Career Week

Career Week is an opportunity for postdoctoral scholars and PhD students to engage with a variety of professional development opportunities, including workshops, panel presentations, networking events, and receptions.

Schedule of Events


Monday, March 20
4:00 PM – 5:30 PM
Keynote Address
Speaker: Debby Burshtyn
Dean, College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
Topic: Career Readiness
Networking Social
Louis’ Loft
Tuesday, March 21
2:30 PM – 4:00 PM
Grant Writing Panel Discussion
Speakers: Colleen Dell (Sociology), Gen Clark (Pharmacy & Nutrition), Graham Fairhurst (School of Environment and Sustainability), Joelena Leader (Edwards School of Business)
Moderator: Holly McKenzie (College of Medicine)
Diefenbaker Centre, Prairie Room
March 22
2:30 PM – 4:00 PM
Innovative Thinking & Intellectual Property Panel Discussion
Speakers: Erin Kulhawy (Innovation, Mobilization & Partnerships), Humphrey Fonge (Medical Imaging), Alissa Hyppolite, (Avocat/Associate, Bereskin & Parr)
Moderator: Steven Rayan (Mathematics & Statistics)
March 23
1:00 PM– 2:30 PM
Unconscious Bias training
Speaker: Lynne Mitchell (Guelph University)
Friday, March 24
1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
Community Engaged Scholarship Panel Discussion
Speakers: Stan Yu (Centre for the Cooperatives), Lily Yumagulova (Indigenous Studies), Barb Fornssler (School of Public Health), Rachel Cote
Moderator: Jennifer Lang (Music)
Diefenbaker Centre, Prairie Room

Speakers and Panelists

This year's impressive list of speakers bring with them an impressive body of knowledge across a variety disciplines and fields of research. Their expertise will provide attendees insight into career readiness, grant writing and reviewing, intellectual property, intercultural awareneness and community based work.  Read more below!

Keynote Speaker

Dean of the College of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies (CGPS) and Professor in the department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, College of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan. Debby has held a series of administrative roles in graduate education beginning as graduate coordinator from 2009-13 at the University of Alberta. As an advocate for adapting graduate education and mentorship to fit the changing funding and employment landscape, she led departmental career planning workshops for students and developed the groundbreaking workshops on mentoring graduate students. Over the next several years Debby held various administrative roles within the graduate faculty at the University of Alberta as Associate Dean, Vice-Dean, and most recently, served a one-year term as Interim Vice Provost and Dean. She continues to lead initiatives designed to effect long-term positive change on graduate students’ learning experiences including designing the quality assurance processes for graduate programs and promoting the development and assessment of learning outcomes in graduate education linked to career preparation. Through her work with the Canadian Association for Graduate Studies (CAGS) Task Force on Excellence in Graduate Programs Debby is committed to a vision of excellence in graduate programming across Canada and here, close to home, as she embarks upon her new role as Dean of the College of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies, USask.

Grant Writing Panel

Gen Clark is a Research Facilitator in the Health Sciences with over 10 years of experience in the field of research development. She has a research background in both biological and social sciences. Gen is passionate about helping researchers build successful careers and research programs. In the area of grant development, she supports research teams and provides developmental and editorial feedback. She also reviews for several adjudication committees.

Dr. Dell is an animal therapy researcher and practitioner specializing in treatment for mental health and addictions. She is Professor and Research Chair in Sociology at the University of Saskatchewan. She is also a Senior Research Associate with the Canadian Centre on Substance Use & Addiction.

Dr. Dell's research program is grounded in an empowering, community-based, and patient-oriented participatory approach with both humans and animals. In her research program and life she has worked alongside several therapy dogs, a Service Dog, and is currently working closely with E-Jay a 3 year old Boxer dog, Ruby a 6 year old Labrador Retriever and Molly a 4 year old Bulldog.  She works alongside community and academic partners, including canines, in studies examining how the human-animal bond can mutually enrich wellness among individuals, animals and communities.

Dr. Graham Fairhurst is the Research Facilitator for USask’s School of Environment and Sustainability (SENS), where he combines his love of writing with a background in research. Prior to joining SENS, Graham completed a PhD at USask and was a post-doctoral fellow at Environment and Climate Change Canada, and his fieldwork took him to southeastern Kenya and central Saskatchewan. Grant writing and publishing have been a part of Graham’s professional life for many years, and that brought him to SENS, where he supports faculty in funding their research endeavors and helps to promote the unit’s research successes

Joelena is an experienced community-based researcher, educator, and grant development professional with over 14 years in higher education environments. She holds a master’s degree in Sociology and an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. crossing the disciplinary boundaries of sociology, technology studies, Indigenous health, policy, and user experience. In her role as the Research Facilitator at the Edwards School of Business she provides operational and strategic research support through grant development, metrics and research communications aimed at elevating the school's research portfolio. This past fall she also developed and delivered the Qualitative Research Methods course for the M.Sc. Marketing graduate program and developed research training opportunities for students.

