Graduate Professional Day at UTSC: Diversity and Inclusion in STEM

Graduate Professional Day at UTSC: Diversity and Inclusion in STEM

Thursday, October 15, 2020, from 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm


  • 2:00 PM: Land Acknowledgement
  • 2:05 PM – 2:10 PM : Official Welcome: William A. Gough, Vice-Principal Academic and Dean, Professor of Climatology, Environmental Science, UTSC
  • 2:10 PM – 3:05 PM : How to Advance Your Career on Linkedin



In this session, a career expert from LinkedIn’s Black Inclusion Group will provide graduate students with tips on how to build their network and advance their career on LinkedIn. This session will cover the importance of a strong professional brand, how to network on LinkedIn, and how to use their network to connect to opportunity.


  • 3:15 PM – 4:30 PM: Keynote: Unconscious Bias and Challenges to Fair Assessment and Inclusion
    • Presenter: Maydianne Andrade, Professor of Biology, Vice-Dean Faculty Affairs, Equity & Success, UTSC
    • Inside and outside academia, research demonstrates systematic biases in assessing the competence and achievements of women and racialized persons. Many institutions create policies and procedures to address these overt biases. However, more subtle forms of bias persist, expressed regardless of actors’ self-identification. Prof. Andrade reviews how these unconscious biases manifest in assessment processes – and the institutional and personal approaches that can mitigate them. Individuals from under-represented groups can be resilient to these challenges, and others can act as allies to support inclusion.
  • 4:45 PM – 6:00 PM:Panel Discussion: Grad Career Development and Equity
    • Panellists:
      • Sara Ahmed, Researcher, Service Learning and Diversity Outreach, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto
      • Roopali Chaudhary, PhD, Founder, CEO, Lead Researcher, Lotus STEMM
      • Nana Lee, PhD, Director of Graduate Professional Development and Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream of Biochemistry, Immunology and Graduate Life Sciences and Education, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto
      • Dimpho Radebe, PhD student with experience in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion work, Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, University of Toronto

Speaker Biographies

Sara Ahmed obtained an undergraduate degree in life sciences, specializing in psychology, neuroscience and behaviour at McMaster University. Exploring the occupational role of clinician-scientist, she is interested in learning how to apply current technologies to medical problems. Ahmed is pursuing a PhD at the Institute of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, where her project aims to apply nanotechnology principles to problems in neuro-oncology. Outside of her career and academic aspirations, she loves to travel and meet locals – and explore their languages, cultures and foods. Her extracurriculars revolve around themes of social injustice, inequity and education.


Maydianne Andrade earned her PhD in Neurobiology and Behavior at Cornell University and is a Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Toronto Scarborough. She was named a Canada Research Chair in Integrative Behavioural Ecology and is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Prof. Andrade researches the reciprocal links between ecological context and the evolution of behaviour, plasticity and species diversity, using black widow spiders as models. Prof. Andrade has guest-hosted The Nature of Things documentary “First Animals” and is featured in “The New Normal” podcasts about pandemic life. As Vice-Dean Faculty Affairs, Equity & Success and as Founder and Co-Chair of the Toronto Initiative for Diversity & Excellence (TIDE), she promotes the hiring, retention and success of a diverse and inclusive faculty, and initiates conversations about equity across the university.



Dr. Roopali Chaudhary is the Founder, CEO and Lead Researcher of the non-profit Lotus STEMM, an organization geared toward outreach and increasing the visibility and representation of South Asian women in STEMM (including medicine) fields ( She is also a Senior Scientist with Allarta Life Science Inc. and a Research Associate with Dr. Juliet Daniel at McMaster University. Roopali does science communication through her non-profit; as a content editor for Sci-Illustrate writing about women in science throughout history; and through her custom cake bakery focusing on science-themed cakes.


Dr. Nana Lee is the Director of Graduate Professional Development and Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream of Biochemistry, Immunology and Graduate Life Sciences and Education, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto. Her previous roles in the biotech industry include Director of Application Science and Senior Research Scientist. She has led courses, workshops and keynote speeches across Canada, the United States and Asia for more than 2,000 attendees.






Kareen Ndema (pronounced KAREN NUH-DEH-MAH) works as a Relationship Manager on LinkedIn’s Canadian Higher Education team. She is passionate about providing under-represented minorities with the tools and resources to succeed and overcome systemic barriers. Prior to her work at LinkedIn, Kareen worked in the non-profit and government sectors, leading student placement programs connecting them with internship opportunities in Canada’s tech sector. Kareen is a strong proponent of fair and equitable access to education and resources, and she came to LinkedIn to ensure access to opportunities are guaranteed for all under-represented groups in Canada



Ms. Dimpho Radebe received a BASc in Industrial Engineering from U of T, an MSc in Management from the University of Bath, and has five years’ work experience in the private and public sectors. She most recently worked as a Senior Analyst in Cancer Screening Implementation at Cancer Care Ontario (now Ontario Health). She has been involved in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion work within the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science at U of T for several years, including the Black Inclusion Steering Committee, and is currently pursuing a PhD in engineering education with a focus on engineers who transition to the public sector. Ms. Dimpho Radebe's LinkedIn page.





  • Centre for Teaching and Learning, University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC)
  • Graduate Student Association at Scarborough (GSAS)
  • Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Office, UTSC
  • Office of the Vice-Principal Academic and Dean, UTSC
  • School of Graduate Studies, University of Toronto, St. George Campus
  • Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre, University of Toronto Mississauga