CO-CHAIRS

LIZA FUTERMAN, CO-CHAIR I'm a CIHR-funded PhD candidate at the Centre for Comparative Literature at UofT and a social activist for dementia care culture change. I research the psychosocial aspects of dementia and the goal of my cross-disciplinary research is to contribute to the international efforts of preventing isolation and creating a sense of community and self-worth for individuals living with dementia, their families and their professional supporters. As an international scholar and a long-distance carer to my mother, I value the importance of interdisciplinary community building to ensure a sense of belonging and accountability among my networks. I create lasting, meaningful relationships that help me and those around me to care better for what we do and the ways we impact those around us. I believe that it is only when we are inspired and empowered that we can care and care better for ourselves and for those who need our caring.

LIZA FUTERMAN, CO-CHAIR

I'm a CIHR-funded PhD candidate at the Centre for Comparative Literature at UofT and a social activist for dementia care culture change. I research the psychosocial aspects of dementia and the goal of my cross-disciplinary research is to contribute to the international efforts of preventing isolation and creating a sense of community and self-worth for individuals living with dementia, their families and their professional supporters. As an international scholar and a long-distance carer to my mother, I value the importance of interdisciplinary community building to ensure a sense of belonging and accountability among my networks. I create lasting, meaningful relationships that help me and those around me to care better for what we do and the ways we impact those around us. I believe that it is only when we are inspired and empowered that we can care and care better for ourselves and for those who need our caring.

RACHEL DRAGAS, CO-CHAIR I am a Master's candidate at the University of Toronto in the Institute of Medical Science. My research focuses on combinatorial treatment strategies to increase stem cell therapeutic efficacy and functional recovery after spinal cod injury. Aside from my research, I am a mindfulness enthusiast who is passionate about student empowerment, well-being and success.

RACHEL DRAGAS, CO-CHAIR

I am a Master's candidate at the University of Toronto in the Institute of Medical Science. My research focuses on combinatorial treatment strategies to increase stem cell therapeutic efficacy and functional recovery after spinal cod injury. Aside from my research, I am a mindfulness enthusiast who is passionate about student empowerment, well-being and success.

ADVISORY TEAM

CAROLINE CORMIER, CO-FOUNDER & ADVISOR Caroline is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of History, where she is researching the displacement of people from their homes, the reconstruction of cities, and the politics of memory in postwar Europe. She also completed her Master's degree at the University of Toronto in the Department of Geography. In addition to her studies and teaching assignments, Caroline has worked on-campus for both the School of Graduate Studies and Accessibility Services. Through her experiences in each of these positions, Caroline was inspired to create Grad Minds in 2013 to try and improve graduate student mental health and wellbeing at the University of Toronto. She is happy to see that the committee has continued to grow and has become a permanent feature of graduate student life on campus which offers safe, inclusive spaces for students from every discipline to engage in conversations about their mental health and wellbeing. 

CAROLINE CORMIER, CO-FOUNDER & ADVISOR

Caroline is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of History, where she is researching the displacement of people from their homes, the reconstruction of cities, and the politics of memory in postwar Europe. She also completed her Master's degree at the University of Toronto in the Department of Geography. In addition to her studies and teaching assignments, Caroline has worked on-campus for both the School of Graduate Studies and Accessibility Services. Through her experiences in each of these positions, Caroline was inspired to create Grad Minds in 2013 to try and improve graduate student mental health and wellbeing at the University of Toronto. She is happy to see that the committee has continued to grow and has become a permanent feature of graduate student life on campus which offers safe, inclusive spaces for students from every discipline to engage in conversations about their mental health and wellbeing. 

HAMZA BIN TAUFIQUE, ADVISOR Hamza is a PhD candidate in the Department of Molecular Genetics. He did his undergraduate at the University of Toronto at Mississauga in Molecular Biology & Neuropsychology. Hamza is studying the common cellular and molecular pathways involved in mood disorders and metabolic disorders. Hamza is passionate about student success and development. He has served as the co-chair of Grad Minds, a peer support facilitator and a community animator at the Grad Room.

HAMZA BIN TAUFIQUE, ADVISOR

Hamza is a PhD candidate in the Department of Molecular Genetics. He did his undergraduate at the University of Toronto at Mississauga in Molecular Biology & Neuropsychology. Hamza is studying the common cellular and molecular pathways involved in mood disorders and metabolic disorders. Hamza is passionate about student success and development. He has served as the co-chair of Grad Minds, a peer support facilitator and a community animator at the Grad Room.

COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

ALEXA LOPREIATO, COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER Alexa is studying her Masters in Industrial Relations and Human Resources at the University of Toronto, St. George Campus. Alexa has a genuine concern for human needs within the workforce and she is sensitive to employee issues which validates her career choice in human resource management. She posits that human capital is the core of any organization and strongly believes that healthy and happy employees promote a positive work culture.  Her career interests are in employment law and equity.  

ALEXA LOPREIATO, COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

Alexa is studying her Masters in Industrial Relations and Human Resources at the University of Toronto, St. George Campus. Alexa has a genuine concern for human needs within the workforce and she is sensitive to employee issues which validates her career choice in human resource management. She posits that human capital is the core of any organization and strongly believes that healthy and happy employees promote a positive work culture.  Her career interests are in employment law and equity.

 

OLIVIA EATON, COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER I am currently going into my second year of the Masters of Teaching program at OISE. I am focusing on Primary/Junior education.  Mental health is becoming a larger part of the elementary curriculum in Ontario. When I can, I incorporate meditation strategies into my teaching practices with my students. I am interested in learning more about mental health strategies through my participation with Grad Minds. Fun Fact: I grew up on a farm in Southwestern Ontario and I play the harmonica.

OLIVIA EATON, COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

I am currently going into my second year of the Masters of Teaching program at OISE. I am focusing on Primary/Junior education.  Mental health is becoming a larger part of the elementary curriculum in Ontario. When I can, I incorporate meditation strategies into my teaching practices with my students. I am interested in learning more about mental health strategies through my participation with Grad Minds. Fun Fact: I grew up on a farm in Southwestern Ontario and I play the harmonica.

GURVEER BAINS, SOCIAL MEDIA & CORRESPONDENCE MANAGER I am a 2nd year PhD Student in the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto. My research in this field focuses on health/medical geography with a collaboration in global health affiliated with the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. Specifically my research explores health literacy of chronic diseases within the South Asian population of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), and builds on previous studies I have conducted focusing on the health of immigrant populations in Canada. Prior to my doctoral work, I graduated with a Master of Arts degree from Queen’s University whereby my thesis focused on a population health approach towards studying cardiovascular disease within the Punjabi Sikh population of the Region of Peel. I also completed an Honours Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Toronto-Mississauga, where I was selected to serve as the Class of 2013 Valedictorian. As a health researcher and community leader, I am motivated to be a part of Grad Minds team largely due to Grad Mind’s commitment to a positive impact on graduate student well-being. As part of Grad Minds, I am able to work with a diverse and talented team to develop different initiatives related to mental health well-being at the University of Toronto! 

GURVEER BAINS, SOCIAL MEDIA & CORRESPONDENCE MANAGER

I am a 2nd year PhD Student in the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto. My research in this field focuses on health/medical geography with a collaboration in global health affiliated with the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. Specifically my research explores health literacy of chronic diseases within the South Asian population of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), and builds on previous studies I have conducted focusing on the health of immigrant populations in Canada. Prior to my doctoral work, I graduated with a Master of Arts degree from Queen’s University whereby my thesis focused on a population health approach towards studying cardiovascular disease within the Punjabi Sikh population of the Region of Peel. I also completed an Honours Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Toronto-Mississauga, where I was selected to serve as the Class of 2013 Valedictorian. As a health researcher and community leader, I am motivated to be a part of Grad Minds team largely due to Grad Mind’s commitment to a positive impact on graduate student well-being. As part of Grad Minds, I am able to work with a diverse and talented team to develop different initiatives related to mental health well-being at the University of Toronto! 

RUTH CHANG, GRAPHICS DESIGN & MARKETING MANAGER Originally from Vancouver, Ruth is currently a Master's student in Biomedical Communications where she is working to visualize the intersection between mental health and obesity. She completed her undergrad in Neuroscience at McGill University. She is a big proponent of self-care and destigmatization of mental illness. In her free time, she enjoys creating art and birding

RUTH CHANG, GRAPHICS DESIGN & MARKETING MANAGER

Originally from Vancouver, Ruth is currently a Master's student in Biomedical Communications where she is working to visualize the intersection between mental health and obesity. She completed her undergrad in Neuroscience at McGill University. She is a big proponent of self-care and destigmatization of mental illness. In her free time, she enjoys creating art and birding

STUDENT RESOURCES SPECIALISTS

AISALYN TEMPLIN, STUDENT RESOURCES SPECIALIST I am a Masters student at the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources. When I’m not in class, I work full-time at the University of Toronto in a joint position with Student Life and Alumni Relations. I have been involved with Grad Minds on the planning Committee for the Open Minds 2016 Conference, as well as helping to coordinate an event as a member of the Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Mental Health Committee. I was inspired to join Grad Minds after discovering the benefits of nutrition, physical activity, and sleep on my life as a student, employee, and outdoors-loving Torontonian. During my undergrad I was the President of an outdoors club at U of T, and I continue to take every chance I can to explore nature both within the city and beyond.

