Yolanda Butt
Jennifer Boisvert
Alejandra Estella Park
Rochelle Martin


Yolanda Butt is a dedicated individual with education, experience and personal characteristics that capture the essence of the Soroptimist spirit. Her desire to become a physician stems from her vision of medicine as education, education of the patient to restore physical and psychosocial wellbeing. Her own education has included a Bsc in Pharmacology and Therapeutics, an MA in Family Studies, and an Associateship in piano performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music of Toronto.

Her research in women’s health has promoted issues relevant to women, such as evaluating the effectiveness of an anaesthetic technique called the retromammary block to decrease pain for women undergoing breast biopsy, and researching the use of hormone therapy for perimenopausal women. Her graduate research examines the effect of breast feeding on marital satisfaction and family functioning.

Yolanda was born and raised in British Columbia, and will start this fall in medicine at the University of British Columbia. Her hope is to pursue a specialty in reproductive psychiatry.


Jennifer has a personal background that has made her aware of the need and importance of feminist teaching, research and clinical practice to help women with eating disorders. In 1996 she received a BA (Honours) in Psychology from the University of Alberta. While there, she worked as a Lifeguard instructor at the Edmonton YMCA, discovering a strong sense of personal strengths, creative abilities, and leadership qualities.

Following graduation, she worked at the Hope Foundation of Alberta as Hope Scholar, and recently accepted responsibility for writing regularly for the Psychologist Association of Alberta in the “Women in Psychology Education”, on “Parenting a Child with an Eating Disorder” and “Body Image and Self Esteem”.

Her plan for the Grant is to pursue a doctorate in Clinical Psychology, and to combine clinical practice with research.


Alejandra born in Argentina of a Korean background, immigrated to Canada in 1980, to Toronto. As a child, she developed a consciousness from the experience of witnessing the powerless role of women in a male dominated ethnic culture, and has led to a desire to advocate on behalf of women. She works from an understanding of gender inequality and the numerous social issues that confront women in law and human rights.

As a volunteer, she has worked for Korean immigrant women as an assistant in the office of the Status of Women. She is currently Duty Counsel at the Community Legal Aid Services Program.

Although faced with financial difficulties, she is determined to pursue her studies. She has already in 1998 completed a Bachelor of Arts, Honours, in Women’s Studies from York University, then a two year MA in Women’s Studies. At present she is enrolled in Osgood Law School, entering her second year September 2001. She plans to make a difference in the lives of women, and to advocate on behalf of women who have been victims of violence.


Rochelle Martin, born in Indiana, USA, came to Canada because her mother is Canadian. Rochelle came in 1991 to study nursing at McMaster University, and met her husband there. Since graduation, she has worked as a nurse therapist with female survivors of childhood sexual abuse, and with women in the eating disorders program of Toronto General Hospital. During this work, she became more aware of the need of women in today’s world for healing and transformation in order to integrate body, mind and spirit. As a volunteer, she was conflict mediator in a Victim Offender reconciliation program, Big Sister to a 3 Volume 6, number 1, Fall 2001 October, 2001 disabled child, and Lifeskills instructor for the March of Dimes.

She has started graduate studies at the University of Toronto, toward a Master of Divinity degree. Her goal is to work more specifically with women’s spiritual issues combining her psychiatric nursing experience with a pastoral career as a hospital or community mental health chaplain.

She says “ My philosophy of spiritual care is rooted in a profound respect for women’s search for meaning and integrity, and is characterized by an openness to all faiths and values systems. Whether struggling with depression, an eating disorder, or an experience of loss, my professional training would allow me to assist other women in their journeys toward hope and wholeness.”

With this award, Rochelle will be able to continue her study on a full time basis instead of part time. She will now have to juggle only motherhood to a little girl and full time study, instead of work, study, and parenthood.

Rochelle attended the Awards Dinner on June 20, 2001, in Hamilton, for Dundas Ancaster, Hamilton, Stoney Creek and Grimsby clubs. At this event, she received recognition of her achievement in winning a $7,500 Grant for Women. Chair Jean of the Soroptimist Foundation was present to introduce Rochelle. Rochelle spoke of her work, and in thanking the Soroptimist Foundation of Canada, said the “concept of supporting women who want to work with women in wonderful.” In her thank you note, she added, “It is my hope that your investment in my education will assist many other women as well, through my work as a hospital chaplain, upon completion of my degree.”

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