Joanna Halpern grew up Modern Orthodox in Calgary, one of the few religious Jews in her age group. For her last two years of high school, she convinced her parents to support her in moving to Toronto so that she could attend Ulpanat Orot High School for Girls and be immersed in a strong modern orthodox community. After high school, she went on to learn at Midreshet Moriah in Jerusalem for a year. She is now in her senior year of software engineering at McGill University in Montreal and is very involved in her Jewish community there. She is the founder and president of JQueer, a community for LGBTQ Jewish young adults.