Summer 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 in Global Leadership and a BA in Psychology. 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 has written a book about the application of design thinking in higher ed to be published in September, 2021. 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/they) has a Master of Education from OISE in Adult Education and Community Development. As the Senior Project Assistant, Kaitlyn supports the communication elements, oversees the workflow and accessibility of design materials and supports project-based teams. 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.
Georgia Maxwell – Senior Research Assistant
Georgia Maxwell recently completed her MA of English Literature at U of T and holds a Joint Honours BA in Anthropology and English from McGill University. Georgia previously worked as a User- Experience Design Researcher at a Big Five bank, and is excited to use her skills and knowledge to help improve life at U of T for both students and instructors. As the Senior Research Assistant for the Transforming the Instructional Landscape (TIL) team, Georgia oversees this ongoing research that is aimed at improving learning environments at the university. Outside of the Innovation Hub, Georgia loves to read, write and (occasionally) run!
Sabrina Wu – Senior Research Assistant
Sabrina Wu is a Masters student in Sociocultural Linguistic Anthropology at UofT and holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology, English, and Book and Media Studies from UofT. Her research interests lie in storytelling in everyday conversations. She is excited to be using qualitative research methods to understand and improve student experiences through their narratives. As a Senior Research Assistant, she will be leading design research projects such as Accessibility and Classroom Accommodation, Rotman Commerce, University Mandated Leave of Absence Policy (UMLAP), and Trans and Nonbinary Student Experience. Having grown up in British Columbia, Sabrina loves being immersed in nature as much as possible. Outside of work, she also enjoys drawing, playing the ukulele, and reading.
Mac Morgan – UTQAP Project Coordinator
Mac Morgan is a PhD Candidate in Psychology whose research interests lie at the intersection between student life, technology, and well-being. As a research coordinator for the Innovation Hub, Mac leads a group of researchers assessing the student experience within several UofT departments. While not working at the Innovation Hub Mac conducts research at Georgetown University and enjoys running, biking, and working with ceramics.
Danielle Baillargeon – Data Analysis 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.
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.
Carla Alexander – Content Writer
Carla Alexander (she/her/hers) is a second year Master’s candidate at the Faculty of Information, specializing in User Experience Design. She completed her Bachelor’s of Arts in Business Administration and History in 2016. She is excited to be joining the Innovation Hub as the Content Writer, where she will use her writing skills to share and promote the Innovation Hub’s various projects. She is passionate about using participatory design to improve the lives of UofT students. During her free time, Carla enjoys writing short stories, travelling, and playing video games.
Vlada Gorchkova – Digital Storyteller
Vlada is a MI student at U of T’s iSchool, specializing in User Experience Design and Human-Centred Data Science. With a background in Cognitive Science and Psychology, she is excited to help collaborate with an incredible team to develop and curate graphics and other digital content to enable those that engage with the Innovation Hub to fully understand and empathize with the stories of students being told. Outside of school and work, Vlada loves perfecting her recipe for a perfect pizza, listening to music, and creating digital art.
Natalie Ng – Digital Storyteller
Natalie Ng is a fourth year student studying Communication, Culture, Information & Technology (CCIT), and Art & Art History at UTM. She is excited to take on the role as Digital Storyteller at the Innovation Hub with the Communications Team. She is motivated to contribute her creativity with a focus on human-centered design thinking with all the incredibly talented individuals in the team. She is an avid figure skating fan and loves creating illustrations on her spare time.
Jennifer Sparks – Redefining Traditional Project Lead
Data Analysis Team
Spencer Ki – Writer & Editor
Spencer is a final-year undergraduate student double majoring in Physics and Statistics with a Mathematics minor. As the Writer & Editor, he supports the Innovation Hub’s impactful research by overseeing all of the projects’ written deliverables and ensuring that they are articulated consistently, clearly, and accessibly. He wholeheartedly believes in a university experience crafted by and for students, and is proud to contribute to the iHub’s mission “to improve campus life through student-centric design.” When not typing up iHub documents, Spencer can be found typing up news articles, satire pieces, short stories, and code to cheat at math puzzles with.
