The Innovation Hub

Team

Fall Winter 2021-22

Operations Team

Julia Allworth – Manager, Innovation Projects

Julia Allworth smiling to the camera, wearing a dark jean jacket with short brown hair.

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, Design Thinking in Student Affairs, about the application of design thinking in higher education. Outside of her work, Julia is a single mom to 8-year-old twins Joshua and Victoria who are in third 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. Kaitlyn enjoys playing video games with her friends from many areas of the world, working on her design and arts practice, exploring local shops, and hanging out with her cat Captain Mal.

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. Now as Research Lead, Johanna guides research teams in transforming their insight-driven analysis 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 is outside, smiling towards the camera and wearing. a dark blue shirt.

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 recently finished her Masters 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 Classroom Accommodations and Accessibility Co-Design, Campus Safety Services, Faculty of Dentistry, 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. 

Shankeri Vijayakumar – UTQAP Research Coordinator

Shankeri is standing outside, wearing a yellow top with a white blazer.

Shankeri is a fourth year undergraduate student double majoring in Health Studies and Sociology. As an experienced student leader on campus, Shankeri values connecting with students to centre their experiences to create inclusive spaces. As a UTQAP Research Coordinator, Shankeri leads a group of researchers conducting design research projects on student experiences in several departments at UofT. Shankeri is excited to continue using design thinking and her passion for student engagement to conduct empathetic student-centred research. Outside of school and work, Shankeri enjoys spending time in nature and exploring food places in Toronto. 

Amal Yusuf – UTQAP Research Coordinator

Amal is wearing a jean jacket, smiling towards the camera with a whit ebackground.

Amal Yusuf is a first-year master’s student in Bioinformatics. As a UTQAP Research Coordinator, Amal helps lead a group of student researchers in conducting research projects focused on understanding student experiences within different units at U of T. Amal values centring student voices in all stages of research in a way that is reflective of the stories shared by students. She looks forward to working alongside students to help foster dialogue where students’ voices are consistently heard and amplified. When not working, Amal can be found trying out new recipes, spending time with loved ones, and catching up on true crime and anime series. 

Danielle Baillargeon – Data Analysis Lead

Danielle is smiling towards the camera, wearing a purple shirt with a black jacket on.

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.

Akshay Mahimtura – Digital Communications Team Lead

Akshay is a user experience (UX) and product designer, and graduate student in the Master of Information program. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan, where he double majored in communication & media, and music. Before transitioning into design, he worked in the marketing divisions of renowned companies in the music and audio technology industries. Through effective digital communication, he aims to blend aspects of design and marketing to further the Innovation Hub’s student-centric projects. As a musician, he is passionate about music technology and performance, drums and percussion, and all things audio. Work and music aside, Akshay enjoys soccer, hiking, and travelling. 


Communications Team

Betelehem Gulilat – Content Writer

Betelehem outside smiling at the camera

Betelehem (she/her) is a third-year student at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy and is thrilled to be returning this year as the Content Writer. During her undergraduate years, she held various student life positions and has witnessed obstacles students face in reaching their full potential during their academic careers. As the Content Writer, Betelehem curates our blog content, develops written and digital material for our website, and helps promote our future events. Her main goal is to voice student stories from the UofT community in hopes of building a more equitable and inclusive campus space for all current and future students. During her free time, she enjoys illustrating, blogging about post-grad struggles, and keeping up with all-things basketball.  

Marielle Dilla – Digital Storyteller

Marielle standing outside on a sunny day

Marielle is a fourth-year undergraduate student specializing in Architectural Design and minoring in Environmental Studies. As an incoming Digital Storyteller, she is excited and ready to employ her graphic design skills and creative thinking at the Innovation Hub as a means to support the enhancement of UofT’s student experiences. When Marielle is not busy drafting architectural drawings or drowning in ‘endless’ readings, she can be found painting, watching a documentary, or trying out a new restaurant.  

Vlada Gorchkova – Digital Storyteller 

Vlada is a Master of Information 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.  

Nikhil Pawar – Digital Storyteller 

Nikhil is a User Experience Design student in the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto. He has a background in Architecture and professional experience as an Architect and Product Designer in his multidisciplinary design firm. He has worked for brands such as McNroe and Axis designers which strengthened his graphical skills, understanding of brand development, and digital brand presence. His experience in User-Centred design thinking in architecture, combined with practical exposure as a Product Designer will serve as an asset to the Innovation Hub to improve student life on campus as a Digital Storyteller. Other than that, he loves to play football, read books and watch movies. 

