Research Team

Craig Damian Smith, PhD

Craig Damian Smith, PhD

Co-Investigator & Founder of Pairity

Craig is a political scientist, the Associate Director of the Global Migration Lab at the Munk School Affairs & Public Policy, University of Toronto, and a Research Affiliate at the Centre for Refugee Studies, York University. His research looks at the global politics of irregular migration and refugee integration.
Laura Derksen, PhD

Laura Derksen, PhD

Co-Investigator

Laura is a health economist at the Rotman School of Management and the University of Toronto Mississauga. Laura uses randomized controlled trials to study health seeking behaviour, information sharing and social networks.

Dana Kassem, PhD

Dana Kassem, PhD

Co-Investigator

Dana holds a PhD in Economics from the London School of Economics. She is currently a post-doctoral scholar at the University of Mannheim, Germany. Her research focuses on impacts of climate change in developing countries, including migration issues associated with environmental factors.

Anja Kilibarda

Anja Kilibarda

Co-Investigator

Anja is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at Columbia University, New York. Her work focuses on the psychology of intergroup attitudes, particularly interethnic attitudes and attitudes toward immigrants. Her work is supported by a Doctoral Fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

Aly Somani

Aly Somani

Co-Investigator

Aly is a PhD student in economics at the University of Toronto. His current research explores the barriers to minority representation in local politics in the US. Prior to joining the PhD program, he worked as a quantitative analyst for an investment management firm. 

Technical & Development Team

Gotam Bhardwaj, P. Eng.

Gotam Bhardwaj, P. Eng.

Technical Lead

Gotam is a Professional Engineer (P. Eng.) with fifteen years of software project lifecycle experience, using many of today’s leading technology platforms. He has experience in the education, labour market, and cyber-security sectors, in addition to working with various volunteer and advocacy organizations.

Michael Gagnon, CPA, CMA

Michael Gagnon, CPA, CMA

Business Lead

Mike brings over 15 years of insight from the technology field. Most recently, he spent 7 years as the Controller for Shopify, where he helped lead private financing rounds toward their wildly successful IPO in 2015. Mike is a graduate of Western University and is a designated CPA, CMA.

Advisory Team

Andrew Lusztyk

Andrew Lusztyk

Programme Advisor

Andrew is the Co-Director of Together Project in Toronto, Canada – an organization which matches volunteers with resettled refugees. He specializes in designing, implementing, and evaluating programs that engage and activate communities to drive purposeful social impact. His work has often bridged the gap between the private, public, and social sectors, and has included projects across Europe, Africa, and North America.
Mirna El Sabbagh

Mirna El Sabbagh

Programme Advisor

Mirna is the General Manager of Stakeholder Engagement with COSTI Settlement Services. She works with volunteers, settlement organizations, donors, and government agencies to help refugee newcomers overcome settlement barriers. She has more than ten years of experience as a humanitarian and development practitioner, having held senior positions with the UN and British Council in Lebanon.
Julie Birkholz, PhD

Julie Birkholz, PhD

Social Network Analysis Advisor

Julie is a Post-doctoral researcher at the Ghent University, Belgium. She specializes in quantitative social network analysis to systematically compare the effect of contexts, network structures and outcomes.