• Graduate Student Ambassadors

    Graduate Student Ambassadors

    Fostering positive relationships with potential applicants, new students, and alumni.

Graduate Student Ambassadors

If you would like to reach out to an Ambassador of a program you're interested in, the best way to do so is via e-mail. Please put “Question to Ambassador” in the subject line to ensure that your message doesn’t get lost. Please also note that all ambassadors are volunteers as well as current graduate students with busy schedules, so allow 48 hours for their responses.


Connect with an Ambassador:

Anita Acai

Anita Acai

I am a 3rd year PhD candidate in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour and the Office of Education Science, Department of Surgery at McMaster University. My doctoral research in the Performance Science Lab involves investigating how principles of social and cognitive psychology can be applied to improve training for physicians, surgeons, and other health professionals. Outside of my research, I love being involved in the community. I am currently serving as the Graduate Student Representative on Senate for the Faculty of Science and am also a member of the Graduate Students Association Council and the Science Graduate Students Association.

Avesta Ahmadi

Avesta Ahmadi

Hey there! I am a 1st year Master of Science student in the school of Computational Science & Engineering at McMaster. I have recently joined the research group of Prof. Protas in the Mathematics department and my research is involved with mathematical modeling on Li-ion batteries. My research brings together my engineering and science background and skills together with computational methods applied on Li-ion batteries for finding new ways of predicting the structure of its cathodes. When I'm not in my office, I'm enjoying my time in the recreation centre for a daily work out or playing tennis with my friends.

Rachel Andrews

Rachel Andrews

I am a 2nd year Master of Science student in biology. My research investigates the impact of obesity on the heart using Drosophila melanogaster, or the fruit fly, as a model. It’s a bit whacky but the fruit fly is a great organism for lots of different experiments, including ones looking at the heart! I am particularly interested in the changes to the protein matrix around the heart and how they impair its contractility. I use a variety of tests to assess heart function, and have been able to collaborate with researchers in engineering both at McMaster and the University of Toronto.

Alanna Bodo

Alanna Bodo

As an Oakville, Ontario native, I always wanted to live out west. I received my BSc in 2014 from the University of British Columbia. In 2016 I completed my MES at Western University and worked in both government and private industries afterward. Realizing my goal for teaching in higher education, I decided to pursue my PhD at McMaster where I joined the Climatology and Hydrometeorology lab in the School of Geography and Earth Science. My research involves studying the exchange of water between forests and the atmosphere and how this might be impacted due to climate change.

Samantha Caetano

Samantha Caetano

I am a statistician in my 4th year of my PhD who likes to work on mathematical issues that arise in cancer data. My research focuses on model validation, via the c-statistic, applied to survival analysis. In my spare time I enjoy binge watching comedy shows (Brooklyn 99, the Office, etc), solving riddles/puzzles and baking.

Erica Dao

Erica Dao

I am a 2nd Year PhD Student studying Medical Physics in the Radiation Sciences program. My PhD project involves characterizing and classifying breast tissue using x-ray and optical techniques to develop a clinically available breast cancer detection device. When not in the lab, I enjoy cooking, baking, and working out to burn the calories from my cooking and baking.

Monica De Paoli

Monica De Paoli

I am a PhD student in the Chemical Biology program under the supervision of Dr Geoff Werstuck. My project focuses on diabetes and specifically finding out how female hormones, estrogens, can protect women from developing this disease.

Lisa Dyce

Lisa Dyce

I am a 3rd year PhD candidate in the Neuroscience Program working under the supervision of Dr. Khrista Boylan. My research examines the utility of using resting brain activity (electroencephalography/EEG) and neuropsychiatric measures to characterize and differentiate mood and behavioural disorders in youth. During my time at McMaster, I have become actively involved with and passionate about science outreach and engagement activities such as the Out of Our MiNDS Neuroscience Education Program and McMaster's Women in Science & Engineering Initiative. Outside of academia, I can be found skiing, playing board games, and exploring trails with my two dogs!

