Fall/Winter 2020-2021 team
Julia Allworth – Manager, Innovation Projects
Julia is a leader, innovator and “intrapreneur” who specializes in design thinking, collaboration and related methodologies that strive to design programs with students rather than for them. As the Leader of the Innovation Hub at the University of Toronto, she works with hundreds of students, faculty and staff on campus to improve the community’s campus experience. Julia holds an MBA from the University of Fredericton in Global Leadership and a BA in Psychology from Western University. Julia has also served as the Secretary of the Council on Student Services and the Co-Chair of the Student Life Professionals community of practice at the University of Toronto. She has presented her work at various higher education conferences across North America and is currently writing a book about the application of design thinking in higher ed. Outside of her work, Julia is a single mom to 7-year-old twins Joshua and Victoria who are in second grade.
Kaitlyn Corlett – Senior Project Assistant
Kaitlyn Corlett (she/her/hers) has a Master of Education from OISE in Adult Education and Community Development. As the Senior Project Assistant, Kaitlyn supports the communication elements, oversees development of design elements at the IHub, ensures materials are accessible and supports project-based teams such as Stories from a Distance and Redefining Traditional. She also helps to strategize how the Innovation Hub can continue to develop innovate ways to engage in projects by students, for students. Originally from Vancouver, B.C., Kaitlyn likes to be in nature as much as she can. Lately, playing video games with her friends from many areas of the world and working on her design and arts practice have been amazing to dive into during these uncertain times.
Johanna Pokorny – Senior Research Assistant
Johanna recently completed a PhD in socio-cultural anthropology at UofT. Her research was on how neuroscience transforms our contemporary ideas of personhood and mental health—as in what does it mean to think that our brains are hardwired or dynamic and changeable? Johanna joined the Innovation Hub as a design-thinking researcher on the Presidential and Provostial Task Force on Student Mental Health project for which she translated student experiences into insights about how to create a culture of caring at UofT. This past summer, as the Ethnography and Insights Team Lead, Johanna led teams in the application of insight-driven analysis and ethnographic inquiry, a methodology uniquely suited to understanding today’s complex social issues. As Senior Research Assistant, Johanna continues to guide teams in transforming their research into strategic approaches to improving the UofT student experience. In her research and work with the Innovation Hub, Johanna is curious about the future of the university, education and knowledge, and how these continue to change with contemporary societal needs.
Philippa Gosine – Senior Research Assistant
Philippa is a PhD candidate in biomedical engineering, researching how the design of the built environment affects balance recovery. With experience as a teaching assistant with engineering design and communication courses and a peer advisor with Accessibility Services, she is passionate about using design thinking to improve the student experience. This summer, Philippa joined the Transforming the Instructional Landscapes (TIL) team as a design researcher, aiming to understand the experiences of students and instructors in the transition to remote learning. This year, she is excited to support the TIL and Robarts teams and oversee the design research process in her as Senior Research Assistant! Outside of school, she loves hiking, paddling, traveling, floral patterns, and trying new foods!
Ecem Sungur – Communications Specialist
Ecem Sungur is a Lester B. Pearson scholar and ambitious architecture student at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design. Believing that design is formed through diligent thinking, drafting, and adapting processes, she aspires to analyze and work on emerging technologies that can shape the future of design innovation. At the Innovation Hub, she aims to apply design thinking concepts to leadership, improve her professional profile as a globally oriented and interpersonal individual, and contribute to design production. Outside of school, work, and all-nighters, Ecem enjoys dancing, baking, playing the violin, and bringing her design ideas to life.
Cody Foo – Digital Storyteller
Cody Foo is a second year Master of Information student concentrating in User Experience Design at the UofT’s Faculty of Information. His BA in Architectural Design and Physical Geography was also received from the University of Toronto. He is excited to be joining the Innovation Hub as a Digital Storyteller, where he hopes to use his experience as a student and designer to make interesting and helpful graphics. He will contribute to the creation of digital content for the Innovation Hub’s website, reports, presentations and other materials. When not working or studying, Cody likes taking care of plants, exercising, and playing video and board games alike.
Mujgan Ozceylan – Digital Storyteller
Mujgan is a first year Master of Information student at UofT’s iSchool, specializing in User Experience Design. With her background in Law & Communication Studies, she is passionate about exploring social and ethical implications of emerging technologies and issues within design. As a Digital Storyteller, she takes a design thinking approach to develop communication strategy & creative content for making an impact on the UofT community by fostering meaningful connections. Originally from Istanbul, Mujgan loves traveling, capturing ordinary moments in life through photography, writing, and spending long hours in botanical gardens.
