Executive Team 2020/21

Getting involved in research has been one of the highlights of my university career. From learning innovative lab techniques to interacting with some of the smartest people I know, my fond memories within research can go on and on. If there is one thing that I wish I could have changed, it is that I would have started sooner. As such, myself, along with my fellow IgNITE founders, wanted to create a platform where students of all ages and experience levels could participate in some of the most fundamental aspects of research. Moreover, we wanted to create a community of IgNITE members, pushing one another to reach our full potential! I am a firm believer of being a lifelong learner and I know that the IgNITE Medical Case Competition will encourage novel approaches to some of the most pressing medical issues through research. I look forward to meeting you all and sharing our innovative solutions at IgNITE!

Co-President &
Founder

4th Year Translational and Molecular Medicine Student

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Danny Bojic

Danny Bojic

Founder & Co-President

Medical research has been a big part of my academic journey and has given me countless opportunities to grow, not only as a scientist but as a person. Although I have had the opportunity to get involved in many cutting-edge research projects, it was not easy getting involved in my very first project. Unfortunately, this struggle is also faced by many other aspiring scientists trying to enter the academic community. Thus, we started IgNITE to create an opportunity for young scientists to take their first step in their research journey. Leading a team of brilliant students, alongside Danny, to make IgNITE a reality allows me to give back to the scientific community and play a part in shaping our future scientists and doctors. I hope to create a pivotal experience that will fuel the passion of students wanting to get involved in research and open doors for them to succeed. I truly believe that the IgNITE Medical Case Competition has the potential to change your academic journey. I look forward to meeting you all and discussing innovative solutions to current medical issues!

Co-President &
Founder

4th Year Translational and Molecular Medicine Student

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Bianka Bezuidenhout

Bianka Bezuidenhout

Founder & Co-President

Science has been a big part of my life ever since I competed in the Canada Wide Science Fair in Grade 8. Since then, I have had the privilege to contribute my efforts to translational medical research in hopes of improving outcomes for cancer patients faced with the possibility of disease recurrence following surgery. Research has provided me with many opportunities that have helped shape my aspirations and future career goals. Unfortunately, there is a significant barrier for students to get into research, which I had experienced myself. For me, IgNITE represents an experience that I wish I had access to when I had first begun seeking research opportunities. I believe the initiative provides students with a unique "springboard" into the world of research as it not only teaches important scientific concepts and skills but also allows students to connect with world-leading scientists. I hope that my efforts in IgNITE may support aspiring young scientists.

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Gayashan Tennakoon

Founder & VP Development

I grew up in a francophone community in Québec, but have also had the opportunity to live abroad in Dubai (where French was instead a minority language). Having been on both sides of the coin, I joined IgNITE in order to promote bilingualism in the scientific community and because I think conferences are a lot of fun! I've met very interesting people by getting involved in other conferences and am excited to be part of the team responsible for making this one happen.

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Malek Rahmani

VP Communication

As someone with a background in science and passion for healthcare innovation, I have always enjoyed working with others to solve complex and relevant problems in medicine. While I have gained a lot of valuable skills from my involvement in research, the road to get to where I am now was not easy. As such, my hope is that through IgNITE, I can help students in a similar situation kickstart their careers and find their passions.

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Sandra Bojic

Founder & VP Development

Recently, I have taken an interest in exploring different research conferences and proposal competitions. When a friend of mine referred me to IgNITE, I was immediately struck by their ambition and drive. Not only are they presenting one of the biggest prize pools I have seen, but they are also dedicated to ensuring that there is a large representation of french participants at their competition, something I deeply care about. It was clear that they have created an amazing competition for a wide variety of students to learn and gain a lot from, and this was something that I eagerly wanted to be involved in. I am excited to see what we can do!

Georges Khalaf

VP Communication

I want to be apart of IgNITE because I am interested in helping a great initiative aimed at getting more people interested and involved in scientific research. I can't wait to see the great ideas this year!

James Huynh

VP Graphics Design

I joined IgNITE because I have always loved the idea of getting more people involved in the scientific community, without anyone with a passion for it left behind. I myself have done a few case competitions and learned many valuable things from them!! I want to make sure everyone has that same chance! If you are worried or hesitant talk to me and I'll tell you all about my experiences.

