Born and raised in Waterloo, Ontario, Brenda has always had a passion for helping others and participating in various volunteer activities apart from pursuing her own academic goals.
She attended Rockway Mennonite Collegiate for six years, receiving an award for highest academic achievement at the end of each consecutive grade. She also earned the Governor General’s Academic Medal upon graduation in 2009.
During her time at Rockway, Brenda dedicated herself to numerous volunteer services, including peer tutoring, hospital volunteering, and many more.
Throughout the first two terms of university, she wanted to find new opportunities to help others and to give back to her community. Since tutoring rates were increasing and there was a high demand for tutors, she began working on an idea that would lead her to create Tutoring Beyond Borders: free tutoring. It took many months to set up and form the organization, and incorporating TBB as a not-for-profit in May of 2010 was just one of the first steps. Through her efforts, TBB was finally recognized as a Canadian registered charity in 2012.
Apart from volunteering at several places on a regular basis, Brenda has recently completed her undergraduate studies in the Honours Biomedical Sciences, Physics Minor program at the University of Waterloo. During this time, she was the recipient of an Undergraduate Student Research Award from the Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC-USRA) and volunteered as a research assistant in the Nanoscale Biophysics Group of the Department of Physics & Astronomy. Brenda is currently pursuing her PhD in the field of nanobiophysics in the same research group at the University of Waterloo.
Brenda hopes to share her passion for learning and helping others with those in her community and beyond. She is one of the TBB tutors and is in charge of overseeing all aspects of the organization.
Born and raised in Kitchener-Waterloo, Deana Bettencourt attended Kitchener-Waterloo Collegiate and Vocational School (KCI), graduating with the intention of pursuing a career in journalism. However, while working at a local pharmacy and interacting with pharmacists, she become more intrigued about biology. She then decided to further her studies in Science rather than journalism.
When she entered the University of Waterloo, she lacked the background and problem-solving skills for Science. In order to maintain a decent average, she needed assistance with her studies and took on the heavy expense of several tutors. She feels in a large part that these tutors allowed her to become more fully equipped in her field to tackle new information and challenges.
She wishes that these services had been more accessible and less financially consuming. This is why she believes that Tutoring Beyond Borders is a program worth investing in. As a student, she understand what techniques she deems more effective, and the attitude that is required to provide tutoring services to an individual. As a TBB tutor, she wants to contribute to her community and help those students who have been in the same position as her.
Deana Bettencourt has a B.Sc. in Honours Biology from the University of Waterloo and completed a post-graduate certification in Environmental Engineering Applications at Conestoga College. She is now embarking on a career in environmental science. Along with her career, Deana is also Vice President of Operations, where she oversees, arranges, and keeps track of all tutoring lessons in the organization.
Heidi Gulka was born and raised in South Surrey, British Columbia and is currently pursuing her Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology with an option in Neurobehavioural Assessment.
Growing up she was always involved in volunteering for different events and programs, especially as part of the Girl Guides of Canada, which provided her with many opportunities to get out and help the community.
She started with Tutoring Beyond Borders as and Educational Manager during her first coop term. During this time she learned a lot about the organization and knew it was something she would continue to be a part of. Heidi believes that every student should have the opportunity to get the help that they need when it comes to education.
Heidi continues to tutor with Tutoring Beyond Borders and is now the Vice President of Human Resources, having been in this department ever since the completion of her co-op term with our organization.
Emily Chen is currently a Masters of Public Health student at the University of Waterloo, where she also received her Bachelors degree. She also works at St. Michaels hospital where she is involved in the evaluation of health equity interventions.
Throughout university, Emily has been involved in various fundraising initiatives, volunteered at hospitals and food banks as well as tutored international students in English. She spent her co-op terms at Sunnybrook Hospital, Health Canada, and the School of Pharmacy where she conducted clinical trials, evaluated natural health products and developed community health interventions.
She owes her a large part of her success in undergrad to the many students who voluntarily helped her during the first year of university. She was pleasantly surprised and inspired by her peers who dedicated their time to ensure new students have the resources they need to thrive. Knowing first-hand the tremendous difference volunteer tutors can make, Emily strongly believes in the mission and values of TBB. As VP Marketing, she works with the marketing team to share the valuable opportunities at TBB with as many potential students and tutors as possible through exciting outreach and fundraising activities.
Born and raised in Toronto, Emily Wong attended Jarvis Collegiate Institute and is attending the University of Waterloo as a an Honours Science student. In high school Emily struggled in her studies but was fortunate enough to obtain paid tutoring. Emily realized not everyone was this fortunate to obtain services such as tutoring so she decided to offer free tutoring to other high school students through a program called Student Aid and Learning Opportunities supported by the Organization of Latino/Latina American Students. After leaving Toronto to attend the University of Waterloo, she applied to volunteer with Tutoring Beyond Borders as a co-op student in 2013 and now she is in charge of promotional events and recruitment projects.
Apart from volunteering, Emily has taken on other extracurricular activities such as martial arts, and an active member of the University of Waterloo’s Chemistry Club as a second year representative. Emily’s last co-op she worked as a Research Assistant for the Woodbridge Group where she was assisting with the research of polyurethane products for automobile parts. After this rewarding experience she wishes to pursue research in science.
Jobanjot Sidhu joined the organization in May 2011 as a co-op student. He is currently attending the University of Waterloo, pursuing a double major in Actuarial Science and Computer Science. He is a hardworking individual who has a strong passion, determination, and desire to help others and actively volunteers at different events at the University, where he is an officially certified Student Leader.
He attended Mississauga Secondary School where he received many awards such as the “Highest Mark in Math” award. He was an honours student in all four years of his high school and was awarded “Senior Male Athlete of the Year” in his graduating year for his strong commitment, leadership skills, and ability to stay productive. He was also a part of the Math Club, where he helped younger students with their math problems. Aside from academics, Jobanjot was part of the Canadian Under-19 Cricket team as well.
Throughout his time at Tutoring Beyond Borders, Jobanjot’s passion, leadership, and determination were recognized by the Executive Team, who welcomed him to their ranks immediately after his co-op term ended. Currently, as the Vice President of Technology, he is in charge of TBB’s website and online social networking media. Jobanjot is a powerful force in supporting our tutors’ online records and e-mails, maintaining our website, and promoting our organization through the World Wide Web.
Apart from being a member of the Executive Team and a TBB tutor, Jobanjot is also an Orientation leader, helping first years get accustomed to the university life. He also loves to play outdoor sports and actively participates in intramurals at the university.
Jenny Chiou joined Tutoring Beyond Borders in May 2010 as one of the Directors of the Board and has been providing powerful insight and judgment into the organization’s actions and financial position ever since.
Apart from being a Director, Jenny also acts as the Vice President of Finance, a position well-suited for her considering her lifetime experience in the business world. With this role in the Executive Team, she is responsible for providing leadership to the organization in terms of financial affairs and accounting. She is responsible for keeping track of all funds, allocating budgets towards departments and projects as seen fit, as well as taking care of the accounting for the organization.
Not only does Jenny deal with funds and budgeting, as Vice President of Finance she will be in charge of all of our scholarship initiatives. She will be updating the website regarding scholarship opportunities and be the leading force in designing the scholarship criteria and application process, screening applications and scholarship candidates, and determining the recipients of these scholarships along with the Board of Directors.
Jenny hopes to make a difference in the community by donating her time and efforts into making TBB a success and encouraging education, perseverance and volunteerism in the lives of those she touches.