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Zachary Hawes

Lab Director

Zack Hawes holds a PhD in Cognitive, Developmental, and Brain Sciences from Western University. He is also a qualified elementary teacher. Zack's primary research interests involve studying the relation between spatial thinking and mathematics (and the other STEM disciplines) and how to use this knowledge to design more accessible and engaging learning opportunities. Zack has also worked closely with educational industry partners, such as TVO, and consulted for large-scale organizations, such as the Ontario Ministry of Education. Zack's hobbies include painting, running, and playing basketball.  

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Yue Cai


Yue Cai (Cherry) is an aspiring educator currently pursuing her M.Ed degree in Curriculum and Pedagogy at OISE. She holds a BSc in Mathematics and Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and furthered her academic journey by obtaining a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) from the University of Oxford. She is a qualified secondary math teacher in both the UK and Canada, accumulating several years of math teaching experience. Yue is interested in exploring the realm of children's development of mathematical thinking, math curriculum development, and fostering children's holistic development through math learning. In her spare time, Yue enjoys reading, paper quilling, and hiking.  


Ingrid D'Silva


Ingrid is a Ph.D. student in Curriculum and Pedagogy at OISE. She has been teaching math for the last 15 years with the Toronto District School Board. She has an M.A. from OISE in which she investigated Supporting Grade 9 Students in Destreamed Mathematics Classrooms. Ingrid also has taken on roles in educational publishing, creating numerous titles in K-12 mathematics. Her research interests are in the areas of secondary school mathematics, including mathematical readiness, accessibility, assessment, and professional development. Ingrid enjoys baking, running, yoga and historical fiction.

Mackenzie Crawford


Mackenzie is currently a teacher candidate in the Master of Arts in Child Study and Education program at OISE at the University of Toronto. As a teacher candidate, she is interested in how to make mathematics engaging, enjoyable, and fun for her students while effectively teaching the curriculum. Mackenzie has had years of experience in the school system as an educational assistant, student teacher, and as a volunteer. When she is not in school, she can be found tossing a rugby ball, playing with her dog, or watching movies. 

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Joe Singh

Doctor of Education Candidate

Joe Singh is a Doctor of Education candidate at the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education/University of Toronto. He holds a Master of Arts in Early Childhood Studies from the Toronto Metropolitan University. Joe is also an Elementary Teacher with the Toronto District School Board where he works in Model Schools for Inner Cities. Joe’s focus in the Doctor of Education program in Child Studies and Education is to examine how STEAM education can be used to help students learn about issues of power, harm and inequality. Joe is an amateur mixologist and his hobbies include playing board games, hanging out with his cousins, and collecting Funko Pops. 


Hannah Whitehead


Hannah Whitehead is a PhD student in the Developmental Psychology and Education program at OISE. She holds an MA from the University of Toronto and a B.Sc. (Hons.) in Psychology from the University of Western Ontario. Her research interests are in the development of literacy and numeracy and the relations between the two skills.


Julia Turco


Julia holds a B.A.Sc. in Human Behaviour from McMaster University and is a Teacher Candidate in the Master of Arts in Child Study and Education program at OISE - University of Toronto. Julia is interested in learning more about how different approaches to mathematics teaching can impact students’ learning. Julia has also worked as an instructor and assistant centre director at a math centre, a classroom tutor in the school system, and a student teacher. Her hobbies include fitness, baking, and crafting.


Myah Birrell


Myah is currently a teacher candidate in the Master of Arts in Child Study and Education program at OISE at the University of Toronto. As a teacher candidate, she is interested in holistic and whole-child education. Specifically, looking at how teachers can make curriculum enjoyable for all learners. Myah has had years of experience in the school system as a classroom volunteer, after-school tutor and now as a student teacher. On her spare time Myah can be found outside in the park, at a yoga class or on a bike ride with friends.


Abdullah Zafar

Lab Alumni/Consultant

Abdullah Zafar completed a double major in Mathematics and Physics at the University of Toronto, and is currently pursuing graduate studies in neuro-science at the University of Waterloo. He is also a former professional soccer player and licensed coach. Abdullah’s research interests span several domains, including sport performance, cognitive neuro-science, and rehabilitation. In particular, his recent work has involved applying mathematics to build models of physiological fatigue, team tactics, and visual-spatial attention, as well as understanding the mechanisms governing gait and human navigation. Abdullah has collaborated with and consulted for partners in sporting, educational, and rehabilitative organizations around the world including the Portuguese Football Federation, Southern Denmark University, the Baseball Injury & Performance Initiative, and the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. Abdullah’s hobbies include photography, hiking, and riding his motorcycle.

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