Non-Profit Reg: 8607877
Hazel McCallion- DD Lifetime Achievement Award 2016
Hazel McCallion, ( born February 14, 1921) is a Canadian politician and businesswoman who served as the mayor of Mississauga, Ontario from 1978 until 2014.
- McCallion established the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) Mayors' Committee in 1992. She brought together the 30 Mayors, later adding the Chair of Metropolitan Toronto and the four Regional Chairs to work cooperatively for the economic promotion of the GTA. From 1992 to January 2000, the committee, chaired by McCallion, was a strong voice on key issues affecting the future of the GTA.
- She is a founder and honorary co-chair of the Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance.
- In 1996, McCallion was appointed to the "Who Does What" panel. She was also appointed to two sub-panels: Assessment and Property Taxation Reform, and Emergency Services.
- She represented the Association of Municipalities of Ontario on the Electricity Transition Committee for the Ministry of Electricity, Science and Technology.
- McCallion is the first woman to hold such significant positions as president of the Streetsville and District Chamber of Commerce, president of the Anglican Young Peoples' Association of Canada, mayor of Streetsville, and mayor of Mississauga.
- She is responsible for the formation of Hazel's Hope, a campaign to fund health care for children afflicted with AIDS and HIV in southern Africa. McCallion hosts an annual gala in Mississauga to raise money for arts and culture in the city.
- 2003: Leadership in Public Service Award from the International Economic Development Council, for over 10 years of public service.
- 2005: Runner-up for the World Mayor Award, behind Dora Bakoyannis of Athens.
- 2009: Member of the Order of Canada.
- 2010: Honorary doctorate from the University of Toronto.
- 2012: Shahid Rassam unveiled a portrait of McCallion at the South Asian Gallery of Art in support of the SickKids Foundation.
- 2014: Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette for her support of Japanese businesses in Mississauga and furthering of Japanese-Canadian relations.
- Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for her role in bringing German companies to Canada.
Dr.Asha Seth - DD Lifetime Achievement Award 2016
Dr. Asha Seth was born in Sitapor, Uttar Pradesh, India and moved to Lucknow at a young age. Upon her arrival in Canada in 1972, Dr. Seth finished her resident training in obstetrics and gynecology at St. Joseph’s Health Centre and The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Dr. Seth has been a successful obstetrician/gynaecologist in Toronto for over four decades.
Dr. Seth has dedicated her career and personal life to improving the health and life of others. Her philanthropic work has earned her the respect and recognition of her community and has inspired many to follow her example.
The trust and admiration of her country was crystallized in her appointment to the Senate of Canada, where she became the first woman of Indian origin to be a member. In this role, Senator Seth adopted humanitarian causes
such as maternal, newborn, and child health and the welfare of disabled people. Senator Seth created the government-endorsed the “International Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health Week” campaign, as an important platform in the effort to decrease maternal and childhood mortality. She continues working with civil society organizations to eliminate preventable deaths in mothers and children, especially in vulnerable in populations.
The Honourable Asha Seth continues her work as an advocate of the blind and partially sighted as a key member of the National Board of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB).
The Honourable Asha Seth continues to engage high-level stakeholders in India with the goal of expanding academic, cultural, and commercial exchange. She was selected as Non-Resident Indian representative for the state of Uttar Pradesh at the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas 2015 conference in Gujarat due to her contributions to a new policy of economic and cultural openness in Uttar Pradesh.
The Honourable Asha Seth is a visionary leader that has trail blazed a path for many to emulate. Through it all, it is her commitment to helping others that shines brightest among her accomplishments. Dr. Asha Seth lives in Toronto with her loving husband, Dr. Arun Seth and she has two accomplished daughters: Angie Seth & Dr. Anila Seth.
Indira Naidoo-Harris - DD Women Achiever 2016
Indira Naidoo-Harris was first elected to the Ontario legislature in 2014 as the MPP for Halton.
Naidoo-Harris currently serves as Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.
She was born in Durban, South Africa. Her family immigrated to Canada to pursue the dreams they could not achieve under apartheid. They settled in central Alberta, where Naidoo-Harris grew up in a small, rural town. She later earned a B.A. in Political Science at the University of Lethbridge.
After graduate work at the University of Alberta, Naidoo-Harris moved to the U.S. for two years, where she began a career in journalism by working briefly for NBC and PBS. She went on to build a career as a writer, reporter, producer and news anchor at the international, national and regional levels.