Robin Martin – Data Coding Lead
Robin is a second year Master of European and Russian Affairs candidate and holds a BA with a double major in Women and Gender Studies and International Relations from UofT. Currently, she is the Data Coding Lead at the Innovation Hub and supports the research teams in the data archiving process. With a background in policy and equity-minded research styles, Robin is excited to use her experience to support the research teams throughout the data coding and analysis process. Outside of school and work, Robin enjoys reading, spending time outdoors, and watching too many films.
Classroom Accommodations – Through a Student and Instructor Lens
Isabel Armiento – Design Research Assistant
Isabel Armiento is currently finishing up her MA in English Literature at U of T and is excited to be working as a Design Research Assistant at the Innovation Hub! She loves listening to and reporting on student stories and has previously worked as a student journalist for U of T newspapers, most notably as the Graduate Bureau Chief at The Varsity and the editor-in-chief of The Mike. In her free time, Isabel likes to read, write, and try out new recipes.
Levon Karakoyun- Design Research Assistant
Nhi Nguyen – Design Research Assistant
Nhi Nguyen is a fourth-year undergraduate student double majoring in Psychology and Computing Cognitive Science at the University of Toronto. Currently, she is a Design Research Assistant at the Innovation Hub, working on the Accessibility and Classroom Accommodation project. She is particularly interested in the intersection of technology and mental health, especially how to design products that foster well-being in adolescents and young adults. She has experience working for startups and nonprofits as a User Researcher, and is eager to learn more about data-coding and empathy-based research practices through hands-on work at the Innovation Hub. Outside of school and work, Nhi enjoys traveling and meeting new people through her hobby as a creative photographer and director.
Ritika Sharma – Design Research Assistant
Ritika Sharma is a first year Master of Information student studying User Experience Design. Her interests are in UX Research and Interaction Design, and uses empathy and curiosity to craft meaningful, innovative human-centric solutions. As a Design Research Assistant on the Classroom Accommodations project, she is passionate about using an ethnographic and empathy-based approach to build inclusive and accessible e-learning experiences. Outside of work, Ritika loves baking and playing her ukulele.
Peiyu Wang – Design Research Assistant
Peiyu is a second-year Master of Information student specializing in User Experience Design. She is excited to join the Accessibility and Classroom Accommodations project team as a Design Research Assistant. Passionate about inclusive design, Peiyu hopes to use ethnographic research and design thinking to learn from individual stories and design with the UofT community. Outside of school and work, she enjoys reading, visiting museums, and exploring the city.
Sanskriti Maheshwari – Design Research Assistant
Sanskriti is a fourth-year undergraduate student studying Criminology and Psychology with a minor in Sociology. 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 will be continuing her work at the Innovation Hub in the capacity of Design Research Assistant in this project to understand the experiences of Rotman Commerce Program students. She conducted student-led feedback sessions and data analysis in her previous projects about forming digital connections in a pandemic and developing resilience in a university context. When Sanskriti is not binge-watching true crime documentaries, she loves hiking and exploring new trails, going to the beach, dancing, and baking.
Shankeri Vijayakumar – Design Research Assistant
Shankeri is a fourth year undergraduate student double majoring in Health Studies and Sociology. As an experienced student leader on campus, Shankeri is passionate about connecting with students to centre their experiences to create inclusive spaces. At the Innovation Hub, Shankeri works as a Design Research Assistant on the Rotman Commerce Project. Her previous work at the Innovation Hub includes the Academic Integrity Project: Designing Student Centred Academic Integrity at U of T and the Colleges Project: Review of the Role of the Colleges on the St. George Campus. She is excited to continue using design thinking and her passion for student engagement at the Innovation Hub to conduct empathetic student-centred research to help enhance the student experience. Outside of school and work, Shankeri enjoys spending time in nature and exploring food places in Toronto.
