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Meet our SciXchange Team

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Dr. Emily Agard - Director

Emily earned a B.Sc. (honours) in life sciences from Queen's University and a Ph.D. in immunology from the University of Toronto.  She taught biology at York University and the University of Toronto at Scarborough before joining Toronto Metropolitan University as an assistant professor, where she teaches immunology.  Currently, as the diirector of SciXchange, she is focused on making science accessible, engaging and inclusive of all groups and is mentor to many youth in the community. She is currently the chapter ambassador for Technovation Girls, external link Toronto. Emily regularly facilitates science enrichment activities and mentoring programs for elementary and secondary students. She embraces opportunities to speak about learning and applying science in everyday life and various career paths.  In her spare time, Emily also enjoys music, travel, sports and photography. She recently completed a certificate in photography studies through the Chang School at Toronto Metropolitan University.


  Follow her on Twitter @ProfAgard

  Connect with her on LinkedIn

Learn more at, external link

Leigh Headshot
Leigh Paulseth - Enrichment & Outreach Coordinator

Leigh coordinates SciXchange’s science outreach programs and manages our network of volunteers within and outside of the Toronto Metropolitan Univeristy community. She has a B.Sc. in conservation biology and Master of Resource and Environmental Management which fuelled her passion to work with communities to protect biodiversity. Leigh worked in the environmental non-profit sector for 6 years where she developed environmental education and community engagement programs and gained skills in volunteer management and science communication.  She joined Toronto Metropolitan Univeristy's science outreach office in 2016 ready to build strong networks to promote STEM education and science literacy opportunities. In this capacity she works to support underrepresented voices in STEM sectors to strengthen the science community. She coordinated the first Soapbox Science, external link, opens in new window event in Canada in 2017. Leigh loves to share all kinds of science knowledge and is particularly passionate about supporting the ways in which society intersects with the science community. You can often find Leigh enjoying a Ken Ken puzzle, watching the latest sci fi series or spreading the word about protecting our planet.

Caleb Wesley
Caleb Wesley - Coordinator, Indigenous Knowledge & Science Outreach

Caleb is a member of the Moose Cree First Nation. He holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from York University where he completed the university’s Waaban Indigenous Teacher Education program and received his teaching degree in junior/intermediate general science education. Through his teacher training, he had the opportunity to work with Indigenous students and teachers in the TDSB. His journey in education began at York University’s Science Engagement Programs where he worked as a science engagement instructor. He was the program coordinator of the CanCode digital literacy outreach program and brought digital literacy programming to over 1500 students across the Toronto District School Board. Caleb has worked previously as the Indigenous Outreach Assistant at JUMP Math where he supported both Indigenous teacher candidates and on-reserve schools to build math literacy in their classrooms. Most recently, Caleb worked as the online learning coordinator for LGBT YouthLine. As online learning coordinator, he worked to build an engaging and comprehensive training program for LGBT YouthLine’s peer support program. Caleb brings his passion and experience in science enrichment and outreach programming to our work at SciXchange. He is especially excited to make space for Indigenous brilliance and academics at Toronto Metropolitan University!

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Adisa Julien - Enrichment and Outreach Coordinator

Adisa earned an honours B.Sc. in biology (minor in chemistry) from South Carolina State University and a Master of Environmental Science in biophysical interactions in terrestrial and aquatic systems at the University of Toronto.  He is currently pursuing a PhD in molecular science in the spatial ecology lab of Dr. Stephanie Melles, external link, opens in new window at Toronto Metropolitan University. In addition to being a teaching assistant for undergrad biology and ecology courses, he tutors middle and high school students in biology, chemistry, math, and physics. He has developed expertise in imparting scientific knowledge in an age-appropriate manner and looks forward to applying and sharpening these skills in the role of Site Coordinator for Let’s Talk Science. In his previous role as an executive board member of Minorities in Agriculture Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS), external link, opens in new window, a volunteer, outreach, and education organization affiliated with historically black universities and colleges, he saw first-hand the benefits of outreach programs that are fun and accessible to everyone. As a scientist with expertise in a variety of disciplines and subdisciplines, Adisa looks forward to helping young people find their scientific niche.  

Mikayla Li
Mikayla Li - Departmental Assistant

Mikayla graduated from OCAD University with a Bachelor of Design specializing in jewellery design and fabrication. She has a wide variety of experience in different companies and industries, including jewellery, banking and medicine. In recent years, Mikayla has become passionate about human-centred design and is on a journey to learn and apply her user research and design skills in digital design projects. She is eager to use her diverse skill sets to advocate STEM programs for youths and help them succeed in their future careers. Over the weekend, you can find her editing videos for THE UX Lounge Podcast, external link, which aims to connect students with industry professionals to learn about their day-to-day roles and navigate their career trajectory in UX. In her free time, Mikayla is an avid foodie who loves exploring new cuisines in Toronto.

