Experience North 2023

Summer in Review


"With NPI I could not have asked for a better introduction to the world of policy... I feel that the opportunity provided through an Experience North placement would be incredibly rewarding for any individual, regardless of their background, if they maintain an interest in anything Northern Ontario and are looking to make a real, professional, difference in their own communities."

– Graeme Dick (Sault Ste. Marie)

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"Four months later, I couldn't be happier with my time with NPI. If you're looking for an opportunity that will develop your professional skillset while learning more about the vast and unique communities of Northern Ontario, I would urge you to check out the Experience North program. "

– Andrea Javellana (Thunder Bay)

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"After this experience with NPI, I am more motivated than ever to bring attention to the parts of Ontario that are often overlooked. Living in Kapuskasing allowed me to analyze the challenges that come with living in remote communities. "

– Aurora Ly (Kapuskasing)

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"The work was diverse, and I learned a lot in areas ranging from data analysis to conducting research interviews, to report writing... I genuinely could not have asked for a better first introduction to working in the field of public policy!"

– Drew Nesbitt (Sault Ste. Marie)

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"Experience North helped me grow as a researcher, a communicator, and a northern community member. NPI staff represent a treasure trove of diverse backgrounds and expertise, and each colleague I worked alongside taught me something new that I can carry into the future. "

– Abigail Ollila (Kapuskasing)

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Meet our Experience North 2023 Summer Placements



Andre Ouellet was born in Glace Bay, NS, on Cape Breton Island and grew up in Tilbury, ON. Andre obtained his B.A. and M.A. in Political Science at the University of Windsor, with a focus on voter turnout in Canada, with a specific focus on the federal level. A passion he learned from his mother by tagging along with her as she completed her own B.A. in Political Science at Cape Breton University. From his own childhood lessons, Andre maintained a passion for kindness and compassion to his fellow person through policy and advocacy. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking, baking, and watching combat sports.

Andre is a Research Analyst.

Graeme Dick



Graeme Dick is originally from Sault Ste Marie, ON, and will graduate from Wilfrid Laurier University in June 2023, receiving an Honours Bachelor of Arts with a double major in both global studies and political science. Throughout his undergraduate studies Graeme has formulated a dynamic understanding and interest in the areas of international affairs, political economics, and both domestic and foreign relations.

He will be attending the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University in fall of 2023 with a specialization in either foreign policy or intelligence/ international affairs. In the summer of 2022 Graeme participated in the Stimson Centre’s Internship Program, a nonpartisan think tank located in Washington D.C. in which he served as research intern to the President and CEO. Specific projects included research and policy briefings regarding strategic interests of the U.S.-ASEAN Summit, the 14th BRICS Summit, and the negotiation positions of the U.S. and Russia with respect to arms control.

Now as a policy analyst for Northern Policy Institute Graeme looks forward the unique opportunity to put his degree to use in his hometown for the facilitation of sustainable and welcoming policies for Ontario’s varied regions. In his spare time Graeme enjoys playing tennis, physical fitness, and watching the European football.



Andrea Javellana



Andrea Javellana is a student at the University of Toronto pursuing her Bachelor of Science degree in Statistics and Conservation Biology. She became interested in data-driven research in demographics, public opinion, and environmental affairs during her studies. Professionally, Andrea has worked in agronomy research, student mentorship, and philanthropy.

Having immigrated from the Philippines, Andrea recognizes the privilege of living in a developed country and hopes to uplift over-looked communities via evidence-based research and policies. In her spare time, Andrea enjoys growing flowers, baking sweets, and watching sports. Although new to Thunder Bay, she hopes to immerse herself in the rich culture and nature of Northwestern Ontario.





Aurora Ly


Aurora is a recent graduate from Wilfrid Laurier University where she obtained an Honours Double Degree in Political Science and Spanish. Her interest in exploring the intricacies of government policy and cross-cultural communication led her to pursue this degree combination and is now eager to bring her knowledge to Northern Policy Institute.  

Aurora's degree gave her a deep understanding of government policy-making processes and political systems. She is excited to apply her knowledge of political institutions and decision-making to her role as a Research Analyst in Supply Chains. Analyzing complex issues and communicating findings will be skills she looks forward to contributing and improving to NPI's research on supply chain development in Northern Ontario. In addition to academics, she was an active member of student organizations and community clubs focused on humanitarian relief, demonstrating her commitment to social justice and community engagement.

In her free time, she enjoys hiking, playing soccer, and working out. She is excited to bring her policy-related background and passion for research to NPI and contribute to the economic development of Northern Ontario through her work in supply chain analysis. 

Drew Nesbitt


Drew Nesbitt recently graduated from Mount Allison University in New Brunswick with an honours bachelor's degree in Political Science. During his time at Mount Allison, Drew worked as a research assistant within the International Relations Department where he contributed to research on decolonizing International Relations education, and he contributed to research on grassroots shared economies focused on tool libraries. In the fall, Drew will be attending the Norman Patterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University where he will pursue a master’s degree in International Affairs, specializing in international development policy.

Drew is interested in the ways that different Indigenous and labour movements interact with each other at the intersection of domestic public policy and broader global policy issues. As a citizen of the Métis Nation of Ontario, together with family connections in the North, Drew strongly desires to contribute to innovative, diverse, and evidence-based thinking in order to help further and support the labour force of Northern Ontario. Drew has lived in a diverse range of Canadian cities across Ontario and New Brunswick and enjoys playing hockey, running, and fishing.


Abigail Ollila


Abigail was born in Kirkland Lake and grew up in Timmins. She holds a B.A. in History from the University of Waterloo and is currently pursuing an M.A. in Global Governance at the Balsillie School of International Affairs. Her graduate research examines modern treaty implementation in Canada from a global Indigenous rights perspective. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, and anything that takes her outdoors to explore the beautiful landscapes of the north. Her favourite hiking spots are the Ghost Range and les Collines Kékéko, both in the Abitibi region.



Experience North Office Locations


Thunder Bay

874 Tungsten St.

Thunder Bay, ON.

P7B 673


7 Aurora Ave.

Kapuskasing, ON.

P5N 1J6

Sault Ste. Marie

1520 Queen St E.


P6A 2G4


We would like to thank RBC Foundation, the SM Blair Foundation, and the Canada Summer Jobs Program (a program of the Government of Canada - Employment and Social Development Canada) for their support of our Experience North program. Without this generous support we would not be able to offer these unique opportunities for youth in Northern Ontario.

Thank You to our Sponsors





How do you build capacity?


Experience North Through the Years

Experience North 2022

Experience North 2021 (Fall)

Experience North 2021 (Summer) 

Experience North 2020

Experience North 2019

Experience North 2018

Experience North 2017

Experience North 2016

Experience North 2015

Experience North 2014