.

Before joining the team at Northeastern University, David worked in various university-level teaching roles and his love for teaching and for enabling student success was shown in the seven years he served as a graduate teaching assistant and seminar leader at the University of Toronto, as well as in the classes he led as a Sessional Instructor at the University of Toronto- Scarborough and McMaster University. David has published articles and delivered lectures at multiple conferences on a variety of topics related to the medieval Spain and the broader cultural history of the medieval Mediterranean. More recently, David has also served in other student-facing roles as a member of the recruitment team at Georgian College.

In his free time, David enjoys many hobbies, including backpacking, travel, bread making, cooking, and woodworking. He looks forward to welcoming all students to the Toronto campus and to learning more about their stories, goals, and rich experiences that continue to enrich our shared learning experience.

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Deniz Toker

Global Learner Support (GLS) Specialist

Deniz provides international students with language, academic, and cultural support services at the Toronto campus. He earned his BA in English Linguistics from Hacettepe University in Turkey and completed his MA in Teaching English to Other Speakers of Languages (TESOL) at Western Michigan University in the United States. He also obtained a Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA) from Cambridge Assessment English. Deniz is also a practitioner and a passionate advocate of Culturally Responsive Teaching and Mindfulness. He has given presentations on these topics at several conferences, as well as conducting workshops.

Deniz has more than a decade of experience in teaching English. He has worked at language schools and universities, teaching young adults, professionals, and immigrants with multicultural backgrounds. Before joining Northeastern University, he taught Academic English skills at the MELD program of McMaster University and assisted international students in adapting to the Canadian culture. Having gained a great deal of experience and honed his intercultural communication skills, he can now easily build rapport with diverse learners, valuing and capitalizing on their cultures and funds of knowledge.

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Evan Clarke

Associate Dean and Campus Administrator

Evan Clarke manages student experience at the Toronto campus and works with Northeastern faculty members to ensure high-quality program delivery. He is also the main point of contact for Toronto-based students, helping them access to the resources that they need. Prior to coming to Northeastern, Clarke taught philosophy at Boston College, where he earned a doctorate in 2014. The focus of his philosophical research is German philosophy between the late 18th and early 20th century. Information on Clarke’s publications can be found here. He is also a graduate of the University of Toronto and the University of Guelph.

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Farzaneh Irani

Assistant Co-op Coordinator (College of Engineering))

Farzaneh earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Waterloo, holding a major in Rhetoric and Professional Writing, alongside a double minor in Human Resources Management and Management Studies. In April 2017, she completed her Master of Arts degree in English from the University of Waterloo, specializing in Experimental Digital Media.

Through her various experiences in higher education, Farzaneh has built an extensive and diverse portfolio. Over the years, she has developed expertise in Student and Residence Life, the International Student Experience, and Co-operative and Experiential Education. She is a strong advocate for supporting the unique needs of international students and is passionate about assisting all students in developing their sense of self-authorship within the classroom and industry.

Farzaneh is an avid foodie and traveler, hoping to one day roam across the planet to learn more about different cultures and try their incredible cuisines.

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Fatima-Zahra AZOUAY

HR Manager & Global Mobility Canada

FZ is seasoned HR Professional with over 14 years of experience in managing human capital, with a proven track record in providing HR leadership and strategy development in all areas of HR.

In her Capacity, she is the onsite go-to contact for all HR matters across Canadian campuses and remote employees at NU, responsible for leading and influencing all HR activities within scope. Also, she provides global mobility support across all Northeastern Campuses and global remote employees collaborating with local HR, Office of General Counsel, and multiple vendors to ensure legal and tax compliance, as well as a positive employee experience.

FZ has Spent 13 years within the financial services industry at the Western Union company where she held many positions at an international level, where she has served as a regional Head of HR for Middle East & Africa region, and joined Coopervision where she provided HR leadership and support to both the Canadian commercial organization and Specialty Eye Care Division.

FZ has Extensive experience working in complex business scenarios across multiple global locations. Dedicated work areas include : Global Mobility, Employee Relations and Engagement, Compensation & Benefits, Recruitment & Selection, Performance Management, Talent Management, Learning & Development, Policies and Procedures, HR Administration.

She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Management and an MBA in Human Resources. FZ is an active member of the HRPA in Ontario and holds a CHRP & CHRL designations. She is trilingual ( English, French, Arabic ) and enjoys exploratory trips in islands.

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Julienne Weed

Marketing Manager

Julienne brings diverse range of marketing and communications expertise to Northeastern University’s Toronto campus. Julienne earned her BA in Media, Information and Technoculture from Western University and has a Graduate Certificate in Corporate Communications from Seneca College.

Prior to joining Northeastern, Julienne was with Mohawk College where she focused on marketing strategy and support for domestic recruitment. She also brings several years of not-for-profit marketing and communications expertise with her work at the Insurance Institute of Canada and the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation.

As the Marketing Manager , Julienne oversees the demand generation, customer journey and brand development portfolio for Northeastern University’s Toronto campus. Julienne looks forwards to building awareness about the Northeastern brand in Canada and unique program offerings of Northeastern’s first international campus.

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Kayla Saunders

Campus Operations Specialist

Kayla earned her Bachelor's degree in Sociology and Classical Studies from Western University. While there she was heavily involved on campus, from athletics to student services. She spent several years away from campus life, managing escape rooms in Ontario and teaching English in China, before returning to Canada and joining Northeastern. Here she hopes to help create a space where students and staff alike can flourish. In her free time you can find Kayla paddling, reading, or playing games of all kinds.

