This STEM Q&A event provides high school students within the Niagara region who are interested in STEM with the opportunity to connect with local young professions in related STEM fields.  The event will include guest speakers focusing on future career opportunities followed by four breakout rooms covering a major STEM theme (science, engineering, mathematics and computing, and technology). Each room will have a panel made up of a diverse range of young professionals (YPs) within the respective STEM category. Students will have the opportunity to engage with these YPs and ask questions ranging from course selection, post-secondary opportunities, careers, etc. The purpose of this event is to provide students with a wide perspective of their fields of interest while showcasing the opportunities and talent that exist in Niagara.


5:00 Opening and Hatch presentation
5:10 MYAC presentation
5:15 ihub presentation
5:20 Niagara Workforce Planning Board
5:40 Breakout rooms
6:40 Closing

About Hatch

Hatch is an engineering consulting firm consisting of a global network of 9,000 professionals with expertise in metals, energy, infrastructure, digital, and advisory. Our organization is passionately committed to the pursuit of a better world through positive change. We work closely with the communities in which we serve to ensure that our solutions optimize environmental protection, economic prosperity, social justice, and cultural vibrancy.

About ihub

The Educational Research & Innovation Hub (ihub) is a dynamic incubation entity focused on the Educational Technology (EdTech) sector.

Powered by the District School Board of Niagara, ihub facilitates collaboration amongst educators, students, parents, researchers, industry leaders, and ihub portfolio companies to enhance and innovate the modern education experience and foster local economic development and growth.

About Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee (MYAC):

The City of Niagara Falls Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee (MYAC) will provide a voice for the youth of Niagara Falls, while advising Council of important recreational and social issues concerning the City’s younger population.

Their purpose is to:

  1. To keep Council informed of important matters affecting youth. 
  2. To occasionally host youth workshops/forums and conduct surveys to address concerns and needs that affect youth.
  3. To act as a positive advocate for youth.
  4. To actively seek input from youth on important matters.
  5. To support events created by the committee that relate to the mandate.
  6. To provide leadership experience for youth.

Main room information

Emily Miszk & Gavin Ainslie
Emily Miszk & Gavin Ainslie
Title: Geotechnical EIT / Structural EIT
Company: Hatch

Hatch is a global engineering consulting firm with a local office based in Niagara Falls. They supply engineering, project and construction, business consulting, and operational services to the mining, metallurgical, energy, and infrastructure sectors. Hatch wants to give back to the local Niagara community in a variety of unique ways. Representing Hatch is Emily Miszk and Gavin Ainslie who are part of the Hatch Community Engagement Committee.

Arul - Salony
Arul Dilwaria and Salony Sharma
Title: Student representatives
Company: Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee (MYAC)

MYAC is a committee of students representing each of the local (Niagara region) high schools who act as a voice for the local students. They provide opportunities and events that focus on giving back to the community, connecting young people, and gaining/sharing youth perspectives. Representing MYAC is Arul Dilwaria, a senior student at Ridley College and Salony Sharma, a grade 11 student at Westlane Secondary School, co-chairs of the Youth Voice Committee.

Alexis Kleiman and Anamaria Dragoi
Alexis Kleiman
and Anamaria Dragoi
Title: Community Relations and Student Experience at ihub, Innovation and Academic Engagement at ihub
Company: ihub

The Educational Research & Innovation Hub (ihub) is a dynamic incubation entity focused on the Educational Technology (EdTech) sector. Powered by the District School Board of Niagara, ihub facilitates collaboration amongst educators, students, parents, researchers, industry leaders, and ihub portfolio companies to enhance and innovate the modern education experience in K-12 education! Follow along on socials at @ihubNiagara!

Contact info:
Get connected on LinkedIn 

Get connected on LinkedIn 

Name: Adam Durrant
Title: Project Manager
Company: Niagara Workforce Planning Board

Niagara Workforce Planning Board is Niagara’s trusted community partner, providing data and insight in support of a diverse and talented workforce that contributes to a prosperous community. Their work prepares the Niagara community for the workforce challenges and opportunities of today and the future.

