Our Panelists

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Entrepreneurship Event

Dina Lu is Calligraphy Workshop Instructor and Business Coach for Calligraphers based in Vancouver, BC. She specializes in teaching public and corporate team-building calligraphy workshops in Vancouver, as well as coaching calligraphers around the world on how to turn their creative passions into profitable businesses. It's been two years of running her business full-time. Previously, she worked in international trade for different government departments. She graduated from the University of British Columbia in 2017 with a Bachelor of Commerce and regularly volunteers her time to mentoring young entrepreneurs through the Canadian charity League of Innovators, and high school girls through the YWCA. 

Psychology Event

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DR. ASHLEY MAJOR

Dr. Ashley Major completed her Ph.D. in School and Clinical Child Psychology at the University of Toronto. She earned her Master’s degree at the University of Toronto and her Honours B.A. at Western University. Dr. Major is currently registered as a Clinical Psychologist with the College of Psychologists of Ontario. Dr. Major works in private practice at The Clinic on Dupont in Toronto. 

Dr. Major specializes in the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents. She also assists families in strengthening their relationships and provides parents with strategies to support their child’s social-emotional development. Dr. Major provides treatment that is evidence-based and tailored to the unique strengths and needs of each child. Although Dr. Major’s primary orientation is cognitive behavioural, her approach to treatment is integrative and she draws from emotion-focused therapy, mindfulness, dialectical behavior therapy, systemic approaches, and solution-focused therapy. Dr. Major supports children and adolescents in developing skills to cope with a range of psychological and mental health concerns, including anxietystress, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, and behavioural challenges.

The Tech Experience

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SALONI GANDHI

Saloni here. I hail from Mumbai, India but grew up in UAE/Kuwait. Other than technology, I am interested in literature, tennis, and cricket.

 

Currently, I work as an ML-SWE at Twitter wherein my team is responsible for building ML systems and models for products that enable creation and conversations on Twitter.

 

I graduated with a Dual Masters from Cornell University in May 2021 where I studied Applied Information Science and Systems with a concentration in Connective Media. Prior to grad school, I completed my Bachelors in Computer Science from the College of Engineering Pune in India.

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PATRICK ZHANG

Patrick Zhang is a Staff Engineer at Google, dedicated to helping more enterprise companies migrate to Google’s Cloud Infrastructure.

Patrick completed his undergraduate degree in Computer Science and moved to Bay area to work for Google. After 12 years of working on projects such as Google Platforms, Google Kernel, finally joined the Google Cloud team. Today, He leads stress staging cloud and software development, working with  Cloud development teams, SREs, and technical consultants to bring the largest customers to Google Cloud.

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YADA PRUKSACHATKUN

Yada Pruksachatkun is a machine learning scientist at Infinitus, a conversational AI startup that automates calls in the healthcare system. She has worked on trustworthy natural language processing as an Applied Scientist at Amazon and led the first healthcare NLP initiative within mid-sized startup ASAPP. She conducted research transfer learning in NLP in graduate school at NYU and was advised by Professor Sam Bowman. 

A Conversation in Music

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GARY KOFTINOFF

Gary Koftinoff is a Canadian Film Score composer of music for film and television. In 2018, he won an ASCAP Screen Award for a Socan Award for Domestic Television Series for his score on the medical drama Saving Hope. He has scored over 30 films and over 250 episodes of television, all composed for a client list that includes ICF Films, Sony/Lifetime, Chesler, Shaftesbury Films, and more.

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JONATHAN CROW

Jonathan Crow is the Toronto Symphony Orchestra's concertmaster and a violinist in the New Orford String Quartet. In 2005, Jonathan Crow joined the Schulich School of Music at McGill University as Assistant Professor of Violin and was appointed Associate Professor of Violin in 2010. His students have received global recgonition at International Violin Competitions.

Musify

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NAMI MELUMAD

Nami Melumad is an Israeli-Dutch film composer, based in Los Angeles, California. Her scoring credits include over 130 projects in a wide range of genres, most notably the HBO Max comedy, An American Pickle, starring Seth Rogen, the Amazon thriller-drama series, Absentia, starring Stana Katic, and EA’s VR video game Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond. She also scored the Oscar-winning documentary short, Colette, and contributed music and arrangements to Amazon’s hit, Borat Subsequent MovieFilm. Her score to the Star Trek episode, Shorts Treks: Q&A in 2019, landed her the upcoming series, Star Trek: Prodigy, making her the first female composer for the franchise.