Holly McKenzie is a CIHR/SHRF Health System Impact postdoctoral fellow with the University of Saskatchewan's College of Medicine in Pewaseskwan (the Indigenous Wellness Research Group) and is supervised by Ms. Katelyn Roberts (Sanctum Care Group), Dr. Erika Penz (College of Medicine) and Dr. Alana Cattapan (Department of Political Science, Waterloo). Holly is also an Adjunct Professor in the Gender, Religion, and Critical Studies Department in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Regina and a Professional Affiliate with the School of Public Health at the University of Saskatchewan. A white-settler community-engaged researcher, Holly works with Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities to address how structural violence undermines reproductive justice and human-animal relations. Holly has been funded by SSHRC, CIHR and SHRF and she previously held a SSHRC Banting Fellowship. This funding has facilitated meaningful relationship-building with the communities she works with and collaborative knowledge building, which have produced various products including: academic contributions, policy briefs, op-eds/blog posts and community reports. She lives with her partner and Opal, a Great Dane, and Kal, a Labrador Retriever. Together they enjoy dog sports and camping.

Innovative Thinking & Intellectual Property Panel

Dr. Humphrey Fonge received M.Sc and PhD degrees in pharmaceutical sciences (specialization in radiopharmacy) in 2007 from KU Leuven, Belgium. He then completed post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Toronto in 2012 under the supervision of Drs. Christine Allen and Raymond Reilly. His postdoctoral work focused on the development of cancer theranostics (targeted radiotherapy and imaging/diagnostics) using different biovector platforms. Dr. Fonge also holds a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Toronto. He moved to the University of Saskatchewan in June 2013 where is currently associate professor in the College of Medicine, and radiopharmacist at the Saskatchewan Health Authority. Dr. Fonge’s research focuses on bench to bedside development of novel precision cancer theranostics under the following four main pillars;

  • Production and processing of pharmaceutical-grade diagnostic and therapeutic radioisotopes
  • Development of targeted imaging agents with focus on image-guided surgical probes (near fluorescence imaging agents), and radiolabeled probes for PET and SPECT molecular imaging
  • Development of alpha particle labeled antibody/peptide therapeutics and antibody drug conjugates
  • Translation of novel imaging probes and therapeutics in clinical trials

Alissa Hyppolite is an associate lawyer with Bereskin & Parr LLP and a member of the Life Sciences practice group. Alissa's practice focuses on assessing the patentabiltiy of new technologies,  drafting and prosecuting patent applications, and providing strategic advice on the management of patent portfolios, with a focus in biotechnology. Alissa received her law degree from the University of Ottawa, and graduated with a specialization in law and technology. She also received a degree in Biomedical Science from the University of Ottawa, and has research experience in the field of molecular biology.

Erin holds a PhD in neuroscience and has more than six years’ experience supporting the commercialization of medical and life sciences technologies in both industry and University settings. In industry, Erin worked for a Canadian-based drug development company, identifying and evaluating new business opportunities in areas of oncology, immunology and neurology. As a Tech Transfer Officer at USask, Erin works closely with University of Saskatchewan researchers to manage intellectual property and commercialization of new inventions, particularly those in the medical and life sciences sectors.

Steven Rayan (he/him) is a mathematician — more specifically, a geometer. His world consists of numbers and shapes, and he uses them to gain insight into the universe around us. Most recently, he has been using geometry to discover new features of quantum science, including quantum materials, and his work has been highlighted in venues such as Scientific American. In the last five years, he has been the recipient of two research and two teaching awards at USask.  Steven serves in a few different roles in the University: professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, lead for the new Signature Area of Research in Quantum Innovation, director of the Centre for Quantum Topology and Its Applications (quanTA), director of Interdisciplinary Programming in the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, and chair of the Mathematical Physics program. He enjoys these roles and finds tremendous synergy between them.  Before arriving at USask in 2016, he earned his doctoral degree at the Mathematical Institute of the University of Oxford and then spent a few years as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto. Steven strives to support interdisciplinary, high-risk, high-reward research, and these efforts include serving as a co-chair of the national multidisciplinary review committee for the Tri-Agency's New Frontiers in Research Fund (Exploration Stream) in recent years. 

