Since its inception, the Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies has been a vibrant space for all UFV students to be a part of. Our students have been involved with the CICS through their volunteering, research assistanships, work study positions, internships and practicums. Because of their immense hard work and efforts, many of our students have been involved in some amazing research projects, eventually earning them the annual undergraduate excellence award awarded by the Research and Graduate Studies Office.


Suhail Shaikh

Position: Research Assistant

Year: Summer 2014


Suhail has been working on a number of projects for the CICS including beginning his work as a volunteer and helping with the 100 Year Pioneer Project and the online publishing of South Asian pioneers and their stories in the Fraser Valley. In addition, Suhail has also been helping to prepare the Canadian Sikhs in WWI exhibition which will be launched in January 2015. 

Bharat 2014

Bharat Nayyar

Position: Research Assistant

Year: Winter 2014 and Summer 2014

Hi my name is Bharat Nayyar. I’m a 3rd year Business student and recently transferred to Canada in fall 2013. I’m doing my major in Finance. Coming to Canada is one of the best things that has happened to me. This has given me a chance to explore what exists beyond my home country “India.” I had never thought of studying abroad but UFV Chandigarh provided me and other students a chance to be here. My job at the CICS has been helping me to gain knowledge about the South Asian community living in Canada. I learn something new whenever I listen to an interview of a pioneer who has so much to share about his/her experience on coming here, settling in this country and working with Canadians. 

Karan Vohar

Karan Vohra

Position: Research Assistant

Year: Fall 2013

I am a 3rd Year Business student. This is my first time in Canada and I am really looking forward to a very enriching experience here. Debating, playing basketball and driving are my favourite stress busters. Far away from home, this is now a new challenge for me. Hope I do well and meet a lot of interesting people like you all. Kudos!


‌ Donna Gomes

Donna Gomes

Position: Research Assistant

Year: Summer 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014

Donna has a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and English Literature and is currently enrolled as a Library and Information Technology student. She has worked for the Center for Indo-Canadian studies as a research student over the summer and fall of 2013 working with historical primary documents. During the summer she created subject and key word headings and abstracts for two hundred and fifty newspaper articles from 1906 to 1915 donated to the center by Dr. Norman Buchignani and designed an online database to make them widely accessible. The newspaper articles offer incredible insight into the many hurdles the first South Asian immigrants to B.C. faced and the discriminatory immigration laws that placed an embargo on further immigration. A historical events covered in the newspaper articles include the building of the first Sikh temple in B.C., the amendment to the voting act that disenfranchised South Asian immigrants, and the Komagata Maru incident. The database is now accessible through the CICS website and is available to students and the public for research purposes. During the fall she will be working with a collection of documents donated to the center that belonged to Dr. D. P. Pandia, an Indian lawyer who came to B.C. in the 1930s and 1940s. Dr. Pandia was instrumental in winning the fight to get the franchise reinstated for South Asian immigrants in Canada. He also assisted many South Asian immigrants to fight deportation proceedings and to successfully apply to bring their families to Canada. Over the fall semester she will be creating an index of the documents, subject and key word headings, abstracts, and creating an online database to make them widely available for research. "Working for the Center for Indo-Canadian Studies has been an amazing experience. The environment is welcoming and stimulating. Everyone is passionate about their work and the research projects I've worked on have been fascinating and both professionally and personally rewarding."

Ankita Garg 

Ankita Garg

Position: Work Study

Year: Fall 2013

I am a fourth year Business student at UFV with marketing majors. I just took transfer from Chandigarh to the Canadian campus. My main reason of coming and studying overseas is to explore and grab as many opportunities as I can. I have always aspired working under Ms. Satwinder Bains and being a part of CICS as it would give me great working experience. I hope to learn and help the organization with full determination and best of my efforts.


 Divya Sharma

Divya Sharma

Position: Work Study

Year: Fall 2013

I am a student from the Chandigarh campus of this university and I have completed my three years of education in Chandigarh and this year I took a transfer to the Canadian campus. Now, here I am in Canada trying to start a new life far away from home. I am a very cheerful person I like to meet new people make new friends.


Deepi Dolla


Deepi Dolla

Position: CICS Special Events Assistant, Volunteer

Year: September 2010-2012

Over the past few years I have worked and volunteered with CICS to help plan and set up several different events including: Virasat Pioneer Gala and Conference, Diwali and Holi celebrations, International Women's Day and Chai Times, amongst many others. My experience with the Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies has always been a memorable and enjoyable one. I have had the opportunity to meet many different people and learn so much in the process.



Rasleen Uppal

Position: Work-Study Research Assistant

Year: Winter 2013

As a research assistant she worked on several projects. Some of them included researching and creating a database of different Canadian businesses who are working with India , editing a bibliography, gathering and editing information on the Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies website, and organizing articles related to the Komagata Maru. The part which she really enjoyed and learnt a lot from was the research portion as it taught her how to use different databases and what the future relationship between Canada and India’s businesses may look like.



