The Newcomer Students’ Association of Ryerson aims to provide a safe space to empower newcomers and their allies to build fellowship, capacity, and community.

Our vision is of an inclusive society that values the skills and contributions of newcomers, immigrants, and their allies and actively engenders a sense of belonging within communities.


We operate from an anti-oppressive, intersectional, anti-racist, LGBTQ- and feminist-positive framework.



SARA ASALYA

Founder and President 

Vision and values

With degrees in Business & Engineering, I have worked for 6+ years as Business Analytics Consultant for clients in the UK & US. I am now a Chang School student, pursuing Big Data Analytics and working towards the Data Scientist role. I love to paint and read in my spare time. Coming from India, a country known for its diversity and harmony, I was elated to see the same diversity, warmth and peace in Canada. I firmly believe in the positive influence a close knit community exerts on the transition experience of any newcomer & immigrant. I was welcomed with an open heart by my fellow students & faculty at Ryerson and was immediately made to feel at home. I want to extend the same love and support to other new immigrants & refugees and hope to create an inclusive space for all of them. NSAR has given me that platform to contribute in my own little way to the community.

Alexandra Tamiko Da Dalt

Member at Large



​​​I am currently completing my Masters in Immigration and Settlement Studies at Ryerson University. Outside of school I enjoy volunteering at the St. James Town Community Corner. When I have time to escape the city I enjoy hiking, canoeing and camping. In the past 4 years prior to becoming a student again, I was an Elementary School teacher in Behchoko, Northwest Territories. Through my experience up north I realized first hand how important it is to feel apart of a community that is why I have joined NSAR because I hope to create the sense of community I experienced up North into Ryerson.

I am a Palestinian immigrant, mother, community organizer, and a student leader. After I enrolled in Ryerson University, I noticed the ever-growing need for  creating a space for immigrant students to talk about their needs and personal experiences in higher education. The aim of NSAR is to build an inclusive community in which newcomer, immigrant and international students can belong. I am currently pursuing my Masters degree in Higher Education with a collaborative specialization in International, Comparative and Development Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at University of Toronto. I hold a bachelor of Arts in English, and a post-graduate certificate in Community Engagement, Leadership and Development; and in Immigration and Settlement Studies. 

I have a passion for community development and social justice issues, with a particular interest in migration issues and diaspora communities. I believe in  immigrants' rights in just and equitable opportunities in the community regardless of their immigration status.

Rachel Reesor

VP Community Engagement & Outreach 

Erin Bergeron

VP Communications

I am currently pursuing my Masters degree in Immigration and Settlement Studies at Ryerson. I completed my undergraduate degree in Anthropology at McGill University. Originally, I am from Calgary, Alberta.I knew that I was interested in working with NSAR after attending and volunteering at the Integrating Our Voices: Stories of Migration conference. I am very excited about the year ahead with NSAR and to get involved with the newcomer population of Ryerson. As VP Communications I hope to expand the reach of NSAR and increase community involvement. In my spare time I like to play basketball, spin, and be active in any way that I can!

Emilia Vydelingum 

VP Advocacy and Campaigns

Sakshi Gupta

VP Finance​​

about NSAR

Originally from Toronto, I studied Social & Cultural Analysis at New York University with a focus gender and sexuality studies and critical race theory. At Teachers College, Columbia University, my Masters studies were in gender and education, as well as environmental and sustainability education. My thesis focused on women's conceptions of gender and power in post-conflict Timor-Leste, and was funded by the Columbia University Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict, and Complexity and the Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund Fellow, and won the Morton Deutsch Award for Outstanding Graduate Student Paper on Social Justice. I served as the Graduate Assistant for the TC Working Group on Environmental and Sustainability Education, and have worked and taught with the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the UN, Sesame Workshop, World Savvy, Millennium Villages, George Brown College, and the International Rescue Committee. 
I currently serve as the Communications Manager for Refugee Assistance and Information Network International (RAIN International), a hub for refugee resettlement and response efforts. Developed as a grassroots movement of deeply experienced social workers, mental health therapists, and humanitarian workers, RAIN seeks to build sustainable, responsive programs that involve deep training and a respect for a common struggle for human rights.  

Kirsten Gaikwad has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Ryerson University. She currently works in student engagement and leadership at Ryerson and has prior facilitative leadership experience providing English skills development for diverse groups of learners. Kirsten's personal experience of being an immigrant from India, along with her work with newcomers, has sparked her desire to explore the complexities of migration and has given her insight into the many triumphs and hardships faced by migrants. Kirsten is passionate about equity and diversity and is a firm believer in the power of stories.

Board of directors


I am currently pursuing my Masters in Immigration and Settlement Studies at Ryerson University. I completed my Masters in Environmental Science from the University of Toronto, and a Bachelors of Science from the University of Waterloo. I volunteered and attended the inaugural Integrating our Voices: Stories of Migration Conference and heard both the challenges as well as the successes of newcomers in Canada. I hope to expand on the work already done by NSAR and to ensure that newcomers/immigrants feel welcome and comfortable in their new community.

Kirsten Gaikwad

VP Programs& Events

​The Newcomer Students’ Association of Ryerson (NSAR), founded by Sara Asalya in 2016. Sara identified gaps in the way we approach newcomers and immigrant students in post-secondary institutions, particularly around effecting a robust and accessible transition system. This was the impetus that drove her to establish the Newcomer Students’ Association of Ryerson (NSAR), the first platform of its kind at Ryerson to empower immigrant students to build fellowship, capacity and community through their shared experiences. Through this initiative, we strive to provide a safe space for immigrant and refugee students to be active and contributing members of the community. We work to effect change to shape a more robust and accessible support and transition system, and function as a platform for them to share their lived experiences and voice their needs and expectations. We continue to research ways to enhance their educational experience and civic engagement.
The ‘newcomer’ label includes a diverse group of people varying in age, citizenship status, ethnicity, country of origin, language, skills, and interests. People come to Canada for many reasons, and providing necessary services for newcomers enhances their well-being as well as the well-being of Canadian communities. Newcomers and immigrants who are able to socially and economically engage and integrate within their new homes feel a stronger sense of belonging and empowerment. We believe that immigrant students from different campuses  may benefit from a place to connect and build fellowship and capacity. We hope to provide this space.​

Every year, NSAR organizes a diverse set of events, including socials, professional development symposiums, Lunch & Learns, conferences and networking opportunities.