Day 1 - Tuesday, October 25, 2022


Day 1 - Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Understanding How the Government Works

10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Join representatives from the Government of Canada to learn about how social concerns become government priorities and lead to real outcomes.

Moderator: Urszula Sierpinska, National Manager, Science Program, Office of the Chief Science Operating Officer, Canadian Food Inspection Agency

With an academic background in Biology, Pharmaceutical and Food Sciences, Urszula began her career in industry working in Quality Control and Research and Development. After attending a presentation by a CFIA employee during a career fair, she applied to a CFIA position within the Food Safety group as the work sounded both rewarding and interesting. The position allowed her to apply science to the investigation of foodborne illness outbreaks and consumer complaints. The experience did not disappoint, and she was able to combine her love for solving puzzles with the ability to have immediate, meaningful impact on the health and safety of Canadians. For the past 15 years, she has had the opportunity to work in various branches and programs of the CFIA and is currently a member of the Chief Science Operating Officer’s team, responsible for the management of the Innovative Solutions Canada and the Biosecurity Level 4 Zoonotic Network (BSL4ZNet) programs.

Panel Members:  

James Supeene, Senior Policy Analyst with the Life Sciences and Biomanufacturing Branch at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

James is a Senior Policy Analyst with the Life Sciences and Biomanufacturing Branch at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. He previously worked for FedDev Ontario and Western Economic Diversification Canada. James holds a Master's degree in International Public Policy and a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and Economics.

Thérèse De Groote, Senior Policy Advisor, Stakeholder Engagement and Advancement of Society, Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council  

Thérèse De Groote is the Director, Future Challenges, at the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. She has been a foundational member of the Imagining Canada’s Future initiative since 2014, which seeks to mobilize and leverage the knowledge, talent and expertise of the social sciences and humanities to address global challenges which Canada and the world may face in the coming decades.


Registration closes at 8:30 a.m. on October 25 

Meet the Science Departments and Agencies in the Public Sector

12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Join representatives from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Natural Resources Canada, and Health Canada who will share their personal experiences and career path from graduation to current role and responsibilities.  

Moderator: Kris Gies, Career Advisor, Experiential Learning Hub, University of Guelph

Panel Members:  

Rong Cao, Research Scientist, Guelph Research Development Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Dr. Rong Cao (Rong Tsao) is a Senior Research Scientist at the Guelph Research & Development Centre of Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada in Guelph, Ontario, Canada.  He received his Ph.D. from Kyushu University, Japan, and was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Iowa State University before he joined Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) in 1996.  Dr. Tsao is an internationally recognized and leading expert in the area of food bioactives and their roles in human health and wellness, particularly in research on the bioaccessibility, bioavailability and metabolism of phytochemicals with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities and food attributes related to gut health. He has edited books, and published more than 270 peer reviewed papers and book chapters. He is recognized as a top 1% Highly Cited Researcher by Clarivate (formerly Thomson Reuter) since 2014, in the Agricultural Sciences Category. He is Associate Editor and editorial board member of Food Chemistry, and on editorial board of several other prestigious journals in food science such as Journal of Functional Foods, and Journal of Food BiochemistryJournal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, Journal of Food Bioactives.  He is the Chair of AAFC Science Ethics Committee, and a recipient of the 2016 Gold Harvest Award of AAFC. He holds several adjunct positions at University of Guelph, Nanchang University and several other universities and institutes.  He has been organizer and chair of several international symposiums on antioxidants and health including ACS, Pacifichem and ISNFF. 

Sampathkumar Balamurugan, Research Scientist, Guelph Research Development Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Dr. S. Balamurugan is a Research Scientist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Guelph Research and Development Centre and special graduate faculty at the University of Guelph, Department of Food Science. He received his B.Sc. in Agriculture from the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, India, and PhD in Applied Microbiology from the University of Saskatchewan, Canada. His research focuses on generation of scientific evidence to support food safety guidelines, policies and regulations. To this end he specializes in microbial challenge testing of foods and validation of control measures to improve microbial safety of ready-to-eat foods. During the last 15 years in the field of microbiology and food safety, Dr. Balamurugan has published more than 50 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and conference proceedings. His current research topics include development and validation of novel processing and packaging technologies to enhance safety and extend shelf-life of sodium-reduced foods. To mention a few, he currently works with non-thermal processing technologies such as high-pressure processing, UV pasteurization of milk, fermentation and dry-curing, and use of bacteriophage, phage-derived peptides and bioactive compounds as antimicrobials in active packaging to control pathogens in RTE meats.