Anna Tram – Digital Storyteller 

Anna is a fourth-year undergraduate student pursuing a specialist in Linguistics and joining the Innovation Hub as a Digital Storyteller for 2021-2022. Having been involved in clubs as an illustrator and having previous experience in a digital communications role, she is looking forward to connecting with the UofT student community by using her skills on Innovation Hub projects. In her spare time, Anna likes to watch shows/movies on Netflix and learn to play songs on the piano. 

Yusur Al-Salman – Redefining Traditional Project Lead


Research Support Team

Spencer Ki – Writer & Editor

Image of Spencer, who is wearing a light blue button-up shirt and glasses, smiling towards the camera.

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 has curly hair, looking towards the camera and smiling

Robin is a second-year Master of European and Russian affairs student at CERES and holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Women and Gender Studies from UofT. As Data Coding Lead, Robin is excited to coach the research teams in all-things coding through leading training sessions and overseeing the iHub’s data coding software. Additionally, she is looking forward to engaging in the analysis of our existing data archive. With a background in history, Robin believes in utilizing archiving and qualitative research methods to preserve and empower student voices. Outside of school and work, Robin enjoys audiobooks, spending time with friends, and trying out new recipes.  


Project Teams

Campus Safety Services Response in Student Mental Health Crises

Faith Dong – Design Research Assistant

Faith is sitting outside, with trees and a cityscape in the background, wearing a dark brown jacket and black t-shirt

Faith is a third-year undergraduate student studying computational cognitive science and neuroscience at UofT. Previously, Faith was involved at the Innovation Hub as a design research assistant on the University-Mandated Leave of Absence Policy (UMLAP) team. Through this experience, Faith became passionate about incorporating storytelling in her research, as well as using an empathic approach to design thinking. Outside of school and work, Faith loves creating digital illustrations and watching movies with her sister. 

Maliha Sarwar – Design Research Assistant

Maliha is standing outside on a sunny day

Maliha is in the third year of her undergrad pursuing a double major in History and Sociocultural Anthropology. She is excited to be returning to the Innovation Hub to help improve campus life through student-centred design and to give students a voice to articulate their mental health needs at school. Outside of work Maliha loves going for walks to explore new parts of Toronto, and playing with her pet cat, Hedwig, when she’s at home in Ottawa! 

Nadhiena Shankar – Design Research Assistant

A black and white photo of Nadhiena, smiling to the camera and wearing glasses

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 Researcher at the Innovation Hub, Nadhiena will be supporting the work of the university’s Campus Safety Services Review Committee on the Campus Safety Services Alternative Models of Response in Student Mental Health Crises project in designing and conducting co-creation sessions in exploring alternative models of response to mental health crises 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 evidence-based processes, 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. 


Classroom Accommodations and Accessibility Co-Design

Alex Mclean

Levon Karakoyun – Design Research Assistant

Gauri Sachin Patki – Design Research Assistant

Gauri is smiling to the camera, with long dark hair and a white top.

Gauri is an undergraduate student who is heading into her third year of studies at the University of Toronto in a double major of History and English. Previously, Gauri was involved in a work-study position at the Innovation Hub as a Design Research Assistant for the University Mandated Leave of Absence Policy team. Due to this enriching previous experience, Gauri would like to continue being able to apply an analytical design-thinking and empathy-based approach to benefit the University’s student and staff experience with a student-centric perspective, which is why she will be a Design Research Assistant on the Classroom Accommodations and Accessibility Co-Design project team. During Gauri’s personal time she enjoys reading, trying out new cuisines, and hanging out with friends. 

Nan Wang – Design Research Assistant

Nan standing outside on a sunny day, holding a bouquet of roses

Nan is a second-year Master of information student at UofT’s iSchool, specializing in User Experience Design and Human-Centred Data Science. She is excited to be the Design Researcher at the Classroom Accommodations & Accessibility Co-Design team. As an emerging UX professional, she is passionate about hearing students’ voices and creating a meaningful impact on the student experience at the U of T by continuously learning and conducting empathy-based and ethnographic research and design methods. Outside of school and work, she enjoys traveling, hiking, kayaking and exploring delicious food from everywhere.  