Sophia Kurtz – Digital Storyteller
Sophia Kurtz is a fourth-year, mechanical engineering student at UofT. Although she initially began her work at the Innovation Hub on the editing team, this year she eagerly returns to the Communications Team as a Digital Storyteller. She’s driven by the opportunity to help groups of students like her and to be a part of some positive campus change. In her free time, you can find Sophia on Spadina Ave, slowly eating her way through all the steamed buns and fried rice in Chinatown.
Betelehem Gulilat – Writer
Betelehem is a second year PharmD student at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy. She completed her Bachelor of Science degree at Western University and was actively involved in student life throughout much of her time at Western. As the Writer & Editor, Betelehem manages our blog content, finalizes research reports and promotes future iHub events. Her main goal is to voice stories from the UofT community in hopes of creating a campus that is inclusive and supportive for all its students. During her free time, she enjoys illustrating, blogging about post-grad life struggles, and watching basketball.
Ethnography and Data Analysis Team
Danielle Baillargeon – Data Analysis Team Lead
Danielle Baillargeon is a PhD student in the Department of the Study of Religion, whose research focuses on grief and bereavement in ancient religions. Danielle is fascinated by how individuals understand emotions, how they express them, and they use them to articulate their sense of identity and community. This is her second year at the iHub as the Data Analysis Lead. Danielle supports the iHub research teams in the data analysis and archiving process. Originally from Calgary, Alberta, Danielle loves houseplants and has turned her condo into a tropical jungle.
Academic Integrity Team
Hai-Dao Le-Nguyen – Data Analysis Researcher for Academic Integrity Project
Hai-Dao Le-Nguyen is a first year Master of Information student studying User Experience Design. Her interests are in UX research and the intersection of ethics and technology. As a Data Analysis Researcher on the Academic Integrity project, she is passionate about building a more empathetic and equitable approach to education that is truly intersectional and student-centred. Outside of work, Hai-Dao loves cooking, baking, and curating a good playlist.
Shankeri Vijayakumar – Data Analysis Researcher for Academic Integrity Project
Shankeri is a third year undergraduate student double majoring in Health Studies and Sociology. Her interests are in the intersection of society and health. At the Innovation Hub, Shankeri works as a Data Analysis Researcher on the Academic Integrity Project. She is excited to use design thinking and her passion for student engagement to conduct empathetic student-centred research to help better understand the student experience. Outside of school and work, Shankeri enjoys spending time in nature and exploring food places in Toronto.
Existing Data Team
Amal Yusuf – Data Analysis Researcher for Existing Data
Amal Yusuf is a fifth-year undergraduate student at the University of Toronto where she studies Biological Sciences. Amal has a strong interest in public health and the use of biostatistical data in research. Her background in research ranges from various independent and collaborative research projects that range from qualitative and quantitative research fields. Amal has a strong passion to enhance student experience on campus with meaningful data, which she hopes to accomplish as part of the Ethnography and Data Analysis: Existing Data team this year. Amal can be found cooking, taking a walk in nature, and spending time with loved ones during her free time.
Rosemarie Shephard – Data Analysis Researcher for Existing Data
Rosemarie Shephard is a fourth-year undergraduate student double majoring in psychology and anthropology with a minor in English. As a member of the Ethnography and Data Analysis: Existing Data Team, Rosemarie is supporting data analysis and research regarding the student experience at University of Toronto colleges. With experience in both psychological and ethnographic research, Rosemarie is excited to explore the human-centered design principles of the Innovation Hub. She is passionate about using an interdisciplinary approach to understand health and well-being and is considering future graduate pathways in public health or social psychology. Outside of school and work, Rosemarie is a watercolour artist and loves to paint, draw, and create!
Redefining Traditional Team
Heather Watts – Design Researcher
Heather [she/her] is a PhD student at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education in the Social Justice Education program. Her work centers reconciliation and reclamation of Indigenous ways of knowing in modern-day education systems. She is Mohawk and Anishinaabe from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. At the Innovation Hub, Heather serves on the Redefining Traditional team. As a mother to six-year-old Nico, she is passionate about engaging with other student-parents in order to imagine a more equitable and inclusive higher education experience. Heather also works as a training officer on the topics of Reconciliation and Indigenous Learning in the corporate sector. Outside of school and work, Heather enjoys fitness, 80’s movies, Mario Kart, and trying out new recipes!