Adam’s presentation will present an overview of the historic and current job opportunities in Niagara that require a background or training in STEM fields. He will also provide insights on how interpersonal, creative, and non-STEM skills are increasingly in demand among STEM employers.

Breakout room #1 – Science

This room will focus on a diverse range of degrees, careers, and experiences surrounding science. There is a focus on unique medical and environmental paths, providing an interesting perspective of these popular and growing industries.

Julianna Villella

Name: Julianna Villella
Title: GIS Analyst and Environmental Scientist
Company: Hatch

Julianna has an Honour’s Bachelor degree in Mathematics and Biology from Queen’s University and through additional schooling at Niagara College obtained a post-graduate certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). She is currently completing a diploma as a Civil Engineering Technician. 

As a GIS Analyst, she has over five years’ experience working with projects that involve updating and maintenance of geospatial information, spatial analysis, 3D modeling, raster analysis, and geoprocessing. Julianna has experience with web mapping and creating and customizing applications through the ArcGIS Enterprise. She is competent is automating processes using Python and customizing applications in JavaScript.

Kailey St. George
Name: Kailey St. George, CRGS, DMS
Title: Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
Company: Niagara Health

As an ultrasound technologist, she performs varying studies from obstetrical to vascular, and assists with procedures under ultrasound guidance. Kailey is responsible for performing diagnostic studies to find pathologies and abnormalities to help radiologists and doctors diagnose patients.

She continues to learn every day and is working to specialize further in MSK (musculoskeletal) and pediatric ultrasound.

Shannon Fernandes
Shannon Fernandes
Title: Climate Change Coordinator
Company: Town of Lincoln

Shannon Fernandes graduated from the University of Waterloo with a bachelor of science in biology and a master’s of environmental studies in sustainability management. She has experience in environmental consulting, community outreach, and sustainable supply chain management, and is currently the Climate Change Coordinator at the Town of Lincoln. She is passionate about social and environmental sustainability, community engagement, and making a positive impact in her community.

LinkedIn: https://ca.linkedin.com/in/shannonrfernandes

Samantha Sielicki
Samantha Sielicki
Title: Medical Laboratory Technologist (MLT)
: Niagara Health and Hamilton Health Sciences 

The majority of decisions for patient diagnosis and treatment are based on laboratory test results. As a medical laboratory technologist my job is to analyze and interpret test results while ensuring accuracy and investigating any discrepant findings. The most common and routine sample collected is blood, but we also analyze body fluids, cells, and tissues. We work with doctors and nurses in choosing correct lab tests and ensuring proper collection methods in order to receive the optimal sample. On average, nearly half a million lab tests are done in Ontario each day. It is a great profession for anyone that wants to be in the health care field but does not want to be in direct contact with patients. And what I love most is that every single day is different.

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/samantha-sielicki-bhsc-mlt-0264281a6

Annies Philip
Annies Philip
: Registered practical nurse 
Company: Niagara Health

Annies is currently working as a nurse for Niagara Health on the medical floor. She completed her nursing degree at Niagara College and hopes to continue her educational journey in nursing in the near future. She is licensed with the College of Nurses of Ontario. Since joining Niagara Health she has worked in various units with various specialties such as the ER, surgical, and more. 

Kennedy Knezevich
: Kennedy Knezevich
Title: Registered Dental Hygienist
Company: Applebay Family Dental

Kennedy has been a registered dental hygienist since 2019, working at Applebay Family Dental for just over a year. For a short period of time she also worked at the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program, a program for low-income seniors who are unable to afford dental treatment. She graduated from the Dental Hygiene program at Niagara College in 2019 with honors. Kennedy has always been fascinated by teeth, but as she continued her studies, she became more passionate about oral health and enjoys educating others about the link between oral health and overall health.

Breakout room #2 – Technology

This room highlight individuals from all corners of the engineering tech and laboratory technology industry. From exciting hands-on careers to project and office managers this room touches on many unique opportunities and technological (equipment and programming) advancements.

