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TCDSB Students Win First Place in Toronto Rehab Research Competition 


This year, with the support of Lori D'Agostono, the co-op resource lead at the TCDSB, a new and amazing co-op opportunity with the University of Toronto and Toronto Rehabilitation Institute was forged.

The Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (TRI) Design Challenge Cooperative Education Program was created to support students from communities that have been historically underrepresented (Black, Indigenous, Filipino and economically disadvantaged) in health sciences and research.  

This year, a group of TCDSB students won first place in the research competition for their design of a Socially Assistive Robot for Elderly People. The aim is to improve the independence and quality of life for seniors. 


Here's what the winning team had to say about the experience:


Ezra Dangla, Senator O'Connor  ​

"As one of the selected participants, I was grateful that I was given the chance to be part of the TRI Design Collaboration which helped students like myself get some insight about post-secondary and further develop our skills to be of use in the future. The activities in the program were always fun and engaging which made me wish the program to be extended." 

Sarah Jane Caritativo, St. John Henry Newman CHS

“I was given the opportunity to be part of the TRI Design Collaboration Challenge which benefited racialized students. Every day was a new day for learning and having fun. La Toya, Hodan, and Charles were able to create a fun research placement where I was able to improve my skills all around and get insight to what my future holds in regards to post-secondary studies and careers. My group was fun and hardworking. Together we were able to complete the challenge and create SAR which benefited seniors. Though this placement was virtual, I cannot imagine how much more fun this experience would’ve been if we were in person. I would definitely apply to this placement again!”

Samuel Berchie, Francis Libermann 

“Experience was cool, learnt a lot and working with my group was a blast, would do it again.”

Angela Anastasia Blas, Mary Ward CSS

“Taking part in the TRI Design Challenge has allowed me to further develop the valuable skills that I will be able to use in the future as well as in the present day. As a participant of this program, I gained knowledge about post-secondary studies in an engaging and informative manner, which has allowed me to feel more secure about the choices that I will have to make in the future. Alongside that, my group and I were able to create a socially assistive robot (SAR)! Creating “Ozlo the Socially Assistive Robot” has allowed my group and I to step outside of our comfort zones by diving into new perspectives and experimenting with new strategies regarding healthcare and elderly care. Despite these unprecedented times, I enjoyed this experience, and I would love to participate in this program again!”

Melissa Owusu, James Cardinal McGuigan 

“The experience was marvelous, I gained a lot of experiences and skills, made some wonderful friends and I will be forever grateful that I was chosen to be a part of this fantastic program.”