Hoop dancer, teenage science whiz among Future 40 finalists

The final 10 CBC Manitoba Future 40 finalists for 2017 include 17-year-old science whiz, a Swampy Cree and Aninishinaabe hoop dancer and eight other movers and change-makers in the province.

Plant and lake scientists, inner-city sports organizer make the list

Your final 10 Future 40 finalists for 2017. Top row, left-right: Justin Lin, Alexis Kanu, Jonathan Torchia, Chino Argueta and Navdeep Tangri. Bottom row, left-right: Corey Mohr, Taylor Morriseau, Demitre Serletis, Robert Duncan and Shanley Spence. (Submitted)

The final 10 CBC Manitoba Future 40 finalists for 2017 include 17-year-old science whiz, a Swampy Cree and Aninishinaabe hoop dancer and eight other movers and change-makers in the province.

Thirty finalists have been released in sets of 10 each day between Monday and Wednesday this week:

Select finalists will also be featured on CBC's Information Radio with host Marcy Markusa, Radio Noon with host Marjorie Dowhos, Up to Speed with host Ismaila Alfa and the Weekend Morning Show with Nadia Kidwai. A handful of finalists will also appear on the supper-hour television cast of CBC Winnipeg News at 6 p.m. CT.

The 2017 CBC Manitoba Future 40 finalists are invited to celebrate tonight at a networking event, portions of which will be streamed live Thursday during the CBC Winnipeg News at 6 p.m. CT.

Here's your last round of Future 40 finalists:

Justin Lin

Age: 17

Category: Science and Technology

Justin Lin was nominated in the Science and Technology. (Submitted)

He may not yet be able to get into a bar, but Justin Lin already has a promising future in science and medicine waiting for him. 

"Science is something that has interested me since I was really young," said Lin, 17. "It's just amazing how we can make sense of our world ... and help other people recover from diseases that, say, maybe 400 years ago they may not of."

Lin said he was honoured to learn he made the final cut of Future 40 finalists — and surprised to hear he was the youngest of the bunch.

"I was ecstatic," he said, adding he was impressed by the many accomplishments of the dozens of nominees. "I was just astounded by what these young individuals are doing for Manitoba and helping make our province a better place."

All I can say is that I know I am going to stay really motivated by my desire to help others and by my desire to use science in particular to see how I can make the world a better place.- Justin Lin

Lin has been doing research on Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, for the past two years. He helped design techniques for targeting the misfolding of proteins linked to ALS, while at the same time founding his high school's science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) club.

Lin placed second at the national Sanofi Biogenius Canada (SBC) competition and won gold and a Youth Can Innovate Award at the Canada-Wide Science Fair (CWSF). 

He's also a recipient of the Leaders of Tomorrow Entrance Scholarship offered by the University of Manitoba, one of only six students to earn the honour annually.

Lin's first year at the University of Manitoba just got underway, although he is mostly enrolled in second-year science classes because he was able to claim some advanced placement credits. ​

Looking ahead, he says he may pursue a career in medicine or medical research. If things go in the latter direction, Lin says he wants to focus on translational research that takes lessons learned in the lab and applies them in a hospital setting.

"That is really what interests me because I can see the most direct effect on how my research has an impact on the real world," Lin said.

"All I can say is that I know I am going to stay really motivated by my desire to help others and by my desire to use science in particular to see how I can make the world a better place — whether that's in a hospital or whether that's on the bench in a research lab."

(Nominee profiles below were provided by nominators.)

Robert Duncan

Age: 38

Category: Science and Technology

Robert Duncan was nominated in the Science and Technology category. (Submitted by Fouad Daayf)

Robert is an associate professor and plant breeder in the department of plant science at the University of Manitoba. Rob completed his PhD at the University of California and then moved to Texas A&M University where he was the State Wheat and Oilseed Specialist. In 2012, Rob returned home to lead the Brassica Breeding program.

He has since then released/co-released eight cultivars of wheat, oat, common bean and high erucic acid rapeseed, which are grown by farmers across the U.S. and western Canada. Rob was the first Canadian to be recognized with the Early Career Scientist Award by the National Association of Plant Breeders and won multiple teaching awards, including "Professor of the Year" in the faculty of agricultural and food sciences.

Alexis Kanu

​Age: 37

Category: Leadership

Alexis Kanu is nominated in the Leadership category. (Submitted by Brendan Mulligan)

Dr. Alexis Kanu is an experienced non-profit leader and change-maker, passionate about building unlikely connections to achieve uncommon impact in Manitoba's water sector.

As Executive Director of the Lake Winnipeg Foundation, Alexis transformed a volunteer-run, cottager-focused organization into a nationally-recognized non-profit that links academic expertise with active citizenship to develop innovative solutions. She continually strengthens relationships between individuals and institutions to make Manitoba's future brighter and better."

Corey Mohr

Age: 38

Category: Community, Social Activism and Volunteerism

Corey Mohr is nominated in the Community, Social Activism and Volunteerism category. (Submitted by Sara Duquette)

Corey is working to help change the lives of the poorest residents of Winnipeg. He works one-on-one with residents to help solve complex issues, while also creating a resource centre that brings in people to provide services such as employment counselling, health care and addiction counselling. Corey is a founder and current board member for the Health Care Co-op Federation of Canada and is also on the Manitoba Cooperative Association's Board.

