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St. Thomas Moot Court Earns Select Spot at International Moot Court Competition in Europe

PUBLISHED DATE: Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Navy Vezina and Abbie LeBlanc will represent St. Thomas University at the Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition in Geneva, Switzerland from July 18 to 21.
The international competition is open to undergraduate and masters of law students. The top five teams from each of the five regions (based on United Nations regions) qualified to attend.
Canada—and St. Thomas—is part of the Western European and Others region. Along with St. Thomas, the top five for this region include Yale Law School, the University of Oxford, Universitat del Piemonte Orientale in Italy, and the University of Lucerne in Switzerland.
The STU team—which also includes Emily Williams, Emma Walsh, Camille Xavier, and Brianna Matchett—submitted a brief on June 12, and were to hear back on June 19. When they hadn’t heard by sun-down, they considered it a great experience either way and began to accept defeat. Close to midnight on June 19, they received word they’d been chosen to attend.
The competition will include pre and final rounds and will conclude with a single winning team.
Vezina, from Montréal, QC is pursuing honours in Philosophy and a major in Political Science. She said it is meaningful to be recognized in the ranks of the other qualifying schools.   
“Yale Law School is a very competitive school, Oxford knows what they’re doing, and the school from Switzerland requires their participants to complete a six-month moot court academy program. Some of these people already have degrees, have done these competitions before, and have worked in law firms.”
LeBlanc, from Fredericton, NB, is pursuing a triple honours in Political Science, Great Books, and Human Rights. She’s excited to showcase what STU has to offer, despite intimidating competition.
“I think we’ll do well, and I’m looking forward to surprising people with that,” she said.
Vezina agreed, saying the moot court experience she’s had with St. Thomas as part of the American Moot Court Association has given her the skills to be a contender at the event.
“American moot court is so highly competitive, and Abbie and I are both competitive people,” she said. “Moot Court professor, Dr. Amanda DiPaolo, works us so hard to prepare for our competitions, so we’re looking forward to testing those skills beyond the American system.”
Moot Court is a credited class at St. Thomas and involves competitions throughout the United States; however, the pursuit of earning a spot at the competition in Switzerland was done outside of class. Students formed an independent club, met Friday afternoons, and submitted an application.
Of the six students, Vezina, as president of the club, and LeBlanc were elected to represent STU in Switzerland.
“Abbie and I worked on the non-discrimination claim as partners. Some of it came down to who could get work off and wanted to travel, but I also wanted Abbie there with me, because we work so well together,” she said.
St Thomas University Perfect Fit for Moot Court
LeBlanc credits the style of education at St. Thomas as good preparation for moot court.
“Every student at STU has the opportunity to speak out, voice opinions, and learn the skills needed to make clear and organized arguments. STU provides a lot of opportunities to practice those skills in every class, and that transfers well into these kinds of competitions.”
For Vezina, the liberal arts approach to education makes all the difference.
“There’s opportunity to develop a combination-style skillset at STU. From Philosophy, I’ve learned how to make logical arguments. I’ve learned what makes arguments strong and what makes them weak through historical contexts, such as learning what Descartes said or what Nietzsche said. In Political Science and Human Rights, I’ve learned how to take the structure of Philosophy and apply it to more current options like law and human rights.”
“That’s what you get from approaching your degree from a liberal arts perspective,” she added. “That approach focuses on the fact that Arts disciplines are connected; they are strongest when studied together. St. Thomas is unique in offering that. The fact that I’m not part of the Human Rights Department, but I can still have all these opportunities is neat.”

Susan Machum Named Dean of Social Sciences

PUBLISHED DATE: Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Susan Machum, associate professor and chair of the department of sociology, has been appointed as dean of social sciences at St. Thomas University.
Susan Machum, associate professor and chair of the department of sociology, has been appointed as dean of social sciences at St. Thomas University.

The appointment concludes a selection process that included a public presentation, an interview with the search committee and president, and feedback from the University community. 

Kim Fenwick, vice-president (academic and research), said that he community’s feedback on Machum’s candidacy was very positive noting her strong understanding of the University, teaching and research accomplishments, administrative experience, and her potential for contribution to the leadership team.

