Meet our Local Organizing Committee!
Farokh L Kakar
Dr. Farokh L Kakar is an environmental Engineer at Brown and Caldwell and Founder of Blue College of Water and Technology. Dr. Kakar is also the founder and president of Canadian Young Water Professionals and former Emerging Water Leader at International Water Association (IWA) also serving as Vice President of Young Professionals in Canadian Association for Water Quality (CAWQ). In addition, she is the Global Ambassador of the Society of Women Engineers empowering women in engineering internationally.
Gamze is a passionate environmental engineer specialized in water and wastewater management. She is working on modelling and model-based optimization of biological wastewater treatment processes and recently obtained her PhD degree in this field. She is working at Western University as post-doctoral researcher and Ontario Water Consortium as a coordinator. She is the co-hair of IWA YWP Canada and a management committee member in IWA MIA Specialist Group.
Frances is a resource recovery enthusiast who is passionate about the water industry. She recently completed her doctorate with a research focus on anaerobic digestion. Frances currently works as a wastewater project engineer. She volunteers as a communication director in the IWA YWP Canada chapter.
Masoume is a PhD candidate at Toronto Metropolitan University and she volunteers as Event Coordinator at IWA-YWP Canada. She has practical experience in the field of Membrane Fabrication, Membrane Fouling Control/Cleaning, Membrane-based Separation Processes and Chemical Coagulation for Wastewater Treatment Applications.
Alexandra Tsitouras has expertise in wastewater treatment microbes and genomics. She attained her PhD studying biofilm wastewater treatment and continued on to a postdoc studying wastewater-based surveillance of SARS-CoV-2. She is now employing her genomics expertise as an Integration Scientist at Illumina, and is the IWA YWP Canada newsletter editor.
Elizabeth Otto has mostly worked in the stormwater industry. Her focus for both work and her Masters was on the current risk of flooding in municipalities. She recently turned her focus to asset management in the sanitary sewer system. Elizabeth enjoys volunteering for conference planning and has worked mostly with Western Canada Water Conference team.
Md Nurul Afcher Shishir
Shishir is an MASc. student at University of British Columbia (Vancouver) specializing in drinking water treatment. His current research project involves analyzing the historical data from full-scale low-pressure membrane facilities across Canada with a goal in optimizing the operating protocols of such treatment plants. He is actively involved in advocating for the graduate students’ rights and well-being by serving in the Graduate Student Society (GSS) under various capacities. Currently, he is also working as the venue co-lead of the IWA YWP Canada conference and the seminar series coordinator for the Environmental System Engineering (ESE) group at UBC.
Lin is a current Ph.D. Candidate in the Biofilm Engineering and Wastewater Resource Recovery Laboratory at Western University. His research focuses on the optimization of aeration and energy, and improvement of carbon utilization for advanced nitrogen removal processes with multivariate and microbial analysis, also monitoring emerging contaminants in municipal wastewater. Actively volunteering as Vice President to Western Water Chapter, Social Media Editor to IWA YWP committee, Coordinator to IWA YWP Conference Organizing Committee, Graduate Councilor to Society of Graduate Students, also an executive member of Water Environment Association of Ontario YP committee and Ontario Water Consortium Graduate Leadership Council committee.
Hayat Raza currently works as Project Engineer with Continental Carbon Group, Inc. in Ontario, Canada. His work involves providing air, drinking water and groundwater treatment solutions to clients utilising various physical and chemical water treatment technologies. Hayat obtained his bachelor’s and master’s in chemical engineering with research in the areas of Ozone and Supercritical Water Oxidation. He is currently serving as the Regional Director ON for IWA YWP Canada and is one of the founding members of the YWP Canada group.
Huan is a Ph.D. candidate (Civil Engineering) at The University of British Columbia. He is also a Professional Agrologist with expertise in environmental consulting. His main research fields are waste-to-resource conversion, pollutants behavior, and environmental remediation. He has received numerous scholarships including the prestigious NSERC CGS-D. Committed to sustainable environment, he is actively collaborating with industries and international researchers in developing technologies for biofuels and fertilizer production from wastewater.
