Meet Our Team

TeamOur 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. Our team includes:


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


I am a researcher and teacher at University of Toronto and lead researcher for this project. This project is exciting for me because I will be 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 is interested in this project because she wants 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 excited to participate in this project as the PhD Trainee. She is currently enrolled as a PhD student at the University of Toronto where her research will focus on disability and romantic relationships. She is particularly excited for this project to learn more about what youth and young adults with developmental/intellectual disabilities have to say about their lives. She is also excited to complete interviews and spend time learning about people in their home and community environments.


Dr. Kevin Stoddart (Redpath Centre)

Ms. Lisa Schumph (Lawson Ministries)


My role in the Voices of Youth project is as a Community Partner. I am interested in this project as it is an excellent example of collaboration involving community and university researchers interested in inclusion!



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

I am 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. I am proud to be a Community Collaborator on this research project because it will help empower people with disabilities and show that youth can make a difference.

Project Consultants

David Conforti

DavidI graduated from the College Vocational Program at Seneca College in Toronto. I enjoy film, television, sports, learning to cook, volunteering in my community and spending time with family. I am proud to be part of the Voices of Youth Project.



Peter Lauretani 

I live in Hamilton, Ontario and I am a PeterMohawk College student in the CICE program. I will be a Project Consultant for the Voices of Youth. I am happy to do this project so that I will be able to learn from it and to help others. In my spare time, I would like to play soccer for the Special Olympics, and also I will be volunteering at Cable 14 in Hamilton.


Zoe Stanley

ZoeI am a happy person that is very funny. I like doing this project because you get to learn different things and meet new people. I am a Project Consultant. My activities are going swimming, baking, watching TV and going to camp.

Project Coordinator (2016-)

Denise DuBois

Denise DuBois will fulfill the role of project coordinatoDenise 2.JPGr for the remainder of the Voices of Youth Project. 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 working with such a great team to learn more about friendship, belonging and what it means to be part of a community.

Project Coordinator (2013-2016)

Shauna Eisen


Shauna is an occupational therapist in the GTA and is thrilled to be joining this team as the Project Coordinator. She is very interested to learn 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 loves performing music and being outside in nature.


Jasmine Cowen 


I have worked as a Research Assistance at the University of Toronto’s Department of Occupational Therapy and Occupational Science for two years, I am excited to be part of the Voices of Youth project as an interviewer because I love meeting new people and learning about their lives. I enjoy movies, reading and shoe shopping.


Matthew Devine

Headshot for VOY websiteMatthew is happy to be a part of the Voices Of Youth 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.  He is particularly excited for his role as videographer for the project, and is looking forward to using video methods to learn about the lives of the project’s participants.

Work Study Student

Mushfika Chowdhury

voices-of-youth-website-pictureFor over a year, I have been volunteering to assist youth with disabilities in therapeutic recreation. During my undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto, I became interested in research on disability studies, which ultimately lead me to the Voices of Youth project. I am very honoured to be a part of the team as a research assistant. It is empowering to work with like-minded people that are also dedicated to understanding barriers to youth social and physical development.