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Erica Machulak, PhD

Founder and Lead Instructor

Erica founded Hikma to help clients bring complex ideas to new contexts. She has a decade of experience designing and teaching courses and workshops for students, faculty, and other professionals. Erica has a PhD in English and has held several roles in the Vice-President, Research and Innovation Office at the University of British Columbia.

University of Notre Dame (PhD)

University of Oxford (MSt)

University of Pennsylvania (BA)


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Ai Mizuta, PhD

Business Operations Manager

Ai is passionate about bridging academic insight and real-world impact. She  strives to integrate her extensive program management background with her scholarly expertise in education. Her journey has taken her from global institutions like the Asia-Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO to the Consulate General of Japan in Vancouver. These experiences have honed Ai's skill in navigating diverse stakeholder interests, fostering cross-cultural collaboration, and designing innovative programs. Ai's  mission lies in making knowledge accessible and impactful for everyone.

University of British Columbia (PhD)

University of Toronto (MA)

Keio University (BA)


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Heidi Rennert

Grant Development Specialist

Heidi is an editor and humanities scholar completing a PhD in English at the University of British Columbia, where she focuses on science, technology, and domesticity in nineteenth-century literature and culture. She is passionate about the relationships between research, storytelling, and its many publics, which she brings to her work in communications and grants development with Hikma.

University of British Columbia (PhD in Progress)
University of Victoria (MA)

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Naomi Maldonado-Rodriguez, MSc

Research Assistant
Collaborative Cohort Project
UBC Arts Amplifier

Naomi is a critical health scholar completing a PhD in Kinesiology at the University of British Columbia, where she focuses on migrant women living with HIV’s experiences within the healthcare system. She is passionate about community engagement, social justice, and equity, and strives to use her scholarly expertise to bolster the impact and accessibility of research.

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Asya Savelyeva

Research Assistant
Collaborative Cohort Project
UBC Arts Amplifier

Asya is pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Socio-Cultural Anthropology at The University of British Columbia (UBC). She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from UBC in Sociology and English Literature. Her MA Thesis research focuses on integration and belonging experiences of Ukrainian newcomers in Vancouver displaced by Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

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Aaron Mitchell Finegold

Chief Marketing Officer

Kingsley Gate

Katina Rogers, PhD


Inkcap Consulting

Patrick Smyth, PhD

Chief Learner

Iota School

James M. Van Wyck, PhD

Assistant Dean for Professional Development

Princeton University

Andrea Webb, PhD

Associate Professor of Teaching

University of British Columbia


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Sophia van Hees, PhD

Consultant, Creative Design

Since joining Hikma as our first Artist in Residence in 2021, Sophia has helped shape our community and expand our services. She works with clients to develop compelling diagrams and other digital assets. She also oversees Hikma branding and works with Hikma Collective members to tell their stories visually.

Sophia is a multi-passionate creative with a background ranging from fine art to cognitive neuroscience. She takes an experimental approach to her business and design work, weaving together threads of ideas to discover new and unpredictable connections along the way. As owner of Brave Snail Designs, she also embraces fearless creativity mixed with slow and meaningful growth.

University of Queensland (BSpPath and PhD)


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Kevin Gallin, PhD

Editor and Grants Consultant

Kevin is a professional editor, researcher, and grants consultant based in Chicago. He holds a PhD in English from Duke University, where his research focused on contemporary media and how it can teach us to live well in our international, multicultural world.

As an editor, he has a passion for helping writers find the core of what excites them about their projects and bringing that enthusiasm onto the page with clarity and precision. As a researcher and grants consultant, he does much the same, helping organizations distill down what makes their programming distinct, exciting, and effective.

Hikma's clients drive complex projects; Kevin translates those moving pieces into direct and persuasive communications for grantmakers and foundations.

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Omar Swei, PhD

Technical Advisor

Omar is an Assistant Professor in Civil Engineering at the University of British Columbia. His research aims to improve the design, delivery, and maintenance of critical infrastructure systems. Towards this goal, he develops algorithmic and analytical strategies with strong theoretical foundations to enhance the decision-making process for infrastructure investments.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (SM and PhD)

University of Massachusetts, Amherst (BS)


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