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The Keynote: February 2022

Monthly newsletter from the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (SGPS) with information for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.


Grad and Postdoc Engagement

Registration for our March Grad Pro Skill workshops is now open! Check out our March offerings below or visit the upcoming workshops page to see the full Winter 2022 schedule and workshop descriptions.

March workshops:

Writing Effective Research Proposals (for Social Science, Health Science and Education) – Tuesday, March 1 from 2 to 3:15 p.m.

Writing a compelling research statement can be the most challenging step in the application process. This workshop demystifies the statement and research proposal writing process to help you achieve success.

*Note: This workshop is tailored to graduate students in Social Science, Health Science and Education disciplines. 

Organizing Your Literature Search with Citation Manager – Thursday, March 3 from noon to 1:15 p.m.

Are you starting your thesis or dissertation and need an effective system for organizing your citations? In this workshop you will learn how to use a citation manager to save references and create accurate in-text references and bibliographies in Word. 

Interview Skills – Tuesday, March 8 from 10 to 11:15 a.m.

This interactive workshop helps you develop the tools you’ll need to be successful in your academic and non-academic job search. Learn how to answer the most common types of interview questions, how to best prepare for the interview process and how to emphasize your transferable skills.

Conferences 101 – Thursday, March 10 from 4 to 5:15 p.m.

Academic conferences are a standard characteristic of academic life and they present a unique opportunity for knowledge-sharing among scholars in a field. Attending conferences provides important CV experience, and is valuable for many different scholarship applications. 

In this workshop, we will discuss different types of academic conferences and presentations, why we should attend, how to prepare, and how to get the most out of the conferencing experience.

*Note: this workshop offers a general overview of academic conferences; for specifics related to your own discipline, please consult with your faculty advisor.

Self-Care and Mindfulness – Wednesday, March 16 from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

This workshop will introduce students to the practice of mindfulness. Practicing mindfulness has been shown to elevate positive emotions, increase empathy, reduce chronic pain and depression, reduce stress and anxiety and produce a wide range of other positive effects. 

Register for Grad Pro Skills


Three Minute Thesis (3MT®)

  • Mark your calendars for this year's Three Minute Thesis Virtual Finals! Tune in to see our grad students explain their research and its impact in three minutes or less. Register to watch the virtual finals, taking place on Thursday, March 24.

Learn more about 3MT


SGPS updates

  • Join us for a Celebration of Excellence on Thursday, February 24 from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. as we honour our 2020 and 2021 Graduate Excellence Awards winners. Enjoy discussions with our Deans and award recipients as we gear up for the 2022 Graduate Excellence Awards nomination period.

  • Are you feeling Overwhelmed? Don’t worry! Join SGPS Community Connections for another fun-filled social event on Monday, February 28, 2022 from 1 to 2 p.m. for virtual Games Day on Gather. You bring a friend, We’ll bring the fun! See you there!

The School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies is proud to announce that the following doctoral students recently defended their Ph.D. thesis! Please join us in congratulating your fellow colleagues:

Mark Borg

Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering

Thesis title: Autonomous Amphibious Robot Navigation through the Littoral Zone

Supervisors: Dr. Scott Nokleby


Zahra Fattahi Massoom

Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering

Thesis title: Modeling and Experimental Investigations of Drilling Carbon Fiber Reinforced Composites

Supervisors: Dr. Hossam Kishawy


Sara Behnami

Ph.D. in Applied Bioscience

Thesis title: Forward and Reverse Genetic Approaches to Investigate Cellulose Biosynthesis in Physcomitrium Patens

Supervisor: Dr. Dario Bonetta


Mia Mojica

Ph.D. in Modelling and Computational Science

Thesis title: Computational Methods for Medical Image Registration

Supervisor: Dr. Mehran Ebrahimi


Kyle Mills

Ph.D. in Modelling and Computational Science

Thesis title: On Deep Learning in Physics

Supervisor: Dr. Isaac Tamblyn and Dr. Lennaert van Veen


Chris Kim

Ph.D. in Computer Science

Thesis title: A Modular Interface Framework for Multimodal Annotations and Visualizations in Human-AI Collaboration

Supervisor: Dr. Christopher Collins


Brandon Laughlin

Ph.D. in Computer Science

Thesis title: A Mixed-method Approach to Analyze the Robustness of Natural Language Processing Classifiers

Supervisors: Dr. Khalil El-Khatib and Dr. Karthik Sankaranarayanan


Abdulrahman Al-Shanoon

Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering

Thesis title: Developing a Mobile Manipulation System to Handle Unknown and Unstructured Objects

Supervisor: Dr. Haoxiang Lang


Sherif Seif Eldin

Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering

Thesis title: Investigation of the Ultrasonic Based Hydrogen Production Process: Sonohydrogen

