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Tools from OCAD University's Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) labs. Photo by Christina Gapic.

Inclusive Design (MDes)

Offering graduate students a unique opportunity to become global leaders in the emerging field of inclusive design in information and communication technologies (ICT) and practices.

Tools from OCAD University's Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) labs. Photo by Christina Gapic.



Kaveh Ashourinia

Kaveh was born in Tehran, Iran, where he completed his undergrad in Graphic Design. After graduating, he studied various disciplines and creative paths (such as publication, commercial photography, educational films and art direction in News Corporation) and then he finally opened own design agency. He moved from Tehran to Toronto in 2010.

Kaveh spent a year of his life traveling to different places in the Middle East, where he got a taste of different cultures and lifestyles. His transition between these two cities increased Kaveh’s interest in verbal and written communication of different cultures — specifically, the integration and miscommunication experienced between cultures based on these differences.

Adam Antoszek-Rallo

Adam Rallo is the Principal and founder at Catalyst Workshop, a Toronto based design & development consultancy. A proud Registered Graphic Designer of Ontario, he is the current President of the RGD Certification Board for Graphic Designers. He also teaches as part-time faculty at both Sheridan College and Humber College, while serving on the curriculum committee for the Bachelor of Design program at York University / Sheridan College. A vocal proponent of accessible and inclusive user-centric design, Adam is passionate about creating positive social impact through the interaction of design, pedagogy, and technology.

Adam has been practicing design professionally since graduating Cum Laude from the York/Sheridan Bachelor of Design program in 2002. His diverse body of work has included an invaluable three-month stint in Ghana West Africa, and designing one of the top ranked downloads at His work has been awarded and presented in various publications, exhibitions and institutions across North America including the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and the Vancouver Art Gallery. He is opinionated enough to have been invited as a professional speaker and writer on topics ranging from accessibility, design, education, entrepreneurship, and technology. He is also an active scholar on issues related to biology, gender, equality, human behaviour, and human nature. Adam spends whatever free time he has left pursuing his obsession with music.

M McLean

Dana Shalab Alsham

Second year

Nadine Addada

Nadine Addada holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Design. Throughout her professional journey as a senior designer in Lebanon, U.A.E., and Canada, she has been involved in a variety of high end residential and commercial projects. The integration of function and accessibility with aesthetics is one of her main design goals. Addada believes that simple and creative design impacts the overall perception of spaces and has the potential to enhance individuals’ quality of life. The knowledge acquired from her current studies is an enormous opportunity to add value to her previous education; Interior and Inclusive Design provide her with the ability to focus on engagement and access. Currently, she is working on a project that provides a design for an in-home waste management system. 

Claire Andrews

Amanda Austin

Amanda Austin has a Bachelor of Interior Design with Honours from Algonquin College as well as one year of Building Science education from Ryerson University.  During her undergraduate program, she became accredited as a LEED Green Associate, which allows her to consult on projects with goals of achieving sustainability benchmarks.  

Austin works as a designer at a corporate interior design firm, managing projects from conception to completion.  Her expertise lies in the built environment with special interests in accessibility, inclusivity, and sustainability.  Austin hopes to use her Master’s of Inclusive Design education to create more holistic and welcoming environments for everybody.  

Jorgen Baker


Brandon Biggs

Brandon Biggs is an entrepreneur and full-stack developer living in Italy attending OCAD Remotely. He got his undergrad in music and is the Chief Financial Officer and co-founder of Sonja Biggs Educational Services, a company in California that contracts out teachers of the blind and other blindness related services to K-12 schools. Brandon's goal is to create tools that will allow teachers to leverage their existing skills to create content that is accessible to as many students as possible, including students with low incidence disabilities, English as a second language, and multiple disabilities.

Alejandra Bortoni

Alejandra Bortoni is a Graphic Design Graduate from Universidad Iberoamericana Ciudad de México. After graduating she became a Researcher and Project Leader at INSITUM México and Perú, where she worked for over three years helping large international companies innovate and solve problems with user-centered methods. After completing the Institute of General Management program at GSB Stanford, Alejandra joined BBVA Bancomer where she currently leads design teams towards improving the User Experience of the bank’s digital channels.