“A dean is an important senior academic position that provides leadership and support to faculty and students.  Professor Machum has a strong grounding in our mission at STU and she has established collegial relationships at every level of our university.  We are looking forward to her contribution to helping us best achieve our mission of teaching, research, and service,” said Fenwick.

“I have had the advantage of attending St. Thomas as a student and then working as a part- and full-time faculty member, so I have experienced the university from multiple vantage points.  With this new position, I have the opportunity to strengthen communication and dialogue between various stakeholders and focus on initiatives related to teaching, learning, and research to foster even greater faculty and student success at STU,” said Machum.

An alumnus of St. Thomas, Machum went on to earn an MA from Dalhousie University and a PhD from the University of Edinburgh.  She returned to STU in 2000 to teach sociology and was a Canada Research Chair in Rural Social Justice from 2006 to 2016.  Her scholarship has been impressive with 11 peer-reviewed book chapters and articles, 91 conference paper presentations, 16 invited panel discussions, and 26 research talks.  Machum also brings a strong record of community service to the new position from her work with Canada World Youth, the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, and Girl Guides of Canada. 

The appointment is for a five-year term beginning July 1, 2017.

STU Psychology Grad Recognized at Science Atlantic Psychology Conference: Hannah Anstey, BA’17, Earns Science Atlantic Communication Award

PUBLISHED DATE: Thursday, June 22, 2017
Psychology graduate Hannah Anstey knows the effectiveness of research often depends on how clearly it’s communicated.
Anstey, originally from St. Andrews, NB, was recognized at the 41st Annual Science Atlantic Psychology Conference with the Science Atlantic Communication Award. The award is given to the student who is best able to communicate their research. 
“I was extremely pleased to be selected,” Anstey said. “It was nice to be recognized for my communication skills when all the presenters did so well. It made me proud to be a St. Thomas student.”
Anstey credits Psychology professors Dr. Monika Stelzl and Dr. Mihailo Perunovic for helping to hone her skills.
“I believe the education I received at St. Thomas is the main reason I did so well,” she said. “All Psychology honours students go through the Advanced Research Methods class, which really improved my presentation skills and allowed me to become more comfortable communicating to larger groups.”
Anstey’s Research: “Is Self-control the Key to Relationship Success? An Experimental Manipulation
Anstey’s presentation, “Is Self-control the Key to Relationship Success? An Experimental Manipulation,” was based on her honours thesis. The study investigates the relationship between conscientiousness, self-control, and attention to alternatives.
“Conscientiousness has been found to be associated with having better quality romantic relationships,” Anstey said. “Research has suggested this association could be the result of the higher level of self-control conscientious individuals possess—making them less likely to attend to alternatives to their romantic partner, which keeps them satisfied with their partner.”
The study investigates how varying self-control among participants affects their ability to resist giving attention to alternatives to their romantic partner. Participants completed an online survey that measured personality characteristics and relationship variables.
“Those in the experimental condition took part in a self-control depleting task and were then asked to examine images of attractive individuals. The intent was to examine whether depleting their ability to control themselves would cause them to spend more time looking at the images compared to other participants, who did not have their self -control depleted.
Results showed there was no association between experimentally lowering self-control and the amount of time people spent attending to alternatives.
Choosing STU
Anstey chose St. Thomas because of its small campus and smaller classes, which allowed her to build relationships with her professors.
“I recommend Psychology to future students,” Anstey said. “The faculty at St. Thomas is amazing and I have learned so much from them and other psychology students.”
Anstey is the third STU student to receive the Science Atlantic Communication Award. Emily Ready and Laura Prichard earned the honour in 2013 and 2016, respectively.
Anstey was also the 2017 recipient of the University Medal for Arts at St. Thomas University’s Spring Convocation, the highest award offered by the University to an outstanding arts graduate.

Charter Rights and Trial Delays: Criminology Students Learn the Ins and Outs of Getting a Case to Trial in Time

PUBLISHED DATE: Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Students who completed the course CRIM 3143: Charter Rights in Canada's Criminal Justice System gained a new appreciation for what it means to be tried within a reasonable time through the completion of a research oriented experiential learning project.

The course examined the effect of the R v. Jordan case, which the Supreme Court of Canada recently declared would be a precedent for determining the meaning of a reasonable time in section 11 b of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

In addition to investigating the “real world” of criminal justice, the class was supported by a law professor and a communications expert who heard the students’ presentation on their findings.

