The Refugee Law Lab engages with students in several ways. We employ students as Research Assistants and students are welcome to attend Refugee Law Lab events (join our email list to hear about our events). There are also opportunities to pursue graduate studies in law (including for non-lawyer technologists) under Refugee Law Lab Director Professor Sean Rehaag‘s supervision at Osgoode Hall Law School.
Sarah Dawson, Research Assistant (JD RA)
Sarah (she/they) is a JD candidate at the Lincoln Alexander School of Law. They completed a PhD in computational polymer physics at McMaster University. They are currently a steering committee member at the LASL branch of the Fair Change Community Services Clinic, and a student case worker at the Lincoln Alexander legal clinic. They also organize with the Hamilton Encampment Support Network and the Barton Prisoner’s Solidarity Project. The transition from physics led them to wonder how the tools of data science and statistics can be applied to important questions about social justice in the law. They are excited to work on these questions with the team at the Refugee Law Lab.
Benn McGregor, Research Assistant (Software Engineer)
Benn McGregor is a Bachelor of Software Engineering student at the University of Waterloo. In first year, he organized Citizen Hacks, a hackathon about creating privacy-protecting technology. Through Waterloo’s co-op program, he has worked at a wide range of tech companies, most recently as a gameplay programmer at Behaviour Interactive. He is currently designing and creating a collaborative multiplayer video game to inspire action on the climate crisis. At the Refugee Law Lab, he will be helping to create a platform for data analysis of Federal Court cases.
Soliyana Yared, Research Assistant (JD RA)
Soliyana Yared is a JD candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School. She completed her undergraduate degree with High Distinction at the University of Toronto with an Honours BA in both Criminology and Peace, Conflict and Justice Studies and a minor in Spanish. Soliyana has worked alongside the Matthew House to expand their Refugee Hearing Program which worked to prepare refugee claimants for their upcoming Immigration and Refugee Board hearings. In doing so, she provided data analysis, marketing and outreach insights to improve the program. More recently, Soliyana was a member of the COVID-19 rebuild team at the United Alliance on Race Relations. In addition to compiling relief resources for BIPOC communities within the Greater Toronto Area, she also composed and presented a topical analysis regarding the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 within marginalized (racialized) communities.
Alexandra Verman, Research Assistant (JD RA)
Alexandra Verman is a JD candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School. Alex completed their undergraduate and Masters degrees at the University of Toronto, in the department of Political Science and in collaboration with the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies. Their scholarly work deals with issues of identity and imperialism. At Osgoode, Alex’s focus is on immigration, family, and refugee law; trauma-informed lawyering; and feminist and community-based legal work. Alex is also a journalist and has written about anti-imperialism, criminalization, and LGBTQ struggle for The Atlantic, Briarpatch Magazine, BuzzFeed, Xtra Magazine, Jewish Currents, and others.
Emily Wuschnakowski, Research Assistant (JD RA 2022-2023)
During her time with the Refugee Law Lab, Emily Wuschnakowski was a JD candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School. Prior to law school, she attended the University of Toronto where she completed a double major in Political Science and Public Policy with a minor in Canadian Studies. There, she studied Canadian immigration policies, learning about the systemic inequalities and advocating for avenues for reform. Outside of the classroom, Emily is an active member in her community. She served as the Chair of the Etobicoke North Youth Council and was responsible for liaising between youth in her community and federal elected officials, as well as volunteered as a caseworker at the Osgoode Community Legal Aid Services Program. In 2022-23, Emily was a student in the Intensive Program in Immigration and Refugee Law, where she participated in seminars on advanced topics in the field, as well as a six-week external clinic placement. As a Research Assistant, Emily undertook legal research on Canadian immigration law and policy for the Refugee Law Lab.
Catanne Boan-Mitchell, Research Assistant (JD RA 2022-2023)
Catanne Boan-Mitchell was a JD candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School when they joined the Refugee Law Lab as a Research Assistant in 2022-2023. They completed their undergraduate degree with High Distinction at the University of Toronto with an Honours BA in both Political Science and Diaspora and Transnational Studies. Catanne has worked with a number of organizations that provide free legal services to migrants and asylum seekers: including the FCJ Refugee Centre, The Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, and Parkdale Community Legal Services. They also volunteered with an Immigration and Refugee law firm providing research for the firm’s legal aid clients.
Mathew Tran, Research Assistant (JD RA 2022-2023)
While working as a Research Assistant at the Refugee Law Lab, Matthew Tran was a joint JD/MA candidate at the University of Toronto pursuing a Masters in Criminology. He holds a PhD in Systems Neuroscience from the University of Toronto. He served as steering committee member of the University of Toronto Law Union and an executive member of the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, University of Toronto Chapter. He was also a case worker at Advocates for Injured Workers and the Refugee/Immigration Division of Downtown Legal Services. He supports and organizes alongside different community organizations across the city including the Toronto Prisoners’ Rights Project, Injured Workers Action 4 Justice, and the FCJ Refugee Centre. Mathew assisted the Refugee Law Lab with visual research outputs and tool creation for legal practitioners in refugee law.
