(Un)Hacking Downstream Consequences

February 22 - March 3, 2022

Below are confirmed speakers for the (Un)Hackathon, with more to be revealed closer to the event.

Problem Holders are experts who will meet with each team interested in their problem and will judge the solutions at the end of the event. Workshop Leads & Panelists will engage teams in synchronous and asynchronous sessions to build their knowledge of systems thinking, failure modes, and analyzing downstream consequences. Mentors are early career experts who will guide and support student teams throughout the event.


Problem Holders


Samantha Lawler, Assistant Professor at the University of Regina

Problem Holder & Judge

Samantha Lawler is a dynamical modeler with a strong background in observational astronomy. Much of her work involves “observing” imaginary planets and dust using computer code, and comparing her predictions with real data from real telescopes. A passion of Samantha’s is artificial satellite visibility and mitigation, and she works on the observation and modelling of the visibility of megaconstellations of artificial satellites.

Susan Lord, Director of VML

Problem Holder & Judge

Susan Lord holds a PhD from York University. She is Professor in the Department of Film and Media at Queen’s University, jointly appointed to the Departments of Art and Gender Studies, and currently serving as the Director of the Graduate Program in Cultural Studies. She is the Director of the Vulnerable Media Lab. Her research interests have landed in the areas of cinema and media arts, archives, gendered spaces and the city, and Cuban cinema and visual culture.

Jenna Saffin, SNOLAB Education & Outreach Coordinator

Problem Holder & Judge

Jenna Saffin is the Education and Outreach Coordinator at SNOLAB. She has a BA&Sc from Quest University Canada, and a Master’s in Science Communication from Laurentian University. Jenna has extensive experience sharing science with many audiences through a variety of different media. Her position at SNOLAB focuses on sharing stories of science and the people doing it, including working with researchers to help them communicate their work in more impactful ways both within and beyond academia.

Workshop Leads & Panelists


Jim McLellan, Academic Director of DDQIC

Workshop Lead

Jim (Sc’81, PhD’90) is the Academic Director of the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre, Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering at Queen’s and a co-founder of the Queen’s Summer Innovation Initiative. Jim is committed to building innovation and entrepreneurship programming at Queen’s and to growing a vibrant entrepreneurial culture in the Kingston region, working with many groups in the Kingston entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Edward Thomas, Interim Managing Director of the McDonald Institute

Workshop Lead

Edward Thomas is the Interim Managing Director and Associate Director of External Relations for the Arthur B. McDonald Canadian Astroparticle Physics Research Institute. He supports partnerships, communications and business development between the McDonald Institute and the broader astroparticle physics community, academia, government, business, NGOs and the Canadian public. He is a masters graduate in chemical engineering and more than 20 years of experience in technology development, research administration, innovation support and business journalism.

Arthur B. McDonald, Nobel Laureate and Professor Emeritus at Queen’s University

Keynote Speaker

Art McDonald, CC, O. Ont, O. N.S., FRS, FRSC, P. Eng, is a native of Sydney, N.S. Canada. He has degrees in physics from Dalhousie University (BSc, MSc), Caltech (Ph.D.), and fifteen honorary degrees. He is a Nobel Prize-winning astrophysicist with a reputation for inspiring leadership, collaboration, and technical innovation. Among the many awards he has received, he is a Co-recipient of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics with Dr. Takaaki Kajita of the SuperKamiokande experiment, a Companion of the Order of Canada, recipient of the 2006 John. C. Polanyi Prize and the 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics. He continues to be active in basic research in neutrinos and dark matter.

Blaire Flynn, SNOLAB Education & Outreach Officer


Blaire is the Education and Outreach Officer at SNOLAB, Canada’s deep underground physics laboratory. An enthusiastic science communicator, she works to share research in a fun and informative way and ensure young people from diverse backgrounds can imagine themselves in the STEM fields. Blaire obtained her BSc in Biology and chemistry before pursuing post graduate studies in environmental monitoring and making her way into the field of science communication.

Laurie Rousseau-Nepton, Resident Astronomer at CFHT


Laurie earned her Ph.D. in Astrophysics in 2017 at Université Laval in Québec, and is the first Indigenous woman from Québec to earn a Ph.D. in astrophysics. She now lives on the Big Island of Hawaii, and is a Postdoctoral Researcher and Resident Astronomer at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT). Laurie is the Principal Investigator for SIGNALS, a large survey program aiming at observing over 50,000 resolved star-forming regions in nearby galaxies.

Aaron Boley, Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia


Prof. Boley is a Canada Research Chair in Planetary Astronomy, the Co-Director of the Outer Space Institute, and an associate professor at the University of British Columbia. His research explores a wide range of topics, including planetary dynamics, astrophysical discs, meteoritics, artificial satellites, space sustainability, and space policy.  Before joining the faculty at UBC, Boley was a NASA Sagan Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Florida and a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of Zurich.