As part of their analysis, the class heard first-hand experiences from an officer from the Fredericton Police Service.

“Trial delays are interesting, because so many cases actually get thrown out,” third-year student Tawnie Mather- Martin said. “The police officer talked about her role in those cases. She had to make sure everything was together for the files and make sure all the deadlines were met so the trial didn’t get delayed. “

Breagh MacDonald-Rahn, a recent graduate who majored in Criminology and Criminal Justice, said hearing the first-hand account personalized the case.

“To learn about what she goes through, trying to pull the cases together and get them to trial—it’s a challenge. Officers have some really huge cases; when you add media attention to the volume, you can imagine the workload.”

The result of the Jordan case will likely make that workload heavier as the prosecution is under strict timelines to get a matter to trial.

Adding precedent

The decision by the Supreme Court indicates clear presumptive ceilings—18 months for criminal cases in Provincial courts from the charge to the end of the trial, and 30 months in criminal cases in superior courts, or cases tried in Provincial courts after a preliminary inquiry.

If these ceilings are surpassed, it’s automatically assumed the delay in receiving a trial was unreasonable, unless the Crown can prove an unforeseen event attributed to the delay or that the case is particularly complex in regards to evidence or preparation.

Criminology students at St. Thomas were tasked with determining what this means moving forward.

“One case is making a huge difference in every case like it,” MacDonald-Rahn said. “Things are changing all the time and the laws have to keep up with that, which is really interesting. Nothing’s black and white—it’s all shades of gray.”

Before taking this course, Mather- Martin— who is considering a career in law or the RCMP after completing her double major in Criminology and Native Studies—wasn’t aware of the number of cases that are thrown out due to this section of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“It’s really surprising,” she said. “It’s not fictional. This really happens. It’s peoples’ lives and how they are affected and how maybe things should have been done differently.”

For MacDonald-Rahn, studying this case demonstrated how the criminal justice system is constantly re-evaluating its fairness.

“I guess what’s good about the system is the checking and double checking. The judges are always asking ‘are we crossing a line here?’” she said. “While we don’t always get it right the case shows the commitment to adhering to the Charter. “

The project will continue in the fall term  with students building on the pilot study conducted by  their peers.

NEXT to Showcase STU’s Diverse Theatre Community as Part of 25th Anniversary of Black Box Theatre

PUBLISHED DATE: Tuesday, June 13, 2017
NEXT—Theatre St. Thomas’s new play festival showcasing a collection of fully produced scripts written by St. Thomas students and recent alumni—seeks to bring together artists from diverse backgrounds and communities to produce multiple perspectives on a shared question: What’s next?
Aspiring St. Thomas playwrights are asked to write a short play using “what’s next?” as the prompt.
Interested St. Thomas students should submit a completed script that would run 20-30 minutes with the expectation that the playwright will be available in the fall to workshop and rework the script with a dramaturge. Scripts should be performable by 6 actors or less.
Important: Your full name and contact information should appear with the play’s title only on the script’s cover page; the script itself should not include any trace of your name in order to ensure blind vetting. The script’s pages should include the play’s title as well as page numbers. A character list should appear on the script’s first page after the cover page.
St. Thomas students and recent alumni interested in directing one of the plays should submit a one-page letter of intent stating one’s experience and interest in directing. Shortlisted directing candidates may be contacted for a brief interview to discuss their interest. Directors must be available for preproduction in the fall of 2017 and an intense rehearsal period in January 2018.
Joint auditions for NEXT and TST’s fall show Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead will take place on Friday, September 15th and Saturday, 16th 2017 with potential callbacks on Sunday, September 17, 2017. Everyone is welcome to attend auditions.
NEXT will be performed in the Black Box Theatre from Wednesday, January 31 to Saturday, February 3, 2018 with evening performances and a Saturday matinee.
Get Involved
Please email script submissions (under blind cover as described above) or director applications to by July 31st, 2017. Questions may be directed to Robbie Lynn, Festival Producer, at
Theatre St. Thomas

Theatre St. Thomas (TST) is St. Thomas University’s flagship extra-curricular theatre company. Producing theatre for over 60 years (and more than 45 years as “TST”), we have been at home in the Black Box Theatre since 1993. Working under the professional direction of faculty and staff at St. Thomas, students act and work backstage alongside fellow students, St. Thomas alumni, and members of the Fredericton theatre community to learn and develop their stage skills in a fun and enriching experiential, cross-disciplinary environment.