Faris Mohamed, Research Assistant (Backend Developer) (Spring 2022)
When he was in the Refugee Law Lab, Faris Mohamed was in his final year of the Computer Science Honours Bachelor’s Degree (Security Stream) at Carleton University. Faris is interested in all sorts of software development but security is one of his favourite subfields of software development. At the Refugee Law Lab he helped manage the infrastructure of a legal analytics application involving refugee law decision-making.
Gwenyth Wren, Research Assistant (JD RA 2021-22)
Gwenyth Wren was a JD candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School when she worked at the Refugee Law Lab. She completed her BA Honours in Environment and Development at McGill University where she spent four months in East Africa researching the effects of climate change on the livelihoods of vulnerable populations. She subsequently worked as a research assistant at the London School of Economics, aiding current work on creating a typology for human rights-based climate litigation. These experiences cemented her commitment and passion for leveraging law to combat climate change. At the Refugee Law Lab, Gwenyth assisted with gathering data about refugee adjudication from online sources.
Vince Lai, Research Assistant (JD RA 2021-22)
During his time at the Refugee Law Lab, Vince Lai was a JD candidate at the Osgoode Hall Law School. He graduated with a BA in Political Science and French at the University of Toronto. There, he helped manage the Greenpath Program and facilitated the arrival of international students. While doing so, he broadened his appreciation for diversity and took an interest in Canadian immigration policies. After his undergraduate studies, he worked for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business as a Bilingual Specialist. Vince aspires to continue advocating for small businesses and to gain a greater understanding of immigration law. Vince assisted the Refugee Law Lab with gathering refugee adjudication data for research involving machine learning processes and helped prepare refugee cases for publication in the Refugee Law Lab Reporter.
Subhah Wadhawan, Research Assistant (JD RA 2021-22)
Subhah Wadhawan was a JD candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School when she joined the Refugee Law Lab in 2021-2022. She completed her Masters in Criminology at the University of Ottawa where her research focused on the interaction between processes of racialization, surveillance and securitization in the post 9-11 context. Subhah interviewed Canada’s security certificate detainees, infamously known as the ‘Secret Trial 5’, and their families to investigate their lived experiences of securitization. Prior to law school, Subhah worked for the Department of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada as a policy analyst. She has also worked as a caseworker in the Immigration and Migrant Rights Division at Parkdale Community Legal Services and is committed to learning and un(learning) how to cultivate fierce and sustainable communities of resistance striving toward liberation. She undertook legal research on Canadian immigration law processes for the Refugee Law Laboratory.
Katherine Griffin, Research Assistant (JD RA 2021-22)
Katherine Griffin joined the Refugee Law Lab in 2021-2022, when she was a JD candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School. She completed her undergraduate degree at Sciences Po Paris in the Europe-Africa program. In the final year of her studies, she undertook internships with locally founded and operated arts and culture organizations in South Africa and Morocco. Prior to law school, Katherine worked with refugee claimants in Vancouver as a Settlement Worker, and later as Acting Program Coordinator. At Osgoode, Katherine continued to be actively engaged in refugee rights-related advocacy as Co-Director of the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) Osgoode chapter and Events Co-Chair of the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (CARL) Osgoode chapter. As a Research Assistant in the Refugee Law Lab team, Katherine helped to revise a law journal article, to gather refugee adjudication data for research involving machine learning processes, and to prepare refugee cases for publication in the Refugee Law Lab Reporter.
Alison Hanson, Research Assistant (JD RA Summer 2021)
Alison Hanson was a JD student at the Lincoln Alexander School of Law, Ryerson University during her time with the Refugee Law Lab. Before attending law school, she worked with the Computer Science Department at the University of Waterloo and has experience doing web development and design for numerous small businesses. She is interested in access to justice issues and using technology to address gaps in the legal system. Alison served as a research assistant at the Refugee Law Lab in the Summer 2021 term.
Rahemah Siddiqui, Research Assistant (JD RA Summer 2021)
During her time at the Refugee Law Lab, Rahemah Siddiqui was a JD candidate at the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law at Lakehead University. She completed her BA in History at the University of Toronto where her research focused on state-sanctioned violence and human rights abuses. She developed an interest in refugee law while working as a Legal Transcriptionist for the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. The role informs her awareness of the unique barriers faced by migrants, refugees, and undocumented peoples in the legal arena. She hopes to aid in dismantling these barriers and improving Canada’s refugee determination system through legal advocacy and research. She served as a research assistant at the Refugee Law Lab in the Summer 2021 term.