Staff

Our dedicated team plans and executes our education, research and issue campaigns to strengthen science and informed decision-making in Canada.

Rachael Maxwell

Executive Director

Rachael Maxwell joins Evidence for Democracy with a deep knowledge of the science landscape in Canada and a strong track record of success working at national not-for-profit research organizations. From 2018-21 she held progressively responsible roles at Genome Canada, working across the organization on key priorities in communications, public affairs and strategic planning. Previously, Rachael worked at Mitacs on the Canadian Science Policy Fellowship where she managed the design and delivery of the program from its inception through its first three cohorts. Rachael is also a member of the Board of the Directors at the Science and Policy Exchange. Rachael is passionate about working at the intersection of science, society and policy. She speaks to diverse audiences at home and abroad about the need to improve the mechanisms that connect science and policy. Rachael also brings years of experience working in arts management and an academic background in cultural studies.

 

Tej Heer

Senior Research Associate

Tej Heer is a researcher interested in interdisciplinary work conducted at the science-policy interface. He completed his PhD in 2020 in the Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences at the University of Toronto Scarborough. His PhD focused on the prevention of spawning of four invasive fish species, known as Asian carps. He also holds a Master of Science in Climate Change from the University of College London and a Bachelor of Science in Physics from McGill University. He joined Evidence for Democracy as a Senior Research Associate in 2020.

Nada Salem

Communications and Campaigns Coordinator

Nada Salem graduated from the University of Calgary in 2020 with a BSc. in Cellular, Molecular, and Microbial Biology. She’s passionate about science storytelling and has explored science communications through journalism, illustration, and videography. Nada currently serves as the Director of Community Development at the Calgary node of Emerging Health Leaders (EHL), an organization that supports new health professionals to connect, grow, and develop into future leaders. She’s also a Chemistry Editor with Science Borealis. She has written for various platforms about topics ranging from autoimmune disorders and genetic medicine, to the challenges facing women in STEM.

Sri Alageswaran

Operations and Finance Manager

Sri is an experienced senior-level finance professional with over 10 years of leadership experience in corporate finance operations. Her educational background concentrated on ethical leadership, advanced financial and marketing concepts, managing information systems, and strategic business management within a global context. Sri is interested in supporting the organization’s vision and strategic business priorities using modern controllership concepts. Through these concepts, she has partnered with organizations to integrate financial and non-financial performance information for better decision making. She also supported capacity maximization by effective stewardship of resources and improvement of financial data integrity by effective risk management. Sri has a passion towards information technology and evidence-based data collection to support smarter business decisions for better results.

Farah Qaiser

Researcher

Farah Qaiser is a researcher and science communicator. In 2020, Farah completed a Master of Science degree at the University of Toronto, where she carried out DNA sequencing to better understand neurological disorders. She has written about science and scientists for various media outlets, co-founded the Toronto Science Policy Network, and serves on the Canada Chief Science Advisor's inaugural Youth Council. Farah currently wears two hats: she is a genomics researcher at the University Health Network, and joined Evidence For Democracy as a researcher to lead a project to better understand federal science communication.

Ivana Azdajic

Research Assistant

Ivana Azdajic recently completed her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry at the University of Ottawa. Throughout this degree, she gained an appreciation for the impact that findings from this multidisciplinary have on day-to-day life and in turn the importance of communicating them effectively to the general public. She believes that scientific findings that impact our lives should be comprehensible to everyone (not only those in the science field!), making it easier to think critically about them and the policies that they may impact. Ivana’s excited to learn more and hopefully have a positive impact on evidence-based policymaking through her time at Evidence for Democracy.