WRC Distinguished Alumna Award Recipient 2013
Sonia Aujla-Bhullar is a public school teacher with experience in leading cultural understanding initiatives from a critical perspective. She met diverse students’ needs through her teaching, and efforts to work closely with agencies and families. Her work with a diverse student body, including multi-ethnic populations, has included program planning for diverse needs for learning disabilities and ESL students, families and staff support in cultural awareness. Her work with families of students has been an opportunity to see the successes those making Canada their home.
Sonia holds a BA in development studies and a MA in graduate division of educational research from the University of Calgary, and a BEd in elementary education from the University of British Columbia. Her passion in women’s studies led her thesis research, “Women of Colour in Education: An Exploration of Minority Teacher Experiences” documenting and analyzing the lived experiences of visible minority women in the teaching profession. Her findings have direct relevance to the fields of women’s studies, ethnic studies, critical pedagogy and teacher education.
Sonia’s commitment to changing the status and expectations of women has enabled her with a strong core of empathy, knowledge and understanding. In the past several years, Sonia increased her role with the Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association (CIWA), working with ethnically diverse girls, first and second generation immigrants from ages 12-19, organizing and planning Girls’ Culture Clubs curriculum in both junior and senior high schools. She coordinated the Women of the World Conference: Celebrating our Strength and Diversity, aimed at developing networks supporting immigrant and refugee women. She has presented at local, national, and international conferences and meetings, always sharing her important messages of inclusion, empowerment, and education for hope and social justice.
Sonia was born and raised in Calgary and has dedicated much of her youth and adult life to volunteer work in the community. Her experiences include work with the CIWA as a facilitator with “New Friends and Neighborhood Groups,” leading activities for immigrant and refugee women. Her interest in youth advocacy also led her work with the Dashmesh Mission Punjabi-Sikh Youth Group, in the implementation of special events and community involvement. Currently she sits on the South Asia Police Advisory Committee with the Calgary Police Service, and is a board member of the Alberta Association of Multicultural Education.