Meet Our Team


Our team includes researchers from the University of Toronto and McMaster University, as well as partners from community organizations and project consultants who are youth with developmental and intellectual disabilities.


Dr. Rebecca Renwick, Principal Investigator (University of Toronto)Rebecca

Rebecca is a researcher and teacher at University of Toronto and lead researcher for this project. This project is very exciting for Rebecca because she was learning from teenagers and young adults with disabilities about their own views on friendship and involvement with their communities.




Dr. Ann Fudge Schormans (McMaster University)


Ann is very excited to be one of the investigators on this project. Ann worked as social worker with children, youth and adults with intellectual disabilities for many years. She is now an associate professor and researcher at McMaster University in Hamilton. Ann lives in Toronto and has been a parent of two daughters with intellectual disabilities.



Dr. Debra Cameron (University of Toronto)


Deb Cameron is a researcher and teacher at the University of Toronto and one of the investigators on the project. She has worked with young people and their families for many years.  Deb was interested in this project because she wanted to learn more from young people themselves about what they think about friends and being part of a community. She also has a younger brother with an intellectual disability.

PhD Trainee

Natalie Rose (University of Toronto)0271

Natalie is very happy to be the PhD Trainee of this project. She is currently enrolled as a PhD student at the University of Toronto where her research focuses on disability and romantic relationships. She was particularly excited for this project to learn more about what youth and young adults with developmental/intellectual disabilities had to say about their lives.


Dr. Kevin Stoddart (Redpath Centre)


Ms. Lisa Schumph (Lawson Ministries)Lisa

Lisa’s in the Voices of Youth project is as a Community Partner. Lisa thinks that this project is an excellent example of collaboration involving community and university researchers interested in inclusion!




Ms. Melissa Ngo (Hand Over Hand Community Organization- York Region)

Melissa is the founder and one of the ExecuMelissatives at Hand Over Hand, a non-profit organization dedicated to the mobilization, awareness and understanding of people with disabilities. She is proud to be a Community Collaborator on this research project because it helps empower people with disabilities and show that youth can make a difference.



Project Consultants

David Conforti

DavidDavid graduated from the College Vocational Program at Seneca College in Toronto. He enjoyed film, television, sports, learning to cook, volunteering in his community and spending time with family. He was proud to be part of the Voices of Youth Project.




Peter Lauretani 

Peter lives in Hamilton, Ontario and is PeterMohawk College student in the CICE program. Peter is a Project Consultant for the Voices of Youth. He is happy to be a part of the project so that he will be able to help others. Peter would like to play soccer for the Special Olympics, and will also be volunteering at Cable 14 in Hamilton.




Zoe Stanley

Zoe is a happy person who describes herself as Zoevery funny. She enjoyed participating in this project because she got to learn different things and meet new people. Zoe is a Project Consultant. Zoe also enjoys going swimming, baking, watching TV and camp


Project Coordinators

Denise DuBois (2016 – 2018)

Denise DuBois has been the project coordinatoDenise 2.JPGr of the Voices of Youth Project from 2016 to 2018. Denise is an occupational therapist who has worked for more than five years with adolescents and adults with developmental disabilities in the Toronto and Peel regions. Denise is also a doctoral student in the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute. Her thesis focuses on the experience of relocating from the family home to an alternative community  setting for adults with developmental disabilities and their families. Denise is very happy to be have been a part of such a great team.




Shauna Eisen (2013 – 2016)


Shauna is an occupational therapist in the GTA and has been the Project Coordinator for the Voices of Youths from 2013 to 2016. She loved learning about the perspectives of a variety of individuals within the community, and how their experiences can teach us all about friendship and inclusion. In her spare time, she enjoys performing music and being outside in nature.


Jasmine CowenPhoto on 2015-09-02 at 2.17 PM #2 #2
Jasmine has worked as a Research Assistant at
the University of Toronto’s Department of Occupational Therapy and Occupational Science for two years. I loved being the interviewer for the Voices of Youth project because she likes meeting new people and learning about their lives. Jasmine also enjoys movies, reading and shoe shopping.





Matthew Devine

Headshot for VOY website

Matthew is happy to be a part of the Voices OfYouth research project.  He has worked as an Inclusive recreation assistant with the organization Extend-A-Family over the past three summers, and is looking forward to helping with research in the disability field where inclusion is one primary topic of interest. Matthew was the videographer for the project, he assisted the team with using video methods to learn about the lives of the project’s participants.

Research Assistant


Mushfika Chowdhury

For over a year, Mushfika has been volunteering to assist children and youth with disabilities in therapeutic recreation. During her undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto, she became interested in research on disability studies, which lead her to the Voices of Youths project. Mushfika feels empowered from working with like-minded people who are also dedicated to understanding barriers to youth’s
psychosocial development and community