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Navona Calarco

Navona Calarco

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Navona Calarco

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Research Analyst, CAMH
Cognitive Science 2015

York's Cognitive Science program offered the unique opportunity to take classes across an array of relevant disciplines -- in my case, psychology, biology, engineering, statistics. Memorable conversation with Professors Kristin Andrews and Jacob Beck taught me how empirical data and methods may bear on analytic argument. In my first weeks of the program, I attended an event at which Dr. Muhammad Ali Khalidi emphasized the importance of research experience as akin to that of coursework. With his guidance, I found ideal placements in the labs of three Cognitive Science faculty: with Dr. Raymond Mar, I assisted with experimental design and data analysis; with Dr. Shayna Rosenbaum, I tested clinical populations; and with Dr. Jennifer Steeves, I gained direct exposure to the MRI Centre. These placements also afforded me exciting opportunities to contribute to grants, attend conferences, present collaborative work, and co-author manuscripts. I remain incredibly grateful for the time, trust, and mentorship I received from these faculty, which was foundational to my early growth and confidence, and shaped my emerging desire to be a scientist.

After graduating, I got a job working as a research analyst in a computational imaging-genetics lab at CAMH (PI: Dr. Aristotle Voineskos). I am certain that the breadth of my coursework and research experience contributed to my consideration for that position, and enabled my success within it. After three years as staff, I decided to pursue graduate studies in the same lab, in affiliate with the Faculty of Medicine at University of Toronto. I’m currently working on a project that seeks to identify neurological biomarkers of psychosis, and train an algorithm that predicts disease onset before first episode. The work I’m doing brings together many of the domains of cognitive science, and I couldn’t be more excited to be doing it!

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