AISALYN TEMPLIN, STUDENT RESOURCES SPECIALIST

I am a Masters student at the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources. When I’m not in class, I work full-time at the University of Toronto in a joint position with Student Life and Alumni Relations. I have been involved with Grad Minds on the planning Committee for the Open Minds 2016 Conference, as well as helping to coordinate an event as a member of the Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Mental Health Committee. I was inspired to join Grad Minds after discovering the benefits of nutrition, physical activity, and sleep on my life as a student, employee, and outdoors-loving Torontonian. During my undergrad I was the President of an outdoors club at U of T, and I continue to take every chance I can to explore nature both within the city and beyond.

UMAMA SIDDIQI, STUDENT RESOURCES SPECIALIST I am a second year Master’s student in the Department of Molecular Genetics. My research focuses on studying protein-protein interactions between Epstein-Barr virus and human cellular proteins. During the limited number of hours I get away from the lab, I enjoy reading books, painting, and watching TED talks. I have always been passionate about mental health and wellness, and look forward to helping create a more positive space for such relevant discussions at UofT

UMAMA SIDDIQI, STUDENT RESOURCES SPECIALIST

I am a second year Master’s student in the Department of Molecular Genetics. My research focuses on studying protein-protein interactions between Epstein-Barr virus and human cellular proteins. During the limited number of hours I get away from the lab, I enjoy reading books, painting, and watching TED talks. I have always been passionate about mental health and wellness, and look forward to helping create a more positive space for such relevant discussions at UofT

EVENTS TEAM

ALLISON RITCHIE, CO-LEAD OF EVENTS TEAM Allison Ritchie is a fourth year PhD candidate at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/University of Toronto. She is currently writing her thesis on science education and students' opportunities to learn. Her research interests include equity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. In addition to her studies and teaching assignments at OISE, she is a consistent presence in student government on campus, serving as vice-president for the Graduate Students' Association and the Department of Curriculum, Teaching, Learning Students' Association for 1 year, and 2 years respectively. In her department, she has spearheaded student-led initiatives such as the "Shut Up and Write!" group - a supportive environment for graduate writing and resurrecting the "Doc Talk" series - weekly seminars that represent one of the few opportunities that students have to engage with faculty members in a friendly informal setting.

ALLISON RITCHIE, CO-LEAD OF EVENTS TEAM

Allison Ritchie is a fourth year PhD candidate at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/University of Toronto. She is currently writing her thesis on science education and students' opportunities to learn. Her research interests include equity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. In addition to her studies and teaching assignments at OISE, she is a consistent presence in student government on campus, serving as vice-president for the Graduate Students' Association and the Department of Curriculum, Teaching, Learning Students' Association for 1 year, and 2 years respectively. In her department, she has spearheaded student-led initiatives such as the "Shut Up and Write!" group - a supportive environment for graduate writing and resurrecting the "Doc Talk" series - weekly seminars that represent one of the few opportunities that students have to engage with faculty members in a friendly informal setting.

DENGBO HE, EVENTS COORDINATOR Dengbo is a PhD student in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department at the University of Toronto and now his research interests include driver behavior and statistics. He obtained his Master of Science degree from Shanghai Jiao Tong University (China) with research topic of vehicle dynamic and control. Aside from research, Dengbo loves photography and playing violin.

DENGBO HE, EVENTS COORDINATOR

Dengbo is a PhD student in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department at the University of Toronto and now his research interests include driver behavior and statistics. He obtained his Master of Science degree from Shanghai Jiao Tong University (China) with research topic of vehicle dynamic and control. Aside from research, Dengbo loves photography and playing violin.

REBECCA BARRY, EVENTS COORDINATOR Rebecca is a second year PhD Student in Epidemiology at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. She was inspired to promote mental health and well-being while pursuing her undergraduate degree in Psychology, and previously volunteered at a telephone distress centre for five years helping callers in crisis situations. More recently, she has started working on her doctoral thesis which is focused on rurality, access to care and suicide in Canada. She is looking forward to organizing and attending Grad Minds' events and hopes to see you there!

REBECCA BARRY, EVENTS COORDINATOR

Rebecca is a second year PhD Student in Epidemiology at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. She was inspired to promote mental health and well-being while pursuing her undergraduate degree in Psychology, and previously volunteered at a telephone distress centre for five years helping callers in crisis situations. More recently, she has started working on her doctoral thesis which is focused on rurality, access to care and suicide in Canada. She is looking forward to organizing and attending Grad Minds' events and hopes to see you there!