Reşat Fuat Çam, Postdoctoral Fellow at Queen’s University


Reşat Fuat Çam is a film scholar, filmmaker and visual artist based in Canada. Exploring the intersection of moving image technology, philosophy and critical theory, his work combines academic research practices with artistic experiments. He received his doctoral degree in Cinema and Media Studies from York University in 2019, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at McGill University developing a critical framework for artistic practices in VR. Reşat is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Vulnerable Media Lab at Queen’s University, focusing on immersive and interactive media practices in archival methodologies.


We are providing teams with access to mentors during the event so that they can ask questions, receive feedback, and to assist in judging at the end of the event. Mentors are graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and early career personnel who will be assigned to each problem set, essentially filling the role of “TA” but have the flexibility to assist with any student team regardless of problem set.

The time commitment for mentors would be between 16 and 18 hours in total; 2 hours of training 1-2 weeks before the event and up to 16 hours during the event to attend workshops, meet with the teams, and participate in judging the solutions. Mentors are paid through an honorarium of $375, and will receive a certificate of leadership.


Sarah Dawson

Mentor Trainer & Coordinator


Sarah completed her PhD in computational soft condensed matter (squishy) physics at McMaster University in December 2021 before getting involved with the McDonald Institute as the event coordinator mentoring trainer for the (Un)Hackathon. During her PhD she wrote code to model the properties of various materials, and also taught and mentored new physics students.

Terry Bridges

Mentor Trainer


Terry Bridges is currently in his 6th year as a professor at Okanagan College in Kelowna, BC, where he teaches first- and second-year physics and astronomy courses. Terry has PhDs in Astrophysics and Education from Queen’s University and has previously worked as a research astronomer in the UK, Australia, and Canada, and as a high school physics teacher in Ontario and Istanbul. His astronomy research interests were originally around the study of elliptical galaxies, but more recently he has become very interested in the outer solar system through the RECON citizen science project. Terry also has long-standing interests in science outreach and social justice. 

Anthony Ighomuaye


Anthony Ighomuaye was a lead mechanical Engineer with an EV startup  and has amassed 5 years product experience. Anthony is currently launching a start up that is focused on developing clean tech solutions for low income communities in Africa. He currently works part-time as a Venture Growth Coordinator with an accelerator and is a business student at Queen’s with a focus in Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Cindy Lin


Cindy (BSc’11, PhD’18) is a postdoctoral researcher at SNOLAB, working for the SNO+ neutrino experiment, focusing on cosmogenic and atmospheric neutrino background analyses and hardware work.  Outside of physics, Cindy is passionate in fostering collaborative and inclusive working environment for all and science communication.

Ahmed Elfakahany


Ahmed Elfakahany is a professional technical consultant in Cybersecurity with 15+ years experience with technology companies. He also has deep interest in Space and Astronomy and emerging technologies like 3D printing and Drones. Ahmed has a passion in public science outreach and mentoring teams through ideation activities.

Ewan Wright


Ewan Wright is a PhD student at UBC, researching the sustainability of outer space through the Astrophysics and Political Science departments. He holds a master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering and has worked as a space technology business analyst in the UK and a space policy analyst in Vienna, Austria.

Michelle O'Halloran


Michelle O’Halloran is a PhD candidate in the Cultural Studies program at Queen’s University. With a background in film and animation studies, her current research intersects the fields of transnational media, archival, and fan studies. She is the lab manager at the Vulnerable Media Lab at Queen’s.

Steven McGuire


Steve is a Staff Scientist at SNOLAB, specialising in chemistry.  Prior to this he spent six years on SNO+, involved in every aspect of the project that involved molecules and quite a few that didn’t.  Steve is also the 2013 winner of the Flame Challenge.

Jennifer Norton


Jenn Norton is a visual artist who specializes in 3D animation, augmented reality, kinetic sculpture and video installation. Norton is currently completing a PhD in Visual Arts at York University and teaching in the Film and Media Studies at Queen’s University, where she is also working as the Department’s Post-Production Technician.

More about Jenn

Norton’s current research includes digital archives, restoration through the use of artificial intelligence, including machine learning, machine vision, and deep learning, recently completing the Oxford Artificial Intelligence Programme. Norton has created immersive content with the support and sponsorship of Christie Digital, a leading manufacturer in immersive, stereoscopic, and interactive display technologies. Her multimedia installations and research have won numerous awards, grants and bursaries, including the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Doctoral Scholarship. Norton’s work has been exhibited broadly across North America, Europe, and Japan, and has been collected by the Visual Art Collection of Global Affairs Canada, universities and major art institutions, including the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Anita Devi


Anita Devi works in the field of Biophysics by taking advantage of a versatile technique called optical tweezers. Anita completed a PhD at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Mohali. During their PhD, Anita designed and built optical tweezers from scratch and implemented successfully.

Matthew Sordo


Matthew is a recent computer science undergraduate from McMaster University, currently pursuing a Master’s degree at the Smith School of Business. He has experience working with two education non-profits as a developer, and experience managing business operations.