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Tamara Sandouka

VP External

I want to join IgNITE because I think there is so much more to research that meets the eye and having early exposure can be very beneficial to students. I feel extremely lucky to have had access to research early on in my academic career and I want to do the most I can to give back to the student community and help them get access to research and peak their interests :) I think IgNITE is a great way to do this. 

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Catalina Fernandez

VP Ambassadors

I wanted to join IgNITE because being exposed to research early on has helped me greatly in my academic journey. From learning how to approach real world problems that face current and future generations to building up academic writing and scientific inquiry skills, IgNITE is an amazing opportunity for students to apply their knowledge and fuel their passion, and I wanted to be part of that. I am excited for this year’s case competition and I look forward to working with the team and the participants.

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Saif Dababneh

VP Finance

Nothing changes until you do something. I think IgNITE is a great platform that allows students not only to display their research but also learn about complicated yet exciting researching techniques; because at the end of the day knowledge is not powerful, the power lies on how you apply it. I am excited to work with all the participants and learn along them. So, JOIN US!!!

Alberto Fuentes

VP Internal

I want to be a part of IgNITE because it is the perfect opportunity to help encourage and motivate students who are passionate about research. My first exposure to research was through a case competition, and ever since then it has been a passion of mine. I want IgNITE to be a similar experience for all those involved, and I look forward to helping the participants develop their innovative ideas! I wish everyone all the best! 

Yudhvir Bhatti

VP Sponsorship

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The futuristic vision of ignite being one of opportunities and equipping future generations with the skill sets to become successful, is the driving force of why I joined this amazing team! As a marketing coordinator, I get to advertise and market a competition that allows competitors to express their own efforts and creativity. I hope to reach as many competitors through marketing efforts to magnify the effects of such an amazing vision. 

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Dené Bezuidenhout

VP Marketing Relations

 I wanted to be a part of the IgNITE team because competitions like IgNITE were where I began getting involved with research, and discovered that research was something I wanted to pursue.  Competitions have allowed me to further my passion for science, and I hope to make IgNITE as meaningful to other students as competitions have been for me. I am excited to help others, who are enthusiastic about research, get an introduction to what research is like. I look forward to meeting this year's participants!

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Aditya Prashar

VP Sponsorship

 I joined IgNITE because I want to give back to the first science fair I competed in during high school by helping other high school and university students in pursuing their passion for science in a professional setting so that we can continue to train a new generation of brilliant scientists. I look forward to meeting and interacting with all of this year’s participants.

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Hertek Gill

VP Logistics

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 I joined IgNITE because I want to give back to the first science fair I competed in during high school by helping other high school and university students in pursuing their passion for science in a professional setting so that we can continue to train a new generation of brilliant scientists. I look forward to meeting and interacting with all of this year’s participants.

Jean-Louis Parmasad

VP Mentors

Branch Coordinators 2020/21

As a student who is passionate about science and healthcare, I understand the difficulties often faced by students in search of their first exposure to research. I wanted to join IgNITE because I believe it is a wonderful and unique opportunity for all those interested in research regardless of your experience level. The competition works to provide many students the chance to develop valuable skills, whether it be for the lab or scientific inquiry in general. I am very excited to bring IgNITE to McGill and am looking forward to this year's competition. I wish all the participants good luck and hope it is a rewarding experience for everyone involved! 

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Summer Zhang 

McGill Coordinator

Medical research has been a big part of my life from a young age. Ever since then, I had a growing passion to pursue research because I found it so interesting and rewarding. Being given the opportunity to do research provided me with many opportunities and experiences that I would not have shared otherwise. As Windsor’s Branch Coordinator I strive to raise awareness for medical research as well as provide students with many learning opportunities along the way. I want others to share those same research experiences and opportunities as they formed to be a big part of my life. Through IgNITE I can help students discover a passion for research as well as amazing research opportunities all while stimulating a diverse and inclusive environment!

