Executive Committee 2018-2019


José Eloy Méndez Campos

José is a third year PhD student in Chemistry at the University of Toronto working in the Nitz lab.  His research involves synthesizing and assaying various monosaccharide glucosamine derivatives for the investigation of deacetylase enzymes responsible for bacterial biofilm formation. In his spare time, José enjoys kicking a soccer ball around, kicking back with a beer in hand, and kicking it old school with a board game and a Cuban cigar. 




Jay Bassan
Vice Chair


Jay is a final year PhD candidate in the Nitz Lab at the University of Toronto.  His research centres around Imaging Mass Cytometry: developing new probes, methods, and data analysis strategies in collaboration with Fluidigm Corporation.  In his time as Vice Chair for CIC Toronto, Jay hopes to improve representation of marginalized groups in chemistry, expand dialogue around mental health at work, and promote open science and collaboration in the field.  Originally from the UK, Jay decided to pursue his PhD in Canada after hearing about poutine.  In his spare time, Jay loves the outdoors (especially bar patios), tries to follow the Blue Jays, and puts his chemical education to work by home brewing mead.

 LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/jaybassan

Twitter: @jaybassan93






Matt Gradiski



Matthew did his undergraduate degree in chemistry at York University and is currently a third year PhD student at the University of Toronto.  His work focuses on developing base metal catalysts for hydrogenations as well as other renewable and sustainable chemical applications.  Matthew is passionate about chemistry education and hopes to pursue a career in teaching at the academic level. Matthew is a member of the University of Toronto’s Green Chemistry Initiative and provides volunteer work for outreach programs.  In his spare time, he enjoys playing video games, listening to music, sampling craft beer, and is an avid tattoo enthusiast!

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/matthew-gradiski-845742129/

Twitter: @mgradiski



jennifer-h - used for Next Gen solar

Jennifer Huynh

Communications Officer


Jennifer graduated from the Molecular Science, MSc. program at Ryerson University, working on synthesizing BODIPY-donor dyads and studying their redox stability for use in light harvesting applications. Jennifer’s outlook as a communications officer is to bridge between the CIC Toronto section executive team, academia, industry and our CIC Toronto members, you! This year, her goal on the CIC is to keep members of the CIC informed about upcoming events. In her free time, Jennifer enjoys attending vocational events and eating out with friends.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jennhuyn/




Samantha McWhirter
Communications Officer


Sam is a third year PhD student in the Walker Lab at the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on developing lipid-coated gold nanoparticles for biodiagnostic purposes. She has been involved with the Chemical Biophysics Symposium and ChemClub during her graduate studies, and is very excited to start working with CIC Toronto! As part of the communications team, Sam hopes to focus on improving our connection with members through social media and live-tweeting. Outside of the lab, Sam enjoys cooking, watching trash reality television and exploring the different types of beer that Toronto has to offer. 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/samantha-mcwhirter-41b25771/

Twitter: @smmcwhirter



Charlie Galan
Communications Officer


Charlie Galan is a fourth year Chemical Engineering student at Ryerson University. He hopes to increase the presence of chemical engineering students in CIC-Toronto events and involve them in our activities through communication channels, bridging the organization and the students. In his spare time, he works part-time at a fast-food chain, likes to play games, and tries to exercise.



Qusai Hassan

Events Coordinator


Qusai (Q) is currently pursuing a MSc degree in Analytical Chemistry at The University of Toronto Scarborough campus where he is developing novel electrochemical techniques to analyze biological molecules. During his free time he enjoys playing online video games, debating, as well as getting involved in social activism.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/qusai-hassan

Twitter: @qusai_hassan_




James LaFortuneJames LaFortune profile
Events Coordinator


James LaFortune is a fourth year PhD candidate researching inorganic main group chemistry at the University of Toronto.  Since starting graduate school, he has gotten involved in CUPE, GCI, and ChemClub in various administration and communication roles. As an Industrial Liaison Officer for the CIC Toronto, his goal is to reach out to nearby industrial chemistry companies to facilitate their involvement and networking with the CIC and its members.  When James is not in the lab, he likes to go rock climbing and tend to his garden of mostly fruit trees.

LinkedIn: https://ca.linkedin.com/in/james-lafortune-3ab566a8



Molly SungMolly CIC
Events Coordinator


Molly is a fifth year PhD candidate at the University of Toronto working on the design of N-heterocyclic based catalysts for the generation of renewable fuels. As a member of the CIC team, she led the CICTor Votes project during the 2015 federal election in an effort to open a dialogue about the important relationship between scientific research and the government. She believes that science should be accessible to the general public and would love to help CIC-Toronto become a local leader in public science education. One of her goals as vice-chair is to help promote gender equity and diversity in our scientific communities. In her spare time, Molly enjoys cooking, crafting, and catching up on sleep.



Monica Kwong
Outreach Coordinator


Monica Kwong is a recent graduate from the Chemical Engineering Co-op program at Ryerson University. Presently, she is a Process Engineer (EIT) at Sofina Foods Inc. Her goal for CIC Toronto this year is to increase the organization’s outreach to the Chemical Engineering community and to host more events that are relevant to these members. In her spare time, Monica enjoys watching sports, trying new places to eat, and gaming.

