Faculty members

  • Diedre Desmarais

  • Diedre A. 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.



  • 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.


  • 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 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.


  • 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.


  • Carlos Miranda García

  • 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.


  • 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.


Administrative staff

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Contact us

Access Program

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

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