Farewells and Reflections: Anastasia, Mel and Diane

PPO would like to give special farewells to Anastasia Szakowski (Outreach Coordinator intern) Mel Pagliaro (Program Developer intern) and Diane Meronyk (midwifery student placement) and thank them for their significant contributions to sexual and reproductive health research and work with us.

Anastasia says that her favourite aspect of working with PPO was the opportunity to build professional relationships with a knowledgeable team that provided her with an open and flexible learning environment. Writing the Adoption and Menstruation sections for the Sexuality Awareness Program Manual and speaking to youth about sexual health and healthy relationships has fueled her passion for a career in counseling and motivational speaking. Anastasia hopes to start her Masters degree in the fall and plans to continue her involvement with PPO as part of the Options Program. Throughout her internship, Anastasia learned about the importance of viewing human sexuality from a holistic approach, and began to appreciate how differences (i.e., race, class, socio-economic status, gender, ability, age, sexual orientation, etc.) can all shape an individual’s perceptions and values surrounding sexuality, as well as how they view themselves, others, and the world around them.
Out of several projects that Mel has worked on, she truly reveled in bringing her research on sexuality and disability to PPO through writing web content, a section for the Sexuality Awareness Program Manual, and her favourite project, which is a guidebook on sexuality education programming for people with disabilities. Mel’s work in sexuality and disability will enhance the accessibility of current PPO programs. True to her behind-the-scenes approach to activism, Mel plans to continue her relationship with PPO and encourage sex-positivity in today’s society by imparting sexual and reproductive health information in cyberspace, as a volunteer with the e-mail team. Mel hopes to return to school to complete a Masters degree and/or a Ph.D. in counseling, with a focus on Human Sexuality, to fulfill her dream of being a sex therapist. Mel’s involvement with PPO has enabled her to understand and overcome common assumptions about unintended pregnancies, and she will use her new insights to support others in similar situations.

Diane is a 3rd year Midwifery student from Laurentian University who completed her placement at PPO in the month of February. She informed PPO volunteers about midwifery services and presented a workshop at Venus Envy on sex during and after pregnancy. Diane said through her work here, PPO reminded her of the importance of health promotion for women, a factor often neglected in her previous placements which were primarily focused on clinical applications.

PPO’s staff and volunteers would like to say THANK YOU to Anastasia, Mel, and Diane for all their dedication and hard work and wish them all the best in their future endeavors.