Turning Points | Spring 2023

Turning Points

A male graduate and a female Lakehead graduate wearing convocation robes stand outside on the Orillia campus holding Lakehead alumni scarves


Sister Lorraine Réaume (BEd'88) was elected to a new general council of the Adrian Dominican Sisters' congregation in Adrian, Michigan, and took office in October 2022. Sister Lorraine is a vicaress who's served in many posts including campus minister at Siena Heights University in Adrian, pastoral associate with the Hispanic ministry at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Anchorage, Alaska, pastoral associate at Ste. Anne de Detroit, formation director for the Adrian Dominican Sisters, and co-director of the Collaborative Dominican Novitiate. She has a Master of Divinity and a Master of Theology from the Catholic Theological Union.


Sandra Vidotto (IFRM'94/HBSW'11/MSW'13), a licensed independent social worker, joined the behavioral health team at the Essentia Health St. Mary's-Superior Clinic in Superior, Wisconsin, in July 2022. Sandra chose to be part of the clinic, which provides primary care and specialty services, because she believes in its core values and its commitment to putting patients first. Sandra has an Honours Bachelor of Social Work degree and a Master of Social Work degree from Lakehead as well as a diploma in Integrated Forest Resource Management.


Chris Dube (BEd'05/MEd'09) received a 2022 Natural Curiosity Edward Burtynsky Award for Teaching Excellence in Environmental Education. Natural Curiosity is an organization that fosters Indigenous perspectives in children's environmental inquiry and, every year, it honours three outstanding Canadian educators for their exemplary environmental inquiry practice. Chris is a science/outdoor environmental education teacher at Lake Superior High School in Terrace Bay, Ontario, where he's developed the exciting hands-on multi-credit Outdoor Environmental Science (OES). OES combines project-based activities with alternative assessment methods and Indigenous ways of teaching and learning.

Michael Fox (HBA'01) was appointed to the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission's board of directors in September 2022. Michael, who's from the Weenusk First Nation, is the president and CEO of Indigenous Community Engagement—a national Indigenous firm specializing in community consultation, negotiations, capacity building, and social research to help structure projects and financing for industry and Indigenous clients. In addition to his Honours Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Lakehead, Michael has an MBA from the University of Fredericton and is currently a PhD candidate in business administration.

Christy Radbourne (BEd'01/MEd'10) was named the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board's director of education for the 2022-2023 school year. In this new role, Christy is drawing upon more than 20 years of experience—most recently as a student achievement officer with the Ontario Ministry of Education. She's written many publications about Indigenous and environmental education and was a course developer and instructor at Lakehead University for nearly a decade. Christy has also worked for the Lakehead District School Board as a teacher, vice-principal, and principal. In addition to her Bachelor and Master of Education degrees from Lakehead University, she's currently working toward her PhD in Education jointly with Lakehead, Brock, and the University of Windsor.

Jamie Taylor (née Byerley) (HBCom'04) began her position as the CEO of the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission's (CEDC) board of directors in August 2022. The CEDC is Thunder Bay's lead economic development agency and champion for local growth. Before becoming CEO, Jamie was the regional services and relationships manager at the Ontario Ministry of Transportation in Thunder Bay and the Thunder Bay area team manager at the Ontario Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines. In addition, she spent nine years with the federal government's Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada department.


Gary Christian (BA'15/HBA'16/MBA'18) was appointed the executive director of the North Superior Workforce Planning Board (NSWPB) board of directors in September 2022. The NSWPB engages with community partners to create a regional workforce that's able to meet future and current social and economic demands across Northwestern Ontario. Gary has also been a community development officer with the Ministry of Labour, Training, and Skills Development and he has been recognized with several awards including the City of Thunder Bay Citizens of Exceptional Achievement Award and the Canadian Armed Forces Medal of Service.