Sherry Zhang – Design Research Assistant

Sherry Zhang is a first-year Master of Information student specializing in User Experience Design. Her interests are in Interaction Design and Service Design, and she is passionate about using empathy to craft functional and impactful human-centric solutions. Establishing an inclusive environment for students is a goal that has resonated with her throughout her extracurricular efforts over the years. As a Design Researcher on the Classroom Accommodations project, she is excited about using an empathy-based approach to uncover the pain points in students’ current experiences navigating classroom accommodations, and translating insights into inclusive and student-focused solutions. Outside of work, Sherry enjoys creating digital illustrations, traveling, and exploring fun recipes. 


Engaging International Students

Yuwei Jiang – Design Research Assistant 

Yuwei just started her first year in the Master of Information program at U of T. At the iHub, she works with the “Community Consultation Initiative” team to better understand student needs at the U of T cohorts. She is dedicated to applying her design thinking and analytical skills to help make the community better. She is super excited to join the team, meet great people, and learn from them. In her free time, she enjoys painting, snowboarding, and cooking. Besides these, she is currently learning kayaking and boulder climbing. She has just relocated to Toronto for a few months and can’t wait to explore more about the city! 

Serena Tran – Design Research Assistant  

Serena is a first-year Master of Information student in the User Experience Design stream at UofT’s iSchool. With a background in Psychology and research, Serena has a deep passion in wanting to better understand people and their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. In her role as a Design Researcher on the Community Consultation Initiative Team, Serena is excited to apply her skills and to use an empathy-based, human-centered design thinking approach to help enhance the student experience at UofT and drive actionable change. Outside of school and work, Serena enjoys hiking, reading, and watching shows/movies. 


Enrolment Services

Hai-Dao Le-Nguyen – Design Research Assistant

Hai-Dao is a 2nd-year Master of Information student who is passionate about UX. As a Design Researcher, she seeks to amplify the voices of users through qualitative research and creative thinking. Having previously worked on the Academic Integrity team at the Innovation Hub, she hopes to bring a renewed sense of empathy and problem solving to this role. Outside of work and school, Hai-Dao is likely adding another review to her list of the best vegan spots in Toronto or tending to her balcony garden. 

Marcus Lomboy – Design Research Assistant

Marcus is a second-year Master of Public Policy candidate at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. As a design researcher on the Stepped Care 2.0 Co-Design Project, Marcus hopes to support the development of reflexive, culturally appropriate, and responsive mental health supports for students. He hopes to use his experience applying an empathy-based, human-centred design approach to ensure services reflect the needs of the people that interact them. In his journey to find an actual personality, Marcus enjoys listening to his growing vinyl record collection, writing poetry, and searching for the perfect calzone. 


Stepped Care 2.0: Mental Health Care Delivery on Campus

Isabel Bowman – Design Research Assistant 

Isabel is an incoming Masters of Information student, studying User Experience Design and Human-Centred Data Science at the iSchool. With a background in cognitive science, she is passionate about integrating design, data science, and psychology to create insightful, progressive, and human-centred technologies. Companies like IDEO and design-anthropology theorists such as Amber Case continue to inspire her on this quest. In spare time, she will be found reading speculative fiction, the Jacobin magazine, and watching copious amounts of film, art, and video game essays. 

Tiffany Lee – Design Research Assistant

Tiffany is a first-year Master of Information student in the User Experience Design and Human-centred Data Science stream at UofT’s iSchool. She is passionate about behavioural design and aspires to harness psychology insights and technology to facilitate a just transition to a sustainable economy. As a Design Researcher on the Stepped Care 2.0 Co-Design Project, Tiffany is excited to apply her skills to improve UofT students’ experiences in seeking mental health care. During her free time, Tiffany enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking, running, and scuba-diving. 

Marcus Lomboy – Design Research Assistant

Marcus is a second-year Master of Public Policy candidate at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. As a design researcher on the Stepped Care 2.0 Co-Design Project, Marcus hopes to support the development of reflexive, culturally appropriate, and responsive mental health supports for students. He hopes to use his experience applying an empathy-based, human-centred design approach to ensure services reflect the needs of the people that interact them. In his journey to find an actual personality, Marcus enjoys listening to his growing vinyl record collection, writing poetry, and searching for the perfect calzone. 

Christopher Simpson – Design Research Assistant 

Christopher is an incoming Master of Education candidate in Adult Education and Community Development at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. He is passionate about building community resilience and solidarity through meaningful dialogue, knowledge exchange, and collective action. As a Design Researcher, Christopher hopes to apply his experience in community-based research to make space for student voices in the delivery of health and wellness care on campus. Outside of the Innovation Hub, Chris loves exploring the city, watching nature documentaries, and caring for his 40+ houseplants. 


