Introducing our Summer Students & Interns

June 14, 2016

This summer, we’re ecstatic to have 10 new students & interns join our Centre! Coming from a wide-range of backgrounds, they are applying their knowledge and skills to a number of different projects. Working closely with Centre staff, they are gaining unparalleled experiences that will undoubtedly enrich their education and career.

We asked them a few questions to find out more about their interests, hidden talents, and stories:


SHAMHAD ABDI, MHI Candidate, Institute for Health and Policy, Management, and Evaluation, University of Toronto
Describe where you are from. What did it look, smell, taste, sound like? I don’t know exactly where I’m from. I grew up in a lot of places (Somalia, Kenya, South Africa, Emirates, and Canada). My experiences in all these places were distinct and had different smells, tastes and sounds that all remind me of home. Home for me though is wherever my mom is.

OLIVIA CHAN, BDes Candidate, Department of Design, York University/Sheridan College
What is your favourite part about the Centre culture? How friendly and welcoming everyone is!

KATHY HUYNH, BASc Candidate, Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto
What is one fun fact about yourself? I have yet to meet anyone who adds more sugar in their coffee than I do.

DAMLA KERESTECIOGLU, MASc Candidate, Systems Design Engineering Department, University of Waterloo
What are you passionate about outside of work? I love going for bike rides over the weekend and taking black and white photography with my old school film camera and printing them in a dark room. It helps me practice being more patient with details while relaxing at the same time. Furthermore, I love knitting and crochet. I enjoy designing my own patterns and following my own fashion; currently working on a green cardigan for next fall.

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PURYA BAYAT SARMADI, MHI Candidate, Institute for Health and Policy, Management, and Evaluation, University of Toronto
Who inspires you? Why? Dr. Tirone David, a cardiac surgeon right here at TGH who years ago performed a surgery on my mother that a couple other surgeons were unwilling to attempt. I will always remember meeting him as an 8 year old and being awe-struck that with his two hands, he not only saved my mom’s life, but moreover changed the outlook of all the lives that depended on her. The prospect of making even a fraction of this level of impact on peoples’ lives through health informatics is what drives me.

SUNNY SINGH, RN, MHI Candidate, Institute for Health and Policy, Management, and Evaluation, University of Toronto
What is one fun fact about yourself? I enjoy working on my car and taking it to the racetrack on weekends.

OWEN THIJSSEN, MSc and BSc, Delft University of Technology
What are you passionate about outside of work? I absolutely love travelling – just me and my backpack, discovering new cultures in countries far out of my comfort zone. It also helps me put things in perspective and reflect on my own mindset and my Dutch heritage.

STEPHANIE WILSON, MHI Candidate, Institute for Health and Policy, Management, and Evaluation, University of Toronto
What is your favourite part about the Centre culture? It feels like home away from home. Everyone here goes out of their way to make you feel welcome. Everyone here is so passionate about what we do, that it creates an encouraging intellectual environment. The encouraging environment makes me feel at home and stoked to come to work every morning.

AREEBA ZAKIR, BASc Candidate, Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto
What motivates you to get up every morning? Excitement of working on projects that positively contribute to improving the healthcare system one device, one system and one person at a time.