Stevie Foglia

Stevie Foglia

I am a 2nd year Master’s student in Sensorimotor Neuroscience Lab in the department of Kinesiology. My passion for research in motor control began as an undergraduate volunteer in my lab, where I was exposed to the lab equipment and methods that we use to conduct studies. My research now has been focused on creating a model of human reflexive motor control that is based on ecological principles of object affordances and motor action priming. Providing new insights into applications that can inform best practices for fall prevention research is what motivates my work.

Sian Ford

Sian Ford

Hey there! I’m a PhD student in Earth Sciences and Astrobiology. My research involves using an interdisciplinary approach to help answer fundamental questions regarding the search for life in space, and the origin of life here on Earth. By detecting and characterizing microorganisms living at the very limits of terrestrial life as we know it, we can better understand where and how organisms might live on other planets such as Mars, or moons such as Titan. Additionally, I am involved in analyzing meteorites for biologically-relevant molecules and determining how this may have contributed to the abiogenic origin of life on Earth some 4 billion years ago. In my spare time I enjoy bird watching, table-top RPGs, video games, and painting.

Richard Garnett

Richard Garnett

I'm a 1st year PhD student in the Medical Physics side of the Radiation Sciences Graduate Program, and have been at McMaster since 2011. I am doing research on the application of machine learning to radiation detection and measurements. My current project focuses on applying machine learning to event classification for measurement of mixed radiation fields. Outside of my work on my project I like to help where I can with recruitment and I organize a departmental softball team in the school's summer softball league, as well as the intramural league on occasion. I enjoy all things radiation related, love trying to explain things, and look forward to being able to help.

Novan Gray

Novan Gray

I am a Jamaican-Canadian hailing from Mississauga, Ontario. I came to McMaster as an undergraduate and completed my Bachelors degree in Chemistry. Having decided to remain in the department, I am currently doing my Master’s in the lab of Dr. David Emslie. My research in organometallic / coordination chemistry focuses on the synthesis and study of new actinide (uranium and thorium) complexes and their bonding with soft-donor ligands to further decipher covalent metal-ligand relationships in the f-block. By advancing our understanding of these relatively unstudied interactions, we can exploit their chemistry for the separation and reprocessing of nuclear waste products.

Sachin Kotecha

Sachin Kotecha

I am currently pursuing my MSc in astrophysics under the supervision of Dr. James Wadsley at McMaster University, focusing on the evolution of galaxies in relation to the cosmic web. Before this, I completed my BMath at the University of Waterloo in applied mathematics and physics. There, I conducted a USRA with Dr. Michel Fich looking at data from the SCUBA-2 telescope to analyze temperature profiles of cores. My personal interests skew heavily towards outreach and education in mathematics and physics. I've had the privilege of working at the fantastic Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing as well as dipping my toes into college education at Humber College.

George Long

George Long

Hi there! I’m a 1st year Master's student in biology with a focus on bioinformatics. My current goal is to detect potential blood stream infections – like sepsis – using a metagenomics approach. This interdisciplinary project is great as it allows for practical applications of statistical models using DNA. Bioinformatics itself as a field is constantly growing and discovering new mathematical methods to tackle questions in an efficient manner. Its possible applications vary from estimating evolutionary models, reconstructing ancient genomes, and identifying microbial communities. As such, every day in this field is new and exciting!

Gabriella Mattina

Gabriella Mattina

I am a 4th year PhD candidate in the Neuroscience program working under the supervision of Dr. Meir Steiner and Dr. Geoffrey Hall. My research focuses on investigating genetic risk factors that contribute to altered brain functioning in women with OCD during the perinatal period. I enjoy and avidly participates in an outreach group called Out of Our MiNDS that teaches high school students Neuroscience material  In my spare time, you can find me at a Zumba class, watching reality TV shows or baking with Nutella!