Follow TST on Facebook and Twitter.

UNB, STU and NBCC work together to combat campus sexual assault

PUBLISHED DATE: Thursday, June 1, 2017
The services agreement signed today will secure resources to support students, create public awareness, and provide training and professional development programs.
The University of New Brunswick (UNB), St. Thomas University (STU) and New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) have partnered with the Fredericton Sexual Assault Centre to develop a tri-campus sexual assault strategy.
“Together, with the support and expertise of the Fredericton Sexual Assault Centre, we can continue to develop new and innovative ways to be proactive in creating a safe campus community for our students,” says Dr. George MacLean, UNB’s vice-president (academic). “Over the next three years we will work together, focusing on policy development, prevention and education, interventions and response, and research and evaluation.”
Today, the three institutions commit to three years of funding, approximately $80,000 per year, to provide fulltime support and advocacy for complainants, promote public awareness, and develop education and training for student leaders and staff.
“We are extremely pleased to be a partner in this agreement which recognizes that the Fredericton Sexual Assault Centre’s long-standing expertise in the field can be a powerful agent in ensuring better practices are implemented to support students,” says Lorraine Whalley, executive director of the Fredericton Sexual Assault Centre.
In the summer of 2016, UNB worked with the Fredericton Sexual Assault Centre to hire its first campus sexual assault support advocate for the 2016-17 academic year.
“Over the course of the year, it became evident that sexual assault does not respect institutional nor campus boundaries,” says Mark Walma, assistant vice-president, Student Services, UNB. “With UNB, STU and NBCC located so closely together, the three institutions recognized that it would be most effective if we worked together.”
The services agreement signed today will secure resources to support students, create public awareness, and provide training and professional development programs.
“Given the unique nature of our shared campus, we felt the best way to serve our students was to work together, to design programming which takes into account the complex nature of sexual assault and the diversity of our educational communities,” says Marilyn Luscombe, president and chief executive officer of NBCC. “By working together we will be able to offer a higher level of support and service to the whole campus community.”
Maggie Forsythe, campus sexual assault advocate, and her colleagues from the centre will partner with on-campus experts from UNB, STU and NBCC to design and implement programming to reach these objectives.
“We know that sexual violence is one of the most critical issues facing universities,” says Dr. Kim Fenwick, STU’s vice-president (academic & research). “The key is finding innovative and effective ways to support our students. Now we are using a service agreement to connect an expert community resource with our students and to help us develop more effective education resources.”
After two years, the arrangement will be reviewed prior to extension, renewal or reconsideration. UNB will continue to offer campus sexual assault support advocate services on its Saint John campus through a full-time member of its student counselling staff.

Adding More Value to Your Degree: St. Thomas Announces Certificate in Experiential Learning and Community Engagement

PUBLISHED DATE: Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Students at St. Thomas University will now have the opportunity to connect their in-class learning with practical experience and work in the community through an interdisciplinary Certificate in Experiential Learning and Community Engagement.

The certificate, which students can complete concurrently with their Bachelor of Arts, will provide tangible evidence of the hands-on learning and community service completed during their studies at St. Thomas.

Experience Employers Will Notice

“This will be an opportunity for students to document and be recognized for their community involvement and course-based experiential learning,” said Jessica Hughes, manager of the Office of Experiential Learning and Community Engagement. “With this certificate, students will be better equipped to communicate their achievement to potential employers and in post graduate opportunities.”

Dr. Kim Fenwick, Vice President Academic and Research, said students are looking for more than traditional learning and are seeking opportunities to add more value to their degree. The experiential learning and community engagement focus of this certificate complements a St. Thomas education.

 “We think this is going to be a win for the community and a win for students,” Fenwick said.

“Experiential learning fits well into what we do in liberal arts, because we provide transferable skills that can be used in almost any area of life or employment. Part of a liberal education is being able to affect the world in a positive way, so we want students to see how what they’re leaning can help others, professionally and through volunteerism.”

