Calling Danica Facca influential is accurate – but also doesn’t quite capture all that she does for graduate students and the broader Western community. She isn’t just ‘influencing’, she is intentionally directing her energy and effort to advancing a vision for Western that is more inclusive, intersectional and student-centric.
Danica knows Western like the back of her hand. After completing her undergraduate, master’s and now working towards her doctorate degree for a combined total of 8 years in London and counting, Danica is an expert on all things academics and student life.
In her current position as the Vice President Academic of the Society of Graduate Students, Danica supports graduate students in their academic pursuits as well as oversees SOGS’ official podcast and radio show GradCast. Dedicating her spare time to helping others is nothing new for Danica, while she was still an undergraduate student she held numerous leadership positions in ‘Learning it Together’: a student-led health promotion mentorship program for elementary grade children in London, serving as Director in her fourth year where she restructured its programming to focus on digital literacy.
As an academic, Danica’s unique focus lies in digital health. Specifically, she studies the acquisition, development and use of digital health literacy skills across the lifespan, with a specific focus on youth and collective action. Danica’s passion towards this research is what has allowed her to publish on topics related to ethical surveillance, digital health literacy, digital health technologies, and theorizations of voice in qualitative research. Her dedication to this newly emerging field of digital health inspires me in my personal career journey, and I have every confidence her work will shape the way many people interact with technology and approach their health in the near future.
Few graduate student leaders who hope to work within the realm of post-secondary education would speak with administrators about the current quality of education as honestly and transparently as Danica does. As someone who holds her equivalent role from the undergraduate perspective and who works closely with her, I can say this only works to the benefit of Danica and her constituents. Given her deep understanding of academia, especially in the digital space, Danica’s perspective is immensely valued and respected by students and Western administrators alike.
On the files we share, Danica has been a collaborative partner who never fails to push for what is best for students. From the use of remote proctoring softwares to the introduction of open access and open educational resources, she and I are often the only student voices at the table, and I am continuously thankful for our positive working relationship that allows us to present a unified perspective on the student experience. I am honoured to work alongside Danica, as she is not only a talented researcher but has also been an incredible mentor and friend.
Danica’s commitment to bettering academics and student life is admirable. Beyond her commitments with SOGS, as a teaching assistant and researcher, she tirelessly works to improve the quality of education for so many students, and the graduate community is so lucky to have such an eloquent and fierce advocate working in their best interest. In a year full of unprecedented decisions, Danica’s expertise and influence has been instrumental in aligning the student vision with that of faculty and administration so our needs can be reflected in broad-scale decisions. I am continually impressed by her drive in both her personal and professional aspirations and I am confident that she will continue to redefine the post-secondary sector to inspire the next generation of female leaders and educators.