Twitter: @monicakwong



Caroline Pao
Outreach Coordinator


Caroline is a fourth year PhD student in Chemistry at the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on developing surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS)-active gold nanoparticle probes for biomedical applications, such as the detection of leukemia cells. Since starting her PhD, she has been involved in many organizations including Science Rendezvous, ChemClub, the Chemical Biophysics Symposium (CBP), the Toronto Science Policy Network (TSPN), and UofT’s Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC). She joined CICTor as an Outreach Coordinator with the goal of making STEM-topics accessible to the general public! In her spare time, Caroline enjoys binge-listening to crime podcasts, watching dog rescue videos, and tasting Toronto’s vast selection of craft beers with friends.

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/caroline-pao


Cindy Ma

Outreach Coordinator


Cindy is a first year PhD student at the University of Toronto, working on mitochondrial penetrating peptides in the Shana Kelley lab. Her goals for the CIC this year include improving and fostering community interest in chemistry and promoting diversity in STEM-related fields. In her free time, Cindy enjoys improving her snatch and clean and jerk, biking around the city, and teaching piano. 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cindyma00/




Rodolfo Gomez

Industrial Liaison


Jolie Lam
Industrial Liaison


Jolie is a fifth year PhD candidate in the Stephan group at University of Toronto. Her research focuses on the development of novel boron-based Lewis acids and their applications towards frustrated Lewis pair (FLP) chemistry and metal-free catalysis. As an Industrial Liason for the CIC Toronto section, she aims to initiate conversations, build networks, and develop relationships between the industrial companies and CIC and its members. Outside of the lab, Jolie is hooked on musicals and loves to belt tunes with her choir.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jolie-lam-9167a117/



Pasha Mohammed, C. Tech.Pasha_smrp
Industrial Liaison


Pasha graduated from the 4-Years Electrical/Electronics Technology program in 1981, and the Automation & Robotic Control Specialist program from Centennial College, Toronto in 2002.

He had three decades of experience in Plant Engineering, Maintenance and Reliability overseas and in Canada in various industries including Aeronautics, Industrial Automation, Food Processing and Packaging. He currently works for Plant maintenance and Industrial Automation. Pasha works part-time as continuing education professor at Centennial College, Toronto, Ontario. At present, Pasha is SMRP (Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals) Ontario Chapter Chair and OACETT Toronto East Chapter College Liaison. He is also Chair of Program Advisory  committee  of Electrical Technology program at Centennial College, Toronto. Pasha is a Board member of Plant Engineering and Maintenance Magazine Editorial Advisory Board.

Pasha’s goal for this year is promoting chemistry for young students through National Chemistry Week.
Connecting members to Industry real-world experience and networking with industry professionals
and plant tours. Pasha is actively involved in National Engineering Month, and has been an event
coordinator for several years.  Pasha is an event coordinator for National Chemistry Week. He
has conducted several seminars for Internationally Trained Professionals in Toronto and
Peel Region of Ontario. Pasha is also actively involved with MPP Outreach, Corporate employer
outreach Programme. He spends his free time with family and friends watching TV.

Pasha can be reached at 416-820-1600, email: abbupasha@yahoo.com


Nesrin Vurgun
Academic Liaison


Mary Zhen
Academic Liaison


Hovig Kouyoumdjian
Academic Liaison


Oksana Aliyev
Government Liaison


Oksana Aliyev has B.Sc., Chemistry with minor in Biology from Ryerson University, 2011. In 2017 she got M.Sc. in Polymers and Coatings Technology from Eastern Michigan University. Some of her projects included, design and synthesis of sustainable, self-stratifying coating, (sponsored by Toyota and Air Products), and design and synthesis of mechano-chromic coating. Currently she works as R&D Scientist in Toronto area. During her volunteering at CIC, her goal is to increase communication and collaboration between government and scientific community. Particularly, to expand areas of political involvement for scientists. In her spare time, Oksana likes reading, camping, and hiking. In addition, she is a fan of choreography, fashion, and soccer.



Hava Friedman
Government Liaison


Hava is a third year PhD student in Theoretical Chemistry at the University of Toronto. She spends most of her time developing the theory of open quantum systems; how a quantum system interacts with a macroscopic environment. She joined CIC Toronto because she is interested in science policy and the impact of government on the chemistry community. She hopes to form connections between members and our current and future politicians. She also intends to bring the interests of theoretical chemists to CIC. She is currently co-chair at the Chemical Biophysics Symposium and has been involved with ChemClub during her studies thus far. In her spare time, she likes to spend time with her pup Babka, listen to audiobooks, and eat at different restaurants with her buds. She is really happy to be a part of the wonderful CIC Toronto team!

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/hava-m-friedman-6007b94a

Twitter handle: @haveenka



Stevan Ostojic
Government Liaison


Stevan completed his Bachelor of Chemical Engineering at McGill University. He then moved to Kingston and completed his Master of Applied Science at RMC, where he researched drying and reusing brewer’s spent grains. He currently works as a technical sales representative in the chemical industry. His goal as government liaison is to increase CIC involvement in decision making processes affecting the sciences. In his spare time, Stevan enjoys playing basketball and tennis as well as cooking.



Charlie Kivi



His goal for the CIC is to keep the books balanced. He hopes for the CIC to increase the membership, engage more with the community and provide more networking and social opportunities for our members. In his free time, Charlie likes gaming and reading.




John Purdy


Chris Seo