QTBIPOC & International Student Experience and Admissions Peer Support Program

Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, People of Colour (QTBIPOC), first in family to attend university, disabled, low-income, and International Students (and intersectional identities) are encouraged to reach out to one of our student mentors to learn more about student life and the student experience in Graduate Geography and Planning.  

Questions about application instructions, minimum qualifications, program requirements and funding eligibility can be directed to graduate.geography@utoronto.ca or graduate.planning@utoronto.ca

Program Description 

Our aim is to animate the student experience within our graduate programs and to build more equitable and supportive application processes to graduate programs in the Department of Geography & Planning. Data gathered as part of this initiative supports the longer-term development of knowledge, resources, and infrastructure to improve access to our graduate programs.


Portrait photograph of Laura Vaz-Jones.

Laura Vaz-Jones

Graduate Geographer (she/her)


Laura Vaz-Jones is a PhD candidate in Human Geography. Her work examines how anti-Black patriarchy was constitutive of early urban development in Salvador, Brazil and the ways in which Black women working as domestic servants and market vendors throughout the nineteenth century shaped processes of urbanization by contesting dominant power structures and carving out spaces of freedom, fugitivity and life-making. Laura is committed to an intersectional and transnational feminist praxis. She is a Vanier scholar and has experience doing popular education, policy research, and community-engaged work. She is currently a member of the Feminist Collective at the University of Toronto Scarborough and an Urban Fellow at the School of Cities.


picture of AmritaAmrita Kumar-Ratta 

Graduate Geographer (she/her)


Amrita Kumar-Ratta is a PhD Candidate in Human Geography at the University of Toronto. She is also pursuing collaborative specializations in South Asian Studies and in Global Health. Her research explores the feminist political geographies of reproductive control and justice in 'Punjabi Canada', and incorporates a range of creative methodologies, including arts-based storytelling techniques. In addition to being a graduate researcher, Amrita is also an arts educator, equity & inclusion strategist and community facilitator. Her work is focused around themes of intersectional feminism and gender equity; migration, mobility, and the diasporic experience; and sustainable community development. She is the Founder & Creator of Shades of Brown Girl, a global storytelling platform, and is an active member of numerous planning committees, advisory groups, and community initiatives in the Greater Toronto Area and beyond. 

picture of Irenius on the beach leaning on a pipeIrenius Konkor

Graduate Geographer (he/him)


Irenius Konkor is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Human Geography Program. He has a longstanding interest in health research and obtained a Master of Science degree in Health Geography from the University of Western Ontario, Canada. His research interests include Transport and Health, HIV/AIDS among Minority Populations, Chronic Disease and Access to Healthcare in low-and-middle-income countries (LMICs). His current research focuses on the confluence of chronic and infectious diseases in LMICs. In his Ph.D. research he seeks to understand the intersection of gender, urban neighborhood disparities and the double burden of chronic and infectious diseases in LMICs. The overarching goal of his Ph.D. research is to contribute to health policy in LMICs where policy on the double burden of disease is relatively nascent.

picture of Thomas holding a canvas bag, with a wall of graffiti in the backgroundThomas Elias Siddall 

Graduate Geographer (they/them)


Thomas Elias Siddall is an MA Human Geography student researching how contemporary art's circulation of affects in 'post-Cold War' China and Taiwan re-code various social worlds as contemporary, while generating a queer refuse whose cross-strait organizing unsettles the teleological assumptions of the Cold War's end. They serve as the Graduate Geography and Planning Student Society’s Vice President, External & Equity.



portrait of SnehaSneha Mandhan 

Graduate Planner (she/her)


Sneha Mandhan is a PhD Candidate in planning, a course instructor at the Daniels Faculty, and works with several city-building organizations, including the Department of Words and Deeds, Monumental Projects, and the People Design Co-operative. Through her PhD, she aims to study the cultural use of space among immigrant communities of South Asian origin in the Greater Toronto Area, including connecting their experiences translocally to their families 'back home'. Her goal is to develop creative research methodologies, storytelling techniques, and design practices that are geared towards making immigrants feel at home in North American cities. She is a graduate of the Master in City Planning course at MIT and has a professional undergraduate degree in architecture from the National Institute of Technology, Bhopal, India.

picture of Alexandra standing in front of a field of yellow flowersAlexandra Lambropoulos

Graduate Planner (she/her)


Alexandra Lambropoulos is in her first year pursuing a Masters of Science in Planning (MSc Pl). She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto in Human Geography (major), Urban Studies (major) and GIS (minor). Alexandra is interested in researching urban planning strategies and policies that develop strong communities and solutions for the cities of tomorrow, especially where they intersect with the arts, community economic development, resilience, and technology. She is also very interested in urban planning in African cities, which she explores through her monthly podcast Urban Limitrophe.

Brianna stands in an arctic setting with snow, wearing winter gear, the sun shining above

Brianna Lane

Graduate Geographer (she/her)


Brianna Lane is an MSc student in Physical Geography studying under the supervision of Dr. Laura Brown. Brianna’s research interests include lake ice climate interactions, cryosphere research, and climate change. She completed her Bachelor of Science at the University of Toronto in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Her current research focuses on monitoring changing snow and lake ice in the Canadian High Arctic using in situ digital camera imagery. Brianna aims to develop a feasible method for snow and ice data quantification using ground-based cameras. Her study will examine recent variability in snow and ice phenology and compare this variability to longer historical changes in the study region. Please feel free to reach out with questions about Physical Geography, field work, or life at U of T!

headshot of Loren MarchLoren March

Graduate Geographer (they/them)


Loren March is a queer and trans geographer, a PhD Candidate in Human Geography and an instructor in the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto. Their work focuses broadly on queer urban ecologies, examining shifting affective relations with more-than-human spaces amidst processes of parks-led redevelopment and environmental gentrification in Toronto. Loren engages with the possibilities of queer affective ethnography as a style of doing research that pays attention to marginalized relational lifeworlds, affective experiences and stories. They are a member of the Affordable Housing Challenge Project at the University of Toronto's School of Cities, and a convener at Anthropology's Ethnography Lab. They are also co-editor of the book Critical Dialogues of Urban Governance, Development and Activism: London and Toronto from UCL Press. Loren received their Masters of Environmental Studies, with a focus in Critical Urban Theory and Planning, from York University. 

portrait of Michelle Zhang Michelle Zhang

Graduate Planner (she/her)


Michelle Zhang is currently in her second year of the Masters of Science in Planning (MScPl) program. She completed her Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto specializing in Urban Studies, majoring in Peace, Conflict and Justice, and minoring in Human Geography. Michelle’s research and professional interests lie in the burgeoning field of urban data and how new technologies and innovations may (or may not) contribute to creating new opportunities in old or existing communities. She is especially interested in how new data practices impact policy, urban design, and community economic development. Beyond her studies, she is also fascinated with storytelling.  

Notice of Collection

Our peer support initiative is part of a program wide quality improvement and mentoring development initiative. Student mentors may take notes during your conversations. None of this recorded information will include elements that would enable anyone to specifically identify you in the data. These notes could include information about the questions you’ve asked, concerns you might have, the program you are interested in, the date and method of contact, keywords used to summarize your correspondence, and a general description of the location (globally) where you have contacted us from. Our mentors will also record information about the programs, subdisciplines, or concentrations in geography or planning that you have expressed some interest in. It is our aim to better serve students interested in our programs, we thank you for reaching out and for sharing your time with us. 

If you have any questions about this data collection initiative and how your information might be used, please contact program staff at graduate.geography@utoronto.ca or graduate.planning@utoronto.ca