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Staff Team

Sarah Topa, International Program & Partnerships Officer
Kamila Lear, Business Officer
Kaki Narh-Blackwood, Student, Faculty Affairs & Awards Officer
Hazel Pollard, Admissions Officer
Claudette Spence, Departmental Assistant

Years Active in the IMS: 1998 - Present

Written by: Sarah Topa

As a staff team we have a lot of experience under our belts. Hazel has been here the longest at twenty years, and Kamila isn’t far behind with nearly a decade of service. I have learned a lot from my colleagues since joining the team – not only about the day-to-day running of the IMS, but also about how to best serve students, problem solve, take initiative and work together. We all appreciate that the IMS staff team really cares about students and the strong sense of camaraderie and cooperation among us. In 2015 I was honoured to receive the Faculty of Medicine’s “New Employee Staff IMPACT Award”. It was particularly meaningful that the nomination and recognition came from my colleagues.

We all love the diversity of the IMS. Hazel’s favourite part of her job is having “the opportunity to meet someone new every day, especially during the admission period”. Kaki explains that “The IMS is a place where there is a constant stream of fascinating people and projects.  The proximity to interesting and novel research is very exciting.” It’s true – we get to hear about groundbreaking research and incredible accomplishments in medical science first hand.

It’s also safe to say that another great part of our jobs is getting to work directly with students – helping, advising and encouraging them on a daily basis. Elena, our former Departmental Assistant, was the first point of contact for the IMS. She really enjoyed assisting our students and faculty and was a welcoming presence in the office and was always ready to lend a hand.  As Kamila points out, “I believe that building stronger connections with IMS students will help us understand where we need to focus our efforts to support their graduate experience.” With over 500 students and 600 faculty in the IMS our days may be busy, but they are certainly also rewarding.

Photo by Mikaeel Valli.