“The highlight of my grad year”

Rebecca Boone, a recent graduate who majored in History, took advantage of the experiential learning opportunity offered to her as a researcher at the Centennial Building. Through her work, she came to a better understanding of the role of the Centennial Building in Fredericton and the country, while also analyzing its significance to Canadian society and its evolution over the past 50 years.

“Material history is a field that can be very relatable to the public, as objects can be more relatable than concepts or people, because we interact with objects—like the Centennial Building—every day,” she said. 

“This experiential learning opportunity was the highlight of my grad year, and let me feel as though I was making a real contribution to the field of history.”

In the fall, Boone will begin her Bachelor of Education degree at St. Thomas.

Certificate Requirements

Students wishing to earn the Certificate in Experiential Learning and Community Engagement must complete nine credit hours from the list of academic courses to be provided by the Registrar’s Office, as well as 30 hours of non-paid community service paired with critical thinking and reflective exercises.

A list of approved community service opportunities will soon be available from the Office of Student Services and Residence Life.

The certificate program begins in September 2017.

Art’s Healing Power: How Kimberly Kool, BA’06, Connects With Others Through Art

PUBLISHED DATE: Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Kim Kool, BA'06, partners with community groups and agencies to offer encaustic workshops to individuals with mental health issues, addictions, developmental disabilities, and young moms, among others.
Kimberly Kool, BA’06, didn’t think she had an artistic bone in her body. But a job working with women at the federal penitentiary in Kitchener, Ontario taught her otherwise — and changed her life.

She was working for the STRIDE program at Community Justice Initiatives, offering arts and recreation programs to incarcerated women. The program engages community volunteers to develop strong relationships with federally sentenced women, with the ultimate aim of supporting successful reintegration for the women after their release.

“I felt like I was studying again. I did a lot of research on different art techniques, as it was more about crafts than fine arts,” said Kool, who studied Criminology, English, and Psychology at St. Thomas.

The STRIDE program took place inside the federal penitentiary with up to 100 women participating, depending on the activity which was taking place.

Kool found that art became a huge equalizer and a life-changing experience for these women who had often lived through significant trauma, abuse, and poverty.

“Women who thought ‘I’m no good’ would sit down and create something beautiful. I just remember seeing the look on their faces when they made something for the first time,” Kool said.

The art activities Kool and the STRIDE team planned became so popular that the program expanded to include women who had already left prison.

While looking for new art techniques to introduce at work, Kool was introduced to encaustics, an ancient Egyptian art practice done by heating beeswax.

Yet this time, it was her life that changed.

“The first time I tried encaustics I felt like a kid trying something for the very first time, where you just play and lose yourself completely.”

Encaustics art involves heating beeswax, adding oil paint to it, embedding objects into the wax, and heating them together to create something new. For example, you can embed flowers, poems printed on pieces of paper, or other meaningful objects.

“I bought everything I needed to do it at home, started playing around with the medium, and sort of built myself a studio in my house,” said Kool.

She left the STRIDE program and developed her own private practice called Edge of Grey Encaustics in Grey County, Ontario where she partners with community groups and agencies to offer encaustic workshops to individuals with mental health issues, addictions, developmental disabilities, and young moms, among others.

Her workshop participants all say encaustics helps them have fun and de-stress.
“Art has this great way of building a community of people that stay connected with each other.”

Kool is convinced art can make a difference in people’s lives. She has seen it happen, citing the example of a woman with a developmental disability who came to an encaustics workshop with her support worker. She was quiet and shy at first, but as the workshop progressed, she connected with the other participants and created a beautiful piece of art. After the workshop, they all decided to go for lunch at a little café nearby.

“I just remember thinking that it was because of the opportunity to come together and create art together that this woman was able to participate and actually be part of the community,” she said.

This profile is part of a longer feature on the healing power of art, which appeared in Connections Magazine. To see the full issue of the magazine, please see:

Register Now: Summer Linguistic and Cultural Program for French Second Language Teachers

PUBLISHED DATE: Thursday, February 9, 2017
The School of Education at St. Thomas University in partnership with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development will be offering a French linguistic and cultural training course from July 3 to July 14, 2017. This two-week program is coordinated by Léo-James Lévesque, assistant professor and French Second Language Methodology Specialist with the School of Education at St. Thomas.

