GRADflix 2023 finalists

Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs received many amazing GRADflix submissions for the 2022-2023 competition year, and we're happy to present this year's 25 finalists!

Learn more about each of our finalists below, and find out the results of the previous GRADflix competitions on the GRADflix hall of fame page. 

Ali Noormohammadi drinking coffee

Name and program: Ali Noormohammadi Asl (he/him), PhD candidate, Systems Design Engineering, Faculty of Engineering

GRADflix video titleHuman robot collaboration (YouTube)

Supervisors: Dr. Kerstin Dautenhahan, and Dr. Stephen l. Smith

Biography: Ali is a PhD candidate in the Systems Design Engineering Department at the University of Waterloo.


Amerald by the water

Name and program: Amerald Fang (he/him), MES student, Geography and Environmental Management, Faculty of Environment

GRADflix video titleHydraulic erosion with game engines (YouTube)

Supervisor: Dr. Derek T. Robinson

Biography: Amerald is an Environment student currently pursuing his Master's in Geography. He received his undergraduate degree in Geomatics and has a strong interest in spatial data analysis and game design. In addition to his studies, Amerald is actively involved on campus as the Environment Graduate Student Association President. He is passionate about using creative problem-solving to advocate for positive change through his leadership role.


Andrew stella

Name and program: Andrew Stella (he/him), MASc student, Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering

GRADflix video titleRobust, wearable sensors for firefighters made using conductive polymers (YouTube)

Supervisor: Dr. Yuning Li

Biography: Andrew Stella is a graduate student in Chemical Engineering from Virginia, USA. After graduating from Princeton in 2013, he went on to be involved in research at three companies: ExxonMobil, Formlabs, and DuPont. At UWaterloo he works in Yuning Li's lab where he seeks to develop flexible sensors that are both robust and low-cost. In his spare time, he likes to bike, cross-country ski, and make homemade marshmallows. 


Anika Chiang

Name and program: Anika Chiang (she/her), MES student, Geography and Environmental Management, Faculty of Environment

GRADflix video titleComparing the effects of management practices on nutrients (YouTube)

Supervisor: Dr. Merrin Macrae

Biography: Anika Chiang is a Master's student in the Department of Geography and Environmental Management at the University of Waterloo. She received her undergraduate degree in Biology and Environmental Sciences at McMaster University, with a minor in Geographic Information Systems. Anika has a strong interest in environmental sustainability and the challenges of climate change and is passionate about using her research and communication skills to make a positive impact in these areas. In her free time, Anika enjoys playing ultimate Frisbee, board games, and exploring the outdoors with her friends and pet.


Anna Good

Name and program: Anna Good (she/her), MA student, History, Faculty of Arts

GRADflix video titleForgotten voices of the World Wars: Examining attempted soldier suicides through Canadian army court martial documents (YouTube)

Supervisors: Dr. Geoffrey Hayes

Biography: Anna Good graduated from the Arts and Business program with a major in History and a minor in English in 2021. Her love of history began when she learned about her great-grandfather who fought in the First World War and was further nurtured by her history teacher in Grade 12. Since then, Anna has found herself drawn to the psychological impacts of warfare, examining soldiers who did not fit the "ideal" image and those who felt disaffected and desensitized during their time in the Canadian Army. Anna started her Master's program in September 2021 and will finish it in April 2023. Outside of academics, Anna enjoys running, painting seascapes, drinking tea, and cooking. She is currently in the process of applying to PhD programs in Ontario and is looking forward to what the future holds.


Caitlin Laidlaw

Name and program: Caitlin Laidlaw (she/her), MES student, Geography and Environmental Management, Faculty of Environment

GRADflix video titleLocal attitudes towards snow leopards in western Nepal (YouTube)

Supervisor: Dr. Sanjay Nepal

Biography: Caitlin Laidlaw is a current Master of Environmental Studies student in the department of Geography. Her research involves working with communities to understand their attitudes towards snow leopards in Shey Phoksundo National Park, Nepal. Two days after completing her five-week trek featured in her GRADflix video, Caitlin hopped on another plane to trek to Everest basecamp! You could say she is happiest in the mountains.  