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Krystal Jiang

International Student and Scholar Advisor

Krystal Jiang provides immigration advising, pre-arrival support, orientation and cultural adaptation support to international students at Toronto Campus. She is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant with a master’s degree in TESOL from the University of Bristol (UK) and a master’s degree in education from the University of Toronto.

Prior to joining Northeastern, Krystal worked at Sheridan College and Yorkville University, where she successfully assisted international students with their immigration issues and helped them settle into their new lives in Canada. Krystal is dedicated to using a holistic approach to assist international students to maximize their success at Northeastern.

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Michael Wilkinson

Admissions Recruiter

In his role as Admissions Recruiter at Northeastern University in Toronto, Michael is responsible for driving program enrollments and initiatives through strategic partnerships with companies, professional associations, government entities, colleges and universities.

Prior to joining Northeastern, Michael worked in the financial services industry for more than 20 years, helping individuals, families and business owners navigate the complexities of growing, preserving and transitioning wealth. Michael has held practice management, business development and advisory roles at TD Canada Trust, CIBC, Bank of Montreal and Fidelity. Recognized for leadership and helping others succeed, Michael is passionate about facilitating success in others and delivering an exceptional student experience.

Michael holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Toronto.

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Montse Sanzsole

Director of Strategic Partnerships

Montse Sanzsole is responsible for the strategy and implementation of new and innovative initiatives and partnerships to better connect the regional campus priorities with the employment and entrepreneurship ecosystem.

For over 20 years, Montse has worked in the higher education sector (University of Waterloo) with employers, students, faculty and university staff to build relationships that fuel future career choices with purpose. Whether through co-op work terms, capstone projects, scholarships, donations or joint research initiatives, Montse uses her passion for people, conversation and connection to engage external partners from all industry sectors.

In joining Northeastern, Montse looks forward to continuing the growth of the university brand in Canada & beyond. With a world-class team at her side from campuses across the globe and a long-existing foundation at Northeastern, as a leader in work-integrated learning opportunities for students, the potential is limitless.

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Noah Pizzirusso

IT Support Specialist

Noah Pizzirusso is the on site IT Support Technician. He is responsible for the IT needs that staff and students may have during their time at Northeastern University. Noah strives to always learn about new and existing tech in order to provide the best tech experience to staff and students.

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Rue Quizon

Campus Operations Manager

Rue Quizon provides overall management of the Toronto campus facility including business operations, IT, finance, human resources, events, and student and visitor services. She ensures that the campus runs smoothly on a day-to-day basis.

Quizon earned her bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in geography from Carleton University. Prior to joining Northeastern, she worked in Ottawa, Africa, and the Middle East. She is an avid traveler, a ukulele enthusiast, and enjoys a good cup of coffee. Quizon is currently pursuing her master's in project management through Northeastern.

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Stephanie Cochrane

Associate Director of Student Services

Stephanie earned her Honours Bachelor of Arts from York University, followed by her Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto (OISE). In April 2021, she completed her Master of Education from York University with a specialization in Postsecondary Education: Community, Culture and Policy. She is a strong advocate of lifelong learning and has experience in advising, teaching, counselling, leadership, and management.

Stephanie has worked with students of all ages from a vast spectrum of socio-cultural contexts, empowering them to be innovators, build resilience, and develop the tools needed for success. In her previous role as Student Services Advisor at Lambton College in Toronto, she gained extensive experience working with international students, leading orientations and teams, developing new initiatives, supporting extracurricular activities, and building a sense of community and purpose in the postsecondary environment. She is passionate about student engagement and experiential education and is grateful and excited to be able to help shape the NU-Toronto student experience as the Associate Director of Student Services.

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Tinuola Olawuyi

Academic and Career Advisor

Tinuola Olawuyi is the Academic and Career Advisor for our Toronto campus supporting and assisting our students to develop an action plan that gets them to their academic and professional goals. Tinu earned her BA in Health and Society from York University, holds a master's degree in education from Nipissing University Schulich School of Education, and a Career Educator certificate from Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers (CACEE).

Prior to joining Northeastern, she worked at Humber College, Ontario Tech University and Durham College, where she successfully supported students from transition to graduation. She brings experience in the areas of advising, career coaching, program development, orientation and transition. Tinu is a dedicated professional who cares deeply about the student experience.

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Zeinab Alamagan

Career Services & Co-op Advisor (College of Professional Studies)

Zeinab Alamagan is the Career Services & Co-op Advisor for the Toronto campus. Zeinab is responsible for supporting students in their career development as they build their professional brand. Zeinab supports students in navigating experiential learning opportunities including co-op.

Zeinab has extensive experience in higher education, with a focus on co-op and career advising and employer engagement. She comes to us from Ryerson University, prior to her years at Ryerson she was an Employment Specialist at the Career Foundation and a Human Resource Manager at Sunrise Resort and Spa.

Zeinab is passionate about supporting students in developing their career potential. Zeinab has extensive experience in developing tailored career education programming to support equity-seeking students, navigate barriers. Prior to her 11 years of experience in career education, Zeinab was a Business Analyst for Bell, T-Mobile and Microsoft. Zeinab is certain to be a valuable asset to co-op and the Toronto campus. She will be working with our CPS learners to provide important career advising, programming and administration support while also working with our co-op employers in the GTAA.

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