OCSA's Youth Council (CSA-YC)
Canada’s Chief Science Advisor, Dr. Mona Nemer, was thrilled to receive 1,115 applications for her inaugural Youth Council. There is great enthusiasm among Canada’s youth population towards science and an eagerness to contribute to shaping the country’s science landscape.
Below are the selected Chief Science Advisor’s Youth Council (CSA-YC) Members.
The mandate of our Youth Council includes:
- Providing accurate and balanced views to the Chief Science Advisor (CSA) from the perspective of youth
- Bringing to the attention of the CSA and the Office of the CSA questions and issues related to the various groups that council members represent
- Identifying and informing the CSA on key issues and challenges facing the Canadian science community
- Advising on and taking part in outreach activities of the Office of the Chief Science Advisor
We are excited to work with bright young minds across the country and we hope to share with you their work soon.
Keeley Aird is the co-founder of STEM Kids Rock, a not-for-profit that empowers youth of all ages and abilities to engage their peers in STEM. She’s an accomplished science communicator, workshop facilitator, and mentor. Keeley is the recipient of the 2019 TD Community Leader Scholarship, graduate of the Ontario Science Centre Science School’s Semester 73, Ontario Science Centre Student Host, role model for the See It, Be it, STEM IT 2020 Calendar, video host for Girl Guides of Canada’s STEM series, proud member of the Toronto FC Special Olympics Unified Team and a Guinness World Record Title Holder for the World’s Largest Water Rocket. Keeley Aird is pursuing her Bachelor of Science degree in Honors Earth and Environmental Science and her PGO certificate at McMaster University.
Justine Ammendolia is a marine biologist, plastic pollution researcher and science communicator based out of Toronto, Canada. While completing her undergraduate at the University of Guelph in Zoology in 2014, she was awarded the National Geographic Young Explorer Grant to research Artic seabirds in Eastern Greenland in an off-grid field location for 6 weeks. During this time, she fostered a deep passion for protecting the corners of our planet and their unique ecosystems, particularly those in our Northern environments. Since completing her MSc. in Marine Biology at Memorial University of Newfoundland in 2017, Justine helped develop the Placentia Bay Ocean Debris Survey, a research team focused on monitoring plastic pollution on the coastlines of Newfoundland. Using a combination of citizen science methods and working with locals, her work aimed to better understand the presence and movement of plastics in coastal waters. Justine is also passionate about sharing her knowledge and experiences in STEM with younger audiences and has keynoted a number of international youth leadership events and written science articles for students. Through her research and communication, Justine aims to inspire others to care about protecting our aquatic environments to broad audiences.
Marie-Eve is a PhD candidate in physics at the Institut Quantique of the Université de Sherbrooke. As a scientist, she is curious and seeks to understand and solve complex problems in solid state physics. Her research project, for which she is a recipient of the Alexander Graham Bell Fellowship, focuses on the fundamental study of the thermal and electrical transport properties of quantum materials.
In addition to her studies in experimental physics and her participation in international conferences, she’s involved in the promotion of science as a woman in physic advocates. As a co-organizer of the Women in Physics Canada 2018 conference, organizer of several international summer schools of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, volunteer at outreach science activities and workshop, she wants to make physics shine and make it accessible to all. Currently, she is in charge of the internal affairs of the Diversity Committee of the Physics Department of the Université de Sherbrooke, a group that promotes diversity in physics and science.
Her involvement has earned her several awards and distinctions, including a Mérite Estrien in the Youth category in 2019, the Inspiration Award from the Institut Quantique 2019 and the Prix Forces AVENIR 2019, in the Science and Technological Applications category.
Andréa Cartile is a Mechanical Engineering PhD student at Concordia University, specializing in aerospace certification and compliance. Born and raised in Montréal, Andréa took an early interest in the sciences, and spent most of her adolescence engaged in work and volunteering in the animal health industry. Upon graduating from a bachelor’s degree in Biology, she decided to switch fields by pursuing a second undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering, and has been studying in the field ever since.
Her interest in science and policy has developed throughout her graduate school experience and involvement in the aerospace sector. Supervised by Dr. Catharine Marsden, Dr. Susan Liscouët-Hanke; and funded by NCADE and recipient of the Hydro-Québec Doctoral Scholarship, Andréa conducts industry-based research that has allowed her to gain experience in both industry and academia within the context of aircraft certification. She hopes to pursue a career that intersects research, industry, teaching, and promoting hands-on experiential learning.
Andréa enjoys reading, binge-watching TV, working with horses, and practicing martial arts.