Student Experiences at the Faculty of Dentistry 

Samantha Balajadia – Design Research Assistant 

Samantha is smiling towards the camera, with a bright blue sky in the background

Samantha is a Master of Information student at UofT’s iSchool, specializing in User Experience Design. She recently finished her undergrad at UTM with a major in CCIT (Communications, Culture, Information, and Technology) and minors in Psychology and Cinema Studies. Samantha is a design researcher for the Faculty of Dentistry project and is excited to apply her qualitative research skills to voice the different perspectives of the students. Through her previous experience in student organizations and work study, Samantha strives to contribute to the UofT community on a grander scale. In her free time, she likes to read, binge-watch shows, cook, and spend time with her loved ones. 

Margaret de Leon – Design Research Assistant

Margie is a first-year student at OISE pursuing a MA in Higher Education and a collaborative specialization in Educational Policy. She received her BA in June 2021 with a Political Science specialist and French minor. Her research interests include exploring financial inequality among undergraduate students and how it impedes completion rates in Canadian postsecondary institutions. Margie has been actively involved in student affairs throughout her time at U of T, most notably with the University of Toronto Students’ Union, where she currently works as a Research Associate. She is excited to be working with the Innovation Hub to contribute to its mission to improve access to higher education. Outside of work, Margie loves to spend time with her two free roam bunnies!  

Diana Kobetic – Design Research Assistant 

Diana is a third-year undergraduate student working towards an Honours Bachelor of Arts with an English Specialist and History Minor. She previously worked at the Innovation Hub as a Design Researcher on the Summer 2021 UTQAP team and is excited to return as part of a new project this semester and develop new skills using design thinking and empathy-based research methods. Diana is deeply interested in using writing to share the stories and experiences of individuals coming from different perspectives and in using the written word to bridge communication gaps and is passionate about the work that the Innovation Hub does in this sector. In her spare time, she loves reading, writing creatively, and exploring new areas of her neighbourhood. 

Kristina Ryjouk – Design Research Assistant 

Kristina smiling to the camera, standing indoors infront of a window

Kristina is a fourth-year undergraduate student at the University of Toronto. She is double majoring in Cellular and Molecular Biology and Cognitive Science. As a Design Researcher for the Faculty of Dentistry, she is very excited to use a design thinking approach to strengthen the student experience and provide a more inclusive space. Kristina is also passionate about connecting with other students in order to design with them rather than for. Outside of work, Kristina loves to travel and learn more about the different cultures surrounding us. 

Diffany Wang – Design Research Assistant 

Diffany standing outside with a historic building in the background

Diffany is an undergraduate student in her fourth year at U of T, majoring in Industrial Relations and Human Resources and minoring in English and Linguistics. She was previously involved in the Innovation Hub as a Design Research Assistant for the UTQAP team, and is thrilled to return to work with the Faculty of Dentistry this semester. 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. 


Trans and Nonbinary Student Experiences 

Sofia Callaghan – Design Research Assistant 

Sofia is an equity enthusiast and third-year philosophy and sociology major that originally enrolled at UofT as an engineering student! During her first year of engineering, Sofia co-founded a club called QueerSphere, the 2SLGBTQIA+ student group that advocates for the queer community in engineering and STEM. Despite no longer being an engineering student, Sofia still serves as President for QueerSphere with a team of phenomenal execs, hosting rainbow filled social events throughout the year. As a design researcher with the Trans and Non-Binary Student Experience Project, Sofia hopes to learn from the lived experiences of others in the queer community and to learn to ask the right questions to discover solutions that foster inclusivity on campus. If she is not at home cuddling her cat, Sofia can be found dancing way too hard at your local concert venue on a Saturday night. 

Izzy Friesen – Design Research Assistant

Izzy is a second-year undergraduate student majoring in Environmental Chemistry with a double minor in Classical Civilization and Science, Technology and Society. As a Design Researcher for the Trans and Nonbinary Student Experiences Project, they are committed to making campus a safer and more accessible space for U of T’s transgender and nonbinary community. They hope to combine their dedication to supporting other trans students with their passion for research and interdisciplinary work.  During their free time, Izzy enjoys long walks around Toronto, hanging out with their dog Sadie, and completing the Globe and Mail’s cryptic crossword every Saturday. 

