Skip to main content

Our team

Meet the Financial Aid team

  • Debra White – Senior Financial Aid Officer

    Debra started her career at Durham College working in one of the entrepreneurial divisions at the Whitby Campus in 1995. In her role here, Debra learned the importance of maintaining safe work practices; something she was able to carry with her in all future roles.

    During her years at the college, Debra was able to advance through various positions, including working in the Dental Clinic, Academic Upgrading Office and the School of Interdisciplinary Studies. In 2010, Debra entered into the world of Financial Aid at our university, holding roles such as Financial Aid Assistant, University Works Co-ordinator and Financial Aid Officer. Currently, she is the Senior Financial Aid Officer for Student Awards and Financial Aid.

  • Melanie French – Financial Aid Officer

    Melanie grew up in Courtice and is a graduate of Durham College, where she received an advanced diploma in Business Administration-Human Resources Management and a diploma in Office Administration-Legal.

    She has over 15 years of work experience in post-secondary education in the areas of Financial Aid and Awards, Admissions, Records, and International and Continuing Education. She has held positions with Durham College and Fleming College.

    With the skillsets she received, she accepted a position with our university as a Financial Aid Assistant. Currently, Melanie holds a position as a Financial Aid Officer where she enjoys meeting with students one-on-one and helping them have the best experience while on their post-secondary journey.

    While not at work, Melanie enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She loves time away from the city where she enjoys cottage life in Haliburton.

  • Lisa Hopkins – Financial Aid Officer

    Lisa has worked at our university for 10 years. She is passionate about working with our students so much that—despite her role changing over the years—her interaction with students has not. Lisa goes above and beyond for students and enjoys making a difference in their university experience. Along with being compassionate and thoughtful, she values that every student's situation and story is different. Ultimately, Lisa is determined to make sure each student receives the support they need to successfully complete their university studies.

  • Denise Johnston – Financial Aid Officer

    Denise was born and raised in Toronto, graduating from high school with a strong interest in science. She believed in post-secondary education so much that she completed her entire degree as a part-time student while working full-time, being a wife and mother of two active children. She graduated from Trent University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology in 2007.

    She started with our university one month before we opened our doors in August 2003 in the IT department as a Level 1 Support Specialist. In 2005, she transitioned into a front-line position as a Financial Aid Assistant, where she served students compassionately and energetically for more than five years.  Since 2010, she has been assisting students as a Financial Aid Officer through understanding the OSAP process and helping them manage their personal finances. She also teaches college students year-round through the online platform of Ontario Learn.

    She is totally invested in her family, which include her husband, her two children—both alumni from our university—her two step-sons, four grandchildren, and her dog, Jo-Jo. She enjoys reading, listening to music, travelling, and home renovations—she has recently taken up ballroom dancing with her husband! She hopes her legacy is her passion to reduce her environmental footprint in all areas of her life, including trying to convince others to do the same—this includes supporting the World Wildlife Fund for more than 25 years.

  • Leticia Simon – Financial Aid Officer

    Leticia graduated with a Bachelor in Business Administration from the University of Santa Cruz do Sul in Brazil, and also has a Business Management Diploma from the Rio Grande do Sul Federal’s University.

    She moved to Canada in 2007 and started her Canadian work experience by attending the Enhanced Language Training program, where she had the opportunity of doing her work placement at Durham College. Before her placement finished, she was offered a contract position at our university in the Accounts Payable department and has held various other roles, including Accounts Receivable and Financial Aid Assistant. Leticia is currently a Financial Aid Officer, where she loves connecting with the students daily and assisting with their journey to completing a degree.

    When not at work, she likes to spend time with her family and take care of her houseplants, especially her orchids.


Meet the Student Awards team

  • Cory Lusted – Senior Awards Officer

    Having been part of the campus community for over 15 years, Cory brings an extensive knowledge of a variety of areas. From Athletics, and Admissions and Recruitment at Durham College—to Athletics, and Student Awards and Financial Aid at the university—Cory has done and seen a lot on this campus. He has the experience of being both an esteemed graduate of Durham College and a passionate employee of our university.

    When not involved in the world of Student Awards, Cory—a proud father, husband, brother, son and friend—can be found chauffeuring his three children where they need/want to be, or spending time with Trent and his pals at the gym. Life would not be complete without his daily fantasy sports fix or cheering on our hometown Maple Leafs and Blue Jays, as well as the Buffalo Bills. Let’s go, Ridgebacks!

  • Jennifer Racine – Student Awards Officer

    Jenn is passionate about creating processes that streamline service for students and staff alike. Always a multitasker, Jenn studied full time at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology for her Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) degree, while also completing her certificate in Multimedia Design from Durham College.

    Jenn held various positions through the University Works student employment program in the Student Accessibility Services office, Alumni Office, and Student Awards and Financial Aid (SAFA). Following graduation, Jenn utilized her technical background while working full-time in IT Services and soon accepted a position in the SAFA office. Jenn has held various roles including Student Awards Assistant, Financial Aid Officer and University Works Coordinator, and now acts as a Student Awards Officer.

  • Candice Krull – Student Awards Administrator

    Always a people person, Candice knew at a young age that she wanted to work with others to make a difference. As she grew up, she realized that working in the world of business would be a perfect fit. Before she graduated high school, she had already attended several local art shows with her first business venture, called Loveable Sock Monkeys. Continuing in the entrepreneurial spirit, Candice graduated from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) Degree in 2016.

    Candice has been working in the Office of the Registrar since 2013 when she was part of the University Works student employment program. As a student, she enjoyed being involved on campus as a student ambassador. Now a full-time staff member at the university, Candice stays involved by sitting on various office committees. Helping others has always been close to Candice’s heart. Being able to help guide students through their post-secondary journey is one of Candice’s favourite parts of her job.

    In her free time, Candice can be found sharing stories about her cat, Frankie, to whoever will listen.


Meet our Director

  • Susan Allward – Director, Integrated and Financial Services

    Susan has been working in post-secondary education since 1996. She is a passionate advocate for students, within the university and through provincial and federal student aid associations. Having been with the university from its inception, Susan started in Financial Aid, then Student Awards, later moving into management. Currently, her portfolio includes Information and Client Services, Student Awards and Financial Aid, and Student Communications.

    Outside of the office, Susan is kept busy with her husband, three children, three grandchildren and a terrier named Stella.


University of Ontario Institute of Technology logo