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Three graduate students wearing hard hats on construction site

Supporting women through building science

Building Science master's students

Building Science master’s students are providing their expertise to improve the energy efficiency, comfort and durability of the new North York Women’s Shelter, external link – and gaining real-world experience in the process.

The win-win collaboration is the brainchild of Greg Labbé, Building Science research lab technician, who facilitated this opportunity for women in the program to gain valuable job-site experience in a male-dominated industry. Students participated in meetings with architects, builders and engineers and contributed to technical discussions about the project.

“It’s a unique experience, looking over construction details, discussing potential technical challenges, and then thinking about the women who will be occupants of this building,” said Building Science master’s student Jelena Madzarevic. “Contributing to a real-world project designed to support women was an eye-opening experience.”

Since fall 2017, master’s students have been helping LGA Architectural Partners, external link detail the shelter’s air-barrier system to meet the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ stringent air-tightness standards. The goal is to improve energy efficiency, reduce discomfort, increase building durability and lower operating costs.

“We are fortunate to have really engaging faculty and staff that are passionate about buildings,” said Madzarevic. “We were provided countless opportunities to develop and practice job-ready skills such as the opportunity Greg extended to us with the North York Women’s Shelter.”

The 2270-square-metre 17-bedroom facility is scheduled to be completed in summer 2019.


Photo credit: Greg Labbé

“Contributing to a real-world project designed to support women was an eye-opening experience.”

Jelena Madzarevic, Building Science master’s student

The Building Science Lab’s work was made possible by the Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science Dean’s Pedagogical Innovation Fund.

Project team members


Dr. Mark Gorgolewski, Chair, Department of Architectural Science
Dr. Russell Richman, Associate Chair, Graduate Studies and Graduate Program Director, Building Science


Greg Labbé, Building Science Research Lab Technician

Building Science master’s students:

Erica Barnes
Laura DesRosiers
Jonathan Graham
Romina Kaveh
Elizabeth Leriche
Jelena Madzarevic
Mahsa Nikafkar
Greer Stanier
Austin Todd
Roja Varzegani Safarza
Yu Ying (Anna) Wang
Hannah Weger

LGA Architectural Partners:

Chantal Cornu, Architect
Kris Payne, Senior Associate
Rachel Law, Project Designer


Robert Quattrociocchi, Building and Material Sciences Manager
Christopher Simonelli, Superintendent  
Yung Tang, Project Manager

North York Women’s Shelter:

Mohini Datta-Ray, Executive Director

Pearson Ripley

Future focus

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Dr. Dale Carl, Director of Graduate Students and Professor, Ted Rogers School of Management

YSGS Scholar-in-Residence Asmaa Malik

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Asmaa Malik, Scholar-in-Residence, Yeates School of Graduate Studies


Ryerson graduate alumna Jenny Duffy

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Jenny Duffy, master’s alumna, Philosophy & Public Policy and Administration

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Christian Hui, Master of Social Work alumnus

PhD alumna Dr. Anne Wagner

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Three graduate students wearing hard hats on construction site

Supporting women through building science

Building Science master's students

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Dalia Hanna, Computer Science PhD student

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Matthew Ferguson, Architecture master's student

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David Grant, Master of Social Work alumnus

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Travonne Edwards, Ryerson Child and Youth Care MA

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Travonne Edwards, Child and Youth Care MA alumnus

Ryerson graduate alumna Adrienne Smith

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Ella Dubinsky, Psychology MA

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Julie Robertson, Environmental Applied Science and Management MASc

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Dr. Michael Kolios, Professor and Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Studies, Faculty of Science

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Laneways meet new life

Ariana Cancelli, Master’s in Urban Development, MPl

Jacky Au Duong with fellow graduate student in classroom

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Jacky Au Duong, Master of Professional Communication

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Inspirational faculty meets innovative research

Dr. Amira Abdelrasoul, Chemical Engineering PhD

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Entrepreneurship meets accessibility

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