Shamim Ahmed – Design Researcher
Shamim Ahmed is a PhD candidate on Social and Behavioral Health Sciences at Dalla Lana School of Public Health, the University of Toronto. Before starting his PhD, Shamim worked in the development sector for more than 6 years. Shamim is a published writer. He has 5 published books, and he is a regular writer in the national dailies of Bangladesh. Shamim is excited to work with the redefining traditional team as a design researcher.
Robarts Library 4th Floor Redesign Team
Mac Morgan – Design Research Team Lead
Mac Morgan is an alumnus of the University of Toronto psychology specialist program whose research interests lie at the intersection between student life, technology, and well-being. As a project research lead for the Innovation Hub, Mac leads a group of researchers investigating both the student experience within Robarts Library and how student spaces can be designed to meet student needs. While not working at the Innovation Hub Mac conducts research at Georgetown University and enjoys running, biking, and working with ceramics.
Manaal Mirza – Data Analysis Researcher for Robarts Library Project
Manaal is in her final year at the iSchool doing a Bachelor of Information, in which she studies the intersection between technology, the social sciences, and the humanities. She is always interested in exploring the way in which the “digital age” is impacting our communal use of libraries; her passion for advocating the library as both a community/student space and a source of endless knowledge makes her an enthusiastic member of the Ethnography and Data Analysis team for the Robarts Library design project. When she’s not geeking out about research or libraries, she likes quiet activities like knitting or snuggling up with a cup of tea and her cat, Rumi.
Anshika Seth – Data Analysis Researcher for Robarts Library Project
SGS – Centre for Graduate Mentorship and Supervision Team
Natasha Cuneo – Design Research Team Lead
Natasha is a recent graduate of the University of Toronto, having received her Master of Arts degree in Social Cultural Anthropology. Her research explores the usage and impacts of social media platforms such as YouTube, through the intersection of YouTuber experience, personas, performance and community. As the Research Lead on the SGS Centre for Graduate Mentorship and Supervision Project she will work with her team to bring insight-driven analysis and design thinking to further strengthen the graduate supervisory experience at UofT. Her studies in anthropology and previous work with the Innovation Hub have given her experience with ethnographic methods, empathy and data analysis which she will use to guide her team. In her spare time, Natasha enjoys travelling, reading a good fiction book and watching movies.
Julia Tse – Data Analysis Researcher for School of Graduate Studies Project
Julia is currently a Master of Information student at the Faculty of Information with a specialization in User Experience Design. This fall, she is joining the Innovation Hub as a Data Analysis Researcher for the School of Graduate Studies Project. Julia is particularly interested in addressing the gaps in the current mentorship offerings. She is passionate about creating experiences that are both accessible and inclusive to help remove barriers for students on an institutional level. Julia has a background in Cultural Anthropology and has previously conducted a one-year-long ethnographic fieldwork project among a marginalized senior community in New York’s Chinatown. Outside of school and work, Julia enjoys traveling, cooking, and exploring new parks and restaurants in the city.
Mayte Anchante – Data Analysis Researcher for School of Graduate Studies Project
Mayte Anchante is a Master of Arts student in English Literature at the University of Toronto. She researches the intersection between ecocriticism and semiotic theory to analyze the narrative representation of the ecological other in literary texts of the Anthropocene. She is passionate about the intersectionality between environmental and social justice and is excited to contribute ethnographic research expertise to the School of Graduate Studies Supervision project. In her spare time, Mayte enjoys discovering new music, catching up on tv shows, and discovering nature walks around the city.
Tianlin Wang – Data Analysis Researcher for School of Graduate Studies Project
Tianlin is a Master of Information candidate at the Faculty of Information (iSchool), University of Toronto, specialized in User Experience Design and Information System Design. In 2020 Fall, she participates in ethnography research and insights at the Innovation Hub on preparation for the launch of the Centre for Graduate Mentorship & Supervision (CGMS) for the School of Graduate Studies. She is skilled in user research and experience design and has a digital communication and human-centered data analysis background. Tianlin brings a mix of analytic thinking, creative making, and problem-solving to identify and solve current graduate students’ needs in supervision relationships. She is also a volunteer member of a local animal hospital’s homeless caring team since 2018.
Veronica Grigio – Data Analysis Researcher for School of Graduate Studies Project
Veronica is currently a PhD Candidate in Medical Anthropology researching practices of cultural translation and knowledge production. She has experience working with a variety of audiences thanks to her background in community building and international development. At the Innovation Hub, Veronica is part of the Ethnography & Data Analysis Team working on the School of Graduate Studies Project for The Centre for Graduate Mentorship and Supervision, where she aims to develop her coding skills with a focus on equity. In her spare time, Veronica drinks mate while learning Python and R, collects medicinal plants while hiking, and is a trainee in Wen-Do.
