The Dandelion Project
Access speakers, conference, and workshop information here!
The Dandelion in Hakka culture is a symbol of strength and perseverance. Dandelions are able to survive in harsh conditions, adapt to new environments, and upon doing so, are able to grow abundantly. In Ontario, there has been 30+ years of data showing a racial discrepancy in the educational success of Ontario students – particularly BIPOC students. These systemic patterns embedded in Ontario education accumulates, disadvantaging students in marginalized communities and reducing the accessibility of opportunities for these individuals.The Dandelion Project strives to educate today's youth about post-secondary opportunities and works to provide insight on different career paths. It is our mission to actively work towards decreasing the systemic barriers that today’s youth may experience in pursuing a postsecondary education. We aim to provide an equitable, diverse, and inclusive space for high school students to meet and connect with students, panelists, and professionals, so that they can, too, overcome adversity like a dandelion.
- Educating today’s youth about postsecondary opportunities and providing insight on different career paths
- Taking action to decrease systemic barriers of pursuing postsecondary education
- Providing an equitable, diverse, and inclusive space for high school students to meet and connect with students, panelists, and professionals
WHAT TO EXPECT
- Panel discussions with industry professionals
- Annual conference with networking opportunities, and skill-development workshops
- Integrated workshops into student curriculums
- Tips and resources for students
Meet the team
Margret Lo (she/her) | Co-Founder
I am born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, and found myself being drawn to the world of science. This led me to complete my undergraduate degree at Queen's University with a major in Psychology and a minor in Biology. Now, I am entering my Masters of Public Health at McMaster University, where I hope to work collaboratively in the healthcare field. In my spare time, I love to read, crochet, watch TV, and chat with friends. I'm so excited to share what the Dandelion Project has in store with you all.
Victoria Yu (she/her) | Co-Founder
Hi everyone! My name is Victoria and I am one of the two co-founders of The Dandelion Project. I am going into my B.Ed year at Queen's University and I hope to teach high school biology and chemistry in the future. I started the Dandelion Project because I wanted to increase the diversity within STEM and ensure that all students have access to resources about different careers in STEM.
Ally Suarez (she/her) | Research Lead
I'm Ally, a 4th year Health Science student from the University of Waterloo. As the Research Lead, I hope to provide the team with relevant resources and knowledge in order to achieve our goals of serving today's youth. Looking forward to being a part of the Dandelion Project this year!
Huda Musa (she/her) | Research Assistant
Hello! My name is Huda Musa. I am a book connoisseur, debater and talkative extrovert. I am a Research Assistant with the Dandelion Project group. Through the Dandelion Project, I hope to instill hope, motivation, and inspiration in youth to guide them in achieving their goals. I'm looking forward to providing a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment where people can access unique and useful resources!
Kim Siwak (she/her) | Conference Chair
Hi! My name is Kim, and I currently am a graduate student that researches coronavirus infection at Queen's University. I am so excited to join the Dandelion Project this year to create a brand new conference where individuals from all over Ontario can connect on common passions and interests! When I am not at the lab or helping out with the conference I enjoy spending time with friends, cooking, and doing yoga!
Jayne Dent (she/her) | Logistics Coordinator
Hello! My name is Jayne and I am from Vancouver, British Columbia. I am so excited to be involved with the Dandelion Project as a Conference Logistics Coordinator this year. I am currently pursuing a Master's of Science at Queen's where I am researching a rare form of skin cancer! Throughout my education journey, I've definitely found myself feeling overwhelmed with making decisions about a new path to continue my education on, and so I am eager to help support other students during these possibly stressful times! In my role, I will be involved with planning, organizing, and executing the conference this year. I am looking forward to contributing positive energy to an already supportive, respectful, diverse community that the Dandelion Project has built and I cannot wait for what we can accomplish together!
Claire Verkuyl (she/her) | Logistics Coordinator
Hey everyone! I'm Claire, a 21 year old Master's student at the University of Toronto doing research in Alzheimer's Disease and prion disorders. I recently graduated from Queen's University where I studied Life Sciences and Math, but I'm originally from Toronto. Some fun facts about me include that I have played hockey for most of my life, I have gone to summer camp in Muskoka for 13 years (and it's a huge part of my personality), and I recently spent 6 weeks solo travelling around Southeast Asia!
Prapti Dave (she/they) | Logistics Coordinator
Hi! My name is Prapti and I'm a high school student in Markham, Ontario. I'm a Logistics Coordinator for the Dandelion Project which means I'm responsible for planning the logistics behind events that we plan. Working to take down systemic barriers is a very lofty ambition, but I truly believe the Dandelion Project can make a difference. I'm so excited to be able to work with such talented people for a cause that truly matters to me!
