About Us

Being and Becoming: A Community for the Curious is a Toronto based non-profit. We aim to create community around exploring everyday concepts and experiences so that we may live more intentional, thoughtful, and meaningful lives. We use philosophy as a tool with which we can come to a richer understanding of the world around us.

By offering activities, spaces, and other opportunities for conversation and co-exploration, we hope to enable the meeting and fusion of individuals and their ideas. Everyone is welcome, regardless of background: indeed, we believe the journey is best undertaken alongside explorers from a variety of disciplines, cultures, backgrounds, and experiences.

Our Core Team

Sofia Panasiuk
President & Treasurer

Sofia is a PhD student at the University of Toronto studying well-being and happiness. She’s interested in bridging philosophy and psychology in conceptualizing what the “good life” is in theory and practice. When she’s not doing her doctoral research, she’s either listening to a history podcast, trying out a new recipe, or having a long conversation with a friend. She’s currently getting into bouldering and generally thrives whenever mountains, hiking and climbing are involved.

Marybel Menzies
Vice-President & Chair

Marybel is a PhD Student at the University of Toronto in the Department of Philosophy. She is most curious about what the nature of consciousness is, whether or not consciousness has value for the person who has it, and how our evaluative tendencies can influence our first-person conscious experiences. More broadly, she is interested in all questions to do with the mind, ethics, and psychology, and how science can inform those questions. For fun, she enjoys swimming, hiking, biking, cooking, travelling, and listening to music. Name an activity, and she would probably enjoy it!

Sophia Whicher
Director of Community Programs

Sophia just completed her Masters in Philosophy from the University of Toronto. Outside of her work with Being and Becoming, she is currently channeling her love for Philosophy into leading tutorials and grading papers for undergraduate philosophy courses at the University of Toronto. Sophia enjoys all things that make her life sparkle, including long conversations, teaching, eating good food, and sharing experiences with her loved ones. Right now, she is most curious about the relationship between love and individual and collective liberation.

Heidi Knechtel
Director of Marketing

Heidi is a lifelong lover of wisdom and will be pursuing her MA in Philosophy at the University of Toronto. She is curious about the moral and existential value of love, the phenomenology of French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and how philosophy can help people find and create meaning in their everyday lives. Outside of philosophy, Heidi works as a sexual health educator at the University of Toronto and Western University. In her free time, she enjoys reading novels, baking for her loved ones, and collecting all things pink.

Zachary Grey
Director of Research & Development

Zach is a PhD student studying the social psychology of morality. He is particularly interested in the topic of moral disagreement. He is a self-described “learnaholic”, spending much of his free time invested in learning more about different topics that catch his attention. Zach’s hobbies are listening to podcasts about philosophy, psychology, and behavioural science; watching educational youtube videos and documentaries; and consuming stories, regardless of the medium (books, poems, movies, plays and musicals, video games, etc.).

Adrian Ma
Director of Communications

Adrian has a background in English literature and philosophy, and he does various forms of creative writing, including novels, essays, short stories, and poems. He is curious about life’s big questions broadly defined, including perennial questions about existence, meaning, death, love, beauty, and goodness, among other things. Adrian likes nothing better than a good conversation, and he is interested in how honest and genuine communication can make disagreements more productive and less toxic.

Dylan Michels
Director of People & Operations

Dylan’s academic journey spans Sociology, Criminology, Continental Philosophy, Industrial Relations, and Human Resources. Currently, Dylan contributes to The University of Toronto, where he plays a pivotal role in faculty recruitment and retention. His professional trajectory is underpinned by a commitment to nurturing spaces for challenging dialogues, recognizing them as vital catalysts for personal and collective growth. Outside of academia he immerses himself in literature, embraces the great outdoors through hiking, camping, and mountain climbing, and finds strength and balance through activities like bouldering and weightlifting.