Stories from a Distance and
Community, Social Connection &
Support for Students Team
Ayaan Hagar – Stories from a Distance Team Lead
Ayaan [she/her] is a fifth year undergraduate in the Faculty of Information, where she studies the intersections of data, design, and the ethical implications of information technologies. As the Team Lead of the Stories from a Distance project, she uses design thinking to help combat isolation and loneliness, and foster digital community at the University. In this role, she is excited to experiment with design thinking, community outreach, and inclusive design practices to help improve the student experience. In her spare time, she enjoys experimenting with new recipes, reading, and watching movies.
Mona Adibmoradi – Stories from a Distance Team
Mona [she/her] is currently a dental student at the University of Toronto. Mona loves bringing people together, whether it’s over a workshop or a game of ping pong. At the Innovation Hub, Mona gets to bring people together and foster a sense of community as a member of the Stories of a Distance team. She is excited to use her experience in student engagement and mentorship to build a community where students feel comfortable sharing their diverse and unique stories. Outside of work and school, Mona enjoys cycling, playing with her cat, Cyrus, and mastering the ultimate charcuterie board.
Sanskriti Maheshwari – Stories from a Distance Team
Sanskriti is a third-year undergraduate student double majoring in Criminology and Psychology and minoring in Sociology. As part of the Stories from a Distance Project, she works with her team to organize and host weekly live sessions that aim to bring students together, facilitate conversations, and foster meaningful connections. Growing up in five different countries, Sanskriti understands the importance of sharing stories, learning from other people’s experiences, and creating a space that makes everyone feel welcome. She hopes to use her experience as a student leader to advocate for mental health awareness and encourage cultural understanding. When Sanskriti is not binge-watching true crime documentaries, she loves hiking and exploring new trails, going to the beach, dancing, and baking.
Kethmi Egodage – Community, Social Connection & Support for Students
Kethmi is an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Arts and Science, double majoring in Psychology and Criminology. She is a member of the Innovation Hub Project Team as a Community, Social Connection & Support for Students and contributes to providing support to students experiencing isolation and loneliness as a member of the Stories from a Distance team. Her diverse experiences working with marginalized minority communities through her volunteering and student club involvements (such as the Woodsworth College Students’ Racialized Collective) not only adds a unique perspective to our design thinking team, but it also helps us promote an environment of inclusivity and equity. Despite her slight obsession with the tv series Criminal Minds, she also enjoys staying active and experimenting with different types of cuisines through her weekend cooking sessions.
Transforming the Instructional Landscape
Lucas Chan – Design Researcher
Lucas is a Master of Information student at the Faculty of Information specializing in User Experience Design. He is excited to join the Transforming the Instructional Landscape project team and inform the redesign of classroom spaces on campus. With the abrupt transition to online learning there has been a heightened sense of anxiety around mental health, human connection, accessibility, and privacy. It has also sparked the realization of the intangible benefits of sharing physical spaces. Lucas’ work hopes to build a better understanding of how community stakeholders navigate online learning to inform more accessible, dynamic, and empowering classroom spaces (virtual and physical).
Marcus Lomboy – Design Researcher
Marcus Lomboy is a Master of Public Policy student at the University of Toronto’s Munk School. He graduated with a BA in Human Rights and Equity Studies at York University. In his previous life, Marcus was a spoken word poet/artist educator for 8 years, and brings a passion for empowerment, community-building, accessibility, and education reform. This year, Marcus is excited to work with the Transforming Instructional Landscapes team to research the transition to remote learning in online spaces, as well as to better understand the experiences of students, staff, and faculty in this rapidly shifting environment. When he isn’t attempting to find more things to fit into his schedule, Marcus spends his time playing games, reading, travelling through food, and questioning how many pairs of sneakers is too many.
Nicholas Smith – Design Researcher
Nick Smith is a PhD student in Anthropology at the U of T. His research engages with creative forms of ethnography to explore issues of politics and media. He is particularly interested in sensorial studies and the experiences of using and creating media. His background in teaching and using media in the classroom foreground critical engagements with pedagogy and learning environments, a focus he brings to the Transforming the Instructional Landscape project. He enjoys reading, writing, and lying on the couch watching Raptors games in his free time.