The Access Program

Faculty members

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Diedre Desmarais

Area Director

Dr. Diedre A. Desmarais is Area Director of the Access and Aboriginal Focus Programs. She was the previous Registrar and Director of Students at the First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv), Lecturer for both FNUniv and University of Regina in Indigenous Studies, Political Science and Women and Gender Studies. Dr. Desmarais’ doctorate is in Political Science and her research interests include Canadian politics, post colonial and conflict theory, Indigenous identity and health care policy as it relates to Indigenous elderly.

Migizii Agamik

204- 474-8099
  • Wanbdi Wakita

Wanbdi Wakita

Grandfather in Residence

Wanbdi Wakita has spent a lifetime making prayers for people. As a residential school survivor, Chief of Sioux Valley Dakota Nation and Sundance Chief, Wanbdi has walked many paths. For three decades he supported inmates in various Correctional Institutions. Presently he is the Grandfather in Residence for the University of Manitoba Access Program. In 2016 he received the Order of Manitoba for his lifelong work to champion a message of healing and unity between all nations.

Migizii Agamik

204-474-8000
  • Emily McKinnon

Emily A. McKinnon

Academic Specialist Math and Science

Emily McKinnon earned her PhD in Biological Sciences from York University, a Diploma in University Teaching and a master's in Forestry and Environmental Management from the University of New Brunswick. She taught her first university course in 2009 and has been teaching for the Access Program since 2018. Emily is our resident bird biologist and has expertise in field-based research and teaching. She currently teaches BIOL1000, BIOL1020, BIOL1030, and STAT1000 and is also involved with K-12 science outreach initiatives.

Migizii Agamik

204-474-8000
  • Stephanie Olson

Stephanie Olson

Academic Specialist Reading and Writing/Instructor

Stephanie Olson has worked in the field of English language instruction for over 20 years. As a faculty member of the University of Manitoba’s Division of Extended Education, she teaches composition and literature courses in the Access Program and is active in research. She also brings over 10 years of experience directing continuing education programs delivered to both domestic and international audiences. As an immigrant to Manitoba, she is particularly passionate about supporting the learning needs of newcomers, and is happy to volunteer her time on the boards of two newcomer-serving organizations, Manitoba Start and English Online. Stephanie holds a master's in English Language and Literature from Mannheim University, Germany and a Certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language from the University of Manitoba.

Migizii Agamik

204-474-8000
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Carlos Miranda García

Personal Counsellor

Carlos Miranda García is a personal counsellor in the Access and Aboriginal Focus Programs at the University of Manitoba. He holds Master of Social Work and bachelor of science in Psychology degrees. He has worked with a diverse population in various community programs in Manitoba and Alberta including: crisis services, adapted education support, mental health and brain injury. He is passionate and committed to providing services from a cross-cultural and holistic lens.

Migizii Agamik

204-474-8000
  • Abby-Williams

Absatou (Abby) M. Edgar Williams

Personal Counsellor

Absatou (Abby) M. Edgar Williams holds a master's Degree in Counselling and Psychology, and a bachelor of arts in Psychology and Sociology. She has been practicing Personal Counselling since 2007. She has worked in various organizations including a private practice, a high school and is currently at University of Manitoba working as a Personal Counsellor at the Access and Aboriginal Focus Programs. She is a member of the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association. She is very passionate about her work and provides holistic and cross-cultural counselling support.

Migizii Agamik

204-474-8000
  • Shawna Bowler

Shawna Bowler

Student Support Case Manager

Shawna Bowler has over 12 years experience in social work case management and has worked with a wide diversity of clients throughout urban Winnipeg and rural and northern Manitoba. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Native Studies and a Bachelor of Social Work degree from the University of Manitoba as well as a Master of Social work (Indigenous Specialization) degree from the University of Victoria. She is a currently registered member of the Manitoba College of Social Workers and her ancestral community is Standing Buffalo Dakota Nation. Shawna follows an anti-oppressive approach to social work practice that is rooted within Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing.

Migizii Agamik

204-474-8000

Administrative staff

Lorna Trapp

Student Aid Advisor and Assistant to the Director

Migizii Agamik

204- 474-9145

Carol Johnston

Area Coordinator

Migizii Agamik

204-474-8803

Leslie Backlund

Program Assistant, Access and Aboriginal Focus Programs

Migizii Agamik

204-474-8000

Sofia Clunie

Academic Advisor

Migizii Agamik

204-474-8000

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Contact us

Contact Access and Aboriginal Focus Programs

Migizii Agamik
Room 221 – 114 Sidney Smith St.
University of Manitoba (Fort Garry campus)
Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2 Canada

204-474-9145 (Area Director)
204-474-8000 (General Inquiries)
Toll-free in Manitoba: 1-800-432-1960 ext. 8000

Extended Education
185 Extended Education Complex
University of Manitoba (Fort Garry campus)
Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2 Canada

204-474-8800
Toll free: 1-888-216-7011 ext. 8800