Alumni Council

Danika McConnell

Former student leader at the Students’ Association of MacEwan University (SAMU) and now finishing up her degree in Communication Studies, Danika McConnell was the inaugural Vice President External at SAMU for the 2015/16 term, followed by President in 2016/17. Throughout her terms, Danika served as Chair of the Edmonton Student Alliance, Chair of CASA's Member Relations Committee, and member of both CASA's Advocacy and Policy Committees. 

Danika’s core focuses throughout her time at SAMU revolved around the beginning development and construction of the association’s first students’ building. She also dedicated much of her time toward the elimination of violence on campus — a cause Danika is still dedicated toward.


David Thibodeau

David graduated from the University of New Brunswick (UNB) in 2016 with a Bachelor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Leadership. While at UNB, he was involved with the University of New Brunswick Student Union (UNBSU) by serving as the Accessibility Representative. In this role, he was the voice of students on council, advocating for better physical and mental accessibility of the classroom. He is graduating from Carleton University in 2018 with a Master of Public Policy and Administration. Throughout his post-secondary education, he has been involved on the varsity swim team at both universities. His experience with both living at home and in residence while at university, working with student unions, and also being an athlete, means that David understands many of the challenges that students face. Outside of school, David is a swim coach and passionate about making sport a more inclusive place for everyone, from recreational programs up to the university level and higher.


Jonathan Champagne

Jonathan Champagne had the privilege of serving as CASA’s Executive Director from 2013 to 2015. He is currently employed with the Department of Finance Canada working on Income Security policy. Jonathan completed a Bachelor of Business Administration from Wilfrid Laurier University and a Master of Public Administration from Queen’s University. He spent the summer semester finishing up his Master’s at Fudan University in Shanghai, China. When not cruising around on his bicycle you can find Jon on the Frisbee pitch chasing around plastic.


Nikki McDougall

Nikki is a proud Winnipegger who is currently working as a fundraising coordinator in the post-secondary field. From 2010-2012, she served as VP External for the Red River College Students' Association, and was also a Director-at-Large on CASA's Board of Directors during this time. Nikki completed the Business Administration program at Red River College in 2012, and then continued on to receive a Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Manitoba.

Nikki is excited to have the opportunity to now serve CASA and its alumni through the Alumni Council. She looks forward to the many ways in which CASA will continue to affect positive change for those who pursue post-secondary education.


Jessica Conlin

Jessica Conlin is a seasoned communications professional with more than a dozen years of experience, specializing in media relations, issues management, copywriting, and communications strategy. She carries the discipline of her practice with her as she approaches any brand or company that she represents.

A well-rounded career has allowed Jessica to draw from experiences in government, corporate and not-for-profit sectors, as well as time as a freelance consultant. Her writing skills and media savvy led Jessica to serve under two Alberta Premiers' leadership campaigns, where she headed up the creation and execution of the campaign communications strategy.

A firm believer in community, Jessica has volunteered for numerous Calgary organizations including the Calgary Stampede, the Canadian Cancer Society, and the Children’s Legal Education Resource Centre.

Jessica has a diploma in broadcast communications from SAIT Polytechnic. Prior to her career in communications, Jessica worked in the radio industry.


Shifrah Gadamsetti

Shifrah is a registered nurse who engages in both acute and community oriented care, working as a perioperative surgical nurse and with the Calgary Communities Against Sexual Assault. She is currently completing an additional Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a minor in Women’s Studies at Mount Royal University. Most recently, Shifrah completed a two-year tenure as President of the Students’ Association of Mount Royal University, and was elected Chair of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations for 2017/2018. Additionally, she currently sits on the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s Executive Advisory Committee for Post-Secondary Education and the Board of Directors for Ask Her YYC, a local nonprofit organization in Calgary, Alberta that seeks to encourage and support women to engage in political leadership. These diverse experiences have led her to develop expertise in varying sectors, including intersectional issues of identity, post-secondary education, gender-based barriers and violence against women, public health policy, and democratic engagement.


Mike MacDonell

Mike comes to Ottawa by way of Nova Scotia. Formerly of SMUSA when he was involved in student politics, Mike is now in charge of Election Readiness for a federal party heading into the 2019 campaign. Prior to that, he was National Director of Operations on a successful leadership bid at the federal level.