Nominated for Breakthrough Composer of the Year (2020) by the International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA), Nami's works have screened worldwide and claimed multiple international accolades, including the IFMCA Award for Best Score for a Video Game, the IFMCA nomination for Best Score for a Comedy, the Hollywood Music in Media Award and the Short Score award at Fimucite. Her compositions have been performed by the Hollywood Chamber Orchestra, Haifa Symphony Orchestra, The Israel Sinfonietta Beer Sheva, and Helix Collective Ensemble.

An alumna of the prestigious ASCAP Film-Scoring Workshop, Nami graduated from the Scoring for Motion Pictures and TV program at the University of Southern California. She holds a B.A. in multi-style composition from the Jerusalem Academy of Music, where she was admitted directly to the sophomore year. She plays flute, piano, and guitar, and serves as a board member of the Alliance for Women Film Composers.

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JULIA HENDERSON

Julia Henderson is a Canadian-born soprano, multi-instrumentalist, composer/arranger, and audio engineer. With an undergraduate degree in Classical Voice Performance, and a master’s degree in Music Technology and Digital Media, Julia combines her skills to arrange, record, perform, and mix music for and from a growing variety of video games and media. In addition to performing and creating, Julia loves teaching all things music and has been doing so for over a decade.

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ETHAN DANTO

A singer/songwriter in the heart of Los Angeles, Danto attends USC's Thornton School of Music with an emphasis in songwriting with the goal of pursuing his artistic career. He just released his first single "Pulls My Tide" Ethan has opened up for Platinum artist Data and Kendall Schmidt of Heffron drive. 

He has performed at The Hotel Cafe. The Moroccan Lounge, The New World Center Miami FL, and Segerstrom Center for The Arts, to name a few. Ethan Dantos' musical inspiration derives from his pop and alternative background.

The Healthcare Corner

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DR. DANIELLE WARD

Dr. Danielle Ward is a PGY-1 plastic surgery resident physician, former urgent care physician, and author of the book "Atypical Premed: A Non-Traditional Student's Guide to Applying to Medical School". She received a BS degree in biochemistry from Louisiana State University in 2009, a Master of Science degree in biochemistry from the University of Saint Joseph in 2013, and her Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine in 2018. She was also involved in research that focused on parasitology and immunology related to Neglected Tropical Diseases, and it led to her being included in published articles such as PARASITES & VECTORS and the INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL FOR PARASITOLOGY.

 

In 2016, she was the first osteopathic medical student to be elected as national president of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA). In 2013, Danielle created the "Aspiring Minority Doctor" blog to offer tips/advice to current pre-medical and medical students on similar paths.

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DR. DASHAÉ SMALLWOOD

Dr. Dashaé Smallwood graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2017 with her B.S. in Kinesiology (Sports Medicine Concentration). She has a passion for helping others and has dreamed of becoming a physical therapist since her senior year of high school. She graduated from Duke University's Doctor of Physical Therapy program in May and is specialing in pediatrics. She also has a blog and an Instagram account where she mentors pre-PT and current PT students.

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DR. HUSAM ABDEL-QADIR

Husam Abdel-Qadir is a cardiologist at Women’s College Hospital and the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, and a scientist at Women’s College Research Institute, the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research, and ICES. He graduated from the University of Toronto’s medical school with the Silver Medal and completed residencies in Internal Medicine and Cardiology at the University of Toronto. During his training, Dr. Abdel-Qadir became interested in optimizing the cardiovascular health of people who are less likely to be represented in clinical trials. This motivated him to pursue a PhD in Clinical Epidemiology and Health Care Research at the Institute for Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation. His PhD thesis focused on the cardiovascular health of women with breast cancer, and this continues to be a focus of his research program. His clinical and research expertise also extends to the cardiovascular health of people with other cancers. He is also developing a research program on the management and outcomes of people with atrial fibrillation.

