Graduate Student Profile: Julia Dalessandro

Engineering an improved healthcare system


Profile photo of Julia Dalessandro

There’s a space for everyone

From a young age, Julia knew that she wanted to pursue mathematics, and so naturally she completed a Bachelors of Science degree at Western University in pure mathematics, with an additional major in history.

After completing her undergrad, Julia was left with the overarching question of “what’s next?”

Before discovering her current program, she considered pursing an MBA until one of her supervisors introduced Waterloo’s Management Sciences program.

“I was having a really hard time finding something that fit [with my undergraduate studies] until I found this program.”

Julia was drawn to the uniqueness of this program - typically, management sciences was offered through business schools, but Waterloo provided an engineering perspective to this program which better suited her interests.

A desire to create positive change

Julia is currently researching methods on improving children’s access to healthcare treatments, with a focus on providing quality service.

The specifics of her research topic include working with a child development clinic to help reduce their wait lists and wait times. She aims to re-model their scheduling procedure by building a mathematical model through linear programming, and using that to measure which constraints are more important and how best to optimize scheduling to minimize wait times.  

“It's so hard to not have passion for this research because it's so important [and could] make a massive impact in society.”

Her hopes to increase access for children’s healthcare treatments is what keeps her motivated and passionate about her work.

Having the community experience

Being a grad student with a full-load course work, Julia found that much of her community experiences on campus came from the comfort of her classes.

“Because of the smaller classes, you really get to see the individual impact that everyone has in the program and the sense of community and fulfilment that it creates.”

The smaller classes within her program have allowed her to develop strong connections with her professors and helped to open several opportunities for her.

“The faculty is so willing to help students build their network, and I feel like that network building aspect is really unique to Waterloo.”

Julia mentioned that not being afraid to reach out to people and using the resources available has helped her overcome the stress when facing the challenges of grad school. She emphasized the importance of taking it one day at a time, and that the experiences and networks built are invaluable. 

“Grad studies opens up your eyes so much more and especially because you make professional connections within your program.”

My most memorable experience as a grad student

For Julia, her most memorable experience as a grad student at Waterloo has been meeting with the clinic and the supervisor she is working with. 

“I could really see the impact I could have if we were successful with this project as it could help thousands of children have better access to healthcare.”

This experience became a moment of gratefulness for Julia, as she was given the opportunity to be put in a position where she could contribute to something big.