Carson Kinney

Name and program: Carson Kinney (he/him), PhD candidate, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science

GRADflix video titleThe heating of mountain belts: Production and transfer of heat in Earth’s crust (YouTube)

Supervisor: Dr. Chris Yakymchuk

Biography: Carson Kinney is a PhD Candidate in the Earth and Environmental Sciences department at the University of Waterloo who studies why and how rocks get during mountain building. In 2019, he completed an undergraduate degree in geology at the University of Waterloo and this is where he found his passion for decoding earth's mystery. Carson is a proud cat-owner, collector of hobbies, and aficionado of poutine. 

Amy Tai sitting by the shore

Name and program: Chi-en (Amy) Tai (she/her), MASc student, Systems Design Engineering, Faculty of Engineering

GRADflix video title: Improved treatment of breast cancer (YouTube)

Supervisor: Dr. Alexander Wong

Biography: Amy Tai is a Master of Applied Science student in the Vision and Image Processing Lab at the University of Waterloo. Her research interests include cancer diagnosis and prognosis, medical imaging, and computer vision. Previously, she completed her Bachelor of Applied Science in Management Engineering at the University of Waterloo. Outside of research, she enjoys hiking, travelling, rock climbing, playing squash, and swimming.

Ben Zhang

Name and program: Chuan Tian (Ben) Zhang (he/him), MASc student, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Faculty of Engineering

GRADflix video titleSensor malfunction detection (YouTube)

Supervisor: Dr. Chris Nielsen, and Dr. Derek Rayside

Biography: Ben is currently a Master of Applied Science student in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Waterloo, studying systems and control with Profs. Chris Nielsen and Derek Rayside. Ben also did his undergrad in Computer Science also at UWaterloo. During Ben’s time at the university, he had the opportunity to participate in various autonomous vehicle student competitions, namely the SAE Autodrive challenge, as a part of WATonomous and Indy Autonomous Challenge, as a part of Waterloo Autonomous Racing (later combined with MIT-PITT-RW). Outside his academic life, Ben likes to go skating and hiking. 


Heather Eustace

Name and program: Heather Eustace (she/her/they/them), MA student, English Language and Literature, Faculty of Arts

GRADflix video titleOlder adults on YouTube (YouTube)

Supervisor: Dr. Heather Love, and Dr. Jesse Hoey

Biography: Heather Eustace is an Master of Arts student in experimental digital media who completed her Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art at Emily Carr. Her research includes the effects of technological marginalization on social engagement, particularly in reference to older adults, and creative ways to overcome this marginalization, (such as therapeutic reminisce, storytelling, and facilitation of social media engagement).  Ongoing work focuses on this research and how it could inform automated machine-learning methods.


Karen Hock

Name and program: Karen Hock (she/her), PhD candidate, School of Public Health Sciences,  Faculty of Health

GRADflix video title: Mission: PhD (YouTube)

Supervisor: Dr. David Hammond

Biography: Karen Hock is a PhD candidate in the School of Public Health Sciences. She previously completed a coursework Master of Science in Human Health & Nutritional Sciences at the University of Guelph. Her research interests lie in the role of food policies on dietary intake patterns. Outside of school, she enjoys swimming, reading, hiking through nature trails, and baking (and eating) cookies.


Madara Marasinghe

Name and program: Keshini Madara Marasinghe (she/her), PhD candidate, School of Public Health Sciences, Faculty of Health

GRADflix video titleAssistive devices for older adults and their informal caregivers (YouTube)

Supervisor: Dr. Mark Oremus, and Dr. Ashok Chaurasia

Biography: Madara is a PhD candidate in the School of Public Health Sciences at the University of Waterloo. She holds a Master of Public Health from the University of Saskatchewan, and a Bachelor of Science in Health Studies and Gerontology from the University of Waterloo. While completing her Master's degree, she interned at the World Health Organization, Centre for Health Development in Japan, where she trained with the Innovation for Healthy Aging team, which sparked her interest in assistive technologies. In her current research, she is exploring the role of assistive devices in the well-being of community-dwelling older adults and their informal caregivers in Canada.


Kiran Dhuga

Name and program: Kiran Dhuga (she/her), MSc student, School of Public Health Sciences, Faculty of Health

GRADflix video title: Parental depressive symptoms and physical-mental multimorbidity in children (YouTube)

Supervisor: Dr. Mark Ferro

Biography: Kiran Dhuga is pursuing a Master of Science in Public Health Sciences at the University of Waterloo under the supervision of Dr. Mark Ferro. Her research focuses on parental depressive symptoms and mental health among children with a physical illness. She previously completed an Honours Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Science with a minor in Neuroscience at the University of Guelph, where she worked alongside Dr. Elena Choleris Outside of school, Kiran enjoys swimming and reading.