Landon Getz is a senior PhD Candidate in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Dalhousie University. Landon started his PhD in 2017, through which he is exploring a group of ocean bacteria called Vibrio and their interactions with both agriculturally important animals and humans. Landon’s work is aimed at better understanding these organism’s biology to better predict how they might affect our economy and health in a changing world. After completing his thesis in the summer of 2022, Landon will begin a postdoctoral research position at the University of Toronto in the laboratory of Dr. Karen Maxwell. Beyond his studies, Landon is an active member of the LGBTQ+ community having founded Queer Atlantic Canadian Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (QAtCanSTEM), a community building initiative designed to bring together queer scientists from across Atlantic Canada and increase their visibility in STEM. It is Landon’s belief that science does not exist outside of people, and as scientists we have a duty to make science as diverse and inclusive as possible.
As both a Vanier Scholar and Killam Laureate, Landon has broad interests in science and its responsible use in society, having authored a number of articles focused on dual-use research, and the ethics of genome editing in nature and in humans.
Sara Guzman currently works at Health Canada as a chemist, analyzing controlled substances and elucidating new psychoactive substances. She is passionate about reaction monitoring and hopes to pursue graduate studies in organic chemistry in the near future. Before joining Health Canada, she was one of the first drug checking technicians at BCCSU in their pilot drug checking project, which has now expanded across BC. As an undergraduate from Vancouver Island University, Sara's capstone undergraduate chemistry project involved the synthesis and characterization of crown and aza-crown ethers. Additionally, her graduating research project in biology titled “Evaluation of lactase potential of selected yogurts,” won her the Outstanding Biology 491 Independent Research Award. Outside of her studies and career, Sara enjoys painting, hot yoga, and scuba diving. Sara is originally from Bogota, Colombia but currently lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Amelia Hunter is originally from Timmins, Ontario. She moved to Ottawa to pursue studies in Biotechnology at Algonquin College. She hopes to continue to pursue her studies in Science.
She hopes to contribute to building programs and efforts centered on encouraging Indigenous students from the Hudson and James Bay to pursue STEM education.
Natasha Jakac-Sinclair holds an Honors BSc in Biology from McMaster University and an MSc in International Health Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Sciences in the UK. She specializes in pharmaceutical and life science consulting by helping with the clinical and economic evaluation of new medicines entering the Canadian market.
Natasha is proficient in four languages and believes one of the most pressing issues in sciences today is the way government manages the introduction of new and innovative therapeutics and retains R&D value. She is excited to be a member of CSA-YC to make healthcare triple A status: affordable, available, and accessible.
Chelsie Johnson is from Ajax, Ontario and she received her honours Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto, where she completed a double major in Psychology, and Health Studies, and a minor in Biology. She earned her Master of Public Health at the University of British Columbia (focusing on community engagement, epidemiology, and communicable diseases), and her Master of Disaster and Emergency Management from York University (focusing on public health disasters and building resilient communities). She also has a certificate in Infection Prevention and Control. Chelsie has worked on various projects and initiatives including harm reduction projects, and testing & designing pandemic influenza plans. While in Vancouver, she co-developed a ‘Zombie Apocalypse’ workshop that is geared at introducing youth into the field of public health and outbreak investigation, which has been presented at events like the Gairdner Global Health Symposium. During the pandemic she has held multiple roles, including working in public health as a health emergency specialist, and serving as a researcher/science communicator with a grassroot public health group who aims to educate the public and counter misinformation. Some of her current research projects include building resiliency in healthcare centres that provides care to underserved populations, and designing & hosting unique emergency management training opportunities. Most recently, Chelsie was appointed to the Board of Director for TAIBU Community Health Centre, a centre serving culturally affirming care to Black communities.
Max King, from Edmonton, Alberta, is an engineer currently working on the next generation of space exploration with MDA in Toronto. Max completed his undergraduate degree in Materials Engineering from the University of Alberta, and has a Master’s in Applied Science from the University of Toronto in Aerospace Engineering. With time spent abroad working with the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), and here in Canada working on satellites and Canadarm2, he has been a part of Canada’s role in the science and space community internationally.
Throughout his studies and early career, Max has worked to bring science to everyone. With volunteer work at observatories, classroom workshops, and public lectures, Max has instilled a passion for science, as well as the exciting vision he has for Canada’s role in the scientific world. The world is becoming increasingly connected, and the impact of science and society on one another is becoming increasingly influential. Max hopes to capture the voice of youth and to engage all Canadians in the excitement of modern science, especially Canada’s emerging role in the exploration of outer space.
