Your GAAs

UBC is full of confusing acronyms, and GAA is probably one of them! GAA stands for “Graduate Academic Assistant”, which may sound a little pompous, but we are just student advisors dedicated to supporting the welfare and well-being of our peers in the Department of Educational Studies.

Our team for 2020/2021 comprises of four friendly student advisors—2 Academic Peer Advisors and 2 Academic Research and Publication Assistants —and our department’s graduate advisor, Dr. Claudia Ruitenberg. EDST students are welcome to connect with us on this website, through email, or follow us on Twitter. If you prefer to meet us in person to discuss anything on your mind, please do not hesitate to contact us individually or at to set up an appointment!

It is also our honour to thank all previous GAAs, including Bernard Chan and Claudia Díaz-Díaz from 2016/17 to 2017/18 and Neila Miled, Mary Kostandy, and Lena Ignatovich in 2019, and most recently Maria Angélica Guerrero-Quintana and Alison St. Pierre in 2019/2020, and Vanessa Lawrence and Neil Bassan in 2020/2021 for their work and dedication to students in EDST, and for supporting us in laying the foundations of our team this year.

Academic Peer Advisors

Your Academic Peer Advisors provide peer-to-peer academic counselling, and they are on hand to provide you with information concerning degree requirements, policies, procedures, traditions, expectations, and resources available in the department and the University. In addition to academic concerns, Academic Peer Advisors are also happy to support your life in UBC and Vancouver in general, especially if you are new to the city.


Yotam Ronen


Hi! My name is Yotam Ronen and I’ve started my PhD at EDST in 2018. I grew up in Israel and am still very new to this strange new place. As someone who’s work focuses on history, I know full well how lonely graduate school can be, and am here to help build a community here at EDST that will help each and every one of us to achieve their goals in a safe and friendly environment. Please come say hi when you see me down the hall, and I hope to meet all of you in our events throughout the year!


Julia Burnham


Hi! I’m Julia Burnham (she/her) and I am an MA student in the Higher Education stream at EDST. I’ve been at UBC for six years now, previously completing my BA in Canadian Studies and First Nations and Indigenous Studies, but am originally from Toronto. I’m a seasoned student advocate (it was even my full-time job at one point!) and am excited to be supporting the EDST community as a GAA this year. You can find me on Twitter (@juliarburnham) or in the hallways at Ponderosa – come say hi, or ask me for the best places to get coffee on campus!

Research and Publication Assistants

Roshni Kumari


I am Roshni Kumari, a PhD student (EDST), with a passionate interest in understanding how broader context influences research activity or practice. The trajectory of my professional life portrays numerous research and scholarly engagements including review and editorial work, research supervision, mentoring and building capacity for research proposal development and writing for publishing. I am very happy to be part of this vibrant research community at UBC and look forward to our interactions and learning from each other.


Catalina Bobadilla Sandoval


Hola! I’m Catalina, you are welcome to call me Cata. I moved to Vancouver two years ago from Chile, which is where I was born and lived most of my life. I studied and worked as an educational psychologist in Chile before starting my MA at EDST in 2020. I’m currently a Research Assistant on the Hard Working Student Study (come check it out) and my interests are in higher education and adult learning. I’m so excited to be supporting fellow EDST students and collaborating with you on projects that you are passionate about. I’ll be on campus this year, so come say hi and share a coffee.