NiRC - Our Team

Meet the Planning Committee

Our team



Houji Yao

Houji is very excited to be Chair of NiRC 2018! He is in his third and final year of Arts and Science studying Economics and Physics, with intentions of doing Graduate studies in Economics some day. Outside of NiRC he is an active member of the McGill Students’ Chess Club, for which he is Co-President. In his free time, he likes to read, spend time with friends and family, and study. His favourite colour is green.

Directors of Research

Valérie Desharnais

Valérie is thrilled to be a joint Director of Research, specializing in scientific topics. She is currently pursuing a B.Sc. in physics with a minor in computer science and enjoys being a part of on-campus endeavors. In her free time, she enjoys travelling, hiking, reading, cooking and gardening. She has completed two internships abroad concerning biodegradable implant materials and hopes to be published as a co-author in two corrosion technology journals this coming spring.  She is also passionate about a variety of applied scientific fields and is looking forward to meeting future presenters at the conference.

Olivier Séguin-Brault

Olivier  is thrilled to serve as Director of Research for NiRC 2018. Second year French Literature student, with a minor in Classics focused on Latin, his academic interests include rhetoric in the 15th-16th French literature, architectural treaties of the Renaissance and utopias from the 15th-17th century. Passionate about ultramarathons, you may meet him coaching trail running and snowshoe running on the Mount Royal all year long.

Director of Sponsorship

Charlotte Dingwall

Charlotte hails from Toronto, and is in U1 of the Cognitive Science program here at McGill. She enjoys hiking the mountain, riding her bike, and exploring Montreal’s numerous cafes in her spare time. She has previously worked on the BASiC Freshman Committee, and can’t wait to take to apply her experience to gain sponsorship and diversify food and drink options for this year’s conference!

Directors of Logistics

Lilia Brahimi

Lilia is a second year (U2) student enrolled in a B.ASc. in International Development Studies and cell/molecular Biology at McGill. In the future, she is hoping to pursue her graduate studies in Global Health with a focus on medical anthropology and post-colonial studies. As part of her mandate as Director of Logistics for NiRC, she will be working alongside her colleagues to oversee the logistical and organizational aspects of the conference. She also is currently involved with the SUS Equity Committee and collaborates to the IDSSA as VP Internal, both of which she greatly enjoys! As a fervent believer in social justice and equity in science, she is looking forward to working with her team to bring her experience to the table and make this event as inclusive, sustainable and accessible as possible! She would love to hear from you and have your feedback, please feel free to email her ( or reach out through Facebook.

Gaurav Karna

Gaurav is a second year (U1) student here at McGill pursuing Honours Cognitive Neuroscience, with a minor in Computer Science, looking forward to medical school after graduation! He also works as an undergraduate research assistant at the Center for Research in Neuroscience at the Montreal General Hospital, focusing on the role of inflammation in neurodegenerative diseases and synaptic plasticity. Gaurav is also a voting member on the SSMU Club Committee, and on the Students Association for Cognitive Science (SACS) Council as a U1 Representative. His hobbies include soccer, anything 'All You Can Eat', and exploring new places. He looks forward to working hard with the committee to ensure this year's conference runs seamlessly and turns the spotlight on the massive potential for innovation in the integrated world.

Ivana Nedyalkova

Ivana is in her final year of completing a B.A. in ecological determinants of health with the McGill School of Environment, and she looks forward to pursuing her passion in equity, sustainability, and global health during her graduate studies. In her free time, she enjoys hiking up Mont Royal to catch the sunrise, tending to as big of a herb garden as will fit in her apartment, writing, volunteering at the Montreal General Hospital, and discovering new music shows around Montreal. She is beyond excited to be part of the Logistics team for the NiRC, and looks forward to helping make the event as sustainable, accessible, eye-opening, and fun as it can be!

Director of Publicity & Media

Jenny Long 

Jenny is a U2 Honours Math and Physics student who dreams of majoring in Philosophy. She is looking forward to serving as the Director of Publicity and Media for NiRC 2018. She is very interested in theoretical cosmology as well as the intersection between Physics and Philosophy. She is also very involved in social equity, especially in helping the local homeless community. In her free time, she enjoys boxing, reading, learning new languages and exploring diverse vegetarian restaurants in Montreal. Physics taught her that life is full of uncertainties and probabilities, you just gotta collapse your own wave function and live your life to the fullest.

Directors of Finance

Katarina Majetic

Katarina is excited to be a Director of Finance for NiRC 2018. She is Croatian/American and has grown up in 7 countries! She is a second year student in Mathematics and Economics. She is looking forward to being able to apply her knowledge of Mathematics and Economics to research and to enhance her skillset. She is currently VP External of the Society of Undergraduate Mathematics Students and a VP for the Association for Women in Mathematics (Montreal Chapter). In her free time she loves skiing, playing soccer, travelling, and reading.

Juliette Ryan-Lortie

Juliette is a U1 Cognitive Science student. She is passionate about understanding human behaviour through both the psychological and biological facettes. She is a great fan of international politics and a model UN enthusiast. In her free times, she enjoys skiing, drinking tea and learning italian. Juliette is super excited to be part of this year's outstanding NiRC team, and can't wait to see what the team will accomplish!

Members at Large 

Elisa Jacquet

Elisa Jacquet is a Spanish and French student at McGill. She was born in Spain, but her parents moved to Ghana when she was just a couple months old. Her entire life so far, she has always moved from country to country not staying in a place for more than two or three years. She grew up mostly in Africa, but also lived in Paris, Puerto Rico and – throughout her high school years – in Panama. It is there that she studied in an international school and discovered her passion for physics and interest in music, politics and literature. She participated in many different activities, from MUN and student council to music bands and science teams. This all led her to study physics at McGill, a school that is just as international as all these places she has seen.

Monique Morin

Monique is very excited to be part of the NiRC Team as the Member At Large. She is a U1 student majoring in Anatomy and Cell Biology while attempting to minor in French. Monique is interested in neuroplasticity and immunobiology. In her free time, she enjoys reading, ballet, and creating extravagant, yet to be realized, travel plans.

VP Academic, Bachelor of Arts and Sciences Integrative Council 

Yilin Wang

As VP Academic, Yilin oversees the progress of the Planning Committee. She is majoring in physics, with a minor in Russian literature. Also the Vice President Events and one of the founding members of STEM Fellowship McGill Branch, Yilin hopes to create a strong foundation in the physical sciences during her undergraduate study and seek research opportunities, before she enters graduate school and furthers herself in the academia. She also loves travelling and learning new languages, and is a bit too obsessed with Dostoyevsky.