Madeline Bianco (she/her) | Workshop Lead
I’m this year’s Workshop Lead and I’m incredibly excited to be responsible for planning and executing the Dandelion Project’s workshops! I enjoy playing tennis, running, biking, reading, and tending to my garden. I also love playing with my cat and volunteering at Downsview Park! This year, I’m looking forward to delivering workshops curated for more specific groups and delivering them with enthusiasm and a passion to help educate and encourage others about STEM. As well, I’m going to study Biology, this fall, at York University. I hope everyone reading this attends our workshops this year!
Abeeha Syed (she/her) | Workshop Coordinator
I’m an incoming first year at TMU for Business Technology Management from Brampton Ontario. Some cool stuff about me:
- I'm an ISTP
- I read tons of novels; mostly mystery and thriller (Verity by Colleen Hoover is my most recent read)
- I enjoy watching anime and K-dramas (HxH, AOT and 2521 to name a few)
- I’m obsessed with K-pop (BTS, STAYC, NCT, Exo, SVT & RV are some of my favourites)
- I enjoy playing with makeup
Nataly Amaya (she/her) | Workshop Coordinator
I graduated from Kings University College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology, and I'm currently completing my Social Work Degree at McMaster University. I've always enjoyed getting involved and volunteering with many different organizations and I'm super excited to be joining the Dandelion Project! Some things I like to do in my free time are read, hang out with my dog and spend some quality time with my friends and family!
Hiba Syed (she/her) | Speakers Lead
I am going into my fourth year at the University of Western Ontario in the Health Sciences program, specializing in biology. I have always had a passion for mentorship and volunteering. A big believer in philanthropy and empathy, I have been actively involved in my school and cultural community in various projects and other initiatives. For the 2022 - 2023 year for the Dandelion Project, I will be the Speakers Lead and this will be my second year being involved with this incredible organization. I am tremendously excited to seeing what my second year at the Dandelion Project will look like.
Ayesha Ahamed (she/her) | Speakers Coordinator
I am going into my fourth year of Biology and Pharmacology at McMaster University. This is my second year as part of the Dandelion Project. Some things I like to do in my free time are watch true crime documentaries on Netflix, and knit!
Carine Ladki (she/her) | Financial Director & Graphics Coordinator
Hi everyone! My name is Carine and I am this year’s Financial Director and one of the Graphics Coordinators. I am in my final year of my BSc honours, in Psychology and Music at Carleton University, where I am conducting research on environmental leadership in the workplace. In my free time you can catch me crocheting or watching Law and Order. Bonus points if you catch me doing both at the same time! I look forward to working with you all and help you achieve the path to success this year!
Hannah Ferguson (she/her) | Grant Procurement Specialist
Hi! My name is Hannah Ferguson and I am excited to join the Dandelion Project team as the Grant Procurement Specialist this year. I am currently an undergraduate student at Queen's University studying Life Sciences and Math, but originally from Waterloo, Ontario. A few fun facts about me are that I am bilingual in French and English, I love to ski in the winter, and I have been going to the same summer camp for the past 13 summers.
Madison Jacobson (she/her) | Graphics Director
Hi! My name is Madison and I am from Thornhill, Ontario. I'm thrilled for another year as Graphics Director! As a high school student, I understand the challenges that often arise when exploring postsecondary options. As part of this organization, my responsibility is to convey important information through social media and our website. When I'm not creating graphics, you can find me cooking, reading, or playing piano!
Jessica Ricafort (she/her) | Graphics Coordinator
Hello everyone! My name is Jessica and I’m a grade 12 student from Ontario. I am one of this years graphic coordinators! In this position my responsibility is to help create graphics that will break down the obstacles that students looking to pursue careers in STEM might face. I am thrilled to be part of a passionate organization that helps students like myself. I’m very excited to be part of this amazing team and I look forward to creating graphics for the incredible things we will do this year!
Carine Ladki (she/her) | Financial Director & Graphics Coordinator
The Dandelion Project OntarioGeneral: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you to panel speakers and attendees and congratulations to our prize winners! Winners will be contacted shortly to redeem their prizes!Walk the Walk: Your Pathway in STEM
2022 Annual Conference
Hosted by the Dandelion Project Ontario
& Queen's Student Diversity Project
Meet the Speakers
The Dandelion Project is thrilled to announce our new Speakers Podcast. On this podcast, Ayesha and Hiba will discuss post-secondary experiences with each other and university student speakers. Listen from November 27 on Spotify or YouTube!Are you a student or professional in the STEM industry interested in speaking at an event? Contact us!
Come back soon for updates on upcoming workshops!