This summer the McMaster Autism Research Team was pleased to host 3 summer students, each from different backgrounds, and provide them with experience in the world of research. These bright and capable students showed great initiative and willingness to help with whatever tasks were thrown their way – we truly appreciate the help they provided us over the past few weeks!
Sandra Lee worked with us in 2015, as a recipient of a Hamilton Health Sciences Health Research Bursary Award for graduating high school students. At that time she worked on the Pathways in ASD study – a longitudinal study following up on children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Sandra has since been accepted into the Bachelor of Health Sciences program at McMaster, and this year was the recipient of a BHSc Summer Research Scholarship. This scholarship program contributes funds for BHSc (Honours) students to pursue summer research opportunities at McMaster University with a faculty member. Her faculty research supervisor was MacART co-director Dr. Stelios Georgiades.
We were happy to have her back with us! This summer Sandra supported us on a wide range of tasks, including data checking and scanning for various studies, developing promotional materials, conducting literature reviews, questionnaire development and pilot testing, supporting the planning of our MacART research stakeholder symposium, and more. It was a very busy summer, particularly with preparing for the rollout of the Pediatric Autism Research Collaborative (PARC) Project, but Sandra took on the many tasks given to her with ease and aplomb!
MacART participated once again in the Hamilton Health Sciences Health Research Bursary Awards Program for graduating high school students, and this year we hosted Ahsas Nagee. Ahsas is a graduate of the IB program at Michael Power/St. Joseph High School in Etobicoke. He will be attending the Medical Sciences program at Western University this fall, hoping to pursue a career in medicine and healthcare research.
During his time with MacART this summer, Ahsas has computerized patient surveys and conducted a literature review for the Pediatric Autism Research Collaborative (PARC) Project, which aims to build a standardized research protocol that caters to the needs of families dealing with autism. Ahsas has also worked with the WHO’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health model to evaluate the measures used in the PARC Project. He has learned extensively about research not only in neurodevelopmental disorders, but the state of scientific research in general while also gaining invaluable skills in the field.
Rukaiyah Lakkadghatwala is a first-year medical student at Queen’s School of Medicine, who has an interest in gender studies and the social determinants of health. She has a passion and considerable experience working with children (as a support worker for children and youth with intellectual disabilities, a tutor for children and youth at community shelters, a leader of a Girl Guide unit, and an Ontario Early Years Centre volunteer), and recognizes the many factors that impact wellness. She contacted the Offord Centre for Child Studies searching for volunteer experiences to strengthen her knowledge of the social determinants of health and was put in touch with our ASD team, who are interested in similar issues.
This summer Rukaiyah has helped MacART with developing presentation materials, conducting literature reviews, drafting an evaluation plan, questionnaire development and pilot testing, supporting the planning of our MacART research stakeholder symposium, and more. Together with Ahsas, she is also using the WHO’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health model to evaluate the measures used in the PARC Project. Rukaiyah was eager and willing to take on all the tasks given to her, and we appreciate her efforts to volunteer her time with us!