Ward Summer Students: Meet Simran
Meet Ward Summer Student: Simran
The Ward Family Summer Student Research Program is a highly prestigious 12-week summer opportunity offered by the Bloorview Research Institute (BRI). This summer 16 students were accepted into the program, including 2 students in the lived experience and 1 student in the Indigenous steams.
The selected undergraduate students experience interdisciplinary mentorship, as they work on a research project within the field of childhood disability alongside some of the BRI’s leading scientists. The paid opportunity culminates in Ward Research Day, where students showcase their research to scientists, researchers, clients and families, as well as clinicians at Holland Bloorview and beyond.
Each summer new ideas and innovations are born out of student research, which often lead to larger and greater discoveries at the BRI. None of this incredible work would be possible without the support of the Ward Family and CIBC, and their continuous commitment to expanding what’s possible for kids and youth with disabilities.
Hello! My name is Simran Joneja and I am a fourth-year student at Queen’s University in the Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours) program. This summer, I have had the pleasure of working with Dr. Sally Lindsay and the TRAIL lab on a systematic review of the experiences of racism and racial disparities among youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their caregivers.
As a volunteer for Holland Bloorview over the past few years, I have loved spending time here. Everyone at Bloorview is truly wonderful and I knew that I would enjoy spending another summer here. Specifically, I chose to work at the Bloorview Research Institute because I knew it would be an incredible learning experience where I could interact with professionals from many different disciplines. As a Ward Summer Research Student, I was able to learn about so many topics related to childhood disability, which opened up so many potential career paths. For me, the best part of the program was that I was able to conduct research on one of my passions - health equity. I will certainly take this introduction to research with me in my future career as a health professional and use the critical thinking, communication, and presentation skills that I have gained this summer.
One of the benefits of the Ward Family Summer Student Research Program is that we are able to attend webinars and workshops that the Bloorview Research Institute (BRI) holds. Here, I am learning about microaggressions in healthcare and anti-Black racism, a topic that is related to my project focusing on racial inequity in healthcare, through the BRI’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity Accessibility and Anti-Racism (IDEAA) webinar series. The webinar gave me some great points to think about regarding my project!
Every week, the summer students have a Lunch ‘n Learn session, where we get to learn about the different projects and departments at the BRI and the hospital. This week, we were given a special in-person tour of Canada’s first fully accessible, child-friendly MRI unit.
In this photo, I am presenting the findings that I had been working on for a few weeks to other members of the TRAIL lab. I presented common trends in the articles we were examining, and we discussed ways that we can synthesize the results into specific themes.
As a member of the TRAIL lab, I was fortunate to attend University of Toronto’s Occupational Sciences and Occupational Therapy Graduate Research Day, where other members of the lab presented their project. I was able to meet other students and researchers, listen to engaging and interesting presentations, and gain a direct insight into the field of OS & OT.
One of the best parts about this summer has been connecting with other Ward students. We have lunch together, chat about our projects, and enjoy the time outdoors! Overall, I am lucky to have met such bright and incredible peers and friends.