She moved to Ontario in the 1990s to work for CBC-TV’s The National and Midday News, and since then she has anchored for CBC Newsworld, CBC’s The National and CTV Newsnet, as well as for local stations CBC Toronto, CBC Ottawa, TVO and OMNI Television. She has also anchored for CBC Radio regional and national programs, including World Report and The World at Six, and hosted the current affairs shows Cross Country Check-Up and The Current. Naidoo-Harris has won numerous awards for her work and volunteerism in national and international causes.
Naidoo-Harris has lived in Halton for more than 20 years, and has sat on the Board of Directors for the Reel World Film Festival, the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund of Canada and the Journalism Advisory Council at the University of Western Ontario.
Kiruthika Rathanaswami - DD Women Achiever 2016
Kiruthika Rathanaswami was born in Pondicherry, India and has been living in Canada for over
26 years. From a very young age she developed a passion and interest in sports and physical
activity and knew she wanted to pursue this field as a career when she grew up. At the same time she had been regularly performing folk and filmi dances at many cultural events in Vancouver.
She was formally introduced to bharata natyam at the age of 9 under Jai Govinda, Artistic
Director of Mandala Arts and Culture in Vancouver, Canada. After a number of years and going through the rigid curriculum she completed her bharata natyam arangetram (graduation) at the Jai Govinda Dance Academy in 2004. It was during this process leading up to her arangetram that she realized the discipline and dedication one needs in performing this art form. She had been used to this type of training and practice in sports such as basketball, and volleyball but quickly came to realize that this was also transferred to the performing arts. The physical and mental preparation one needs were very similar and she could easily relate between the two.
Post-arangetram she continued to develop and work on new choreography with Jai Govinda and learned the nuances required for one to be a good performer.
Since 2004 she has been a part of many of Mandala’s professional productions and presentations as a soloist and ensemble. Although she has performed extensively in Vancouver, she has also be presented in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Edmonton and Santa Barbara, California. Some her notable performances include: The Temptation of Buddha (2006); The Monk and the Courtesan (2008); Honourable Governor General of Canada Ms. Michaëlle Jean (2009); Canada Dance Festival (2010); Gait to the Spirit Festival (2011), Horizon Series (2013); and Feats Festival
(2015), HH11 Dance Festival (2016). Kiruthika was also featured as the lead dancer in the documentary film "The Great Night of Shiva" (2011) which was broadcast nationally on Vision TV Canada. In 2010, she received the Arts Fellowship from the Shastri Indo- Canadian Institute
and studied with Gurus B. Bhanumati and Sheela Chandrashekar in Bangalore, India. This past summer 2015, Kiruthika was invited to speak as panelist at a National Dance Symposium "Beyond Boundaries - Imagining a New Future for South Asian Dance in Canada" by Sampradaya Dance Creations in Mississauga, Ontario. Kiruthika is the recipient of the 2012 City of Vancouver "The Mayor's Arts Award" for emerging artist in Dance.
Her exposure to both western and eastern physical activity experiences led her to pursue a Masters of Arts from McGill University, Montreal where her research examined “Physical Activity in First Generation South Asian women living in Canada: Barriers and Facilitators to Participation” (Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal, 2016).
Kiruthika has been able to achieve a balance in both her academics and dance career and is currently the Early Stages Program Director for Volleyball Alberta.
Shalini Srivastava - DD Women Achiever 2016
Shalini Srivastava currently is the Event Support Supervisor in Film and Entertainment Industries for City of Toronto. She is proficient in turnkey operations at all Government levels including municipal by-laws.
She provides support to events that bring tourism and economic benefits to Toronto by providing expert advice in event planning for national and international platforms such as Toronto International Film Festival, Caribbean Carnival, Luminato, Jazz Festival, Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, Waterfront Marathon, One Walk to Conquer Cancer and many more such events.
As an Event Support Supervisor, Shalini was the Venue Manager for PANAMANIA Live at the PanAm Games and closing ceremony for Para PanAm Games as well as one of the organizers for the New Year’s Eve event for City of Toronto.
Prior to joining the City of Toronto, she worked as the Executive Director for Albion Islington Square Business Improvement Area (BIA) having developed and executed Fusion of Taste Street Festival.
She implemented and executed International India Film Academy Awards (IIFA) Buzz events which significantly increased public awareness for the Business Improvement Area of Albion Islington Square.
