Student Ambassadors

The Ambassador Program is an RSI initiative aimed to assist prospective and incoming students with any questions they may have around applications, student life, and grad school in general. The goal of the initiative is to enable prospective students to have access to current students situated at a variety of research institutes with an assortment of expertise and past experiences. If you are a current student interested in being an ambassador, please send an email to: rsgsumentorship@gmail.com.

 

Masters program:

 

Nivetha Chandran

1st Year MSc
nivetha.chandran@mail.utoronto.ca

Research Location: RSI (500 University Ave.) & Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)

Field of Study: Rehabilitation Health Services Studies

Summary of Research: My master’s project is about the interplay of the social determinants of health on people living with HIV, when engaging in physical activity and exercise.

Why I Chose RSI: The Rehabilitation Sciences Institute at the University of Toronto is ranked one of the top programs in the world, and I was amazed by the wide range of expertise of the faculty members of the institute. I was also impressed by the diversity, and the impact research from RSI contributed to the field of rehabilitation sciences. RSI also has a strong sense of community, which attracted me to the institute.

You Can Ask Me About: Collaborative program in Global Health, rehabINK, Programs & Curricula Committee, Handbook Committee

Kai Ian Leung 

1st Year MSc
kaiian.leung@mail.utoronto.ca

Research Location: RSI (500 University Ave.) & Sick Kids Hospital (PGCRL)

Field of Study: Speech-Language Pathology (SLP)

Summary of Research: My research focuses on the effects of bilingual exposure on the linguistic and cognitive recovery of children post-stroke.

Why I Chose RSI: I chose RSI for its Speech-Language Pathology program stream and to pursue research with my current supervisor. Other factors that influenced my decision included RSI’s interdisciplinary environment which constantly provides opportunities to learn about intersections with other fields.

You Can Ask Me About: Collaborative Program in Neuroscience, Mentorship Committee, Speaker Series, Student Awards

Insiya Bhalloo  

1st Year MSc
insiya.bhalloo@mail.utoronto.ca

Research Location: RSI (500 University Ave.) & Bilingual and Multilingual Development Lab

Field of Study: Speech-Language Pathology (SLP)

Summary of Research: My research focuses on the precursors of literacy development in bilingual children, internationally and in Canada. I am developing an age-appropriate Urdu phonological awareness (i.e. awareness of spoken sound segments, such as the ‘k’ sound in the word ‘Crow’) screening tool and reading test; developing such tools will facilitate early detection and intervention of reading difficulties in bilingual children (as bilingual children are currently assessed only in English and compared to monolingual English-speaking child performance norms)

Why I Chose RSI: I chose RSI as I previously worked as a research assistant at two RSI SLP-related labs. Although I had previously conducted linguistics- related research in multiple languages (such as Arabic, Urdu and Swahili), it was while at the Bilingual and Multilingual Development Lab (BAM) – my research current lab – that I realized I could align my two interests, language-related research and clinical impact. I also chose RSI due to its well-established SLP program and reputation as a leader in rehabilitation research; RSI enabled me to combine both my research interests and passion for conducting clinically meaningful speech-language pathology research.

You Can Ask Me About: Co-Chair Mentorship Committee and Mentorship Program; editor, rehabINK

Josh Shore 

1st Year MSc
josh.shore@mail.utoronto.ca

Research Location: RSI (500 University Ave.) & Department of Occupational Sciences & Occupational Therapy

Field of Study: Movement Science & Rehabilitation Health Services Studies

Summary of Research: My research explores the use of a novel online platform for remotely delivering an exercise-based active rehabilitation program to youth with concussion.

Why I Chose RSI: Toronto’s large network of academic hospitals and renowned healthcare researchers help make RSI a world leader in rehabilitation research. I was also drawn to the small size of RSI, which creates a tight-knit and supportive community.

You Can Ask Me About: rehabINK, CPIN, Research Day Committee, College of Kinesiologists of Ontario

Siwen Liu

1st Year MSc
siwenn.liu@mail.utoronto.ca

Research Location: RSI (500 University Ave.) & Toronto General Hospital Research Institute

Field of Study: Movement Science 

Summary of Research: My research focuses on knee osteoarthritis in post-menopausal women. Specifically, it involves using medical imaging to examine properties of muscle immediately surrounding the knee joint and its association with knee osteoarthritis features such as damaged knee bones, knee pain, and poor knee function and mobility.

Why I Chose RSI: I chose RSI because I knew it would provide a rich interdisciplinary learning experience by allowing me to acquire skills and knowledge from leading experts in different fields and from various backgrounds.

You Can Ask Me About: I am part of the Mentorship Committee, Mental Health Committee, and Social and Service Committee.

 

 

doctoral program:

 

Kenneth Wu  

4th Year PhD
(re-classified from MSc), PT
k.wu@mail.utoronto.ca

Research Location: St. Michael’s Hospital

Field of Study: Movement Science

Summary of Research: My PhD thesis is on peripheral skeletal muscle structure and function in adults with cystic fibrosis.

Why I Chose RSI: When I was supervising MScPT student research projects as a clinician, I met and worked with Dr. Mathur, my existing supervisor. I was interested working with Dr. Mathur for my PhD, combining Dr. Mathur’s research area and the clinical area I was working and interested in – adults with cystic fibrosis. Also, RSI allowed me to start with part-time study for a MSc.