Audrey Laventure is an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry at the Université de Montréal and is the Canada Research Chair in Functional Polymer Materials. Her expertise lies at the intersection of physical chemistry and advanced materials characterization. She did her postdoc as a NSERC Postdoctoral fellow at the University of Calgary and her Ph.D. as an NSERC Vanier Scholar at the Université de Montréal, where she was awarded the Governor General's Gold Medal, as well as the Best Thesis Award from the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Recognized for her teaching excellence (André Beauchamp Prize), she has always shown an interest in new teaching and learning methods. Committed, Audrey is regularly involved in the promotion of science and mentoring activities. She is the first Innovation Postdoctoral Fellow in the Faculty of Science at the University of Calgary - an award highlighting her involvement in the world of technology transfer, both at the doctoral level (Technopreneur program at the Poly-UdeM Entrepreneurship Centre) and at the postdoctoral level (Energy Innovator program at Innovate Calgary).
Taylor Morriseau is a PhD Candidate and CIHR Vanier Scholar at the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba. As a member of the Diabetes Research Envisioned and Accomplished in Manitoba (DREAM) theme, she investigates gene-environment interactions underlying early-onset type 2 diabetes among Indigenous youth. As incidences in Manitoba parallel rising food insecurity, she has a particular interest in traditional Indigenous foods for mitigating diabetes onset.
Taylor is proud to represent her own community, Peguis First Nation in her commitment to Indigenous health, political advocacy, and mentorship to uplift the next generation. Outside the lab, she was selected for the Daughters of the Vote National Leadership Forum, offered an address to the Parliamentary Health Research Caucus, and recently testified to the Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples at Indigenize the Senate. Across all forums, she advocates for investments in health research, improved water security in First Nations communities, and access to culturally-safe traditional foods.
In 2019, she was recognized by WXN as Canada's Most Powerful Women Top 100 and by Corporate Knights Top 30 under 30 Sustainability Leaders. She continues to utilize this platform to engage on Indigenous rights at the local, national, and international levels.
Sophie Poirier is a French Canadian from Montreal. She is fluent in French, English and Spanish. Since she was young, she has been involved in various sports and extracurricular activities. She was president of her high school Student Council and is currently the editor of her CEGEP’s student newspaper. Her involvement in her school has earned her the Lieutenant Governor's medal. She is currently studying at the college level health sciences at Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf. Sophie is a student who is passionate about the ethical and legal aspects of science as well as new discoveries in chemistry and biology. For the past two summers, she has worked in the kidney transplant laboratory at the CRCHUM in Montreal. In terms of political work, she became involved in politics during her participation in the Forum for Young Canadians, a week-long cross-Canada internship in Ottawa that allowed her to discover the inner workings of Canadian politics. In her spare time, Sophie is a member of a soccer team and enjoys skiing in the winter. With her appointment to the Chief Science Advisor’s Youth Council, she hopes to promote the importance of women in science and to encourage them to continue their involvement in this sector.
Farah Qaiser is a genomics researcher by training, now taking a detour into the world of policy. She is currently the Director of Research and Policy at Evidence for Democracy, a non-partisan non-profit dedicated to promoting the transparent use of evidence in government decision-making. Previously, Farah worked as a researcher at the University Health Network’s Epilepsy Genetics Clinic, where she used genome sequencing to better understand epilepsies.
Farah holds a Master of Science in Molecular Genetics and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto. She co-founded the Toronto Science Policy Network, has written about science and scientists for multiple media outlets (including Forbes), and continues to organize Wikipedia Edit-A-Thons to create pages about under-represented scientists. Farah serves on 500 Women Scientists’ Leadership Team, and Let’s Talk Science Board of Directors.
Madison is a medical physicist and optical scientist by training, with a passion for science policy and diplomacy. She is now Executive Director of Optonique, Quebec’s strategic cluster for bringing together industry, academia, and government and doing so for the betterment of society through excellence in photonics. As Optica’s 2021-22 Chang Pivoting Fellow, Madison is committed in her professional capacities and beyond to advancing science beyond the bench. She contributes her expertise and experience as board member of Science & Policy Exchange and member of SPIE (The international society for optics and photonics)’s Engineering, Science & Technology Policy Committee.
Madison completed her PhD in Physics at Université Laval in 2020 while working as a clinical medical physicist in radiation oncology. Her research focused on developing new clinical tools for measuring radiation doses delivered during cancer treatments. Parallel to her academic training, she was a student advisor to Québec’s Chief Scientist, acting as a strong advocate at the science and policy interface for the next generation of scientists. During this time, she was the sole student to sit on the Board of Directors of the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologies, the province’s funding agency for natural sciences and engineering. Over the years, Madison has dedicated herself to several initiatives for young girls and women in STEM as well as science outreach projects within her community.