Kiyoumars Zarshenas

Name and program: Kiyoumars Zarshenas (he/him), PhD candidate, Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering

GRADflix video titleAn innovative solution for thirsty world (YouTube)

Supervisor: Dr. Zhongwei Chen

Biography: Kiyoumars Zarshenas is a PhD candidate in the Chemical engineering at the University of Waterloo. His research interest is on the development of nanomaterials and membranes for separation, and filtration applications. His hobbies include hiking, camping, playing volleyball, swimming, and travelling. He likes to have new experience and learn new things whenever is possible.


Larissa Gospodyn

Name and program: Larissa Gospodyn (she/her), PhD student, Geography and Environmental Management, Faculty of Environment

GRADflix video titleGroundwater and phosphorus transport: Friend or foe? (YouTube) 

Supervisor: Dr. Merrin Macrae, and Dr. Helen Jarvie

Biography: Larissa Gospodyn is a PhD student in the department of Geography and Environmental Management at the University of Waterloo. Her area of research is hydrology and biogeochemistry, with a Bachelor of Science from the University of Manitoba and an Master of Applied Science from Toronto Metropolitan University. Her research focuses on agricultural water quality issues, using chemical and hydrological tracers to better understand water and nutrient transportation. Outside of her research, she loves hiking, travelling and hanging with her cat. 


Mana Monfared

Name and program: Mana (Naeimeh) Monfared (she/her), PhD candidate, School of Optometry and Vision Science, Faculty of Science

GRADflix video title: Let's help dry eyes: Inventing a novel device (YouTube)

Supervisor: Dr. Paul J. Murphy

Biography: Mana obtained her optometry education in Iran and worked there as an optometrist for many years. At the University of Waterloo, she began graduate studies in the field of optometry and vision science in 2021. As a PhD candidate at MLEO (Murphy Laboratory of Experimental Optometry), she conducts research with respect to the anterior segment of the eye and specifically dry eye disease, under the supervision of Dr Paul Murphy. During her free time, she enjoys travelling and biking, as well as exploring the natural world. In addition, she is a huge fan of the Friends television series. 


Marina Ansanelli

Name and program: Marina Maciel Ansanelli (she/her), PhD student, Physics and Astronomy,  Faculty of Science

GRADflix video title: Understanding Causality (YouTube)

Supervisor: Dr. Robert Spekkens

BiographyMarina is from São Paulo, Brazil, where she completed her Bachelor degree in Physics. After completing a Master’s degree in Physics at University of Waterloo, which incorporated work from the Perimeter Institute and the State University of São Paulo, she continued at Waterloo and Perimeter for a PhD studying theoretical Physics under the supervision of Prof. Robert Spekkens. She is interested in understanding a bit more about the deepest underpinnings of nature, by means of investigating the foundations of Quantum Mechanics. Marina is also a lover of cats, literature and of recently has started learning to speak Chinese.


Megala Ramasamy

Name and program: Megala Ramasamy (she/her), MSc student, School of Optometry and Vision Science, Faculty of Science

GRADflix video titleDevelopment of  contact lens testing device using 3D printing (YouTube)

Supervisor: Dr. Lyndon Jones, and Dr. Chau-Minh Phan

Biography: Megala completed her Bachelor's in Biotechnology from Anna University, India. After graduation, she worked as a Project Associate at the Tissue Engineering & Biomaterials Lab, Indian Institute of Technology Madras where she worked on the development of biomaterials for diabetic wound healing and bone cancer. Currently, she is pursuing an Master of Science in Vision Science under the supervision of Dr. Lyndon Jones and Dr. Chau-Minh Phan working on the development of microfluidic devices for ophthalmic drug delivery studies.  Her research interests primarily focus on developing in vitro eye models, and 3D printing. She enjoys cooking and watching movies in her free time. 