Mansi Patel

Windsor Coordinator

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Passionate about medicine with a growing interest in research makes IgNITE the perfect opportunity for me. As a 2nd year Life Sciences student at Queen’s University, I will use my role as Queen's Branch Coordinator to raise awareness and participation in this amazing, inclusive, learning opportunity. I hope to inspire and provide students a platform where they can grow their passions, explore new interests, and gain a wealth of knowledge along the way.

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Megan Zalzal

Queens Coordinator

Your only limit is your mind. With IgNITE, I believe that students across Canada can expand and enhance their scientific knowledge. That same reason is why I chose to join IgNITE. I have been extremely passionate about medicine from a young age and I love the idea of getting to share that! As a second year Biomedical student at York University, I can’t wait to bring this platform to my school and allow students to explore their interests and enrich their experiences. I truly think all the brilliant minds involved with IgNITE will make a difference and spark a fire in the scientific community. I am thrilled to be a part of the team!

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Victoria Fabrizi

York Coordinator

My personal vision is to use the power of research and science to make the world a better place. I hope to help provide opportunities for students to become more involved in these fields, gain valuable skills, and become inspired to pursue  positive change through research and medicine. I believe IgNITE is a great community that fosters the scientific growth of students passionate about research and I hope to help IgNITE reach more students. 

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Jenny Wei

U of T Coordinator

I joined IgNITE Team because I wanted to be part of a motivated research community which allows students to not only to display their research and passion but also learn about different topics and innovations. With this team, I hope to achieve a greater understanding of research through conferences and more, as well as provide that opportunity to others, who like me, had barriers in the past.

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Amira Bouchema

Guelph  Coordinator

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IgNITE's ambitious team is one that I knew I had to become a part of right away. Their admirable determination to further open the field of research to secondary and undergraduate students is one that I share and appreciate incredibly. As someone who is interested in pursuing both medicine and business, becoming Western's Branch Coordinator could not have been a better fit for me, and I am beyond eager to help organize this unique and enriching experience for future researchers!

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Laura Tolciu

Western Co-Coordinator

When I found out about IgNITE I was really interested in what has to offer. Having the opportunity to participate in a Medical Case Competition is something I've never done before and I look forward to it! I've been interested in Medical Research ever since high school and I hope to pursue that interest over my years at Western University where I'm studying Medical Sciences First Year and Engineering later on. I really like how IgNITE allows anyone with any research experience to participate as it is a great way for high school graduates to get involved and network in the science community. I look forward to working alongside my team to reach common goals!!

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Daniyal Khan

Western Co-Coordinator

As a Co Branch Coordinator at IgNITE and a second-year Integrated Science student, I am excited to start this new chapter at McMaster. Research has always been a passion of mine that I cannot wait to continue expanding upon. My hope is to bring awareness to others about both medicine and research through this inclusive community. I joined IgNITE for the opportunity to work alongside other eager students to bring this innovative and collaborative event to life!

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Madison McKellar

McMaster Co-Coordinator

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I joined IgNITE because I love this group’s commitment to enabling undergrads/ high school students to be involved in research. The fact that no one needs research experience to participate in this competition is awesome and I absolutely love the inclusivity! As Co Branch Coordinator, I hope to inspire McMaster students to explore the world of research and provide them with awesome resources and opportunities!

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Mira Ishak

McMaster Co-Coordinator

I was introduced to research through a similar medical case competition for high school students. Having learned abstract writing and data analysis, I was able to take those skills to an actual lab setting and conduct data science research over the past two years. This experience has helped me develop my analytical skills, taught me how to network and introduced me to science communication. My hope with IgNITE is to offer the same opportunity to Alberta students and become an integral part of their research journey. IgNITE offers a unique support system in the sense that it pairs research teams with experienced mentors. I wish to contribute to this support system by recruiting experienced researchers from the University of Alberta and building a team of motivated, science communicators to assist all of our Alberta competitors!

Abhinav Dhillon

Alberta Coordinator

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IgNITE offers an amazing opportunity for students to gain invaluable research experience, even if they have no prior background in research. I joined IgNITE because I wanted to reduce the barriers preventing aspiring youth from pursuing their dreams. Through my involvement as UBC's Branch Coordinator, I hope to introduce many of my peers to research and help them develop the skills they need to succeed in the future!

Edward Li

UBC Coordinator