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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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Sophia van Hees, PhD

Creative Director

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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Eufemia Baldassarre

Partnership Development Coordinator

Eufemia is a translator, language educator, and humanities scholar currently finishing her PhD in Italian Studies at the University of Chicago. She works, lives, and thrives in-between languages and cultures, and supports the development of Hikma’s programs by cultivating relationships with participants, speakers, sponsors, and partners.

University of Chicago (PhD in progress)

University of Pittsburgh (MA)

Agenzia formativa tuttoEUROPA (MA)

Università degli studi di Torino (BA)

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Simangele Mabena

Program Facilitator, Sustainability and Accessibility

Simangele is an artist-scholar currently finishing her PhD in Language and Literacy Education with a background in Deaf education and performing arts. Her passion for public scholarship drives her in supporting Hikma Studio’s sharing of innovative research through digital mediums.

 

University of British Columbia (PhD in Progress)

University of the Witwatersrand (BA and MA)

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Ai Mizuta, PhD

Digital Storytelling Coordinator

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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Matthew Tomkinson

Artist in Residence

 

Matthew is a writer, composer, and doctoral candidate in Theatre Studies at the University of British Columbia. As a professional sound designer with experience across a wide range of media -- including dance, live performance, film, podcasting, and other web formats -- Matthew's role at Hikma involves using sound to frame, underscore, and spark creative conversation.

University of British Columbia (PhD in progress)

Simon Fraser University (MA and BA)

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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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