You Can Ask Me About: I was involved in the ambassador program when I did my MBA at the Rotman School of Management, UofT. I was the treasurer, later switched to the
vice chair of the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Physiotherapy Advisory Group, and the education coordinator of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association Cardiorespiratory Division. I have also been a member of the Advancement & Community Engagement Committee, Department of Physical Therapy, UofT.

Hope Jervis Rademeyer  

2nd Year PhD, PT
hope.jervisrademeyer@mail.utoronto.ca

Research Location: Toronto Rehab – Lyndhurst Centre

Field of Study: Movement Science & Rehabilitation Technology Science

Summary of Research: The purpose of my research is to investigate the use of technology to enhance traditional rehabilitation for individuals with spinal cord injury/disease.

Why I Chose RSI: The RSI program at the University of Toronto is one of the top programs in the world. My supervisor, Dr. Kristin Musselman, and the faculty and staff at RSI provide me with the support that I need to succeed. I have the opportunity to work with a non-traditional interprofessional research team and access to unique, innovative resources.

You Can Ask Me About: Collaborative Program in Neuroscience, Canadian Physiotherapy Association, Neuroscience Division of Canadian Physiotherapy Association

Azadeh Barzideh  

2nd Year PhD
azadeh.barzideh@mail.utoronto.ca

Research Location: Toronto Rehab  

Field of Study: Movement Science

Summary of Research: I am working on the effect of reactive balance training in chronic stroke patients.

Why I Chose RSI: RSI it is one of the best departments in the world offering a PhD in rehabilitation sciences. I was looking for an environment that helps me grow as a researcher and provides me with opportunities and resources to improve in other aspects of my career at the same time. I believe RSI and U of T offer both. For example, the opportunity to get to know and talk with the RSI alumni has been such an empowering experience for me. It has helped me to discover more diverse career opportunities for the future.

You Can Ask Me About: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee at KITE, KITE Trainee Executive Committee, Mentor at RSI

Tyler Saumur  

3rd Year PhD
(also completed MSc in RSI)
tyler.saumur@mail.utoronto.ca

Research Location: Toronto Rehab, Sunnybrook, and RSI (500 University Ave)

Field of Study: Movement Science

Summary of Research: Understanding the relationship between muscle function and postural control. I am using posturographic measures taken from forceplates and using EMG and force dynamometry for my data collection.

Why I Chose RSI: RSI is a collaborative department with a wide range of research expertise in their faculty members. Ultimately, my decision was based on the fit of faculty members’ research and the different opportunities offered to me. I have completed my MSc in RSI and have stuck around for my PhD.

You Can Ask Me About: Mentorship Committee, Admissions Committee, Handbook Committee, CPIN, UTGSU, RSGSU

Sana Smaoui  

3rd Year PhD
sana.smaoui@mail.utoronto.ca

Research Location: Toronto Rehab - UC

Field of Study: Speech-Language Pathology

Summary of Research: My research is focused on the application and validation of an intensive tongue strength training protocol and its impact on the physiological factors that contribute to dysphagia following stroke.

Why I Chose RSI: The collaborative and interdisciplinary culture of the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute along with the excellence and expertise of its faculty members are the main reasons I chose RSI.

You Can Ask Me About: Collaborative Program in Neuroscience, Speech-Language Pathology Alumni

Erica Dove   

1st Year PhD
erica.dove@mail.utoronto.ca

Research Location: Toronto Rehab

Field of Study: Rehabilitation Technology Science & Occupational Science

Summary of Research: My PhD research aims to develop, co-design, and test an active video game (a game where you play by moving) for people with dementia or mild cognitive impairment (MCI) that is intended to impact balance and fear of falling. This active video game will be co-designed with people with dementia or MCI and clinicians (e.g. physiotherapists) to ensure that the game is engaging, accessible, and properly aimed to improve target outcomes.

Why I Chose RSI: I chose to pursue graduate studies in the RSI for several reasons. Firstly, the supervisor I wanted to work with is located at the RSI and has research space at Toronto Rehab, where a number of renowned scientists in my field of research are located. Secondly, having recently completed my MSc degree at the RSI, I was keen to continue my academic journey in a familiar environment with a tight-knit, community-like nature.

You Can Ask Me About: Broadly, I am involved with the Rehabilitation Sciences Graduate Student Union (RSGSU), the AGE-WELL Highly Qualified Personnel Advisory Committee (HQP-AC), and Toronto Rehab’s KITE Trainee Executive Committee. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about any of these unions/committees!

Sarah Gregor   

3rd Year PhD
sarah.gregor@mail.utoronto.ca

Research Location: Toronto Rehab - UC

Field of Study: Movement Sciences

Summary of Research: My research explores ways to improve walking for individuals living with stroke, as well as looks to understand the relationship between walking and rhythmic abilities.

Why I Chose RSI: There is no place like Toronto to complete clinical research, as we are on the same street as many of the best hospitals in the world. This allows for a lot of collaboration and access to stateof-the-art research equipment. Also, the students, faculty and staff at RSI are amazing to work with.

You Can Ask Me About: Teaching Assistantships, Collaborative Program in Neuroscience (CPIN), Mentorship Committee (RSI), Social & Service Committee (RSI), working as a clinician during graduate work.