Elie Chamoun, Canada Free Agent, Natural Resources Canada

 Elie holds an H.B.Sc. in Biochemistry from McMaster University as well as an M.Sc. and Ph.D. from the University of Guelph where he led three human research studies on the impacts of genetics on taste, dietary intake, and health.​Elie previously worked at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in the Office of the Chief Science Operating Officer. There, he advanced a number of projects involving collaborations within the CFIA laboratory network, between CFIA and several other federal departments, with international regulatory organizations as well as with academic institutions.In his most recent role, Elie was a Science Advisor at Laboratories Canada, a program at Public Services and Procurement Canada, where he used his background in science and project management to advise on the planning of large-scale science infrastructure. Elie is now a Canada Free Agent, which is a program for talent mobility that creates space for public servants to take charge of their careers. Free Agents can select their own projects and determine their own career paths; undertake projects where understanding and applying innovation processes is encouraged, and receive ongoing learning and professional development opportunities. In his first assignment as a Free Agent, Elie is an acting Manager at Natural Resources Canada where he is working to enhance the availability of science within the Canadian Forest Service.

Meghan Quinlan, Manager, International and Interagency Affairs, Health Canada

Meghan holds a BSc (Biology) from the University of Western Ontario and a Masters in Biotechnological Law and Ethics from Sheffield University. Meghan began her career in the public service in 2007 at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency where she worked in several areas including science strategies, foresight, planning, performance management, and operational delivery.  Her time at the CFIA however, was predominantly spent working on international files with a focus on trade negotiations, regulatory cooperation, and building relationships with other regulators.  Meghan joined Health Canada in November 2018 where she manages the international program for the Food Directorate. In this role, she is also the Acting Codex Contact Point for Canada.


Registration closes at 8:30 a.m. on October 25

Meet the Social Science Departments and Agencies in the Public Sector

2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Join representatives from Justice Canada, Intergovernmental Affairs, Employment, and Social Development Canada, Canadian Museum for Human Rights, and the Government of Canada Privy Council Office who will share their personal experiences and career path from graduation to current role and responsibilities:

Moderator: Jana McDonald, Career Advisor, Experiential Learning Hub, University of Guelph

Panel Members:

Larissa Rutquist, Manager, Indigenous Courtwork Program, Justice Canada

Larissa holds a Bachelor in Political Science from SFU and a Masters Degree in Political Science from Dalhousie University where she focused on incorporating underrepresented voices into government program and policy development. Her first experience as a public servant was to pull a canoe down the Fraser River in British Columbia for seven days with Indigenous and government partners. She has since focused her career on building positive relationships between Indigenous communities and the Government of Canada. She started her career with Fisheries and Oceans where she supported the use of traditional Indigenous justice options in British Columbia and then spent 12 years with the Indigenous Justice Program at Justice Canada where she held the role of regional coordinator for several years in BC and Alberta before becoming the senior analyst of national policy. She is now the manager of the Indigenous Courtwork Program with Justice Canada where she works with Indigenous Courtworkers and provincial partners to help Indigenous people involved in the criminal justice system obtain fair, just, equitable and culturally relevant treatment.Larissa lives in North Vancouver, British Columbia in the beautiful territory of the Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) people, with her husband and their two sons.

Adriana Sorescu, Senior Advisor, Director General’s Office, Intergovernmental Affairs, Employment and Social Development Canada

Matthew Cutler, Vice President, Exhibitions, Canadian Museum for Human Rights

For over two decades, Matthew Cutler has worked with teams and organizations to find strategic alignment through a leadership style that focuses on partnerships, people, and performance.  His career includes roles in all three orders of government, including nearly four years as an Assistant Deputy Minister in Manitoba’s Public Service, and a decade in Toronto’s Public Service. His work has crossed a variety of sectors- civic engagement, major and multi-sport games, parks and public realm, open government, human rights, and community development. As Vice-President, Exhibitions at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights- a federal Crown corporation and the first national museum established outside the national capital region- Matthew works with a dynamic team of curators, researchers, collections managers, designers, digital story-tellers and technicians who are plying their museological skill and experience to create a world where everyone values human rights and takes responsibility for promoting respect and dignity for all. Recognized with the Manitoba Service Excellence Award, the Toronto City Manager’s Award, the Ontario Medal for Young Volunteers and the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal, Matthew is currently pursuing a Master’s degree at Royal Roads University with a focus on the role of leadership in building healthy, effective public service organizations.

Christopher Fernandes, Policy Analyst, Priorities and Planning, Government of Canada Privy Council Office

Christopher (Chris) is a Policy Analyst working at the Privy Council Office, providing nonpartisan advice to the Prime Minister and Clerk of the Privy Council on advancing the government’s agenda. Chris holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) with a Specialization in Political Science and a Major in Social Justice and Peace Studies from Western University (King’s University College), and a Master’s in Public Administration from Dalhousie University. 


Registration closes at 8:30 a.m. on October 25