Krista Flachs
Name: Krista Flachs
Title: Geotechnical Laboratory Technician
Company: Hatch

Krista is a Laboratory Technician working in Hatch’s Geotechnical Lab. Krista has an Honour’s degree in Biochemistry as well as a post-graduate diploma in Chemical Engineering Technology. Krista’s studies have allowed her to become very familiar in a laboratory setting. This ranges from laboratory techniques to lab cleanliness. Since joining Hatch, she has conducted specialized and index testing of soils and rock. Krista is also responsible for maintaining an organized work area, performing procedures according to ASTM and MTO standards, as well as preparing laboratory reports for review.

Name: Komal Bharti
: Jr, Electrical Designer
Company: Hatch

Komal is a junior electrical designer working for the project deliverables group at Hatch. She has an advanced degree in electrical engineering technology. Komal has worked in the engineering manufacturing and resign industry which has enabled her to get better familiarized with industry standards and adherence of the electrical code. These skills have helped her to better understand client needs and instructions from the engineering team. Since joining Hatch, Komal has worked with the design team on various water power and construction projects in accordance with CEC and NEC standards.

Stephanie McGill
Stephanie McGill
: Project Manager
Company: Niagara Region

Stephanie graduated from Mohawk College’s Civil Engineering Technology program. She has five years of experience in the construction and water and wastewater engineering industry. She also has experience working in both private and public sectors for water infrastructure, completing inspections as per contract specifications and contract drawings, completing technical reviews of engineering drawings and reports, proficient in AutoCAD, leading Municipal Class Environmental Assessment studies, and project management including budget analysis, commissioning, and process controls. She is currently enrolled in McMaster University’s bachelor of technology program, with a focus on civil infrastructure.

Jonathan Boccia
: Jonathan Boccia
Title: Architectural Technologist OAAAS
Company: Quartek Group

Jonathan is a graduate of Mohawk College’s Architectural Technology program. He has been involved in the construction process since he was in grade 11. He is a member of the Ontario Association for Applied Architectural Sciences (OAAAS) program to become a Licensed Technologist OAA. Jonathan has worked for several firms in the Niagara Region with projects varying in size and application, including residential, commercial, and industrial. His day-to-day responsibilities include creating/revising drawings, site inspections, client meetings, 3D renderings, detailing, and specifications.

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jonathan-boccia-01ab28175

Derek Corfield

Name: Derek Corfield
Title: SCADA Technician​, Water & Wastewater Services
Company: Niagara Region

Derek graduated from the Electrical Engineering Technology program at Niagara College in 2018 and has three years of experience working in the controls and automation area of the water and wastewater field. He has previously worked on water and wastewater projects as a systems integrator for municipalities across Ontario before moving to a new job at Niagara Region as a SCADA Technician in the fall of 2020. Derek’s work deals with programmable logic controllers that automate water and wastewater treatment processes and with data acquisition to provide proof of compliance to the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks in water and wastewater treatment facilities. He’s currently in the process of obtaining his certification as a Certified Engineering Technologist and recently obtained his Operator in Training licenses for water treatment, water distribution, wastewater treatment, and wastewater collection.

Breakout room #3 – Engineering

The engineering room’s goal is to break down what engineering is by providing a wide view of engineering disciplines and associated career paths.

Bethany Heppner
Name: Bethany Heppner
Title: Hydrotechnical Engineer
Company: Hatch

Bethany has five years of experience in river hydraulics and hydrology. She graduated from the University of Manitoba in 2016 with a degree in Civil Engineering. Bethany has worked on dams across Canada and the world. She is currently working on dam failure consequence assessments and flood management projects here in Ontario.

Jade Anema
Jade Anema
: Project Coordinator, Water and Wastewater Engineering
Company: Niagara Region


Jade obtained her B.Eng. in environmental engineering from Dalhousie University in 2016. After graduating, Jade moved back to Ontario and settled in Niagara while obtaining her master’s of business administration and accepting a consulting job in the environmental engineering field. After four years in consulting, Jade made the leap to the municipal world as a project coordinator with Niagara Region. In her free time, Jade is involved in many sports, including hockey, volleyball, dodgeball, and boxing. Jade also joined a leadership position with Professional Engineers Ontario and actively works towards providing visible leadership of licensed women in engineering.

