Kari Williams has been a lifelong resident of Kitchener-Waterloo. She has spent almost all of her 33 years living locally. She attended Christ Lutheran Elementary School until grade 8 and went on to attend Eastwood Collegiate Institute for her secondary schooling. She grew up in the Idlewood area of Kitchener. She also returned for a semester at Bluevale for other course offerings before being accepted to the Political Science program at Wilfrid Laurier University in 2006. She worked full time as a trainer at McDonald’s during the first 2 years of university and fully funded her own education.
Kari completed her Bachelor of Arts degree at Wilfrid Laurier University in 2010. She also completed a research specialization option and attended the Universidad Veracruzana in Mexico through the Languages and Literature program to increase her written and oral Spanish in 2008. She became a teacher’s assistant at the beginning of her 4th year of her undergraduate degree and held a role as a research assistant beginning in her third year. Kari went on to do research in both English and Spanish until she graduated in 2010, working closely with different professors and PhD candidates. One of her biggest accomplishments, besides graduating with distinction in the top 5% of her graduating class, was co-writing a report for the Council of Canadians with Dr. Alex Latta (Chilean Patagonia in the Balance: Dams, Mines, and the Canadian Connection https://canadians.org/sites/default/files/publications/patagonia-0112.pdf). This was her first publication.
Kari was accepted to the Master of Arts Program in Political Science at Wilfrid Laurier University and worked as a research assistant and a Teacher’s Assistant during her program. During her undergraduate and graduate studies, her main focus was social issues and indigenous movements. Most of her research and her writing is founded on grassroots and local initiatives. Her Master’s Thesis focussed on Conditional Cash Transfers as a Poverty Reduction strategy in Latin America. She has since worked with many other researchers doing a variety of projects. They included projects that looked at topics such as indigenous cooperation and shared resources in the Canadian Northern Territories, the 2014 municipal election (province wide analysis), trilateral agreements, and trade provisions for indigenous peoples in international trade agreements and organizations.
Kari is a very outgoing and adventurous person. She never shies away from a challenge in her personal or professional life. She spends a lot of time outdoors walking or biking our trails and natural areas in the region. She is a firm believer in environmental stewardship and the preservation of natural areas. She is a very active person. She recently completed the MudGirl 5km mud run in Hamilton which raised money for breast cancer. Some other volunteer positions Kari has held are the water conservation day at Pioneer Village and being a companion to children with different levels of cognitive and physical disabilities while she attended high school. Once she was in University, Kari volunteered with Laurier SOS on campus as the head tutor where she reviewed and edited exam review sessions for first and second year students, and she went abroad with organization in 2010 to build a school for a small village in Guatemala. She has also been a volunteer math and English tutor for multiple people in the community.
Kari is married with 2 children, ages 3 and 5, and owns a home in the Stanley Park area of Kitchener. She has maintained a lot of the original 1960s decor and fixtures in her home to preserve its charm. She has been married for 10 years this September and enjoys going to provincial parks and beaches with her family. She also spends a lot of time in her backyard and in her neighbourhood playing at the park with her kids. She loves to read and has read too many great books to list. She also likes to watch the news, movies, comedy television shows that get cancelled too soon, and attend concerts when she is able. Kari is very excited to take on this new challenge and is most looking forward to meeting new friends and neighbours.