Where are they now?



Elissa Cohen '07

I am an obstetrician gynecologist who provides gender affirming surgical care to trans patients, performs minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery, and consultation obstetrics for high risk pregnancies. I am a devout women’s health advocate, an organizer with the @EquityinMed team, editor of the Federation of Medical Women of Canada’s journal - The Voice, an educator of residents, medical students, and master of education learners. As a member of the SOGC obstetrical committee and the SOGC MCQ committee I am responsible for creating MCQs as part of resident preparation for the Royal College of Physician and Surgeons of Canada licensing exam. Beyond that, I am undertaking a PhD in education and my SSHRC funded research focuses on women and leadership in academic medicine. I am forever thankful for the skills and wisdom that my mentors have shared with me as this has been central to my success since graduating from Acadia. Current students, my recommendation is that you relish in the benefits of your Acadia University education and the mentors that exist at this fantastic school, as it will facilitate opportunities that will be vital to your future success both personally and professional.  


Ryan Payne '01

When making the decision to go to University I knew that I had to choose a program that spoke to something that I was passionate about which was, and remains to this day, physical activity. Throughout high school and college, I had the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of sports and activities that allowed me to develop confidence, build lifelong friendships, and create the foundations of a personal value system. These values included commitment, work ethic, accountability, goal setting and so much more. There were coaches and teachers along the way that gave their time, through their job position or voluntarily, that inspired me to want to, one day, do the same for others. Volunteering to help those in my community have similar opportunities in sport began at an early age and it became clear that I was on a path where having an opportunity to be in an environment that involved play was inevitable. Acadia University provided an environment that nurtured all the things I valued. It’s a community that encourages a healthy active lifestyle where people are connected through sport and play. It is why it felt so much like home.


Stuart Layton '12

I am an Occupational Therapist servicing the Beaufort Delta and Sahtu Regions of the Northwest Territories.

After graduating from Acadia University my Career Plan had changed. During my time at Acadia University I volunteered with the S.M.I.L.E. Program and met an incredible family. Their support along with the extraordinary help from my professors significantly impacted my career choice. I enrolled in the Masters of Occupational Therapy program at the University of Alberta.

I have been a Generalist Occupational Therapist since 2015, working in rural practice. My career started in Labrador and most currently in the Northwest Territories. I am one out of three Occupational Therapists based out of a 51-bed hospital and travel up to 12 communities by bush plain or ice road.

In addition to this I have recently taken on the Rehabilitation Supervisor role for approximately 15 Health care professionals.

When I am not working, I spend time with my family (wife and two children), engage in physical activity depending on season (fishing, snowmobiling, running, lifting weights, chasing the kids, …) and return to the Valley once a year to reconnect with home.  


Annie Macartney '17

Since graduating from Acadia in 2017, I graduated from McGill University's physical therapy program in 2019. Throughout my education I have had many opportunities to focus my education within the field of pediatrics, clinically and through several research endeavours. During my undergraduate degree in Kinesiology at Acadia, I worked as a student director for the S.M.I.L.E. program. My undergraduate honours thesis was focused on gross motor assessment of children with down syndrome and autism spectrum disorders. I have worked at the research institute at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) with the Healthy Active Living and Obesity (HALO) research team, working on multiple projects. Throughout my physiotherapy training, I have taken advanced courses in pediatrics with clinical experience from the Montreal Children’s Hospital and Shriner’s Hospital for children. I have gained extensive clinical experience from the Lethbridge-Layton-MacKay pediatric rehabilitation center in Montreal.

I found my way back to the East Coast, on PEI. I’ve taken on the challenging role of being the only private paediatric physiotherapist on PEI. I am currently working hard to fill the void in care for those on the island with gross motor differences. I worked primarily with children with complex needs, with a specialization in cerebral palsy, neuromuscular disorders and delayed gross motor development. I am building my private practice to provide pediatric physiotherapy care to children and families with a wide range of needs on PEI.

Take it all in. Create your own opportunities. It’s up to you to make your time at Acadia University the best experience you can.



Natasha Churchill '11

Since I graduated from Acadia in 2011 I have had some great opportunities including working in Walt Disney World, and working as a sexual health educator. In 2016 I graduated from Dalhousie University with Bachelor of Science in Nursing and have been working as a Registered Nurse. I have spent the majority of my career working in rural emergency departments and Long Term Care facilities in Nova Scotia. These experiences have provided me with a real understanding on how the social determinants of health have a huge impact on a person’s health and outcome.  I am currently doing rotational work in a variety of Northern Manitoba First Nations communities nursing stations, working with an advance scope of practice providing communities members with better access to primary and emergency healthcare.