Amal Yusuf – Design Research Assistant
Amal Yusuf is a graduate of the Bachelor’s of Science program at the University of Toronto and will be starting her master’s degree in Bioinformatics this fall. She is working on the Rotman Commerce project as a Design Research Assistant at the Innovation Hub. Amal has strong interest in the use of data to produce meaningful work that can promote wholistic well-being of students. She has experience working on research projects that cover public health, quality of life, disease and health, and as well as projects for the Innovation Hub. Amal is eager to make a significant and meaningful impact on student experience on campus. Apart from academics, Amal is an anime, chai, and cat lover.
Stepped Care 2.0 Co-Design Project
Sanskriti Maheshwari – Design Research Assistant
Sanskriti is a fourth-year undergraduate student studying Criminology and Psychology with a minor in Sociology. Her work as a Design Research Assistant at the Innovation Hub also includes the Stepped Care 2.0 Co-Design Project.
Amal Yusuf – Design Research Assistant
Amal Yusuf is a graduate of the Bachelor’s of Science program at the University of Toronto and will be starting her master’s degree in Bioinformatics this fall. Her work as a Design Research Assistant at the Innovation Hub also includes the Stepped Care 2.0 Co-Design Project.
Trans and Nonbinary Student Experience Project
Aishat Aminu – Design Research Assistant
Nem Hannah Brunell – Design Research Assistant
Sebastián Mendoza-Price – Design Research Assistant
Transforming the Instructional Landscape
Lauren Baek – Design Research Assistant
Lauren (or KM) is a second year Master of Information student specializing in User Experience Design. She is excited to join the Transforming the Instructional Landscape project team this summer. She completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Applied Psychology and Human Development at Boston College. Combined with a background in psychology and her experience as an educator, she is passionate about creating meaningful designs that positively impact student experience and encourages student growth. Originally from Seattle, Lauren loves traveling, and wandering while taking photos with her film camera. She also loves to try out new food places and is always on the lookout to find the best to share with her friends.
Zoe Findlay – Design Research Assistant
Zoe is an experienced mental health nurse currently studying a Masters of Health Science in Translational Research. As a nurse, Zoe routinely practices active listening, radical compassion and creative problem solving. Perhaps surprisingly, Zoe honed these skills in her years as a motivational speaker and workshop facilitator. The common thread woven through her diverse experiences is her passion for improving services and institutions for the people they serve. She is excited to continue this work as a Design Research Assistant with the Transforming the Instructional Landscape team this summer. In her spare time Zoe can be found songwriting and playing her ukulele, eating poutine, biking, or doodling in her notebook.
Nicholas Smith – Design Research Assistant
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.
Anne-Marie is a second year Master of Health Science student where she studies Translational Research. Previously, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Life Sciences from Queen’s University. She is looking forward to joining the Transforming the Instructional Landscape project team this summer and making meaningful advancements towards student-centered learning environments. In her free time, Anne-Marie enjoys all things outdoors, especially hiking, camping, and cycling.
University-Mandated Leave of Absence Policy (UMLAP)
Faith Dong – Design Research Assistant
Faith is a third-year undergraduate student studying neuroscience and computational cognitive science at the University of Toronto. In her studies, she is interested in exploring the applicability of neuroscience research to fields such as human computer interaction, design, and mental health. At the Innovation Hub, she is a part of the University Mandated Leave of Absence Policy (UMLAP) team as a design research assistant. Through her work on the UMLAP team, she aims to make student voices heard in order to help the university improve upon existing policies with students’ needs in mind. Outside of school and work, Faith enjoys drawing, hiking, and rewatching her favourite Studio Ghibli movies.
Gauri Sachin Patki – Design Research Assistant
Gauri Sachin Patki is an undergraduate student entering her third year, doing a double major of English and History. She will join the Innovation Hub under the role of a Design Research Assistant as part of a research collection team to facilitate a feedback process and document diverse student voices regarding the University Mandated Leave of Absence Policy (UMLAP). Due to her past experience as a mentor and extensive experience with analytical thinking in literature and historical events Gauri is excited to create depth-driven connections to engage with campus communities and spur generative communication. Outside of school some activities Gauri enjoys are reading, trying out new cuisines, and hanging out with friends.