Shalini has a passion for serving the community which has lead her to organize a number of charity fundraising dinners, fashion shows, and other special events for Heart and Stroke Foundation, Ernestine’s Women’s Shelter, Big Brother and Big Sister, United Way, Youth without Shelter, Military Wives Family Day Barbeque, Tiger Jeet Singh Foundation and many more local charitable organizations.
She is also a former board member for AWIC Community Services, and has been a member of the work group for Local Immigration Partnership Program for North Etobicoke. Shalini is currently serving as the General Secretary of Panorama India
She holds a Bachelors degree in Education and Bachelors degree in Law and has utilized her skills in both the fields.Her mission and goal has been to give back to the community through extensive experience with fundraising and event planning, coordination and organizing shows (onsite and offsite).
Dr.Suhara Panthapulakkal - DD Women Achiever 2016
Dr. Suhara Panthapulakkal is a Ph.D. holder in Chemical Engineering from the University of Toronto and also holds a 2nd Ph.D. in Polymer Engineering from the Cochin University of Science and Technology, India. She also holds two Master’s degree, one in Chemistry and the other in Polymer Engineering. She has always maintained her status as a Top Student, securing 4th rank for her Bachelor’s, 2nd rank for the Masters in Chemistry, and 1st rank for the Masters in Polymer Technology. She is also a recipient of national level fellowships (junior and senior level) from Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, India for 5 years. She worked as a lecturer at the Cochin University of Science and Technology for two years before she was appointed as an Assistant Professor at the department of Chemistry, Calicut University where she worked for two years in teaching and supervising graduate students.
She started her career in Canada as a Post-doctoral fellow, and then as a Research Associate at the Centre for Biocomposites and Biomaterials Processing (CBBP), University of Toronto. Now she is working as the Project Manager and Administrator at the CBBP. Her research focuses on the designing and development of environmentally friendly bio-based composite materials using renewable resources such as forest and agricultural byproducts and residues. The main goal for this research is to replace synthetic and petroleum derived materials from various industry sectors in order to reduce the carbon footprint and reduce the greenhouse gas emission. Now she is involved in developing lightweight
materials for manufacturing automotive parts, and are in the pre-commercialization stage.
She is one of the inventors of the cellulosic microfiber processing technology for the development of high performance materials which has already been implemented by the company “Greencore Composites”. She has five patents and over forty (40) peer reviewed scientific publication and two (2) book chapters to her credit.
Her research interest include bio-fibers, bio-polymers, bio-composites, polymer composites, nanofibers and nano-composites, polymer blends, process and product development. She also supervises several graduate (PhD and Masters) research students at CBBP, and is
a reviewer for four scientific journals.
Dr. Suhara's busy work or research schedules has never stopped her from volunteering for the community she lives in. She has been the entertainment, sports, and social committee member for Sree Narayana Association and Halton Malayalees Association for the past 5 years. She even volunteered for many fund raising event organized by Amma Charity organization. Further, for the last 20 years, she had
been very actively involved with SOS Children’s Village of India as a sponsor and a volunteer.
Dr. Suhara very actively supports the academic community by sharing her expertise within the university and beyond through invited and guest lecturing and also one to one students mentoring.Above all, she is a caring mother to her young boys Rithik, Tejas and Abhinav and a very loving wife to Dr. S. Janardhanan.
Manju Rose - DD Women Achiever 2016
Manju Rose is a successful Services Executive at IBM leading international service agreements in the Canadian Insurance industry. Her career within the technology industry began in 2002 with CTS, India, after completing her Engineering degree at the Cochin University of Science and Technology As an early immigrant to Canada, she pursued her MBA (Corporate Strategy & Finance) from the Richard Ivey School of Business and graduated on the Deans Honor List. Manju was among the handpicked few chosen to the Business and Technology Accelerated Leadership path at IBM and in 6 years, she grew to manage a multimillion dollar Outsourcing line of business for IBM.
A confident communicator with over a decade of accomplishments in the IT industry, Manju is a hands-on leader of technology and people. She has always gone to great lengths to share her knowledge and is dedicated to mentoring and developing people to their full potential. She has travelled to Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine to teach Business Strategy and Entrepreneurship to post graduate students in the National Mining University. In 2013, Manju was chosen to the IBM Corporate Services Corp, from over 700 Canadian applicants. She travelled to Jamshedpur, India for 6 weeks and led an International team to deliver a growth strategy to AIWC, an NGO geared towards the betterment of destitute women and children.
