The Team

Chloe: A woman with fair skin and blue eyes standing in front of a wall with framed pictures hanging on it. She has short dark brown hair with hints of grey, and is smiling intently at the camera. She’s wearing a navy sleeveless top.

Chloë G. K. Atkins, PhD
Primary Investigator, The PROUD Project
Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto

Dr. Atkins has research interests in disability, bioethics, vulnerable minority identities, human rights, phenomenological research and narrative scholarship. She is a previous CIHR grant holder for a project which undertook a multisite, multiyear study of best practices about the management of rare and difficult-to-diagnose illness. Atkins holds a PhD in Political Science (Political Theory) and a postdoctorate from Cornell University Law School in feminist legal jurisprudence. She has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in law, political science, bioethics, feminist theory, communications, cultures studies and disability studies. Atkins is the author of My Imaginary Illness (Cornell 2010), awarded 3 prizes including The American Journal of Nursing’s Book of The Year (2011). Has held Killam, Clarke, Fulbright and SSHRC Fellowships.


Photo of Andrea Whiteley
Andrea: A light skinned woman standing in front of a bookshelf. She has blonde/brown shoulder length hair and she is smiling at the camera. She’s wearing a light blue blazer and an open neck, white blouse.

Andrea Whiteley, PhD 
Postdoctoral Fellow, The PROUD Project
Department of Political Science, University of Toronto

Dr. Whiteley received her PhD from the University of Calgary in Communication Studies. As a caregiver of a person with a disability, she is passionate about improving the quality of life for people with disabilities. Dr. Whiteley’s extensive research expertise focuses on open access to social sciences research and the public good, knowledge mobilization and research impacts. Her dissertation focused on understanding access to the latest social sciences and humanities research for people outside of academia who stand to benefit from it. She has also written about climate change fiction and has participated in many qualitative research projects in the fields of communication, health and the environment. She has worked previously as a research coordinator for the University of Calgary Faculty of Communication and Culture (currently the Department of Communication, Media and Film) and has many years of research grant writing experience. Andrea is just finishing a post-doctoral project at Simon Fraser University evaluating the Community Scholars Program that allows community-based and non-profit organizations to access academic research. 


Photo of Zephyr Atkins-Mitra
Zephyr: A picture of a tan-skinned non-binary teenager with their arms crossed in front of them, and a big smile on their face. They’re wearing blue glasses, braces, large headphones around their neck, and a dark denim jacket with pins, buttons and patches on it. They’re standing in front of a white wall.

Zephyr Atkins-Mitra
Social Media Assistant, The PROUD Project

Hey, I’m Zephyr! I’m working on the project as the social media assistant, meaning I get to post relevant articles on our Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Linkedin, among other things! I attended the School of the New York Times twice, I wrote for the international playwriting program Three Up at Young People’s Theatre and I won The Sam Fox Award for Social Justice at the Dragon Academy. I have a lot of experience with social media as I manage it for my school’s Student Council. I’m interested in studying Education or Classics. I’m also interested in writing for new media, film and TV.



Brenna Leslie
Graduate Research Assistant

Brenna Leslie
A young light-skinned woman standing in front of a wooden plank fence. She has long light brown hair and she’s smiling at the camera. She’s wearing a black-and-white striped shirt and a yellow jacket. 

Brenna is a Master of Information student at the University of Toronto. She obtained her BA at Wilfrid Laurier University in sociology (Honours) and French and a B. Ed from Queen’s University shortly after. She has experience working as an occasional teacher in French and English classrooms in Toronto and has worked as an English assistant for one year in France. 

Her experience as a learner and an educator has generated an interest in the information seeking behaviour patterns of people with disabilities in academic settings.

Isabelle Avakumovic-Pointon
Research & Production Assistant

Isabelle is an incoming student in the MA European and Russian Affairs program at the University of Toronto. She completed a BA in History and International Relations at the University of British Columbia and a Diplôme du college universitaire at Sciences Po Paris in 2021. While Isabelle’s academic focus is on identity and war in the early twentieth-century Balkans, her lived experiences with mental illness and ADHD led her to a deep interest in disability justice. In her free time, Isabelle enjoys swing dancing, reading fantasy novels, and playing board games.

A young woman with large round glasses smiles at the camera. She has olive skin, dark brown eyes and wavy brown hair in a ponytail. She is wearing a blue blazer with a black shirt underneath. She is standing outside, and the blurred background is grey and green.