The program is designed for French Second Language teachers who wish to take part in hands-on, interactive activities to improve and/or maintain their level of proficiency in French. Classes are held in the morning while afternoons are reserved for cultural and leisure activities conducted in French. 
Participants will be required to take part in an educational project designed to improve their French oral and written proficiency, enhance their cultural awareness for professional needs, and refine their teaching practices. Participants will use the Language Portfolio to maintain records of initiatives in which they have taken part to improve their French Language Skills. 

Target Audience and Eligibility

This linguistic and cultural training session is designed for French language teachers in the English school systems, whether they teach Intensive French, Core French or French immersion. Participants will be expected to have Intermediate to Advanced French proficiency skills. Prior to starting the program, participants will be contacted and asked to take part in a linguistic needs assessment to determine their specific linguistic needs and identify types of activities that would be most effective at improving their proficiency level in French.

Date and Cost

This session will be offered from July 3 to July 14, 2017. Further details will be provided to participants at a later date. 
The cost per participant is $650 + taxes (CAN) and includes course and activities. However, participants are expected to make their own arrangements for their lodging and their meals. 

  • Registration - New Brunswick teachers - Please contact Sylvie Arseneau, at the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development:
  • Registration - Other Canadian provinces and other countries please contact Léo-James Lévesque, School of Education: St. Thomas University

Letter from a First-Year Student - Bibi Wasiimah JOOMUN

PUBLISHED DATE: Monday, January 9, 2017
My name is Wasiimah, and I’m a first-year student at St. Thomas from Mauritius, a small island in the Indian Ocean.

It’s with great pleasure I’m writing to you, because I know choosing the best university for you can be challenging. I hope by sharing my experiences with you, I help you figure out whether St. Thomas is the best place for you.

Making the decision to join the STU family

I was looking for a university that suited my personality and character, but also that fit my financial position. I was interested in studying Psychology and Criminology, and when I discovered the many scholarship and bursary opportunities at St. Thomas, I decided to apply.

One day, I received a phone call that changed my life. I was offered a renewable scholarship and bursary from St. Thomas. The university had my heart that very day.

The happiness and pride I could see in my parents’ eyes was all because of St. Thomas. This was the day I decided I would come to Canada and to St. Thomas. Being able to fulfill my mother’s dream of sending her children abroad for university studies is a feeling beyond words.

My first weeks

Amazing! Fantastic! Awesome!

My first impression of St. Thomas was the very warm welcome I received at the airport. Arriving to find someone from the university holding up a sign with my name on it with a big smile on their face at 11 pm was a great feeling after two days of travel.
When I arrived to my residence room, my roommate was there to welcome me. There were no awkward moments. My roommate and I ended up talking for hours.

The culture of acceptance here made my transition easy and wonderful, and living in residence is the best thing I can recommend. I cannot imagine my experience without the wonderful moments I share with students who live in my residence. Everyone is so ready to listen and help you with anything.

Most importantly, they accept you the way you are. Being with people from St. Thomas, I don’t think about that I am not from Canada or that I belong to a different cultural and religious background.

I remember being in your shoes, worrying about how the first weeks would go. Believe me, this is a normal feeling. However, at this university, if you are sitting alone at the dining hall, someone will join you. You make friends just by opening your door. A simple “hi” and a smile is usually the start of a new friendship at St. Thomas.

First week of class

One reason I chose St. Thomas was for the small classes—maximum 60 students, but more often less—which allows for interaction between professors and students. It makes me love going to class.

If you’re looking to have a lot of interaction and discussion with classmates and professors, St. Thomas is a fit for you. Professors remember your name and they’re willing to meet you outside of class.

What St. Thomas has done for me

Coming to St. Thomas has given me happiness, wonderful experiences, and amazing people in my life. Belonging to the St. Thomas family has been the best thing I could have imagined for myself.

This experience has not only given me these things, but it has also given my parents happiness and pride. St. Thomas has definitely changed my life.

I hope my personal experiences helps you decide whether St. Thomas is right for you.

Sincerely and best regards,

Bibi Wasiimah JOOMUN

Apply to St. Thomas University for September 2017