On a personal note, Manju is a well-rounded person, personally and professionally. She is married and the proud mother of a daughter who sees her role model in her mother. When taking a break from work, Manju pursues Indian Classical dancing and is deeply passionate about women empowerment in emerging nations.
Kanta Arora - DD Women Achiever 2016
“Kanta, you are an inspiration and a testament to the strength of women who must do so much for family and community in a day”. from your friends here at CNIB – Dr. Gordon,
Shari, Brad and me. Suzanne Gaudet,Associate, Community Development, CNIB
Kanta Arora is a community activist, social worker, dynamic public speaker and a Television Talk show Host. She holds a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Education (Hons) and Honors Diploma in Early Childhood Education. Kanta, with her husband, came to Canada, in 1969 from India. She appreciated the wealth and diversity of Canadian society and decided not only to embrace this new country but to share her own rich heritage and culture by participating and coordinating community and other social events. She has spent years developing strong partnerships and networking among community organizations, service users and providers. At the same time, she has developed an excellent understanding of the relationship between the Government and Community needs.
In 1985, she was the first Indian woman, appointed to Ontario Social Assistance Review Board (SARB). She is a founder member, trustee and Past President of AWIC Community and Social Services. . During 1997 World Winter Special Olympics, she served as a chair of Host Committee for the India Floor Hockey Team. She is founder & President of Arco International Languages, which provides translation and Interpretation services in over 145 languages. She is founder of Toronto Netralya Lions Club in 2009.
She has served as member or director on the board of various Charitable, Social, Nonprofit and professional organizations i.e. ICCC, Canadian Museum of Hindu Civilization, South Asian Family Support Services (SAFSS), EIPROC Foundation, Scarborough Chamber of Commerce, Education Committee etc.. She is known for her Commitment, dedication and fund raising strength at the time of many natural disasters, like
Haiti, Philippines, Nepal, Gujarat Earthquake, Tsunami disaster etc. She is a strong advocate for seniors’, women’s rights, children’s rights and the fight against domestic violence.
Kanta is a recipient of many outstanding and prestigious awards i.e. Queen’s Golden & Diamond Jubilee Medals, National Ethnic Media award for Outstanding Community Outreach and Media award, Woman of the Year-Media Host award, Community Activist award and Canada Literacy Volunteer National Award for her contributions to her own community as well as to multicultural communities of the Canada.
Kanta is very well respected Media Talk Show Host and Associate Producer at ATN –Asian Television Network - a 24 hour Ethnic community television Network. Since 1985, she, as a host and associate producer, has produced several educational, social, cultural, health related and community support programs. She has interviewed world renowned leading personalities from art, music, yoga, meditation, religion, medicine, politics and Bollywood industry. Through her talk Show, she assists and interviews service-providers about vital issues, heighten awareness and deliver the information to isolated women, seniors and newcomers to Canada.
Since 2002, she has been a member of the THE HISTORICA-DOMINION INSTITUTE, Speakers Bureau – a unique group of community leaders from various countries around the world.
Kanta’s name has become synonymous with Ethnic media, Volunteerism, Social work, commitment, integrity and credibility. She is a role model in Volunteerism and as a result she has encouraged many more to follow her footsteps. Her leadership skills, goal oriented strategies, self-confidence, perseverance and broad vision for community needs has been recognized as an institution in itself. She has dedicated herself in improving the quality of life in communities across Canada and is a champion of youth, women’s and senior’s issues. She finds the reward gained through this type of work much greater than one would find in the typical corporate environment.
She is truly a ‘People Person’ with compassion, dedication, with excellent communication and leadership skills. Today, Kanta is very well respected Media Personality and known as the strongest pillars of the society.
Esther Pierce - DD Women Achiever 2016
Growing up in Seoul South Korea, Esther Pierce embraced her love for arts and culture by immersing herself in music and visual studies. During graduate work in English and Education,her membership experience within UNESCO had influenced her interest for community building and cultural associations. She later branched out to marry her interests and passion to build a private arts academy - Sojin Art School, where she was acting principal for 20 years.
She immigrated to Canada 30 years ago with her young family and attended York University for business management and YUELI to further expand her education and work skills. This cultural shift impacted her vision to further promote arts and culture from a Korean-Canadian perspective in order to strengthen Korean identity among Korean-Canadians.
