Who We Are

Who We Are

Northern Youth Abroad (NYA) is a registered not-for-profit charitable organization (Registered Charity # 86530 5791 RR0001) that cultivates youth leadership, individual career goals, cross-cultural awareness, and international citizenship amongst youth from Nunavut and the Northwest Territories aged 15-22. The program strengthens the self-identity and cultural understanding of its Participants and enhances their participation and success in the school system by providing a life-changing and life-directing experience relevant to the needs and aspirations of Northern youth.

Originally piloted in 1998 as the Nunavut Youth Abroad Program (NYAP), our organization has grown steadily over the years. In January 2005, the organization expanded its programming into the NWT. In 2006, it underwent an official name change to Northern Youth Abroad. In our first year we selected 10 Participants from approximately 20 applications. For the 2014 program, we selected over 50 Participants from both Nunavut and the NWT from more than 220 applications. This growth illustrates the success and impact our programming is having in the north.

NYA has four full-time staff members, a northern based Board of Directors, and many dedicated volunteers throughout Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and southern Canada. NYA’s dedicated board of directors contains a strong contingent of well-respected northern educators, and increasingly program alumni, who are able to guide the organization from an experienced perspective.

Since the initial pilot program in 1998, we have successfully supported more than 415 northern youth in defining and achieving their education and career goals. Our alumni boast significantly higher than average high school graduation rates and many have continued their education at Nunavut Sivuniksavut in Ottawa, Arctic and Aurora Colleges, as well as at colleges and universities across the country.


Rebecca Bisson
Executive Director

Nick Pelletier
Program Officer

Kira Zanyk Davey
Program Officer

Penny Dominix-Nadeau
Administrative Assistant

Ben Sharpe
Program and Communications Officer

Nick Gregg
Program Assistant

Check out our staff members’ full bios

Board of Directors

Karen Aglukark – Iqaluit, NU

Vinnie Karetak – Iqaluit, NU
Vice Chair, Past Chair

Lois Philipp – Fort Providence, NT
Past Chair, Member-at-Large

Mo Sottile – Ottawa, ON

Denise Cooper – Baker Lake, NU
Director, Nunavut Coordinator

Aaron Wells – Yellowknife, NT
Director, NWT Coordinator

Andrea Mackie – Fort Saskatchewan, AB
Director, Canadian Program Coordinator

Kristen Sawyers – Rankin Inlet, NU
Director, International Program Coordinator

Sam Mantla – Gameti, NT
Director, Alumni Member

Kevin Iksiktaaryuk – Baker Lake, NU
Director, Member-at-Large