Zelalem Negeri

Zelalem Negeri

"I am from Ethiopia and a 4th year Ph.D. candidate in Statistics at McMaster University. My research area is mainly on the development and validation of robust statistical methods for meta-analysis of diagnostic test accuracy studies. In my spare time, I enjoy playing football (or soccer, as it is called in North America), playing table tennis and watching movies."

Sara Oikawa

Sara Oikawa

I am a PhD student in the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University, having completed both my MSc and undergraduate in this department. My research is centred on protein metabolism and exercise, specifically in strategies to help older adults maintain muscle mass. In addition to my wealth of knowledge regarding the Kinesiology Graduate program, I am also heavily involved in graduate student life as the Vice President Internal of the McMaster Graduate Student Association.

Ben K. D. Pearce

Ben K. D. Pearce

I'm in the 2nd year of my PhD in the collaborative graduate program in Astrobiology, and my home department is Physics & Astronomy. For my research, I build numerical models of the early Earth's surface, atmosphere and chemistry to try to uncover one of the greatest mysteries in the cosmos: how did life begin? In my spare time, you may find me running around Bayfront Park, cooking Asian-inspired foods, or homebrewing beer. I also run the graduate student homebrew club in the Physics & Astronomy department.

Arash Moradi Rad

Arash Moradi Rad

Hey there! I am a 1st year Master's student in the Computational Science & Engineering program. I have a passion for multidisciplinary studies and it is demonstrated in my background which consists of two bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration and English Literature. I am also highly interested and knowledgeable in economics. Realizing my passion for data science and programming, I decided to pursue my master’s studies at McMaster. My research is in the field of data-driven optimization. In my free time, I enjoy listening to music, learning new languages and trying to understand how the world works!

Lauren Smail

Lauren Smail

My doctoral research in the Performance Science Lab and the Neurotechnology and Neuroplasticity Lab investigates how we can improve prosthetic limbs for their users. Taking a user-centered approach, I am investigating whether spatialized auditory-proprioceptive sensory substitution technology can help improve prosthetic limb functionality for users.

Tiffany vanLieshout

Tiffany vanLieshout

I received my Honours BSc and MSc in Kinesiology from McMaster University in 2015 and 2017. I am currently a PhD Student in the Integrative Neuromuscular Laboratory at McMaster University, where I investigate the role that protein arginine methyltransferases play in skeletal muscle plasticity. When I'm not in the laboratory or teaching, I love spending my time outside enjoying nature.

Dewan Ferdous Wahid

Dewan Ferdous Wahid

I am a 2nd year Ph.D. student in Computational Science and Engineering under the supervision of Dr. Elkafi Hassini, a professor of Operational Management in DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University. I received my MSc in Computer Science from the University of British Columbia and BSc in Mathematics from the University of Chittagong, Bangladesh. My research focuses on designing effective optimization algorithms for identifying communities or patterns in large-scale data and its applications mainly in business networks. In my free time, I enjoy reading books, watching movies and following current news around the world!

Jennifer Williams

Jennifer Williams

I am a PhD student in the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University, with a prior MSc degree from Queen's University. I previously studied the impact of acute hyperglycemia on vascular function in healthy men and women, across the menstrual cycle. My present PhD research focuses on the short- and long-term impact of hormonal contraceptives on cardiovascular and metabolic indicators in women.

Laszlo Zalavari

Laszlo Zalavari

I am a 3rd year PhD student in the Physics & Astronomy Department under the supervision of Dr Clifford Burgess. In our group, amongst other things we are investigating Point-Particle Effective Field Theories, which exploit a hierarchy of length scales to simplify certain problems. My research at the moment focuses on implementing additional degrees of freedom of point-like sources such as spin into our formalism and trying to make predictions for the experimentally observable finite-size effects in the spectrum of these particles. Another interesting feature of these theories is that we hope to find a dictionary for a certain group of systems between the more complicated relativistic Quantum Field Theory and the much more manageable Quantum Mechanics treatments.

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