Olivia Meehen '14

After Acadia, I pursued my Masters in Speech-Language Pathology at Dalhousie University and graduated in 2017. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to begin my career as a Speech-Language Pathologist (S-LP) within our education system here in the Annapolis Valley, while also beginning a small private practice. I absolutely love my career as an S-LP! I quickly recognized however, that I was not quite done with formal education just yet. Because of the nature of speech and language disorders, many children I work with also require behavioral support. With this, I began my Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) with an Emphasis in Autism online through Ball State University. I graduated in 2020 and am currently completing my fieldwork experience hours so that I can sit for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) exam, hopefully later this year.


Abby Bourgoin '15

Today, I am teaching at an elementary school in a remote, fly-in community in Northwest Territories with a population of ~80 people. After completing my Bachelor of Kinesiology, I went on to complete a Masters in Professional Kinesiology. Although research and collecting data were an important role in this process, the children with exceptionalities I was working with and teaching during our research sessions stood out to me as my favourite part. This led me to the profession of teaching. Living and teaching in a remote community has allowed me to merge my passion for Kinesiology and desire to educate others. My knowledge has given me the confidence and knowledge needed to help encourage community members to be active and provide unique opportunities for my student to be physically active. Land-based culture and learning is central to our school and my students have taught me the importance of outdoor physical activity, I am learning everyday how interconnected the world of educating and Kinesiology are. I can’t wait to see where this role takes me next!


Kayla Crocker ' 14

I’m currently living in Toronto, Ontario and loving every moment.  I moved here to complete my Master of Professional Kinesiology. I didn’t have much of a plan beyond that, but life has a funny way of working out! I’ve always had a passion for working with children and youth in the sport and physical activity space.  Throughout my Master’s program, I got to explore this field further with the placements I took on. Now, I work with an amazing team of individuals for BOKS (Build Our Kids’ Success) Canada. We are a charity focused on providing free bilingual programming designed to get kids moving and establish a lifelong commitment to health and fitness. I’m the Regional Coordinator for Central Canada. My role is to support, manage and engage schools and communities in Ontario, Manitoba, Northwest Territories and Nunavut as they bring the BOKS program to their own communities.


Nick Phillips '19

2 years post-graduation, Acadia Kinesiology has proven itself to be the strong foundation necessary for me to take off in the professional world. The practical skills developed through the Exercise Science & Training Practicum as well as the Strength & Conditioning program allowed me the confidence and suitable skill set to get into the world of outpatient physiotherapy. In some time, with leadership skills developed through many job opportunities and group collaboration efforts throughout my time at Acadia I have been able to secure a management position as the Clinical Team Lead for a physiotherapy clinic. In this time I have been able to reflect deeply on my time at Acadia and ultimately I credit the culture and ambitious mindset of all Acadia Kinesiology representatives for instilling the work ethic and skill set necessary to tackle life post-graduation.


Kassandra Hawker '09

I am currently a Masters of Social Work and a supervisor with Department of Community Services, Child Welfare. I supervise a team of six social workers who work with families and their children. My team focuses on reuniting and rehabilitating families who have been separated as a result of issues like addiction, mental health, family violence and complex trauma. My team also helps support children in the temporary care and custody of the Minister (the province) to get them back home safely, with their families.

I love the work that I do and feel confident in saying that the Kinesiology at Acadia University was the first step in securing my passion.


Matthew Arnott '15

Since graduating from Acadia, I have gone on to complete my Doctor of Chiropractic from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC) in Toronto. Last spring, I was awarded a scholarship from CMCC which allowed me to build protected clean water spring and sanitation station in a small village in Uganda in partnership with The Ryan’s Well Foundation.

I have since returned to Ontario and am working in a private practice in Ottawa. I am enjoying the challenges of building a practice, managing cases and finding time for a personal life and giving back.

I often reminisce about the incredible mentors, classes, and memories from my time at Acadia. I encourage any student looking to apply to east coast schools to put Acadia at the top of their list. I truly feel Acadia gave me the education, opportunities, and skills to succeed after graduation -- I look forward to the day when I can return for a long overdue visit.