Meredith Watson

Name and program: Meredith Watson (she/her), MSc student, Biology, Faculty of Science

GRADflix video titleTemporal analysis of microplastics in the Grand River watershed (YouTube) 

Supervisor: Dr. Roland Hall

Biography: Meredith Watson completed her Bachelor of Science at Queen’s University in Biochemistry, and is now a Master of Science student in the UWaterloo Department of Biology supervised by Dr. Roland Hall. Her research is looking at microplastics in the Grand River Watershed using paleolimnological techniques. A fun fact about her is that she’s vegan and her favourite author is Sally Rooney.


Miswar Syed

Name and program: Miswar Syed (he/him), MASc student, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Faculty of Engineering

GRADflix video title: Ammonia for renewable energy storage (YouTube)

Supervisors: Dr. Mehrdad Kazerani

Biography: Miswar is a first-year Master of Science student in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department. He is a published author and has presented at multiple international conferences focusing on renewable energy, energy storage, green hydrogen, and ammonia. He is also a member of the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy (WISE). Outside of academia, Miswar is a startup co-founder and likes to get involved in various extracurriculars. His hobbies include reading, writing, working out, running, listening to music, and playing video games. 


Navya Nair

Name and program: Navya V. Nair (she/her), PhD student, School of Environment, Enterprise and Development, Faculty of Environment

GRADflix video titleCoastal wetlands for small-scale fisheries (YouTube)

Supervisor: Dr. Prateep Nayak

Biography: Navya V Nair is pursuing her PhD in Sustainability Management (Water) at the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development and Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology (MBET) part-time at Conrad School of Entrepreneurship and Business. Her thesis explores viability of small-scale fisheries by restoring wetlands and protecting water quality. She completed her Master's in the same program. She also holds a Master of Technology in Environmental Engineering and a Bachelor of Technology in Civil Engineering. In her spare time, she likes to dance and sketch. Navya actively participates in international student transition and engagement activities with various campus partners.  


Patrick Bosworth

Name and program: Patrick Bosworth (he/him), MES student, School of Environment, Enterprise and Development, Faculty of Environment

GRADflix video titleKnowledge on tap: Community impacts of craft brewers (YouTube)

Supervisors: Dr. Komal Habib, and Dr. Juan Moreno-Cruz

Biography: Patrick Bosworth is a recovering computer engineer, onetime food entrepreneur, and now Environment Master's student at UWaterloo. Born in Metro Detroit, Patrick spent the 2010s in China and Taiwan, where he learned how to cook and speak Chinese. When not studying the econometrics of sustainability he enjoys riding two-wheeled deathtraps, travelling the world with his partner-in-crime/wife, and caring for a series of foster cats.


Rozhannaa Sothilingam

Name and program: Rozhannaa Sothilingam (she/her), MSc student,  School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Science

GRADflix video titleA step forward into improving clinical pharmacy practice (YouTube)

Supervisor: Dr. Tom McFarlane

Biography: Rozhannaa Sothilingam is currently a Master of Science student in Pharmacy at the University of Waterloo. Her research looks at developing evidence-based quantifiable metrics utilizing a modified Delphi process in ambulatory oncology to advance clinical pharmacy practice. She received her undergraduate degree at the University of Waterloo in Honours Science with a minor in Biology and Chemistry. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, hiking and checking out new restaurants to eat at. 


Sakina Fatima

Name and program: Sakina Fatima (she/her), MSc student, School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Science

GRADflix video titleTargeting hnRNPA1 for the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis (YouTube)

Supervisor: Dr. Aravindhan Ganesan

Biography: Sakina is second year Master of Science student at UWaterloo, having a degree in Biochemistry from there as well. She has a passion for molecular biology and computational biology. She currently works on in silico protein-ligand dynamics to find out ways to target aggregation-prone proteins in neurodegeneration. 

Yuzhe You

Name and program: Yuzhe You (she/her), MMath student, Cheriton School of Computer Science, Faculty of Mathematics

GRADflix video titleInfoVis for AI explainability (YouTube)

Supervisors: Dr. Jian Zhao

Biography: Yuzhe is a Master of Mathematics student from the Cheriton School of Computer Science, University of Waterloo. She has a background in Information Visualization, Machine Learning, Transportation Analysis, Data Analytics & more. Yuzhe is a member of both WatVis research group and iTSS lab, where she conducts research in the area of InfoVis for AI Explainability with a focus on visualizing Adversarial Machine Learning and traffic analysis. Yuzhe is also a graphic design hobbyist.