Who We Are

Dr. Fiona Wallace

Fiona Anne Wallace

President

DNS Degree: BSc Nutritional Science, 9T3

Fiona’s Story: I have been involved in various capacities with the DNSAA for ten years and helped to get the mentorship program initially started with the Office of Advancement. I have served as president (2012-2015) past president and member at large. I have returned to the role of president in 2022. 

Favourite UofT Memory: My favorite UofT memory is participating in the Hart House Finnish Exchange in 1993, where a team of 8 students went on a work exchange for the Summer. It was a lot of fun with midnight sun! 

Dr. Mavra Ahmed

Mavra Ahmed

Vice President

DNS Degrees: Hons. BSc 2010, MSc 2012, PhD 2017

Mavra’s Story: Mavra joined the DNSAA Executive Team in 2021 as Vice President and had also contributed as a mentor in the DNSAA Mentorship Program. Mavra completed her PhD in the Department of Nutritional Sciences under the supervision of Dr. Mary L’Abbé. She now holds a dual leadership role with Dr. L'Abbé and Dr. Sellen, leading various projects, in the Department at the University of Toronto a​nd is also a course director (Public Health Nutrition and Food Policy) at the York University. Although not much free time, Mavra relaxes by working out, swimming, adventuring and trying new foods.

Favourite UofT Memory: Contemplating life lessons in University College's Quad, but in reality, celebrating milestones and achievements with DNS friends.

Chelsea Murray

Chelsea Murray

Secretary

DNS Degree: MSc 2014

Chelseas's Story: Chelsea has been part of the DNSAA Mentorship Program since 2015, where she has been both a mentee and a mentor. She joined the DNSAA in 2017. She currently works as a Senior Policy and Program Advisor in the Ministry of Health. Outside of work, Chelsea enjoys taking dance class, swimming, and travelling.

UofT Memory: Living in the Graduate House residence with students from all over the world

Eric Poon

Eric Poon

Mentorship Coordinator

DNS Degree: HBSc 2012

Eric’s Story:  I'm passionate about healthcare and education. Let's build together.

Favourite UofT Memory: Robarts Library, Gerstein Library, Athletic Centre

Rodney Au-Yeung

Rodney Au-Yeung

Communications Liaison

DNS Degree: MSc 2016

Rodney's Story: Rodney's role will be assisting in advertising different activities and events held throughout the year. In addition to his role on the DNSAA team, Rodney is currently pursuing a PhD with Dr. John Sievenpiper and is one of the Co-President of the DNS graduate students association, the NSGSA. Some noteworthy points of Rodney: he loves playing volleyball, has a huge collection of board games, and has 4 years of experience in dramatic arts and improv.

UofT Memory: First year physics, because adversity leads to greatness! (or so I'm told...)

Photo of Katherine Pullella

Katherine Pullella

Communications Liaison, Graduate Student Representative, Pillar Sponsorship Lead

DNS degree: PhD (in progress)

Katie's story: Katie joined the DNSAA Executive team in 2020 as a Communications Liaison. In this role, Katie updates the DNSAA website, oversees the Pillar Sponsorship funds and assists with a variety of alumni association activities. In addition to volunteering with the DNSAA, Katie is a Ph.D. student in the lab of Dr. Joanne Kotsopoulos, serves as the Vice-President of the Nutritional Sciences Graduate Student Association (NSGSA) and is one of the editors of Nutrizine- the DNS graduate student-led magazine.

UofT Memory: Pre-seminar coffee chats with DNS friends!

Matineh Rastegar Panah

Matineh Rastegar Panah

Communications Liason

Ashleigh Wiggins

Ashleigh Wiggins

Communications Liaison, Member at Large

DNS degree: MSc 2013

Ashleigh's story: Ashleigh has served on the DNSAA board since 2014, holding positions of President, Communications Liaison, and Member-at-Large. In addition to volunteering with the DNSAA, Ashleigh loves playing a variety of sports, listening to podcasts and playing her ukulele. Since graduating from UofT, Ashleigh managed the Program in Food Safety, Nutrition and Regulatory Affairs, and currently works in the Bureau of Nutritional Sciences at Health Canada. 

UofT Memory: Grabbing post-seminar drinks every Thursday with the amazing UofT Nutrition folks.

Dr. Jo-Anna Baxter

Jo-Anna Baxter

Member at Large

DNS Degree: MSc 2013, PhD 2021

Jo-Anna’s Story: Jo-Anna joined the DNSAA Executive Team in 2021 as a Member-at-Large. Jo-Anna is currently a post-doc with Dr. Deborah O'Connor. During her PhD, Jo-Anna was a member of the NSGSA, co-editor of Nutrizine, and a mentor within the graduate student mentorship program. In her spare time, Jo-Anna enjoys photography, balcony gardening in the summer, and outdoor skating in the winter. 

Favourite UofT Memory: Walking around campus with friends when the fall colours were at their peak

Alyssa Paoletti

Alyssa Paoletti

Member at Large

DNS Degree: MSc 2019, PhD candidate 

Alyssa’s Story: I joined the DNSAA Team this year. I have also been a mentee in the Hart House Mentorship Program since 2019. I am completing my PhD in the Department of Nutritional Sciences under the supervision of Dr. Glenda Courtney-Martin. 

Favourite UofT Memory: Attending conferences and having fun doing diet preparation in our lab's tiny metabolic kitchen.

Theodora Tang

Theodora Tang

Undergraduate Representative

DNS degree: HBSc 2022

Theodora's story: Theodora has been a executive member of the Nutritional Sciences Student’s Association (NSSA) for 2 years: starting off as the Outreach Coordinator and finishing up as Co-President. Theodora believes that it is important for DNS students to have a close bond with/within the department which is what she aims to foster this year as Co-President of the NSSA. Theodora is very interested in the relationship between mental health/neurotransmitter regulation and a person’s diet. In her future studies she wishes to do research in this area, or become a dietician/psychiatrist. 

Favourite UofT memory: In my second year, I stayed up late to Karaoke with friends one night and then woke up two hours later to run my first 5K race with my friends cheering me on. It was a great experience.

Sophia Srebot

Sophia Srebot

Undergraduate Representative

DNS degree: HBSc 2022

Sophia's story: Sophia has been a member of the NSSA for three years: first starting off as a second-year representative, followed by third-year representative, and finishing her degree as Co-President. She enjoys being able to support fellow undergraduates in the department and represent their best interests. Sophia is interested in public health nutrition and food issues such as food justice and security, and hopes that her postgraduate pathway can address these issues in Toronto.        

Favourite UofT memory: believe it or not, studying late at night in Robart's with friends

Laura Pasut

Laura Pasut

Past President

DNS Degree: BSC 1982; MSc 1984

Laura’s Story: Laura joined the DNS Alumni Association in 2015. In addition to her role on executive, Laura has been a mentor to the University of Toronto undergrad and graduate students since its inception in 2011. Laura also loves to garden, hike, travel and spend time with family.  Laura is President of Nutridata Consulting Service, her consulting firm which focuses on project management, regulatory affairs, communications and research working with various stakeholders including, industry, non-government organizations, governments and academia.

U of T Memory: Hanging out with lab friends (the human ones not the rats which were housed in the basement of the Fitzgerald Building) in our small office in the Medical Sciences Building.