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Jenna Barnhardt - Research Assistant

Jenna is a a recent graduate of the biomedical sciences program at Toronto Metropolitan University where she also completed her minor in psychology, and a Chang School certification in mental health and addictions. She is an Indigenous scholar from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory and works closely with Amber Sandy to promote Indigenous traditional knowledge-based learning in STEM applications and outreach to Indigenous communities throughout Ontario. Jenna was an active member of the Indigenous student community at Toronto Metropolitan University as the Executive Diversity Coordinator for the Indigenous Students Association (ISA), external link, opens in new window and peer support volunteer at the Ryerson Aboriginal Student Services, opens in new window. She is passionate about cognitive behavioural neuroscience, and neuropsychology and strives to create better education and resources for Indigenous mental health.

Krystal Henry-Mathieu - Let's Talk Science Climate Coordinator

Krystal earned an honors B.Sc in environmental sciences from McMaster University. She is currently in her second year of her masters degree at Toronto Metropolitan University, studying environmental applied sciences and management. She is currently working as a climate change coordinator focused on developing workshops to engage students of all ages in climate change and climate justice conversations. As the creator of an outreach initiative called BLK Women in STEM which provides mentorship opportunities for young black women in STEM fields, she is a very strong advocate for accessibility in STEM and has developed an expertise for creating educational and age appropriate content. As an environmental scientist, Krystal is excited to share her passion for science with others and to help young people find their way within STEM fields.

Chelsea Arruda
Chelsea Arruda - Student Outreach Lead

Chelsea is in her third year of a biomedical science degree while also completing a minor in psychology, with a particular interest in developmental psychology. Her role as one of the instructors of the Eureka science camp this summer aligns well with her goals to get youth involved with STEM early on. She is a strong advocate for making STEM accessible and inclusive, and believes that there needs to be a bigger push for diversity in STEM. During her time at Toronto Metropolitan University she has played on the women’s basketball team, and volunteers with the Best Buddies chapter that aims to foster friendships between university students and those with intellectual or developmental disabilities. In her free time, Chelsea enjoys reading, hiking, and travelling.

Lynn John-Koshy
Lynn John-Koshy - Student Outreach Lead

Lynn is a second-year computer science student at Toronto Metropolitan University hoping to pursue a minor or certificate in film studies. In her first year, Lynn volunteered with SciXchange as a computer literacy volunteer teaching youth about programming and micro:bits. During the summer of 2022 Lynn worked as one of our science instructors for the Eureka day camp, immersing young campers in the world of science. During her first year, Lynn was also involved with ArtSci, external link, further combining her passion for the arts and sciences. In her spare time, you can find Lynn attempting to learn a new instrument, baking, or traveling!

Sofia Verduga
Sofia Verduga - Student Outreach Lead

Sofia is a third-year student in the biomedical science program at Toronto Metropolitan University. She is passionate about getting youth involved in science conversations and providing them with the support and encouragement they need to succeed in their studies. By working as a science outreach and communication student lead, Sofia was responsible for planning and delivering science-related material to children for the Eureka summer camp and continues working with the team. Her role at SciXchange has allowed her to explore her passion for increasing science engagement by teaching content in fun and creative ways, such as contributing to the SciXchange Tik Tok page. In her spare time, Sofia also tutors students from elementary to high school in biology and chemistry. She also enjoys exploring new cities, going to the beach and spending time with friends and family.

Gurleen Kaur
Gurleen Kaur - Student Outreach Lead

Gurleen is a third-year student in the medical physics program at Toronto Metropolitan University, also working towards a minor in computer science. She is passionate about getting young children and youth involved in science by providing opportunities for them to develop observational, problem-solving and analytical skills while increasing their fundamental knowledge and creativity. Her goal working as a science outreach and communication student lead at SciXchange is to reach out to young children and youth through schools, social media, outreach activities, different programs and events. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, trying new recipes, reading  and spending time with family. 

Riley - Chief Morale Officer

Riley is an Australian bernedoodle born May 17, 2018 at Swissridge Kennels, external link, opens in new window in Schomberg, Ontario.  His mother Noelle, external link, opens in new window is a Bernese mountain dog and his father Levi, external link, opens in new window is an Australian labradoodle.  Before moving to his forever home with Emily Agard, Riley spent 2 months living with dog trainer Agnes Beau through the Swissridge imprinting program, external link, opens in new window.  Once home with Emily, Riley took puppy conditioning level 2 classes with Deena Cooper, external link, opens in new window. A smart, eager to please puppy, Riley continued working with Deena and his "pawrents" on training.  On April 2, 2019, Riley proudly passed his Canine Good Neighbour, external link, opens in new window evaluation tests approved by the Canadian Kennel Club, external link, opens in new window. The exam consisted of 12 tests Riley and the other pups performed over a period of almost 1.5 hours!  When he was an adolescent, he continued training with Dan Josselyn, external link, opens in new window of Golden Rule Dog Training, external link, opens in new window. Some of Riley's older siblings, like Myca, external link, opens in new window and Shep, external link, are St. John Ambulance therapy dogs. Perhaps when Riley is old enough, he can be one of Toronto Metropolitan University's official therapy dogs.  Currently this sweet boy enjoys making new friends and learning new tricks.