Her new vocation in Canada includes Chair for Arirang Korea TV (Korean OMNI Television in Ontario) for the past 7 years as well as chair for annual Arirang Korea Smartphone Film Festivals. She’s been board member and most recently chaired the Hyo Filial Care Society of Canada, a non-profit organization servicing seniors respectfully through cultural programs. She is also the founder and chair of Korean -Canadian Charity Foundation.
In 2012 she’s chaired the Korean Canadian Arts Association which she is currently actively supporting member among many other foundations such as Korean Canadian Cultural Association, Korean Canadian Scholarship Foundation, and Korean Canadian Women’s Association just to name a few. Sunday, is when she dedicates her afternoons to her church as head of choir.
Family, community, and cultural heritage in Canada, are the key fundamentals that have elevated her vision as she assumes her leadership roles. Her efforts have contributed tremendously for Korean- Canadian communities to engage in healthy citizenship as well as maintaining cultural heritage for future generations.
Dr.Brenda Beck - DD Women Achiever 2016
Dr. Beck holds a D.Phil. from Oxford University. Her research work has focused on the Culture and Folklore of South Asia. In 1983 she resigned a Full Professorship at the University of British Columbia.to step into a broader arena: Public Communications. In 1986 she formed her own video production company. In 2004 she also started a federally licensed charitable foundation dedicated to educational story telling. Dr. Beck has lectured extensively around the world and thrice received all-expenses paid invitations to speak in India: In 2014 she was a guest speaker at four Polish universities. In 2015 she spent more than
a month presenting her work to varied audiences in Tamilnadu, India, as well as in Japan and California. She has just completed a repeat one month trip to India this year.
Educational Animation and Graphic Novels:
Dr. Beck recently completed the 13 hour video animation of a huge oral epic from South Asia called THE LEGEND OF PONNIVALA. Her goal is to share this entertaining story with people of all ages, and to help viewers better appreciate some of the joy, colour and depth of South Indian culture. This 26 episode series was broadcast across Canada by the Asian Television Network and also via Thanthi TV, out of Chennai. She is currently conducting various educational teaching experiments using these materials in collaboration with various schools located both in India and in Canada.
Publications: Dr. Beck has authored three books, and contributed to many others. She has also published some fifty scholarly articles. Recently Dr. Beck brought out a fourth major work, a two volume graphic novel. She has also penned an illustrated story featuring the life of a young tribal girl. It is scheduled to appear in a few months time.
Shobha Shekhar - DD Women Achiever 2016
Shobha Shekhar was born in a traditional South Indian family where music and academics played a very important role. Shobha started learning the basics in Carnatic classical singing from her mother Vijayalakshmi Iyer . She is also trained in Hindustani classical by PT. Gautam Madhusudan from (Gwalior Gharana) and thereafter from Pt. Rattan Mohan Sharma - disciple of Pt. Jasraj – (Mewati Gharana).
Shobha’s enjoys listening to, learning and singing various styles of music from Ghazals, Indian folk, Devotional songs, Marathi Bhav geet to Bollywood music.
She has won many music competitions within India. She is studio recording artist and has lent her voice to many product commercials and jingles in India and Canada. She has released several private albums and performed widely across several countries, alongside popular visiting artists from the bollywood industry. Her singing qualities got her such accolades as the "singing sensation of Toronto" to the "Nightingale of Toronto". Her most recent accomplishment is releasing her own single "Raahein - produced here in Canada by Awaazein".
Shobha’s has had several opportunities to mentor upcoming talents when she was invited to be amidst the panel of judges for various music competitions and talent contests – CMR Star Search 101.3, Panorama India, Singing Sensation - hosted by Ninaivukul , Super Singer Juniors Canada - Tamil one TV "Thithikude" Tamil equivalent of SA RE GA MA hosted by Canadian Radio Channel, She has also a very sought after artist by popular radio stations in Canada, USA and the Caribbean.