Serena Singh – Design Research Assistant

Serena is a fourth-year Health and Disease Specialist working as a Design Researcher on the Trans and Nonbinary Student Experience Project. As a nonbinary person themself, Serena is passionate about transforming the academic landscape at UofT into something more inclusive and supportive for individuals of any gender identity. By supplementing their research approach with their knowledge of the impact of one’s environment on their mental well-being and academic success, Serena hopes to provide significant insights into how updating the UofT experience can improve the success of students overall. The only thing Serena is more passionate about is their dog, Eevee, a lovely Shih Tsu with a bark much worse than his bite. If you ever meet Serena in person, they’ll probably show off a dozen pictures of Eevee with the slightest provocation! 


Transforming the Instructional Landscape

Kaitlin Gaerlan – Design Research Assistant

Kaitlin is smiling twards the camera, wearing all black infront of a white background

Kaitlin is a first-year Master of Information student in the User Experience Design stream at UofT’s iSchool. Her passion for research and interdisciplinary work stems from her background in Psychology and co-op experiences in the tech industry. In her role as a Design Researcher on the TIL Team, she is excited to apply her skills to improving the classroom experience at UofT. Outside of work and school, Kaitlin loves baking, reading, skateboarding, and going to the beach. 

Hai-Dao Le-Nguyen – Design Research Assistant

Hai-Dao is a 2nd-year Master of Information student who is passionate about UX. As a Design Researcher, she seeks to amplify the voices of users through qualitative research and creative thinking. Having previously worked on the Academic Integrity team at the Innovation Hub, she hopes to bring a renewed sense of empathy and problem solving to this role. Outside of work and school, Hai-Dao is likely adding another review to her list of the best vegan spots in Toronto or tending to her balcony garden. 

Sanskriti Maheshwari – Design Research Assistant 

Sanksriti is wearing a blue shirt, standing outside

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 Researcher for the TIL Team. Previously, she conducted student-led feedback sessions and data analysis in projects about digital connections in a pandemic, resilience in a university context, perceptions of health & wellness, and the experiences of Rotman students. When Sanskriti is not binge-watching true crime documentaries, she loves hiking and exploring new trails, going to the beach, dancing, and baking. 


University of Toronto Quality Assurance Process (UTQAP) at the Faculty of Arts & Science

Sophie McGibbon-Gardner – Data Analyst

CHRISTIANITY & CULTURE + CHRISTIANITY AND EDUCATION MINOR PROGRAMS

Neha Naeem- Design Research Assistant  

Neha is a Master of Public Policy candidate at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. She is excited to be working with the Innovation Hub as a design researcher due to her interest in using immersive/ethnographic research to truly empathize with, and work alongside research participants. She has always felt that this methodology type is often overlooked and is looking forward to championing the principles of the Innovation Hub. A fun fact is that Neha loves all things nature including long hikes, plant collecting and gardening. 

COMMERCE PROGRAM & MASTER OF MATHEMATICAL FINANCE PROGRAM

Mado Ghazal – Design Research Assistant 

Mado is a Master of Information student and recent Rotman Commerce Graduate working on the UTQAP Commerce project as a Design Researcher. With a project background revolving around design thinking and campus betterment, Mado hopes to build on his toolkit in a way that improves the experiences of present and future students of his alma mater. His academic focuses of Human Centered Data Science and UX Design will enable him to bring a data-driven lens to this project, while retaining the design principles needed to create tangible solutions for genuine student needs. In his free time, he can be found training calisthenics, studying at Charidise Café off Baldwin Street, or intently watching YouTube documentaries he’s far too underqualified to understand. 

Alice Yang – Design Research Assistant  

Alice is a fourth-year undergraduate student specializing in Statistics at the University of Toronto. She is excited to join the University of Toronto Quality Assurance Process team as a design researcher to contribute ethnography research and insights for the student experience. Passionate about data collection and analysis, Alice hopes to use her research and design thinking skills to ensure the students’ voices get heard and create an inclusive campus community. She would also love to bring her responsibility and willingness to learn to the iHub. Outside of school and work, she loves reading, visiting museums, playing the piano, and photography. 

CENTRE FOR COMPARATIVE LITERATURE & CENTRE FOR COMPARATIVE LITERATURE

Kornelia Drianovski – Design Research Assistant 

Kornelia is a Master of English in the Field of Creative Writing candidate at the University of Toronto. She is thrilled to join the team as a Design Researcher because she loves working at the intersection of ethnographic research and storytelling. Her hope is to contribute a tangible and positive impact to campus experience. Fun fact about her: she adores Scrabble and doodling. 