Luana Dessbesell (PhD'19) has been appointed an assistant professor with the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems at Aalto University in Espoo, Finland. Luana, whose field of specialty is sustainable bioproducts innovation, has a PhD in Forestry from Lakehead and undergraduate and master's degrees in forest engineering from the Universidade Federal de Santa Maria in Brazil. Prior to joining Aalto University, Luana worked with EnVertis Consulting Inc. in Montreal where she was a bioeconomy transformation strategies project manager and a biorefinery and supply chain specialist. She was also a postdoctoral fellow at the École Polytechnique de Montréal.


Jeff Czetwerzuk (HBSW'22) was elected to the Orillia City Council in November 2022, only a few months after earning his Honours Bachelor of Social Work degree from Lakehead. Jeff is very passionate about his community and is a dedicated volunteer who's the current president of Rotaract Orillia (a club for young adults run by Rotary International), a member of Lakehead's Alumni Simcoe Chapter, and a member of the Georgian College Alumni Executive Council. He also has a Child and Youth Care Advanced Diploma from Georgian College and has worked as a supported independent living worker at Empower Simcoe since 2017.

Karissa Kajorinne (BEd'20), a women's basketball assistant coach at Algoma University in Sault Ste. Marie, headed to Europe in the fall of 2022 to play basketball in Coimbra, Portugal, with the Liga Betclic Feminina. She is a guard with the league's Olivais Futebol Clube. Karissa refined her basketball skills playing with Lakehead and Algoma University's teams as well as with the Maritime Women's Basketball Association. Karissa has a Bachelor of Education degree from Lakehead and two human resources certificates from Algoma University.

In Memoriam

Sister Cecilia Mulcahey (BA'72) passed away on September 19, 2022, at the age of 94. She was born in Sudbury in 1928 and entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Sault Ste. Marie in 1944, taking the name Sister Mary Aloysius. After her novitiate, she expressed her love for children as a teacher and a principal. She taught in Fort William and Port Arthur (Thunder Bay), Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, and Nassau, Bahamas. In addition, she ministered as a sacristan in the schools she served. After teaching for 25 years, Sister Cecilia completed a Bachelor of Arts in English at Lakehead in 1972 before a call to minister to the sick prompted her to begin studies in clinical pastoral education. She returned to her beloved Northern Ontario to serve in the pastoral care departments of St. Joseph's Hospital in Elliot Lake and the Sudbury General Hospital. In 1993, Sister Cecilia "retired" from her pastoral care ministry and immediately began volunteering at the Sudbury Literacy Program and as a relief receptionist at Sudbury's Family Enrichment Centre. In 2014, due to health issues, Sister Cecilia relocated to St. Joseph's Motherhouse in North Bay. It was in the Sacred Heart Chapel of the Motherhouse that a prayer and wake service in her memory was held on September 26, 2022.

Joseph Winterburn (BSc'76/LTECH'74) passed away on January 1, 2023, at the Thunder Bay Regional Hospital after a short battle with cancer. Joe and his twin brother Bert were born at the Port Arthur General Hospital on January 1, 1949, and Joe had the honour of being the first baby born in Port Arthur that year. After obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Library Services at Lakehead, Joe worked for several years at the Thunder Bay Museum. Then, in the mid-1980s, Joe became the historic tinsmith at Fort William Historical Park where he remained employed until his retirement in 2017. As well as a tradesman, he was responsible for delivering historic programming to schoolchildren and adults. Joe's major passion in life was history and, in the early 1980s when he discovered re-enacting, he became a long-term member of the Canadian Corps of Voyageurs, the Forces of Lord Selkirk, and, briefly, a member of the Company of Fur Dramatists. His ultimate trip was to Waterloo, Belgium, in 2015 for the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. Joe also had a great love for singing and was a proud member of the Lakehead Choral Group where he sang for 20-plus years. A celebration of Joe's life was held in the chapel of the Harbourview Funeral Centre on January 12, 2023, before being interred at Sunset Memorial Gardens.

Back to Spring 2023