Shobha has consistently strived to giving back to the community through her music and has never missed an opportunity to involve herself performing at various charity events and fund raisers to help raise funds for the under-privileged and disabled i.e. Breast cancer society foundation- Canada, Vidyadhanam- India, Heart and Stroke Foundation- Canada and to help other non profit organisation with her their endeavors to further raise awareness for their causes In her own words "Music has always inspired me to evolve as a person, it takes me to a different world - a world of peace and harmony where one is free of all the materialist values of life"
Vidhya Jayapal - DD Women Achiever 2016
Vidhya Jayapal, owner and founder of Chennai Caters Inc . After my 10 year career as a banker, I quit my job to pursue my passion in becoming an entrepreneur. What distinguishes me from others in my field of expertise is that I keep up the art of marketing innovative products in the new market. I implemented various marketing techniques to promote my products and meet diversified client needs. I started a home based business and supplied dosa batter to my friends and families and later owned a large scale production plant in Brampton. I am the first woman entrepreneur to head a Batter production company in Canada and supply to Canadian ethnic food market. In addition to the products I introduced, I also started catering weddings and backyard parties.Being the largest batter manufacturer in Canada, Chennai caters is the first Canadian company to export our batter products to the United states in the year 2014. I believe that the road to success is trying and never give up on your dream.
Chinnamma A Belgaumkar - DD Women Achiever 2016
I like to introduce myself , my name is Chinnamma A Belgaumkar ,( Homeopathic practitioner)
I came to Canada in 1967 the La-belle province Quebec.
I was fortunate to volunteer at the World Expo in 1967, in Montreal. I was also responsible for the India Canada Association , which was a bridge between various cultural associations.
One of the 1st coordinator for the Indian Classical dance (PEALI) Presentation Entertainment
Art & Literature of India. While living in Montreal , I also engaged most of the cultural Franco-phones to join together to create awareness for the communities to under stand & bring harmony between all generations young and old.
In the late 1980's I started the momentum on homeopathy and natural medicines in Montreal.
As a child I had used homeopathic medicines, as well my family and many of our friends.
Homeopathy was started in Germany by a German Physician "Dr. Samuel Hahnemann in the 1790's.
The philosophy of Homeopathy is based on the principle "Similia Similibus Curantuer" (Latin) (Let likes Cure Likes )
As my interest grew more for Homeopathy I did some research. I found out Homeopathy had already reached North America in the late 1800's
since Europeans migrated, they brought Homeopathy along with them. British Kingdom was one of the main users of Homeopathy.
Queen Elizabeth hospital in Montreal, Grace General Hospital in Ontario was also opened for some time. We had Homeopathic Drs . practiced homeopathic medicine in upper Canada as well as in Manitoba etc.
After sometime, myself along with our Homeopathic group were able to bring Homeopathy for Later in the 1992 I started working with a group of "Homeopathic lovers " of Manitoba , where we were able to we start a Homeopathic clinical practice along with the help of public at large we were able to establish a Homeopathic College as well. The curriculum included a full complement of medical subjects taught by the well known faculty of medical professors as well as world class homeopaths from various parts of the world.
In 2000 I moved to Toronto Ontario were I setup a Homeopathic Clinical practice. I also gave educational seminars to various community organizations , educating the p public in the benefits Since awareness of Homeopathy grew more & more people started using Homeopathic
medicines, so that we were able to join hands with other Homeopaths and the public at large.Good news !!!. Homeopathy got approved as a regulated profession in Ontario.
I am very happy & thankful to be privileged to have been able to contribute my knowledge to the community at large in Canada.
As a Homeopath /Natural medicine practitioner serving the community at large, if any one need I will be more than happy to serve you all. My PH # 416 293 6693, or 416 697 9355.
Netra Unni - DD Rising Star 2016
Netra Unni is currently a first year student at the University of Toronto, pursuing a degree in Engineering Science. She aspires to develop herself into a multifaceted individual by combining her interests in medical research and engineering. At the age of 14, Netra conducted research on the effect of Wi-Fi radiation on cellular reproduction. She set up a small lab in her basement, borrowing equipment from her high school. Upon presenting her findings at the Peel Regional Science Fair, Netra was awarded a bronze medal and her passion for cancer research continued to grow.
At the age of 15, she conducted her own research project at a lab in Sunnybrook Research Institute. Netra’s project looked at the use of shRNA vectors to inhibit the effect of an enzyme called telomerase, which plays a role in the uncontrollable growth of tumour cells. She is currently working at the Ontario
Institute for Cancer Research. Netra’s experience in the Genome Technologies department has enabled her to obtain novel perspectives in the field of gene-mediated cancer therapeutics.
Netra is also passionate about engaging youth in science and founded the Scientific Opportunities and Research (SOAR) Mentoring Program to guide young researchers. She recently organized a conference pertaining to cancer research and brought together over 50 students across Ontario to help raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society. Netra is also trained in the art of Indian classical singing and is a piano teacher. She enjoys pursuing music, art and baking in her free time.