Suman Lally

Position: Work- study research assistant

Year: Winter 2013, Fall 2013

Suman started volunteering at the Centre for Indo- Canadian Studies while she was in high school. When she started attending UFV, she became a little more involved and was given the position of a research assistant this year. Her work consisted of going through the Punjabi pioneer interviews and comprising a narrative with pictures for each person. She found this task very interesting because of all the stories she heard and the information she learned about our history. Suman thinks it’s very neat to be a part of this process in preserving personal stories so people in the future can learn more about their history.



Priyesh Naik

Position: Student Research Assistant

Year: 2012

He has sorted, catalogued and labeled source documents and provided key words and phrase that will be used to create a keyword search for articles that are to be placed on the website. He says that the Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies is a very welcoming place to work, everyone is willing to help and they are always ready to answer any questions you have. It has been an interesting experience for him to learn about how life was for the first immigrants in British Columbia.



Shea Wind

Position: Research Assistant

Year: 2012

As a Research Assistant for the Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies he was responsible for transcribing and thoroughly proofreading approximately news articles from 1906-1915, that were published in Vancouver’s The Daily Province newspaper.  The articles cover a number of news stories that display numerous attempts of British Columbians to repel Indian migration and the efforts of many Indo-Canadians to settle here and attain the rights that should have been guaranteed to them as British subjects.  These primary sources were donated to the Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies by Dr. Norman Buchignani, co-author of a “Continuous Journey: A Social History of South Asians in Canada.”  He also engaged in researching successful online cataloguing methods and developed a work plan for the following research assistant working on this project.



Tanvir Mavi

Position: Research assistant - Komagata Maru Project

Year: 2012

It was an amazing experience to work at the CICS, during this time I learned a lot about the history of Indians in Canada. What they had to go through, how they survived, and much more. I would love to work with CICS again.



Aman Dhami

Position: Research Assistant

Year: 2009 - 2011

I came to Canada in fall 2009 to continue by BBA studies from Chandigarh, India. I met Prof. Satwinder Bains on campus, who gave me the opportunity to work with CICS. I stared volunteering with CICS.  I made new friends and met with great people while organizing chai time, holi and other events at the CICS  through which I got the chance to attend the Mehfil Magazine  Gala in 2010, which was great experience. I got the opportunity to learn more about Canadian Sikhs by visiting the reach gallery museum.  Later I got a work study position at the CICS.  One day while working on Sikh pioneer interviews at the CICS, Prof. Bains offered me to work on a project for participating in Undergraduate Research in UFV. With Prof. Bains’s and Sharanjit’s guidance I was able to complete  my project “LIONS OF THE SEA”  A timeline of one hundred years of heritage  1911-2011  which  explores the challenges South Asians faced over their 100 year history in Canada as well as their contributions. I was also honoured to receive the Undergraduate Research Excellence Award for Indo‐Canadian Studies for the project at UFV.

“Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great.”  -Orison Swett Marden

This quote always encourages me every single time I read it. 2011 was the year when Gur Sikh temple, Abbotsford marks its 100th anniversary. CICS and Reach gallery organized Centennial conference at UFV.  I was lucky to meet great people from all over the world and learn about culture and religion.  Along with other students of SAPNA organizing conference and Prof. Rajnish guidance,  I got the opportunity to participated in  a play “Once upon a time in Kneda” which demonstrated the hard life of  Sikh pioneers in Canada.  While practicing the role of Sikh pioneer I learned how hard it was in old times to find work and settle in a new country without knowing the language.  Their hard work made so easy for future generation to settle in Canada. I was a great experience.

After graduating I got chance to work as research assistant at CICS. The first day I came to UFV everyone was stranger and in few months it became my second home.  Volunteering and working at CICS was great  gift. After learning about Sikh history in Canada and the experience I gained from the CICS I feel I grew up in the country  and was never actually from India.


Raji Heer

Position: Research Assistant

Year: 2009

In September 2009, Raji travelled to Punjabi, India under the leadership of Ms Satwinder Bains to conduct research on the Canadian Diaspora in India.  The purpose of her research was to interview Canadian citizens who had moved to India and find out their reasons of return to their homeland. The experience was enlightening to say the least.  She experienced a new India from the previous three trips she has made.  Travelling alone throughout Panjab on locals buses was daunting at first, but it just made her more confident. She formed some great friendships at the University of Panjab.  She became more confident and was able to develop interviewing skills, as well as interpersonal communication skills, which was an important component for this study. Raji would encourage every student to take advantage of international internships, because it builds your confidence and self esteem.  You build more connections, helping you become more successful in the future.

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