• A decade of propelling bright futures for chi...
  • July 27, 2016

    A decade of propelling bright futures for childhood disability student researchers

    Motivated by their scientist mentors, students in the Ward summer student research program took to the stage Tuesday to demonstrate how their summer research projects stood to make a difference in the lives of children and youth with disabilities. 

    Among the 2600 applications received for the program and with only a handful of spots available, the best and brightest students from across Canada and internationally were selected for a unique interdisciplinary experience at Holland Bloorview's research institute.

    Taking home gold, silver and bronze

    Generously supported by the Ward Family, the program has steadily grown in popularity over the last decade. Each year, students conclude their summer program with a research day where they showcase their research findings and achievements in both oral and poster presentations. 

    Presentations were judged by a panel including family leaders, clinicians, clinical investigators, scientists and post-docs/staff members based on the impact of the research, potential interest to members of childhood disability clinical and/or research communities, originality, and content/applicability.

    Taking first place in the oral presentation was Rachel Easterbrook who presented her research entitled, "Understanding autism spectrum disorder knowledge amongst early childhood educators: The effectiveness of an information-based workshop". Rachel was studying under the leadership of Jessica Brian, clinician investigator and co-lead of the Autism Research Centre.

    Winners of the poster presentations included:

    1st place - Keelia Quinn de Launay under the leadership of Deryk Beal (CONNECT Lab)

    2nd place - Minjia Xu under the leadership of Tom Chau (PRISM Lab)

    3rd place - Meaghan Walker under the leadership of Gillian King

    Research that changes lives

    Students learned one of the cardinal rules of research, says research day host and scientist Amy McPherson.

    "As scientists, we do not publish research for the sake of publishing. We publish to create change, to transform care, to inform policy, to drive system improvements..." says McPherson. "We publish to make a difference. It is incredibly important to teach the next generation of scientists that we collectively carry the responsibility of furthering the field of childhood disability research."


    To learn more about the Ward Summer Student Research program, click here.