Alejandra specializes in ethnographic research for the development of Service Design and Interaction Design solutions. She is highly passionate about solving social and infrastructure problems in her home country and believes in the power of educational museums. Her current studies on Inclusive Design have driven her to work with interactive museums in Mexico City to create inclusive environments. Alejandra can’t wait to finish her Master’s Degree and start her own inclusive design consultancy and maybe one day start her own museum.

Alana Callan

Melissa Diep

Melissa Diep has a Bachelor of Environmental Studies for Honours Planning (2017) from the University of Waterloo with a specialization in Urban Design. During her undergraduate studies she took various courses related to the design, layout, and implementation of city design. She took a special interest in landscape design, as well as the techniques and tools used to help with accessible streets and communities. Through her studies at Waterloo, she became passionate about finding innovative design techniques to help improve the accessibility around the community. Melissa has worked as a Graphic Designer in marketing and research fields at the University of Waterloo and Waterloo EDC. She has worked within the 2D and 3D visualization areas in creating infographics, web banners, and advertising material. Her current area of interest is directed at multi-sensory outdoor environments and their influence on student mental health at OCAD University.  

Elliott Doxtater-Wynn

A graduate of the H.B. Beal Art School in London, Ontario, Elliott Doxtater-Wynn continued his arts education upon moving north from his home at Six Nations of the Grand River. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Education Degrees from Lakehead University. Among his most notable works is a bottle made of bound willow branches, signifying a connection with the land, which was selected by Coca-Cola for their pavilion at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Hillary Dubé 

Drawing on her background in geriatric social work Dubé's thesis focus rested on prescription nightwear for persons who suffer from severe Alzheimer’s and dementia who have tendencies to wander. The nightwear is designed to house a touchless, wireless, removable sensor that monitors the wearer's vitals such a heart rate and body temperature, as well as provides real-time location tracking.  This sensor is un-invasive and comfortable enough to be worn for long periods of time unnoticed. Authorized smart and android devices are able to receive information transmitted by the sensor. 


Eric Forest

Eric Forest is a designer with a history of collaboratively maintaining team-built intellectual capital towards deployment into best of breed niches. His specialty is in whiteboard thinking as applied to re-intermediating equity in inclusive vertical initiatives. This includes drill downs into iconic big data paradigms. He seeks to demonstrate early adopter attitudes in the sphere of design heuristics as applied to the operationalization of fringe modal open source schemas as agents for change.

Uttara Ghodke

Prior to attending OCAD University Uttara Ghodke's specialty was Industrial Product Design, which she studies at the Maharashtra Institute of Technology University (MIT U). She is currently building on these skills to develop research in the area of non-visual and cross-sensory data analytics tools that employ a combination of tactile, aural, and visual cues through a single object or integrated system to communicate geographic information for blind, low-vision, and sighted audiences alike. Her research is supervised by Dr. Peter Coppin and  Dr. Sowmya Somanath.  

Alisha Kamran

Henrique Matulis

Henrique Matulis is Hearing Impaired. He is almost deaf, but can hear music. He studied jazz guitar at Humber College and has been playing the guitar for 45 years. Henrique has curated festivals at Carassauga (Brazilian Pavilion) and Harbourfront Centre (Expressions of Brazil) and has been a programmer and analyst since 1981 (using basic, IBM/370 & Z80 assembly, mumps, VB, C, C++, Javascript, PHP, Python). With a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and several certifications in various technologies (including SQL, OS, Languages, and Networking) he has developed several prototypes in different areas that include musical interfaces, wireless guitar to MIDI interfaces, Time of Flight Theremin, Rhythm clock and web circular sequencers, and ABC Notation web editors.

He has developed devices for people with dementia and blind people. Currently, Henrique collaborates at the KMDI Lab at the University of Toronto with the Centivizer Project. He has also been a researcher in Japan with the Tokyo Institute of Technology in conjunction with the University of Toronto studying the usability of curved displays (spherical, hemi-spherical, cap; concave & convex) using 360 videos and cameras.