Nadhiena Shankar – Design Research Assistant
Nadhiena Shankar (she/her) is a Toronto born, Scarborough bred, multi-faceted, ‘policy wonk’ on a jaunt to disrupt the status quo – at all scales. As Design Research Assistant at the Innovation Hub, Nadhiena will be supporting the work of the university’s inaugural review of its University Mandated Leave of Absence Policy (UMLAP) in designing and conducting student-centred consultation sessions through research, data collection, analysis & reporting on the student experience. Her research interests are grounded in the areas of public policy, with a concentration in human-centred design, co-creation, innovation, and strategic foresight. Nadhiena endeavours to bridge the gap between technocratic models for policy change with empathy-based, equity-driven solutions grounded in evidenced-based process, analysis, and execution. Nadhiena prides herself in being a lifelong learner and being immersed in process. Outside of work, she is an avid reader, storyteller, dad-joke aficionado, and athlete.
Delphine You – Design Research Assistant
Delphine is a second year Master’s student studying User Experience Design. Coming from a business and psychology background, she is interested in solving complex problems with user-centric methods. Delphine is a passionate designer that wishes to create products that can be helpful for underserved groups. Delphine will be a design research assistant in the Mandated Leave of Absence Policy project. Her goal is to break down the issue, empathize the stakeholders, and bridge the gap between them. Outside of school, Delphine loves art, dancing, and hiking.
University of Toronto Quality Assurance Process (UTQAP) at the Faculty of Arts & Science
Sasha Dhesi – Design Research Assistant
Sasha Dhesi is a Master of Information student at the Faculty of Information, where she studies Critical Information Policy Studies. She earned a Bachelor of Arts from McMaster University, where she studied Justice, Political Philosophy and Law. Sasha joins the Innovation Hub as a Design Research Assistant for the University of Toronto Quality Assurance Process investigation at the Computer Science department. She hopes to gain new insights into design thinking and ethnographic research during her time with the Innovation Hub. Outside of her education, Sasha brings her prior experience working in libraries and newsrooms to the Innovation Hub. When she’s not working or studying, Sasha enjoys cooking, film photography, and hiking.
Natalie Enriquez-Birch – Design Research Assistant
Natalie Enriquez-Birch is studying Industrial Engineering and minoring in Indigenous Studies and Latin American Studies. At the Innovation Hub, she works as a Design Research Assistant for the University of Toronto Quality Assurance Process investigation at the Computer Science department. This summer, Natalie is excited to learn about the Innovation Hub methods, particularly Community-based and Collaborative Methodologies and Equity and Anti-Oppressive Practices. She hopes to practice these methods to inform her current and future design work as an engineer. Outside of Innovation Hub, you can find Natalie biking around the GTA or relaxing at Woodbine beach with a good book!
Sahana Radhaharan – Design Research Assistant
Germanic Languages and Literatures
Brooke Collins – Design Research Assistant
Brooke Collins is entering her third year at the University of Toronto in Victoria College, studying English, Cinema Studies, and Creative Expression and Society. In the Innovation Hub, she is working with the UofT Quality Assurance Process for the the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures. She joined the Innovation Hub to learn more about student life at UofT and to get involved with the university. In her spare time, she loves to read, write, and explore new places.
Yolanda Liu – Design Research Assistant
Yolanda Liu is a life sciences student entering her second year of undergraduate studies. As a design research assistant in the Innovation Hub, she is excited to learn from her peers and engage with the student body. Yolanda hopes that her efforts in the UofT Quality Assurance Process will help her gain insight into design research approaches and improve student experiences in the Germanic department. Outside of university work, Yolanda enjoys painting portraits, baking macarons, and exploring new cafes.
Duaa Nasir – Design Research Assistant
Maggie (Meichen) Liu – Design Research Assistant
Maggie is a second-year undergraduate student double majoring in Math and Economics. Her interests are using data analysis tools to analyze real-life issues and conducting collaborative research projects. The idea of “designing with students, rather than for students” inspired her to join the iHub. She enjoys cooking, playing chess, and doing makeup.