Chloris Jiang – Design Research Assistant 

Chloris is a senior undergraduate student at the University of Toronto pursuing her degree in applied statistics and is also a design researcher working within the iHub UTQAP Comparative Lit project. She is excited to learn about the design-thinking methodology while making a tangible impact on improving student life at UofT. She enjoys photography outside of school and loves any outdoor activities. 

JEWISH STUDIES

Max Hu – Design Research Assistant 

Max Hu is a first-year Master of Information student concentrating in User Experience Design. Coming from an Industrial and Product Design background, he is passionate about understanding different stakeholders through empathy and bringing positive changes through design. He is excited to join the UT Quality Assurance Process – Jewish Studies as a design researcher and apply his research skills to improve student experiences on campus. Outside of work, Max loves to travel, exercise, or watch shows/movies. He even keeps a spreadsheet for the shows/movies he enjoys and loves to share them with others. 

Lidiia Tulenkova – Design Research Assistant 

Lidiia Tulenkova (she/her) is a third-year undergraduate student majoring in Sociocultural Anthropology and doing a double minor in Art History and Material Culture. Once learning about design thinking experience, Lidiia realized that such an approach exactly corresponds to her own values and her interests in ethnography. And now, occupying the position of Design Research Assistant, she is working on the University Quality Assurance Project under the Jewish Studies. Lidiia is a recipient of several academic and leadership awards. Specializing in identifying the roots of systemic social issues and hidden social mechanisms, Lidiia has been acting towards addressing the needs of underrepresented communities by launching multiple initiative projects. Outside of work, Lidiia enjoys meeting friends over coffee, visiting museums, and making new content for her anthropology blog. 

DEPARTMENT OF SLAVIC LANGUAGES AND LITERATURES

Josh Allen – Design Research Assistant 

Josh Allen is an undergraduate student studying physics, mathematics, and history & philosophy of science. He is thrilled to be returning to the Innovation Hub as a design researcher, this year as part of the University of Toronto Quality Assurance Process – Slavic Languages & Literatures project. Josh is excited to be tasked with informing administrators’ decisions on the future of the department by providing useful, relevant, and actionable suggestions based on research conducted and solutions iterated upon throughout the 2021-2022 academic year. Outside of academics, Josh coaches figure skating, skates on the Varsity team, plays jazz piano, and writes music. 

Sahil Thind – Design Research Assistant 

Sahil Thind (he/him) is a Master of Information student studying Information Systems Design at UofT’s iSchool. By using the design thinking model Sahil hopes to help improve student life for University of Toronto students. He looks forward to communicating with the student population through interviews and surveys to gauge and understand the problems the student population is facing, especially the impact the pandemic has on student life. During his free time Sahil enjoys playing video games, travelling, and hiking. He is an avid fan of martial arts and enjoys learning about them. 

URBAN STUDIES PROGRAM

Smriti Sundar – Design Research Assistant 

Smriti Sundar (she/her) is a Master of Information student studying User Experience Design. She believes that design has the potential to cause change and wants to be part of the wonderful process that creates that change. She sees herself as a Designer and Design Researcher studying the areas of behavioural design and mindful design/ digital wellness and hopes to explore empathy based human centred design in a context that she can relate to, through her position at the innovation hub. Outside school she is also a Yoga Instructor passionate about health and wellness, and can be usually found practicing or teaching yoga, enjoying the outdoors, cooking, painting or slack-lining. 

WRITING AND RHETORIC PROGRAM

William Guo – Design Research Assistant 

William is a third-year undergraduate student double majoring in Statistics and Economics with a Focus in Data Analytics at the University of Toronto. At the Innovation Hub, William is a Design Researcher working with the University of Toronto Quality Assurance Process for the Writing & Rhetoric Minor program. He hopes to enhance the student experience through the use of design thinking and student-centric design. Outside of work, William enjoys running, listening to podcasts, watching movies, and playing video games. 

Yam Wachiralappaitoon – Design Research Assistant 

Yam is a second-year undergraduate student double majoring in Psychology and Economics with a Focus in Data Analytics at the University of Toronto. She is excited to join the Innovation Hub as a Design Research Assistant on the UofT Quality Assurance Process – Writing & Rhetoric project. At the Innovation Hub, she looks forward to learning about design thinking and diverse student experiences, developing qualitative and quantitative research skills as well as applying the insights gained from the research to make an impact on the UofT community. Yam is an international student from Thailand and has studied abroad in many countries. Outside of school and work, she likes travelling, being in nature, binge watching tv shows and movies, and learning a new language. Also, she loves pretty sunsets!