I'm a woman who cares deeply about young people and nature.
I am a professional who's dedicated to improving the world we live in.
I'm an author who has stories to share.
I collaborate with community based, governmental, and non-governmental institutions. Together, we build knowledge that has real life applications.
I enable young people of all ages to have a voice. I work with adults so that they learn how to listen and take them seriously.
I design and deliver university level courses on various topics related to climate change, nature and childhood, research ethics, and research methodologies.
I provide guidance and support to undergraduate and graduate students and young professionals.
I write academic research, technical reports, and science fiction for young adults.
I share my struggles and accomplishments hoping to inspire people of all ages to thrive in historical and personal times of crisis.
I was born in Milan, Italy in the late 1960s. I left my beautiful, complex, imperfect home, when I immigrated to Canada in 1994. I was 27 years old then, and brought with me nothing more than a couple of suitcases, a handful of cash and the dream of an independent and fulfilling life. I had no idea how difficult leaving a familiar language, my culture, and all my friends and family behind would prove to be. Thanks goodness for that, or I would have never left!
When people ask me: “Why did you leave such a beautiful country?” I smile and say,
“To find a good job.”
But the truth is that I needed to take some
distance from a not so great childhood.
It is only looking back with my adult eyes that I could finally see how profoundly I suffered growing up.
I experienced various forms of abuse from a very
young age. I remember being in high school and having the impression that time had stopped and I was stuck in hell for eternity. Mostly that was due to problems I had with learning, which also impacted my social life, something I understood much later in life. But also because I experienced the loss of a parent at a key time in my development. My father died when I was 14 years old of a sudden illness, and while I could not make any sense to what I was living through at the time, the anxiety I experienced was all consuming and made that time of my life very difficult.
I didn’t have much going for myself then. Except that I had a vivid imagination, and a mother who believed in me.
Somehow I made it through high school. Yes, I had to repeat a year and be in remedial summer school in every single grade, but at the end I persevered and did not drop out. In my final year, I had made up my mind that I wanted to go to university to study child psychology. My mother consulted with the principal at my school, just to see what advice she might have for me, and this is what the principal told her:
“Miss Maggi, your daughter is no material for university.
You’ll waste your money if you send her.”
Since that day more than 30 years have passed, and during that time I earned a BA Honours, a Masters degree, and a PhD from prestigious universities. Today, I am a respected professor at a Canadian university and a productive researcher.
This begs the question
How did I get here, considering where I started from?
I believe the turning point for me was that my mom didn’t listen to the principal's advice, but choose to believe in me instead.
Largely because of that, I committed to never give up working towards what really mattered to me. The path that led me where I am today has been mostly uphill, not linear as trajectories are often depicted, but filled with detours, twists and turns, and challenges so big that would make me question whether I had what it takes to become the person I was so committed in becoming.
Today, I have come to realize that the path to self-actualization never ends; that is it all about the path. I've also learned how to travel through this journey so that it feels less painful, scary, exhausting and I acquired skills and knowledge that allow me to make my life's journey more rewarding, fulfilling, and exciting than it has ever been.
I have dedicated my career to improving the lives of young people. I have a feeling that my choice of work has something to do with where I come from, like it often does. Having experienced adversity first hand, I have a strong personal motivation to making sure that young people are given what they deserve to grow into the person they are meant to be.
I use every means I have to try and make a difference in young people's lives. I do so in my work as a researcher and educator; with my company as an entrepreneur; and as an author, writing stories about the future to inspire young people's minds and hearts.
My past is a very important part of my journey and I will never deny it. But I choose not to be defined by it and instead to orient myself towards the future.
We live in extraordinary times, and with that comes opportunities and great potential for change. I want to be part of the change that humanity must undertake if it wants to thrive. And I am committed to contribute any way I can to the becoming of a better humanity.