Prof. N. Thavarajah completed her B.Sc. (Hons.), Specialist in Biological Chemistry with distinction at the University of Toronto (Scarborough Campus). She received her Ph.D. in Synthetic Organic Chemistry at the University of Toronto (St. George Campus). She completed her three-year organic and medicinal chemistry post-doctoral fellowship at Ontario Institute for Cancer (OICR). As additional qualifications, she completed a Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Intellectual Property Law from Osgoode Hall Law School at York University and a Master of Education (M.Ed.) from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), specializing in teaching in Higher Education. She also held multiple Sessional Lecturer I position at the University of Toronto (Department of Chemistry), the University of Toronto Scarborough (Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences), the University of Toronto Mississauga (Department of Chemical and Physical Sciences), York University (Chemistry Department) and University. In 2015, she was promoted to Sessional Lecturer II and subsequently to Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, in 2017 and was promoted to Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, in 2023. Professor Thavarajah has taught a broad spectrum of chemistry courses at the Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences, including Introductory Chemistry I: Structure and Bonding (CHMA10H3), Introductory Chemistry II: Reactions and Mechanisms (CHMA11H3), Organic Chemistry I (CHMB41H3), Organic Chemistry II (CHMB42H3), Introduction to Inorganic Chemistry (CHMB31H3), Physical Sciences Research Experience (PSCB90H3), Organic Reaction Mechanisms (CHMC41H3), Organic Synthesis (CHMC42H3), Bio-Organic Chemistry (CHMC47H3), Topics in Biophysical Chemistry (CHMC21H3), Bio-Inorganic Chemistry (CHMD69H3), Directed Research (CHMD 90 &91H3), Advanced Bio-Organic Chemistry (CHMD47H3), and the Advanced Chemistry Laboratory Course (CHMD92H3). Her discipline-specific research interests include developing nanotechnology-integrated sustainable agricultural practices and green extraction techniques for antioxidants from agri-food by-products. Her pedagogical research includes developing greener experiments for introductory chemistry laboratory courses and tools to enhance student engagement in lectures and labs. Several grants support her research, including experiential learning and Global classroom grants, and she has over 25+ publications and presented her work at several national and international conferences.

Furthermore, she has been a co-recipient of several teaching enhancement grants of over 200K (including the government e-campus funding, UTSC teaching enhancement grants, equipment grants and the LEAF grant) to co-lead and develop pedagogical tools for introductory chemistry courses. Her significant pedagogical contributions at the department level include the proposal, design, and delivery of the Advanced Bio-Organic Chemistry (CHMD47H3) with an experiential learning component, the supervision of the directed research study (PSCB90H3) on Developing Green Nanotechnology Integrated Sustainable Agricultural Practices: An Interdisciplinary and International Global Classroom Project in collaboration with faculty, students, and community partners from Sri Lanka & Ghana, green extraction of antioxidants from agri-food waste  (CHMD90H3)  and a co-lead in implementing the writing assignment in the large enrollment introductory chemistry courses.  

In addition, she has introduced several highly innovative teaching techniques in introductory and advanced chemistry lectures, laboratories, and advanced-level chemistry courses; this includes greening the undergraduate chemistry lab curriculum, peer-peer instructions, concept map development and training students on writing systematic reviews and meta-analyses. In addition, as the Biochemistry Program co-supervisor, she is engaged in continuous student mentoring and consultation activities. She has been part of several departmental initiatives for curriculum development, including program reviews, mapping and redesign, and many Science Outreach activities, including organizing Science Rendezvous for High School Students.

As a lifelong learner, throughout her academic career of nearly two decades, she has established strong partnerships and collaborations internationally, including faculty from Harvard, the Department of the University of Manitoba, Central State University, and California State University to design and implement the Women in STEM Leadership Program in Toronto as Part of the TASME Conference. Furthermore, Professor Thavarajah has made significant pedagogical contributions to departmental/divisional curricular initiatives and teaching committees. Her academic leadership is evident in several contributions to campus-wide and departmental services. She served on the UTSC Campus Curriculum Review Committee for the past three years and serves as the departmental faculty representative. She is an active campus-wide Mentoring Excellence & Diversity Advisory (MEAD) Committee member engaged in developing resources for faculty, staff and student mentorship initiatives.

In addition, she is a member of the departmental teaching and curriculum, outreach, and EDI committees, contributing to developing inclusive and accessible pedagogical methods. In addition, she is an active member of the Chemical Institute of Canada (CIC) and the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. She designed and established the Women in STEM Leadership Program as part of the Technological Advances in Science, Medicine, and Engineering Committee in 2019; the program is a free initiative to provide guidance and mentorship for students and junior faculty. In recognition of her sustained level of excellence in teaching at the undergraduate level and service, she has received UTSC teaching awards (Sessional Instructor Award 2016 & Assistant Professor level, 2023). Dean’s Merit awards (2021, 2022, & 2023) and her research was recognized by the Young Investigator Award (2016) and the Junior Faculty Award for Excellence in Science Education (2020) by the Technological Advances in Science Medicine and Engineering Conference Committee.