VIU Scholarship, Research, and Creative Activity

The Team

Karen BernardKaren Bernard

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Advisor

Karen Bernard recently joined VIU as Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Advisor. She worked in international development for 22 years, for the last 10 years with United Nations’ Development Programme (UNDP). Most recently she was a senior manager running country offices in Belize and Equatorial Guinea. She previously worked at the UNDP Pacific Centre, providing gender-sensitive technical advisory support on disaster risk reduction and recovery to 15 small island countries. Her prior work experience with UNDP entailed coordinating a regional program on climate risk management in the Caribbean, promoting knowledge transfer mainly via south-south cooperation and the dissemination of best practices.  Before that, she led regional development programs for Oxfam and other NGOs in the Caribbean and Latin America for 12 years, based in Costa Rica and Cuba. 

Throughout her career, Karen has always championed and promoted gender equity, while designing and delivering projects, training and research initiatives. She has a deep appreciation for diversity, and in the course of her work has had the privilege of engaging with and learning from a wide range of unique cultures.

She holds degrees from the University of Texas and York University, as well as a Post-Graduate Diploma in Gender and Public Policies from the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO), based in Argentina.  Karen is fluent in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese. She has three wonderful teenagers, who are students and making their way in the world.

Contact Information

Karen E. Bernard
Building 305 Room 436
Phone: (250)753-3245 local 2926

Sean De Maio

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Policy Analyst

Sean was recently hired as the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Policy Analyst at VIU. Sean has over 15 years of research experience, primarily in the Health Sciences field. Projects he has contributed to include: conducting literature reviews and database management for research studies regarding women’s health (BC Women’s Hospital); evaluating post-traumatic stress disorder among first responders (Justice Institute of British Columbia); qualitative analysis for a nurse retention study (Fraser Health); co-designing and implementing a document management system for the Physician Services department (Health Employers Association of British Columbia).

Sean holds Master degrees from Simon Fraser University (Master of Arts, combined Public Policy and Health Sciences programs) and the University of Western Ontario (Master of Library and Information Science). He is also a casual Librarian at the Vancouver Island Regional Library.

When not at work, Sean enjoys classic and international movies (including the annual film festivals in Vancouver and Victoria), and is also an avid professional basketball and football fan.

Contact Information

Sean De Maio
Building 305 Room 438
Phone: (250)753-3245 local 2684


Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Postdoctoral Fellow

Tehmina Khwaja is the newest addition to the EDI team at VIU. She has been associated with academia for over 15 years and has over 6 years of teaching and research experience at the postsecondary level. She is an immigrant from Pakistan where she was an assistant professor at COMSATS University, Islamabad. She has joined us from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto where she was a visiting scholar.

Tehmina has a PhD in Educational Policy, Planning and Leadership in Higher Education from the College of William & Mary, United States. Her PhD was funded by the Fulbright Scholarship Program. She has published a book entitled Critical Approaches to Women and Gender in Higher Education, and several peer reviewed journal articles. Her research interests include higher education leadership, gender, academic organizations, academic capitalism, educational technology, and qualitative methodology.

Tehmina describes herself as a “foodie,” an avid swimmer, a voracious reader, and a baking enthusiast. She is passionate about exploring new cultures and cuisines. She has traveled quite a bit in Europe and North America. She hopes to explore more of the globe in the future and learn more languages. She is fluent in Urdu, English and Punjabi, and has basic knowledge of Spanish.

Contact Information

Tehmina Khwaja
Building 305 Room 463
Research Gate:


EDIA Student Assistant

Anh Nguyen recently joined the team as a Student Assistant. She worked as an Import-Export Officer in Vietnam for 4 years. While studying at VIU, she supported a research team that redesigns K-Lumet as a social enterprise employing people with intellectual disabilities.

She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from National Economics University, Vietnam. She is now doing an MBA at VIU.

In her free time, she likes hiking. She is also a fan of the detective story.

Contact information


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