Corey also developed the youth programming at Gilbert Park Going Places, which has helped hundreds of youth in the area gain access to a wide variety of programs ranging from beading, peer mentoring, and drop-in counselling. In 2014 and 2015, Corey coordinated a community pow wow that had over 850 participants. Youth from Gilbert Park Going Places designed and created their traditional dresses to use in the ceremony.

Shanley Spence

Age: 25

Category: Arts, Culture and Entertainment

Shanley Spence is nominated in the Arts, Culture and Entertainment category. (Submitted by Krista Anderson)

Shanley Spence is a 25-year-old Swampy Cree and Aninishinaabe woman, a recent graduate of International Development Studies. She is a recognized hoop dancer who has danced on several platforms, including at folklorama, a variety of nationwide and international performances, as well as at schools, conferences and workshops. Most recently she travelled to the Gathering of Nations where she won second runner-up for Miss Indian World.

She is a cultural ambassador and motivational speaker, a community activist, and has won the Aboriginal Youth Achievement Award for Artistic Performance, the community champion award for volunteerism, the Anita Neville Member of Parliament Award and is one of the most lovely, active and beautiful women. She is proudly indigenous and a vibrant member of our community.

Jonathan Torchia

Age: 30

Category: Sports and Recreation

Jonathan Torchia is nominated in the Sports and Recreation category. (Submitted by Sheila Howe)

As founder and director of the WFPS Race in support of the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Jonathan elevates and inspires the running collective across Manitoba to give back to self and to others. He is dedicated to leading our community as a run coach, a volunteer and a full time Paramedic and First Aid Trainer.

After learning about the West Broadway Youth Outreach running program, Jonathan rallied runners from across the city to donate over 300 pairs of shoes to deserving inner city kids in need. And while his passion for connection and coaching drives his unique ability to lift everyone around him to great personal growth, his own running achievements are a testament to his strength and leadership. He finished the Ironman Arizona, Ironman 70.3 in Calgary and organized and led the lululemon Global Ambassador experience in Vancouver.

Taylor Morriseau

Age: 23

Category: Science and Technology

Taylor Morriseau is nominated in the Science and Technology category. (Submitted by Ashley Daniels)

At only 23, Taylor Morriseau has a Double Honours degree in Microbiology and Genetics, is now completing her Masters in Pharmaceutical and Therapeutics, and is researching Type 2 Diabetes in Oji-Cree youth. She's worked with NSERC's Create H20 program for First Nations water and sanitation. She is a role model, not only because she's my mentor, but her love of science has inspired myself and others to consider a career in science.

Taylor's received an Indigenous Student Award of Excellence from the University of Manitoba, is a Rhode's Scholar finalist and earned a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) undergrad research award. Her community work includes mentoring for both Children Rising Mentorship and Indigenous Neechiwaken Peer Mentor Program, a leader for Let's Talk Science, and a member of the Indigenous Circle of Empowerment.

Chino Argueta

Age: 31

Category: Sports and Recreation

Chino Argueta is nominated in the Sports and Recreation category. (Submitted by Carolyn Trono)

Chino is a quiet leader who doesn't take the centre stage but gets lots done working in partnership with others. Over the past 10 years, he has worked tirelessly to increase access to sport and recreation for inner city and under-served youth. Chino led the first city-wide initiative to give under-served kids across Winnipeg access to quality sports programs.

He also played a key support role in the University of Winnipeg mini soccer program, which allows inner city kids to play an organized version of mini soccer at the RecPlex. This was also offered at Central Park. He's worked with Manitoba Soccer Association and Winnipeg Youth Soccer Association to address issues of access for inner city – and pockets of poverty throughout Winnipeg, addressing fees, transportation and coaching.

Demitre Serletis

Age: 38

Category: Science and Technology

Demitre Serletis is nominated in the Science and Technology category. (Submitted)

Dr. Serletis is the director of epilepsy surgery for the new pediatric epilepsy and pediatric neurosurgery program at the Children's Hospital in Winnipeg.

Demitre has brought comprehensive epilepsy services to Manitoba, including the development of a brand new epilepsy monitoring unit for children, and has advanced innovative surgical treatments for epilepsy in the province. As a result, pediatric patients and their families no longer need to wait for lengthy and costly out-of-province referrals for their epilepsy care.

Navdeep Tangri

Age: 37

Category: Science and Technology

Dr. Navdeep Tangri is a medical researcher at Seven Oaks General Hospital and an associate professor in the University of Manitoba Faculty of Medicine. (Seven Oaks General Hospital)

At 37 years old, Navdeep is a rising star internationally in the science of disease risk prediction. Using mathematical modelling of large amounts of population health data, he discovered the key indicators leading to kidney failure and created the Kidney Failure Risk Equation (KFRE). The equation, published and validated in scientific journals — including Journal of the American Medical Association — is now used globally to determine which patients need to be treated aggressively by specialists and which patients can be followed by their family physician.

In many jurisdictions the KFRE is now a requirement for medical insurance reimbursement. In Manitoba, which has the highest kidney failure rates in Canada, the KFRE is being used to screen and treat residents in remote and northern communities where there is elevated incidence of diabetes, hypertension and kidney disease.

Dr. Tangri is a prolific researcher and one of only two Manitobans granted a multi-year Foundation Grant from the Canadian Institute of Health Research in 2017. Recently he was approached by Mayo Clinic for his risk prediction expertise.