Supervisors: Dr. Ibrahim Dincer and Dr. Atef Mohany


Moamen Abdel-Mwgoud

Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering

Thesis title: Experimental and Numerical Investigations of Self-Sustained Shear Layer Oscillations over Ducted Cavities

Supervisor: Dr. Atef Mohany


Azzam Abu-Rayash

Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering

Thesis title: Development of Integrated Performance Indicators and Integrated Energy Systems for Smart Cities

Supervisor: Dr. Ibrahim Dincer


Samira Barmaki Masouri

Ph.D. in Applied Bioscience

Thesis title: Development of Non-covalent Chemical Probes for μ, δ and κ Opioid Receptors

Supervisors: Dr. Yuri Bolshan and Dr. Jean-Paul Desaulniers


Ghassan Chehade

Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering

Thesis title: Experimental Investigation of a New Plug-In Advanced Ammonia Generator

Supervisor: Dr. Ibrahim Dincer


Lindsay Groat

Ph.D. in Forensic Psychology

Thesis title: Influencing Motivation to Empathize in Individuals with Heightened Psychopathic Traits: Neural and Behavioural Assessment of Empathizing with Others

Supervisor: Dr. Matthew Shane


Omar Sadek

Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering

Thesis title: Numerical Investigation of the Fluidelastic Instability of Two-phase Flow in a Parallel Triangular Tube Array

Supervisor: Dr. Atef Mohany


Rajendra Rambajue

Ph.D. in Criminology and Social Justice

Thesis title: Young Adults’ Understandings of their Transition Out of the Child Welfare System

Supervisor: Dr. Christopher O’Connor


Lidya Salim

Ph.D. in Applied Bioscience

Thesis title: Synthesis, Characterization and Biological Investigation of Self-delivering and Modified Short Interfering RNAs (siRNAs)

Supervisor: Dr. Jean-Paul Desaulniers


Korri Bickle

Ph.D. in Forensic Psychology

Thesis title: Youth Correctional Officer Orientation and Opinions on Relationships with Youth

Supervisor: Dr. Carla Cesaroni


Ali Ismael

Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering

Thesis title: Experimental and Numerical Investigation of a Novel Photoelectrochemical Reactor for Hydrogen Production

Supervisor: Dr. Ibrahim Dincer


Tyler Harrow-Lyle

Ph.D. in Applied Bioscience

Thesis title: Investigating the Distribution of Nitellopsis Obtuse in Ontario Lakes and its Role as an Ecosystem Engineer

Supervisor: Dr. Andrea Kirkwood


Matthew Hammill

Ph.D. in Applied Bioscience

Thesis title: The Synthesis and in vivo Evaluation of Chemically Modified siRNAs that Contain Red-Shifted Internal Azobenzene Derivative Spacers for Selective and Tunable Photocontrol of Activity Without UV light

Supervisor: Dr. Jean-Paul Desaulniers


Nadia Laschuk

Ph.D. in Materials Science

Thesis title: Monolayer Terpyridyl Metal Complexes for High-Efficiency Electrochromic Materials

Supervisor: Dr. Olena Zenkina


Utkarsh Fnu

Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering

Thesis title: Development of Polymeric Nano-Composite Fiber Based Structures for Acoustics and Filtration Applications

Supervisor: Dr. Remon Pop-Iliev and Dr. Ghaus Rizvi


Pedram Karimipour

Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering

Thesis title: Additive Manufactured Biodegradable and Biocompatible Polymeric Nanocomposite Scaffolds for Bone Tissue Engineering Applications

Supervisor: Dr. Ghaus Rizvi and Dr. Remon Pop-Iliev


Azad Aminpour

Ph.D. in Modelling and Computational Science

Thesis title: A Deep Learning Approach to Focal Cortical Dysplasia Segmentation in Children with Medically Intractable Epilepsy

Supervisors: Dr. Mehran Ebrahimi and Dr. Elysa Widjaja


Faran Razi

Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering

Thesis title: Investigation and Assessment of the Integrated Copper Chlorine Cycle for Hydrogen Production with a New Separation Process

Supervisors: Dr. Ibrahim Dincer and Dr. Kamiel Gabriel


Moataz Ahmed

Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering

Thesis title: Integrated Chassis Control Strategies for Multi-Wheel Combat Vehicle

Supervisors: Dr. Moustafa El-Gindy and Dr. Haoxiang Lang


Michael Jeffrey

Ph.D. in Applied Bioscience

Thesis title: Immunomodulatory Activity of Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus R0011: Analysis of Secretome-Mediated Impacts on Innate Immune Outcomes in Intestinal Epithelial Cells and Antigen Presenting Cells

Supervisor: Dr. Julia Green-Johnson


Yong Deng

Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering

Thesis title: Coded Caching for Cache-Aided Communication and Computing with Nonuniform Demands

