2020 SSA Awardees

Congratulations to all 2020 Summer Student Awardees and their Supervisors. Meet the future of frailty care!


Julie Beitel is a third-year Nutrition student in the College of Pharmacy & Nutrition at the University of Saskatchewan. She will be starting her dietetic practicum in Regina, SK in the fall of this year. Julie is excited for the opportunity to further her interest in research throughout this summer and advance knowledge in the area of nutrition support for older adults.

Supervisor: Dr. Allison Cammer


Colin Davey is currently a second-year medical student at the University of British Columbia. Previously, he graduated from St. Francis Xavier University with a BSc in Human Kinetics. Colin is interested in using exercise and physical activity as a method to enhance clinical care among individuals with frailty and chronic disease. His project is focused on quantifying physical functioning and frailty status in kidney transplant recipients and using this to implement a prehabilitation exercise program.

Supervisor: Dr. Chris Nguan

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Julie Gaudet is a third year kinesiology student at the University of Moncton. She is currently a varsity soccer player with three completed seasons. Julie has an interest in frailty and physical activity.

Supervisor: Dr. Grant Handrigan


Kiyan Heybati is currently in his second year of the Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours) at McMaster University. Through this experience, he hopes to continue research in critical care and discover more about the unique needs of older adults living with frailty. His team is working towards developing an evidence-informed multi-component intervention, called the Intensive
Care for Elders (ICE) strategy, for patients over the age of 70 who are admitted to the ICU. Kiyan’s non-academic interests
include competing in various triathlons and long-distance running events, and playing tennis.

Supervisor: Dr. Sangeeta Mehta

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Elias Hirsch is a senior undergraduate student in the medical sciences program at the University of Western Ontario. He is a research assistant at the Queen Elizabeth II hospital and works primarily on the improvement of the shared decision making process in patients considering angioplasty or coronary bypass surgery. Elias is involved in patient recruitment for and conduction of focus groups aimed at exploring patient decision making experience. His other research includes the assessment of frailty and its impact on patient outcomes following cardiac surgery. He is involved in administration of frailty assessment tools as well as focus group recruitment and conduction.

Supervisor: Dr. Robin Urquhart

Thomas Huynh Headshot

Thomas Huynh is a second year pharmacy student at Dalhousie University. Prior to joining the pharmacy program, Thomas completed a Master’s of Science in Pathology and a Bachelor’s of Science in Microbiology and Immunology, where he conducted basic science research in leukemia and breast cancer. Currently, Thomas is involved with geriatric research under the supervision of Dr. Susan Bowles at the Nova Scotia Health Authority and has completed a summer project evaluating pharmacist intervention to reduce polypharmacy. In addition to research, Thomas’s involvement with geriatrics include past volunteer work as a meal feeding  and recreation therapy assistant.

Supervisor: Dr. Susan Bowles

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Kolby Krueger is currently in her first year of a Nursing Honor’s Program at the University of Alberta. She previously received her BSc in 2019 from the University of Alberta. Her experience working with older adult populations has inspired her to engage in research that will contribute to optimizing community and residential care. As a future nurse she has a great interest in better supporting frail older adults and their caregivers. Her research with Dr. Matthias Hoben focuses on long term care policies and their intended and unintended consequences for older adults, professional and family caregivers, and the healthcare system.

Supervisor: Dr. Matthias Hoben

Kassandra Lemmon picture

Kassandra Lemmon is a fourth year Health Studies student minoring in gerontology at the University of Waterloo. Kassandra spent her final eight month co-op term working for the Geriatric Health Systems Research Group lead by Dr. Stolee, where she helped with the implementation of a health management app for older adults and their caregivers. Kassandra had the opportunity to share the findings from this implementation during the storyboard forum at the CFN 2019 National Conference. Above all, Kassandra has a passion for gerontology and hopes to advance her understanding of how to better support older adults through a Masters of Public Health.

Supervisor: Dr. Paul Stolee


Hannah Murray is a nutrition student in the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition at the University of Saskatchewan. Hannah previously completed a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology in 2018 and is currently training to become a registered dietitian. Her research interests include the relationship between nutrition and body composition along the health spectrum and optimization of clinical outcomes with combined nutrition and physical rehabilitation interventions.

Supervisor: Dr. Lesley Moisey

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Amaninder Parmar is an undergraduate student completing his Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of British Columbia. He was previously working towards a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and Immunology degree before pursuing Nursing. He has experience working at the Cell and Developmental Biology Center in Dr.Tanentzapf’s lab. His research will focus on building capacity in the communities for elders living with dementia under the supervision of Dr. Alison Phinney.

Supervisor: Dr. Alison Phinney

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Veronica Ruschkowski is a third year BScN (Honors) student at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta. Originally from Cold Lake, Alberta, Veronica is the two-time recipient of the Louise McKinney Post-Secondary Scholarship and the Jean I. Lee Memorial Award. Under the supervision of Dr. Carole Estabrooks and her post-doctoral fellow Yuting Song, Veronica is undertaking research as part of the TREC (Translating Research in Elder Care) team, which focuses on knowledge translation and quality improvement in nursing homes across Canada. Her undergraduate work is related to health care aides working short staffed and resident quality outcomes in nursing homes.

Supervisor: Dr. Carole Estabrooks


Sebastian Santana is a fourth-year undergraduate honours student in Psychology doing research in the areas of neuropsychology and geriatrics at the University of Victoria. As a research assistant for the Voices in Motion project, he has investigated the protective effects of psychosocial variables and the benefits of social connections for both caregivers and persons with lived experiences

Supervisor: Dr. Stuart MacDonald


Rena Seeger is going into her fourth year at the University of Toronto studying neuroscience and art history. She is a research assistant at Mount Sinai hospital within the department of critical care. Her project is focused on determining the association between the nutritional risk index (NRI) and ICU mortality across oncology patients with acute respiratory failure. Outside of school, Rena’s interests include participating in musicals, dancing, and teaching.

Supervisor: Dr. Laveena Munshi


Joshua Shanks is a medical student at Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick which he will graduate from in 2023. He received his Bachelor of Science, Bio-Psych from the University of New Brunswick, Saint John in 2018.  Joshua has an interest in geriatric care having ongoing involvement with local nursing homes in his city.

Supervisor: Dr. Chris McGibbon

Cindy Wei Headshot

Cindy Wei has just completed her University of Waterloo Kinesiology co-op (Honours). She has been volunteering with Dr. Keller since her first year of university. Cindy has completed an 8-month co-op term, research apprenticeship and undergraduate thesis in the Nutrition and Aging Lab. Her undergraduate thesis was on nutrition and exercise needs/challenges for community-dwelling older adults with memory changes and their care partners. Among her accomplishments are; having worked on Nutrition in Disguise (project that explores strategies to incorporate nutrient-rich foods like lentils to recipes in long-term care, boosting nutritional profile of popular recipes) and presenting this research at Canadian Association of Gerontology Conference in 2019; working on MoveStrong project to improve protein intake in older adults, and Blue Plates mealtime observations (documented food intake for folks with dementia). Her previous co-op placements include a Clinical Assistant position in Toronto Health Centre and Anatomy/Physiology Tutor at Centennial College. In her free time, Cindy likes dance, reading, drawing, cooking and baking.

Supervisor: Dr. Heather Keller