Jaicyea Smith

Lena Yusim

Lena Yusim is an Inclusive Design student from Winnipeg, and currently lives in Toronto. In her career, she has coordinated various sustainability initiatives and outreach activities for women in science and engineering. Lena received a BSc in Geography (2014), a field that combines her interests in science, art, and design. Currently, Lena is a research assistant at OCAD U’s Perceptual Artifacts Lab, and an NSERC CREATE program trainee in Data Analytics and Visualization. Her focus in this program revolves around researching the affordances of visual maps (such as paper maps, globes, and web maps), identifying current barriers to map access, and co-designing tools and techniques to make the information presented in maps more accessible for blind and low-vision map readers.  

First Year

Darin Abu Shaqra

Darin Abu Shaqra is a visual graphic designer fueled by creativity, compassion and persistence. Her Bachelors in Design and Visual Communication was earned after unraveling a five-year journey, which she calls The Five Modules of Life Lessons. These years shaped a different person out of her, academically and personally. Following the philosophy of –always know a little bit of everything- Darin widened her perspective in Visual Communication, by trying out different aspects in design such as Corporate Design, Filming and Cinematography, Fashion and Product Design, finally settling on Typography and Layout Design. “The best thing about falling apart, is that you get a chance to reshape your-better-self” is a motto that she lives by. After losing one of her most inspiring souls during her mid-bachelor years. Her father had big dreams for her future, all of which helped her integrate grief, unconditional love, and passion into one thing, which was reaching her goals and making whatever dreams she had come true.

Being a woman raised in an Arabic culture yet influenced by the West, and having travelled to different nations, witnessed various cultures, and last but not least speaking three languages; each of these elements has motivated her to pause her professional life and carry her love for Typography to a whole new world. Using her secret potion Darin believes, visual design and communication can create a union between the west and east through the beauty of Scripts and Typography.

Erman Akyol

Erman Akyol is a graduate student in the Inclusive Design program at OCAD U. He received his B.S from the Industrial Design Department at Anadolu University in Turkey and became a research assistant at Anadolu University after his graduation. He was a full-time lecturer, teaching at the Department of Industrial Design before coming to Canada. He has received European Union and Japan’s Mombukagusho Scholarships for his international studies.  He was an exchange student at the Industrial Design Department at HAWK in Germany, a researcher at Korea Design Research Institute, Seoul National University, and Chiba University in Japan. He has participated in workshops, conferences, and projects in various international platforms. He has also been a volunteer at Toronto’s Design Exchange in addition to assisting with lectures, workshops, and taking on various roles in design events. His previous research examined ergonomics, assistive technologies, and universal design.

Veronica Giraldo Valencia

Rachel Han

Rachel Han has been involved in the Toronto design scene as a UI / UX designer for a long time. Her background is in Industrial Design, with a specialization in products, furniture, and interiors. Previously, she has worked for LG (among other companies) developing product designs that include mobile phones, and has contributed to the design of signage for Intercontinental Hotels.

With an ongoing interest in information and graphic design, she has been working as an e-learning web designer for five years in the Samsung Group's Education Department. Rachel has designed a customized educational portal site for several Samsung affiliates, has worked as a Design Director for outsourcing companies, and has contributed to the creation of design guidelines based on theoretical research to improve the design quality of several external companies.

Rachel Han is currently working towards a Master's Degree in Design at OCAD University and has recently graduated from Sheridan's Post Graduate Web Design and IMM (Interactive Media Management) programs. Through her research and experience she has gained a strong knowledge of Asian and North American web design trends and has become particularly interested in user-centric interfaces and interactions. Through her Master’s research she hopes to gain a more comprehensive and integrated view of web design principles.

Aya Jibreal

Aya Jibreal has a background in design with 8 years of experience as a graphic designer and a Bachelor’s of Interior Design. Her interests shifted towards Inclusive Design while working as a design and communication manager at a not-for-profit that consults businesses on how to develop inclusive work environments for persons with disabilities. For the last 5 years, Aya has become a certified disability case manager, a certified trainer, and a consultant in inclusive design and communication for many private and public entities in Saudi Arabia. Today, she is trying to build commitment among creatives on how to “design for all” and leave no one behind in the creative process.