Linkedin: https://ca.linkedin.com/in/jade-anema-p-eng-pmp-mba-47880992

Cameron DiPietro
: Cameron DiPietro
Title: Project Manager – Water & Wastewater Engineering
Company: Niagara Region

Cameron is an accomplished chemical engineering graduate with over eight years of experience in chemical process design engineering, operations of a chemical plant, civil, marine, and water/wastewater engineering. Cameron is also an experienced project manager adept at coordinating and delivering projects efficiently and effectively. He has worked as an operations engineer, process designer, construction project engineer, and project manager, fully trained in the use of AutoCAD, with proven experience of cost estimation and process control systems operation and design. He’s a proficient communicator and team player with the demonstrated ability to manage customer-client relationships.

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/camerondipietro

Lauren Flacco
: Lauren Flacco
Title: Structural EIT
Company: McIntosh Perry Consulting Engineers Ltd.

Lauren obtained her bachelor of engineering science in civil engineering from Western University in 2019. She has over three years of industry experience and is currently a Structural EIT in the Transportation Structures department at McIntosh Perry where she is involved in condition inspections, structural evaluations, planning preliminary design, and detailed design and construction liaison of bridges, culverts, and retaining walls.

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/laurenflacco

Breakout room #4 – Mathematics and Computing

The purpose of this room is to showcase individuals with mathematics/computing backgrounds who have created careers and business for themselves in these industries. With the exponentially expanding computing and programing industry, increase in startup companies, and large interests in the financial industries, this room will aim to educate on the skills needed to pursue a career in these directions.

Drew MacNeil
Drew MacNeil
Title: Co-Founder, COO 
Company: XpertVR Inc.

Drew is the co-founder of XpertVR, a tech startup based in Niagara that develops virtual reality training and educational experiences for post-secondary schools. While completing a bachelor of business administration degree at Brock University, Drew co-founded XpertVR with a fellow business student. Together they participated pin Pitch competitions and entrepreneurship workshops to educate themselves on starting and growing their business. Now two years graduated, Drew manages a team of game developers and 3D artists that deliver high-quality VR experiences to educate students around the province. 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/drew-macneil/

Agusia Krzywinska
: Agusia Krzywinska
Title: President of Adjective Noun Studios and Junior Programmer/QA Tester at Phantom Compass
Company: Adjective Noun Studios and Phantom Compass

Agusia Krzywinska currently works for Phantom Compass as a quality assurance tester and junior programmer. Agusia recently graduated from Brock University and Niagara College’s joint game development program as part of the first cohort. After graduating, Agusia started a company with two other colleagues called Adjective Noun Studios, a mobile game company that focuses on bringing high-quality games to mobile platforms, without microtransactions, ads, loot boxes, or subscriptions. She works on the more technical aspects of making games.


Dorothy Szymkow
: Dorothy Szymkow
Title: Accountant
Company: WMKL LLP

Dorothy graduated from Brock University with an honours bachelor degree in accounting as well as a master’s of accountancy. Following the completion of her master’s degree, she went on to successfully pass her assurance role on the 2020 Common Final Examination (CFE). Dorothy is now on track to completing her final requirements and obtaining her CPA designation by the end of the year. She is currently working at a mid-sized public accounting firm in St. Catharines where she specializes in planning and performing external audits as well as various tax planning and preparation services. Her passion and experience have allowed her to better understand the needs of her clients so that she can provide financial advice to meet their specific needs. When out of the office, she enjoys attending spin class, grabbing a coffee, and going for hikes!

Linkedin: https://ca.linkedin.com/in/dorothy-szymkow-macc-3b5894200

Bryan Haakman
: Bryan Haakman
Title: Remote Consultant (ex BDC Capital & Caddle)
Company: Self / CFA Level II Candidate

Bryan is a finance graduate from Brock University’s Goodman School of Business. He has experience in venture capital, corporate finance, and analytics. Most recently, he worked at BDC Capital in fund investments. Additionally, he has worked at multiple local tech start-ups and at the BDC IT Venture Fund. He’s currently preparing for the CFA Level II Exam and consulting part-time for technology start-ups remotely. Bryan is passionate about personal investments, emerging technologies, non-fiction reading, cooking, and sports including golf, rowing, and snowboarding.

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bryan-haakman/