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Cardus Announces 2023 NextGEN Fellows


May 24, 2023

OTTAWA, ON – Twelve remarkable young leaders will soon begin a nine-month journey as Cardus NextGEN Fellows. These Canadians from diverse backgrounds will be the third group to participate in the fellowship program focused on vocation, leadership, and public life.

The 2023 NextGEN Fellows are:

Amanda Achtman studied political science in her hometown of Calgary, Alberta; the life and legacy of John Paul II in Lublin, Poland; and, the resurrection of the dead throughout Jewish tradition in Rome, Italy. In Toronto and Ottawa, she did a mix of journalism, crowdfunding, politics, filmmaking, advocacy, and events addressing the most passionate and underserved issues of our day. Currently, Amanda is especially focused on preventing euthanasia and encouraging hope.

Joel Agarwal is an Albertan, a lover of the Rockies, and will be living in New York City to begin work conducting cancer research at Columbia University Medical Center. His previous roles as the President of the University of Alberta Students’ Union, Research Assistant at Boston Medical Center, and Data Analyst at World Relief, a Christian humanitarian organization, have shaped his interests in healthcare and leadership. He holds a Master of Public Health (MPH) from Boston University, specializing in Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and a BSc in Biology with a minor in Christian Theology from the University of Alberta.

Clancy Bouwman is a senior consultant at Wellington Advocacy. He served as Executive Assistant to former Alberta Premier Jason Kenney for three years and as a political advisor on Parliament Hill in the Office of the Leader of the Opposition. Clancy has experience in political campaign management and stakeholder relations, and recently managed a province-wide leadership campaign.

Andrew Clubine is a graduate of the University of Waterloo (BKI) and McGill University (BCL & JD), and is currently a student of canon law at KU Leuven. He is a lawyer for social sector organizations, and has served on a variety of boards for religious and educational not-for-profit organizations.

Mariam Gagi was called to the Bar of Ontario in 2021. She practices in civil litigation with the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General (MAG). She focuses on public law matters, chiefly indigenous law, administrative law, negligence, class actions, public inquiries and Attorney General interventions. At MAG, Gagi serves as a director of the Association of Law Officers of the Crown and is a member of Voices for Mental Health. Mariam is also Canada’s Representative on the Young Commonwealth Lawyers Association.

Alexandra Hebert is a lawyer based in Montreal with a keen interest in public policy issues. Her legal work has focused on appellate advocacy and defending complex class action lawsuits. Alexandra has also served as a Fellow of the Global Leadership Initiative of the Oxford Character Project. She earned her Bachelor of Laws from the University of Ottawa, her Juris Doctor from Queen’s University, and her Master of Public Policy from Oxford University.

Ryan Khurana has spent several years working in various aspects of Artificial Intelligence, from policy research to start-ups to technical management in Fortune 500 companies. His driving force is encouraging technological innovation that increases prosperity while being consistent with the values and virtues society ought to care about. He has published in numerous outlets including Scientific American, Toronto Star, and the Financial Post. He holds a Master’s in Management Analytics from the Rotman School of Management and a Bachelor’s in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics from the University of Manchester.

Janice Lee is from Vancouver and has recently returned after spending ten years living in Dubai and Hong Kong, where she immersed herself in the dynamic cultures of both cities. She earned her law degree from The Chinese University of Hong Kong, and has experience working in both financial services and management consulting. She is currently working at KPMG in Technology Risk Management where she provides advice and guidance on effectively managing risks with using technology.

Rebekah McNeilly holds an honors Bachelor degree in Sociology, a Master’s in Criminology and is currently a PhD candidate in Criminology at the University of Alberta, with a focus in youth justice. She holds the Alberta Graduate Excellence scholarship for outstanding academic achievement. Rebekah also works full time for The Salvation Army in Canada in Women’s Ministries as a content creator, podcast host and producer, and in Social Mission as an associate consultant for corrections and justice.

Levi Minderhoud serves as the British Columbia Manager for the Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA) Canada. He specializes in engaging with provincial political issues and educating, equipping, and encouraging Reformed Christians in British Columbia to political action. Prior to joining ARPA Canada, Levi earned a bachelor’s degree from Dordt University in political science, business, and economics and a Master of Public Policy degree from Simon Fraser University.

Christine Poopalapillai is currently the Manager of Stakeholder Relations at the Ontario Medical Association. Christine is an experienced public policy professional who enjoys travelling, community building, and serving in AWANA & children’s ministries at her church. Christine holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Waterloo.

Hayden Regeling is Pastor of First Hamilton Christian Reformed Church in downtown Hamilton, Ontario. He is a graduate of McMaster Divinity School (M.Div.) and Redeemer University (B.A., Music and Theology). Hayden is passionate about helping people connect with God and integrate their faith with their life and vocation.

“To say I’m thrilled with this group of Fellows would be an understatement,” says Stephen Lazarus, Program Director for NextGEN. “I’m really looking forward to meeting them in-person and seeing them in action over the next months. I also want to thank all our applicants this year. There are so many amazing young people in Canada that choosing just 12 was incredibly difficult.”

Fellows will take part in four roundtables across Canada, as well as one week-long symposium in Ottawa, all focused on Christian social and political thought and public policy. They will also meet with mentors in their fields of expertise and participate in monthly Zoom Connects with guest speakers on contemporary issues.

The NextGEN Fellowship runs from May to March annually. Applications are accepted year-round. To get more information, to apply, or to nominate a Fellow, visit or contact Stephen Lazarus, Program Director for NextGEN, at

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