Maliha Sarwar – Design Research Assistant
Maliha (she/her) is entering her third year of her undergrad pursing a double major in History and Social Cultural Anthropology. She is excited to be working at the Innovation Hub to help improve campus life through student centered design and give students a voice to articulate their needs at school. Outside of work Maliha loves going for walks and playing with her pet cat Hedwig!
Fatimah Oyarekhua – Design Research Assistant
Fatimah [she/her] is a second-year undergraduate student hoping to study health and disease, and computer science. Fatimah also has an interest in psychology and how it interacts with all her fields of study. At the Innovation Hub, she is a design research assistant for the University of Toronto Quality Assurance Process. Fatimah has a strong passion in improving the student experience and making sure that everyone feels welcome and represented. She hopes to explore this passion using design thinking at the innovation hub. She would also love to learn more about the research process. Beyond school and work, Fatimah enjoys listening to music and playing games with her friends.
Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology
Diana Kobetic – Design Research Assistant
Veronica Spada – Design Research Assistant
Veronica Spada is an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto pursuing a specialist in English and a minor in Philosophy. She is thrilled to join the iHub as a Design Research Assistant facilitating the University of Toronto Quality Assurance Process. She enjoys writing short fiction and appreciates any song with a good saxophone solo.
Ashley Zhang – Design Research Assistant
Felicia Kwan – Design Research Assistant
Felicia Kwan is going into her fourth year as an undergraduate student in the Pharmacology & Biomedical Toxicology program at U of T. She is looking forward to meeting other students and working with her team as a Linguistics UTQAP Design Research Assistant this summer. She plans to apply the critical-thinking skills from her experience as an undergraduate student, as well as her detail-oriented mindset, to this role. She is excited to join the Innovation Hub for the first time this summer, and to learn more about students’ stories and perspectives through this work. Felicia also enjoys reading, baking pies and muffins, and playing the piano in her free time.
Vikram Nijhawan – Design Research Assistant
Vikram Nijhawan is a fourth-year undergraduate student, majoring in English, with a double minor in History and Classical Civilization. He will be joining the iHub as a research project assistant to review student experiences within the Linguistics Department, as part of the University of Toronto Quality Insurance Program (UTQAP). Vikram regularly interviews interesting individuals and leaders on campus and writes about them for his student journalism, and he hopes to bring that empathic and human-centric approach to the iHub’s research work. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, writing, playing tennis, and lending his “hot-takes” on the latest comic book and/or Star Wars films.
Diffany Wang – Design Research Assistant
Diffany is an undergraduate student entering her fourth year at UofT, majoring in Industrial Relations and Human Resources and minoring in English and Linguistics. She is thrilled to be a part of the UTQAP team as a design research assistant this summer, helping facilitate the review process of the Linguistics department. Having volunteered for various student life organizations and worked for residence services at Victoria College, Diffany is passionate about improving student experience and giving back to the community that supported her throughout her undergraduate years. In her free time, she can be found binging her favourite Netflix shows, playing Valorant, and learning to cook meals other than ramen.
Isra Gaid – Design Research Assistant
Jinchi Lin – Design Research Assistant
Jinchi is a second-year graduate student at the iSchool, specializing in UX design. She joined the Innovation Hub as a design research assistant for the UTQAP project to collect students’ feedback and communicate their needs to their department. With her experience in conducting empathy-based research and designing user-centric solutions, she strives to make continuous efforts to improve students’ experience at the University of Toronto. Besides work and study, she enjoys photography, videography, video games, and drawing.
Jeannie Yoo – Design Research Assistant
Jeannie is a third-year undergraduate student double majoring Computational Cognitive Science and Statistics at the University of Toronto. She is excited to join the University of Toronto Quality Assurance Process team as a design research assistant to contribute ethnography research and insights for the student experience at the department of Mathematics. Ensuring the students’ voice heard from her diverse experiences as a student leader, she aspires to bring her design ideas to leadership in the shift of “new normal” remote learning environment. Jeannie hopes to bring this design-thinking project to fruition by building a better understanding of student needs to create an inclusive campus community. Outside of school and work, she loves hiking, photography, and watching Disney movies.