Global Pathways

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KAMILIYA AKKOUCHE

Kamiliya Akkouche is a foreign service officer at Global Affairs Canada, with several years of expertise in complex problem-solving at the crossroads of foreign affairs, human rights, and international security. She has called a range of cities home, from Odessa and Vancouver to Menton and Oxford. Applying her passion for community engagement as a Global Shaper of the World Economic Forum since 2017, she has had the privilege to lead on a number of projects and initiatives, from supporting diversity and equity through the myCanada 150 exhibit and partnerships with the Global Centre for Pluralism, to showcasing stories of human resilience and compassion through OttawaAgainstCorona. Most recently, Kamiliya obtained an MSt in Diplomatic Studies from the University of Oxford, where she focused her thesis research on the Russia-Iran nexus in Syria. 

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WALIED KHOGALI

Walied Khogali has lived in Regent Park with his family since 2005. He has worked to champion issues such as affordable transit, environmental stewardship, equity, and human rights in both the community and across the city. Walied is known for his work with residents from all backgrounds to create safe, inclusive, sustainable communities that are free from discrimination and hate. As a Canadian Muslim who immigrated from Sudan, he has experienced firsthand what it’s like to be a newcomer youth growing up in Toronto. Walied witnessed his parents make many sacrifices to give him and his six siblings the best possible opportunities, instilling the values of hard work, education, and social responsibility. This inspired Walied to “pay it forward” and dedicate himself to public and community service.

 

His professional track record reflects this commitment. Since 2016, Walied has worked to support the campaigns of the United Way, as well as in communications at the Labour Community Services of Toronto. Walied served as the President of the Toronto Environmental Alliance and is a founding member of the transit advocacy organization, TTC Riders. Walied has also held key positions in a number of organizations including the Canadian Arab Federation and One Toronto.

Walied is passionate about building a society in which all people can reach their full potential.

He is the Co-Founder of the Coalition Against White Supremacy and Islamophobia (CAWSI). This coalition of 170+ organizations mobilized a national day of action in February 2017 in response to the Trump administration’s “Muslim ban” and the deadly islamophobic and racist attack on a mosque in Quebec City in January 2017. Walied is a community mentor for youth experiencing marginalization, and an advocate for education and career opportunities, as well as meaningful youth participation in public discourse.

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MAAME DE-HEER

Maame De-Heer is an adept Public Health Professional with 9 years of academic and professional expertise in healthcare. She serves as a Policy Analyst with the Government of Canada in the Public Health Agency of Canada division. Her role as a Policy Analyst is with the Mental Health for Black Canadians Initiative where she contributes to building evidence and enhancing community-led, culturally focused mental health interventions that address mental health and its determinants for diverse Black communities across Canada. Within the Government of Canada, Maame engages in diverse leadership and executive roles where she supports the Co-Leads for the Black Employees Matter chapter within the Government of Canada and is also an Inclusive Staffing Working Group Member where she imparts concepts and tenets that address challenges in a bias-free appointment process and identify areas in the appointment process where bias-related problems can occur. Recently, Maame was appointed Associate Editor for the Canadian Review Editorial Law Proposal, where together with the Advisory Board and Senior Editors, she assesses and examines Canada’s National Undergraduate Law Journal. Remarkably, Maame is the Founder of a grassroots initiative called the Power of Love Foundation Canada. This organization provides services and resources to Black women and girls in low-income settings, with the aim of improving their overall wellbeing. Maame acquired a Masters of Public Health in Social and Behavioural Health Sciences,  from the University of Toronto, alongside a Collaborative Specialization in Global Health, Health Services & Policy Research. Comprehensively,  Maame’s lifelong goal is to impact members of society through community engagement, mentorship, and service. Her life is guided by a famous quote from Muhammed Ali, which reads, ‘if your mind can conceive it and your heart can believe it, then you can achieve it.

Creative Writing: How Can We Get Inspired?

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JIMENA YENGLE: Workshop Instructor

Jimena Yengle is a 19-year-old Peruvian writer and artist.She published her first book, a romantic novel called “Roma Enamorada”, which is currently available on Amazon. Her writings and her artistic pieces are published by different magazines and exhibitions around the world.She is the director of Maniobras Mágicas, a children's space dedicated to promoting artistic creation and expanding the horizons of the imagination. She is currently pursuing two professional careers: "Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation" and "Psychology." In addition, she is in an Actoral Training school, studying Performing Arts.

OUR MISSION

We aim to provide youth with information and advice on different careers in an interactive format, so that they may make well-informed decisions for future studies and goals. We also want to connect like-minded individuals and link youth with others who have similar interests as them.