This year the Graduate Student Workshop will take place on May 6th from 12 PM EST to 5 PM EST. We are pleased to announce we have two events in addition to our business meeting and social hour!

Zoom link:

Join us in gathertown for the happy hour!

Time of Event Event Title
12:00 – 12:10 PM Welcome & Introduction
12:15 – 1:45 PM Mental Health Session
1:45 – 2:15 PM Business Meeting & Elections
2:15 – 3:00 PM Break
3:00 – 4:30 PM Industry Panel
5:00 – 7:00 PM Happy Hour

Welcome and Introduction

Current Chair, Carter Rhea, and current Vice Chair, Kenny Van, will say a few welcoming words and highlight some of the main accomplishments of the GSC this year.

Mental Health Session

This session will be lead by Dr. Adrienne Chan from the University of the Fraser Valley (bio to come). There will be a ~45-minute seminar-style presentation by Dr. Chen on the link between mental health and inclusivity. This will be followed by a 40-minute panel-driven discussion during which members of the GSC will stimulate discussion on mental health and inclusivity in the context of graduate-level studies.

Business Meeting and Elections

During the business meeting, the chair and vice-chair will open the floor for comments by workshop attendees. Afterward, the elections will be held; this involves voting for the chair, vice-chair, EPO rep., and EDI rep. Information pertaining to the elections (i.e. duties and responsibilities of each representative) can be found on the GSC website:

Industry Panel

The industry panel will include short (10-15 minute) presentations by four (4) individuals who have completed graduate students in Astronomy & Astrophysics that now hold positions in industry (i.e. non-academic). Their presentations will focus on how they made the transition from academia to industry. The presentations will be followed by a 45-minute Q&A session open to all attendees.

Happy Hour

We are pleased to announce that this year the GSC will be hosting a happy hour directly following the conclusion of the workshop! The happy hour will be held on the CASCA AGM gathertown (link to come).

Dr. Adrienne Chan: Mental Health Speaker

Dr. Adrienne S. Chan is a Professor Emeritus at the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV), Canada. She completed her doctoral studies at the University of Kent, Canterbury, UK, and was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia in Educational Studies. Her present research and teaching focuses on working with Indigenous peoples, racialized groups, and feminist and narrative processes. She is particularly interested in anti-racism, diversity, equity, social justice, institutional change, and addressing normalized practices in organizations. Dr. Chan was in the faculty of Social Work at the university, where she taught undergraduate and graduate students. She is the co-founder of the Race and Anti-racism Network (RAN) at UFV. Dr. Chan served as Associate Vice-President of Research, Engagement, and Graduate Studies for six years (2012-2018). She completed a term as the Co-Chair of the President’s Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at UFV (2019-2020), where they university developed an action plan on EDI.

Dr. Chan has worked extensively with educational institutions and non-profit organizations in their goals for diversity and inclusion. She is a two time recipient of a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grant, and a two time recipient of a Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) grant. Her recent work for the last five years has focused on Indigenous youth, suicide prevention and mental wellness. She has published broadly in Canadian and international journals and books.

Dr. Chan’s work includes the examination, revision, and implementation of policy, practices, strategic planning, and evaluation. Dr. Chan is a trainer, educator, and consultant who has worked in the field for over 30 years. In 2021, she gave a keynote and plenary address to the Canadian Mental Health Association on “Translating Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion into Healthy Relationships & Campuses.”

Meet the Panelists

Parshati Patel

Dr. Parshati Patel is an Astrophysicist turned Science Communicator, and Educator based in London, Ontario, Canada. Parshati graduated with a Ph.D. in Astronomy and Planetary Science & Exploration from Western University in 2016. She is the Educational Outreach and Communications Specialist at Western University’s Institute for Earth and Space Exploration. She is currently on leave from this position for a secondment at the Canadian Space Agency. The experience she gained during her graduate studies, allowed her to transition into the field of science communication upon completion of her PhD. Parshati has been communicating her passion for space science and technology with students and the public for 9+ years in several formats through various outreach programs and initiatives.

Rachel Domagalski

Rachel Domagalski is a software engineer at Astranis Space Technologies in San Francisco, CA. Originally from California, she obtained a Master’s degree in astronomy and astrophysics in 2018 at the University of Toronto. While she initially entered a PhD program, her plans changed and she decided to move back to California and look for jobs in the tech industry. After working for a little less than a year as a systems engineer at a robotics startup, she joined the software team at Astranis, which develops geostationary satellites to deliver internet to underserved locations. Her job involves the ground-side development of the data link to the satellite used for listening to telemetry, sending commands, and tracking the location of the satellite. Outside of work, Rachel is often found playing her modular synth or roller skating in bowls at skate parks.

 Marc Kneppers

Security was not the original plan. Marc started in Astrophysics, getting degrees from the University of Calgary and Western Ontario before finally quitting with his MSc to scrounge for money in the private sector. Luckily, the Internet was waiting. Starting as a UNIX system administrator and working his way through Internet services, dot coms and the core networking teams, Marc ended up as the Security prime for TELUS’ core networks. With a nod to his 20 years of experience in IT/networking security Marc was appointed a TELUS Fellow and is now the Chief Security Architect for TELUS.

As Chief Security Architect, Marc has responsibilities for security oversight and strategy across all of TELUS’ technologies and portfolios. He represents TELUS on Canadian national infrastructure forums and industry boards with membership in international security forums and vendor advisory boards. Outside of work, he lives in Calgary with his wife and 2 children, skis, bikes and plays in a band.

Maximilien Schirm

Dr. Maximilien Schirm graduated with a Ph.D. in Physics and Astronomy from McMaster University in 2015, where he studied molecular gas in nearby galaxies. He began his post-academic career as a Data Scientist at Electronic Arts, where he used data to help improve the player experience in mobile games. These days, he works as a Technical Director at Miovision in Kitchener, Ontario, where he leads a team of data professionals solving the world’s traffic problems with data.