Unconscious Bias Training

Dr. Lynne Mitchell has been working in international education for over 30 years. She is Director of the Centre for International Programs (CIP) and International Liaison Officer for the University of Guelph and is well known across Canada for her contributions to the international education profession. Lynne is a qualified administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory, and she regularly facilitates workshops aimed at enhancing intercultural competency, equity and inclusion for higher education staff, faculty and students. Her publications include, When Difference Creates Dissonance: Understanding the “Engine” of Intercultural Learning in Study Abroad (Intercultural Education, 2018) and Assessing Intercultural Competence in Experiential Learning Abroad: Lessons for Educators (Experiential Learning & Teaching in Higher Education, 2017).

Community Engaged Scholarship Panel

Rachel Cote (Stewart) is a Montreal Lake Cree Nation Band Member from Treaty 6 Woodland Cree Territory in Northern Saskatchewan. She is a daughter, mother, sister, volunteer firefighter, Search and Rescue volunteer, and community researcher for Prince Albert Grand Council and at the University of Saskatchewan. Rachel is researching the impacts of wildfires on First Nations communities as well as the impacts of recurring evacuations and prolonged disaster displacement on youth and single mothers. Rachel is 2022 Preparing Our Home program graduate.

Barb Fornssler PhD is an Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Saskatchewan and the Knowledge Translation and Exchange Coordinator for the Canadian Research Initiative in Substance Misuse (CRISM) Prairie Node. Dr. Fornssler has been working in substance use research since 2011 and teaches the course ‘Studies in Addictions’ yearly for both the School of Public Health and Department of Sociology. When she’s not in the classroom, Barb enjoys camping adventures alongside her partner and their dogs, a Great Dane named Opal and Lab named Kal.

Dr. Jennifer Lang is an Associate Professor of Music Education and the Director of Choral Activities at the University of Saskatchewan.  She is a co-lead for the University of Saskatchewan’s newly recognized Signature Area in Health & Wellness and serves as the Pillar Lead for Music, Arts, and Wellbeing.  She is the Graduate Chair and organizer of the Department of Music’s Music Education in Action Series, the founder and organizer of the uSing uSask Choral Festival, and her choirs regularly perform with celebrated ensembles and composers.  Jennifer’s research examines engagement and agency in music education programs, including informal music learning in a variety of educational contexts, intergenerational singing programs, and language and music development for Newcomer Youth to Canada for which she holds several research grants.  Jennifer is also active as a conductor, choral adjudicator, clinician and conference presenter with local, provincial, national, and international invitations. Her forthcoming edited book, Music and wellbeing in education and community contexts, presents a variety of contributed chapters exploring the intersections of music education and wellbeing.  Before moving to the province of Saskatchewan, Jennifer taught high school music in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. 

Stan Yu is currently the Research and Communications Coordinator at the Canadian Centre for the Study of Co-operatives (CCSC). Prior to joining the CCSC, Stan completed his B.A. and M.A. at the University of Saskatchewan and held numerous USask positions, including Survey Research Manager and Specialist at the Social Sciences Research Laboratories (now Canadian Hub for Applied and Social Research), Sessional Lecturer in the department of Sociology, and Program Evaluation Specialist at the Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching and Learning. Stan is well versed in both quantitative and qualitative research and has a keen interest in program evaluation and how data informs decision-making, especially within co-operatives and non-profit organizations. Outside of his role at USask, Stan volunteers and serves on the board of the Bridge City Bicycle Co-operative and the Saskatchewan Co-operative Association.

Lilia Yumagulova is a Bashkir woman born and raised in the Soviet Union, in a low-income area prone to recurring floods on the outskirts of a large urban centre. It was witnessing these regular disasters affect her community that influenced her choice of profession. With an academic and professional background in engineering and emergency management, a Masters of Science in risk analysis, and a PhD in planning, Lilia brings over 20 years of experience in government, NGOs, media, Indigenous communities and supranational organizations in Europe and North America. As Banting Postdoctoral Fellow, Indigenous Studies, University of Saskatchewan, Lilia’s research focuses on Indigenous self-determination and the role of women in disaster risk reduction, climate displacement and planned relocation. She is the Program Director for the Preparing Our Home , an award-winning program that empowers Indigenous youth leadership in community resilience.