A driven professional, with a degree with distinction in Electrical Engineering focused on Power and Renewable Energy, he likes the sweet spot between engineering, policies and business development. He aims to be part of the world’s transition to sustainability.
As an individual who enjoys technology and loves to discover, he completed a work-term in Japan and gained technical expertise in the field of autonomous driving development. As an avid team player with strong leadership skills in project development and management as well as in technical expertise, he is working on a project at a startup developing a 100% fully electric urban truck.
With a solid commitment to growing his community, Ali has volunteered in multiple facets. Today, he is an active member of the Regional Committee of Montreal of the Order of Engineers of Quebec where he serves on the board with a mandate to design an annual regional business plan and organize and animate activities for the tasks of Fostering the profession, Professional development and Informative engineering meetings. Moreover, he takes initiative at Énergie Solaire Québec as a renewable energy promoter and educator to the general public.
Today, he has the opportunity to sit on Canada’s Chief Science Advisor’s Youth Council and will commit to best serve and advise the council on key challenges facing the public and the Canadian science community.
Molly Meng Hua Sung
Molly Sung completed her BSc in Chemistry from the University of British Columbia in 2014 and her PhD in Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Toronto in 2020 where her work focusses on streamlining the design of materials used in the conversion of carbon dioxide (CO2) to methanol as a renewable fuel.
In 2018, she co-founded the Toronto Science Policy Network (TSPN), a student group that provides a platform for the University of Toronto community to learn about science policy. She has penned various articles calling for stronger civic engagement from the science community and increased support for fundamental researchand is an advocate for evidence-informed policies with experience writing science platforms and providing science advice to political campaigns. Molly is currently a Research Scientist at Acuitas Therapeutics.
Arthur Van Havre
Arthur graduated from McGill University in 2017 with a Joint Honours degree in Philosophy and Political Science. He is now as an artificial intelligence (AI) consultant at IVADO Labs where he works alongside world-class computer science professors, data scientists, and engineers to develop machine learning (ML) and operations research (OR) solutions for enterprise clients across Canada and the world. Prior to joining IVADO Labs, Arthur was part of Trindent consulting, a Toronto-based operations consultancy specialized in the energy, financial services, and healthcare sectors.
During his studies at McGill, Arthur focused his research on commercial theory and was a fellow of the Research Group on Constitutional Studies. He was involved with the Philosophy Student Association and McMUN. Following graduation, he became a member of the early admission MBA program of the IESE Business School in Barcelona, Spain.
Arthur is passionate about innovation, design, and education. As part of the CSA youth council, he hopes to promote scientific research and industry-driven value creation within projects aiming at social progress.
CSA Youth Council Mentors
Rackeb Tesfaye is a Science Communication Lecturer and a PhD Candidate in Neuroscience at McGill University. In 2017, she founded Broad Science, an initiative dedicated to making science inclusive, engaging, and intersectional through podcasting. Rackeb can be found talking about new scientific discoveries and the impact of science in society as a columnist for CBC Radio in Montreal. She is also a vocal advocate for access to science communication training and increasing diverse representation and equitable practices in STEM. She is the co-founder of ComSciCon Canada and #BlackInNeuro. Rackeb acts as a mentor for Canada’s Chief Scientist’s Youth Council and serves on the committee for various science communication organizations, including Falling Walls Engage and the SciComm Training Network.
Born in Montréal, Mr. Dufour was educated at Concordia University, McGill University, Université de Montréal in the history of science and science policy and has had practical science & technology (S&T) policy experience for over three decades.
Over the course of the past 35 years, Mr. Dufour has served as a senior adviser in science policy with several Canadian federal science ministers, agencies and organizations. He has served as a senior program specialist with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and interim Executive Director at the former Office of the National Science Advisor to the Canadian Government; advising on international S&T policies. Mr. Dufour is a member of the Science and Policy Exchange board, and was a member of the Gold Medal winning Canadian International Polar Year National Committee. He has also served as an investment committee member for Grand Challenges Canada on global health for several years. He is a mentor to the Youth Council advising the Chief Science Advisor to the Government of Canada.
Mr. Dufour lectures regularly on science policy at national and international forums and has authored numerous articles on international S&T relations and Canadian innovation policy. He is the series co-editor of the Cartermill Guides to World Science and is the author of the Canada chapter for the UNESCO 2010and 2015 Science Reports. He has authored the Canada chapter for UNESCO’s forthcoming 2020 science report. More recently he has co-edited books on the history of the Science Council of Canada, as well as the speeches of Nobel Laureate Gerhard Herzberg on the value of science in society and culture. Mr Dufour was the first recipient of the CSPC award for Exceptional Contribution to Science Policy in 2019.
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