Sifat Kalam is a PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia. She holds a master’s degree from the same university and her expertise is in water and wastewater treatment and resource recovery. She is one of the communication directors at the IWA-YWP Canada conference. Sifat has been actively involved with the BCWWA student chapter and the WEST conference organizing committee. She volunteered as a logistics team lead in the WEST conference for 3 consecutive terms and was the co-chair of WEST 2022.
Javier Canto currently works as a full-time professor at the Autonomous University of Yucatán (UADY), impart subjects at the Anahuac Mayab University and the Technological Institute of Oil and Energy, he also works as an independent hydraulic design consultor focused on urban hydraulic and hydrology, computational fluid dynamics, and dam design. He obtained his bachelor’s at UADY and his Master’s and Ph.D. at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), working with the hydraulic behaviour in electrocoagulation reactors. He is currently serving as the Chair for IWA YWP Mexico and is one of the founding members of the YWP México group.
Pabel Antonio Cervantes Avilés
Pabel is a Chemical Eng. and holds a Ph.D. on Water Science and Technology and a M.Sc. on Water Sciences. He was also a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California Santa Barbara. Dr. Cervantes research focuses on understanding the effects of emerging contaminants in the environment, as well as the application of promising technologies to prevent and remediate the pollution. Internationally, Pabel was honored two consecutive times with the Best Platform Presentation Award in the editions of International Young Water Professionals Conference 2014 and 2017 held in Taipei and Cape Town, respectively.
Karen Mesta Ortega
Karen is a master’s student in water engineering at Université Laval. Her research is based on wastewater characterization through the use of respirometry and modelling, with the aim of improving WRRFs operational conditions. Motivated to contribute more to the water research field, she became the secretary of the IWA YWP Canada chapter in 2021, and she is currently working in the social & networking events subcommittee for the national conference.
Shaghayegh (Shaya) Goudarzi is a postdoctoral and a PhD graduate from chemical engineering department of Toronto Metropolitan University, where she has received several awards and scholarships. She is currently a senior associate research scientist at Jubilant DraxImage company. Shaya is the regional (Ontario) director of the IWA-YWP Canada executive committee and a young professional member of the CAWQ organization. “Providing clean and affordable water is one of the modern-times hurdles. Finding new remedies could mean saving thousands of lives. Therefore, through my Ph.D. I focused on developing strategies to remove contaminants from water to provide clean water by developing novel adsorbent systems”.
Amr is a Structural Engineer turned Environmental Engineer. Following his enthusiasm towards water and sanitation, he obtained a Master’s degree in Environmental Engineering from Western University, specializing in pretreatment technologies and anaerobic co-digestion of organic wastes. His research also involves developing and integrating wastewater treatment, anaerobic digestion, and water chemistry models. He started volunteering for IWA YWP Canada in 2020, and has been part of the chapter ever since.
Reza Eslami is a Ph.D. candidate at the chemical engineering department of Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU). He uses material, polymer, and nanomaterial science fundamentals to deliver results, with a primary focus on innovation and sustainability. Deep technology understanding and creativity led him to turn his ideas into a startup and now he is co-founder and CEO of Sensofine Inc. He is also, holding Ontario Graduate Scholarship for three consecutive years.
Nahid is a Ph.D. candidate in the Chemical Engineering department at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU). She is interested in working on materials, especially biomaterials, and engineering them for various applications such as wastewater treatment, healthcare, etc. Her passion for the environment led her to join IWA YWP Canada in 2021 as an Event Coordinator to spread awareness in the water field.
Varshaa Kumaran is a graduate student at the department of Civil Engineering, at the University of British Columbia working on drinking water treatment using gravity-driven membrane filtration. Her research focuses on characterizing biofilm development in a passive membrane system and its low-cost, low-energy applications for first nation communities. She is the co-lead for venue operations of the IWA Young Water Professional conference, 2023. She is also a member of the communications team for the WEST (Water Environment and Student Talks) conference from 2021 to 2023.