Supervisor: Dr. Min Dong


Andrew Varley

Ph.D. in Applied Bioscience

Thesis title: Development and Characterization of Chemical Modifications for siRNA Strand Selection

Supervisor: Dr. Jean-Paul Desaulniers


Farid Safari

Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering

Thesis title: Development and Analysis of Alternative Thermochemical Cycles for Hydrogen Production

Supervisor: Dr. Ibrahim Dincer


Ololade Sanusi

Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering

Thesis title: Development of Conformal Reconfigurable Metamaterial-Based Antennas

Supervisors: Dr. Langis Roy and Dr. Wing Yang


  • Are you beginning to format your thesis for defence? Be sure to check the thesis website every term for updated forms and resources and email with any questions!

  • Are you planning to defend your thesis in 2022? There are deadlines to guide students for completing program requirements by the end of an academic term. The last day to submit your post-defence thesis package and/or COA for Winter 2022 is April 20, 2022.

    Guidelines (Master’s/PhD), timelines/deadlines (Master’s/PhD) and other resources (e.g. deadline calculator) can be found on the SGPS website or in the Graduate Academic Calendar.

Student Life

  • Career Centre virtual drop-in sessions happen on Wednesday’s from 1 to 3 p.m. and are organized for International Students to support their career development and employment journey. No appointment is needed. For more info and the meeting link visit the Student Life Portal.

  • Student Mental Health Services continues to offer a range of groups, workshops and events to support your mental health. If you would like to participate in one or more groups you can register now. 

  • Recovery College is a collaboration between Ontario Tech University and Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences. Three courses will be held over the winter semester and will provide education about mental health and wellness. To view the course descriptions and register, visit the mental health groups web page.

  • Student Life has invited the AIDS Committee of Durham Region to deliver the #Let's Talk Sex Workshop Series to provide education and destigmatize topics of sex and sexuality. Part of building a culture of consent and respect on campus is providing space for conversations like these. 

  • The Better Together Series in collaboration with Durham College has a variety of events taking place throughout the year that are aimed at helping students make connections. View the full list of events and register on our Mental Health events webpage.

  • The Career Centre is hosting various workshops throughout the winter semester. To view and register for the workshops visit the Student Life Portal.

  • RISE (Respecting Individuals, Supporting Equity) sessions are scheduled throughout the winter semester. The RISE Program is a suite of workshops that provide training and education on what participants can do on an individual level to foster a safer and more inclusive community at Ontario Tech. Learn more and register.

  • Equity Discussion Groups and Student Centred Spaces are running throughout the winter semester. Learn about equity topics in open discussion groups or discuss your experiences with those who may share them in a closed Student Centred Space. View the available groups and register for sessions. 

  • Join the Career Centre for our Job Preparation: Tips & Tricks on How to Land a Job virtual event on February 17 at 5 p.m. where you will have the opportunity to connect and learn from an Ontario Tech alumni and current international students with Canadian work experience and more! 

  • Conversation Cafe runs on Thursday's from 3 to 4 p.m.. This is an opportunity to meet international students and learn about other cultures as well as a chance to practice English speaking and listening skills. Visit the Student Life Portal to view the schedule and register.

  • Breaking Barriers is a series branching out of the Student Life BIPOC and Black Student Centered Spaces. The series will focus on the barriers that marginalized folks encounter when starting their career. The first workshop is being held on Wednesday, February 23 from 1 to 3 p.m. Register on the Student Life Portal. 

  • From February 14 to 18 @otstudentlife will be sharing information about Ontario Tech's sexual violence policy, internal and external supports and consent education. On Friday February 18, join us for a virtual trivia night to win prizes including a #WeGetConsent prize pack, gift cards and Ontario Tech gear! 

  • The nominations for the 2022 Celebrate Teaching! Awards are now open. Submit your nomination on the Teaching and Learning Centre website. The deadline for all submissions is Friday, February 25 at 4:30 p.m. Contact if you have any questions.

  • Join Indspire’s virtual summit: Defining and Enhancing Indigenous Achievement in Post-Secondary Education. This three day summit taking place March 8 to 10, will engage Indigenous post-secondary thought leaders in meaningful dialogue to learn from one another as we aim to enhance Indigenous achievement in post-secondary education.

  • Man|Made is a 5 session program running Tuesdays from March 15 to April 12 from 3 to 5 p.m.. It is for male-identified students wanting to engage in the discussion of consent, male allyship and promote awareness about violence against women. Each student who registers and attends will receive a $10 Skip the Dishes gift card per session.


Money matters

  • Always apply for OSAP - Many variables when assessing your OSAP and eligibility to receive funding could change every year. Make sure your winter OTU semester course load matches OSAP—if not, this will delay release of second semester funding. Make updates with Student Awards and Financial Aid (SAFA).

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