Grace Mendez

Stephen Murgaski 

James Newman

MaryRose Ouellette-Thaler

MaryRose Ouellette-Thaler has been a Graphic and Web Designer since 2002. She graduated with a diploma in Multimedia Design from Durham College, and recently graduated from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology with a BA in Adult Education & Digital Technology, with Highest Distinction. Throughout the course of her multifaceted design career, she has had the opportunity to create for a variety of media. Avenues include exhibition design, web development, brand development, and photography. As a creative, and now a student of the MA Inclusive Design program at OCAD, she is passionate about design work that can challenge assumptions, “give back” to society and make a difference. She is eager to take her knowledge from the program and make it the priority and focus of her own design business.

MaryRose is also a Professor at Durham College where she has taught various courses in School of Media, Art, and Design over the past 6 years. Her teaching assignments have included Photography, Video Production, Graphic Design, Web Technologies, Typography, Colour Theory and Entrepreneurship. In all courses, she adapts the curriculum to align with her professional experience, and aims to animate the learning outcomes in a way that makes them both engaging and memorable. MaryRose motivates and inspires her students to explore and understand visual language and the importance of inclusive design, and to utilize their individual talents and passions in making a difference in their local and world communities.

Alis Panjatevakupt

Nahin Shah

Nahin Shah is a recent Industrial Design graduate from the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and is a current Inclusive Design graduate student at OCAD University. Shah is passionate about social impact, education, culture, the colour blue, space, plants, and coffee with friends.

Zoya Shepherd

Zoya is a multi-disciplinary creative whose work aims to tell compelling visual stories, and to solve human problems through design. Originally from the Caribbean paradise island Barbados, she completed her BFA in Graphic Design and honed her craft working professionally in advertising agencies, before expanding her career to Design Management. She moved to Toronto in 2014, and is currently working professionally as an Art Director. Having experienced different cultures, education systems, lifestyles and creative influences, she grew interested in finding ways to solve real world issues through design. Dissatisfied with the limited impact visual communication has on social issues, she wants to be part of the solution, not the problem. Her current interests intersect education, creativity, technology, and human rights. 

Nikkie To

Tania Villalobos

Tania Villalobos was born in a little town near Mexico City called Texcoco, after a major earthquake on September 19th, 1985 collapsed the hospital where her mother was supposed to deliver her. It was only when she herself became a mother last year that she understood the gravity of this event. Pregnant during another major earthquake in Mexico City last year, again on September 19th, Tania eventually gave birth to a daughter, who she and husband named Lara.

Tania and her 3 sisters were raised traveling around the world with their mother following their father’s career as a diplomat in agriculture. Through her experience travelling internationally she learned to love the world, different cultures, nature, and ultimately graphic communication. At age 16 she decided to study Graphic Design and developed the belief that design thinking could help improve the world and how we live in it. Today Tania is dedicated to the use of design for the benefit of others. Witnessing a lack of empathy, the struggle to accept difference, and the frustration that can accompany death, sickness, lack of abilities, fear and segregation she has been moved to act. Her return to school has been inspired by a desire to learn the skills to make a change.

Joseph York

Joe York is a Director of Product at Visa in San Francisco, California, and a first-year Inclusive Design student at OCAD U. A graduate of Virginia Tech in Finance (Magna Cum Laude), his professional experiences have largely focused on payments and consumer finance. His primary curiosity is the human relationship with money, and the diverse (and unmet) financial needs of underrepresented communities.

Outside of his work life, he’s a competitive distance runner, a Nike sneaker collector, and a committed fan of the author Zadie Smith. He’s passionate about the empowerment of society’s marginalized, and, to that end, has mentored a young man from San Francisco for the past five years. Before all this school work, he also enjoyed film and meals shared with loved ones – but there’s no time for that any more.

April Yu

April Yu is a graphic designer with a specialization in minimalist design. Having lived on 3 continents, she has gained an interest in cultural difference, multiculturalism, and feminism. April wishes to bring people together through design, while also exploring design’s capacity to enable women to protect themselves from and enact protests against the wider world.



Nancy Snow- design pedagogy, food studies, and knowledge exchange, rhetoric and social semiotics, human-computer interaction and food insecurity