Student Feature: Patrick Jachyra
The RSI Student Feature introduces you to some of the interesting people studying in the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute. From leaders in rehabilitation sciences research to providing care to Toronto’s most vulnerable populations, our students are making an impact on communities at home and around the world.
Year & Program: 4th Year PhD
Q. What is your area of research?
My research seeks to understand how to enhance the health and well-being of children and youth with autism spectrum disorder. Specifically, my work seeks to understand how to increase physical activity participation, and the methods, and conceptual framework guiding my research are interdisciplinary in nature.
Q. What drew you to the field of rehabilitation sciences?
My undergraduate and masters degrees were in exercise science, and I was attracted to rehabilitation sciences to expand the depth, breadth, and to nuance my thinking. While I had a good handle on the exercise sciences, completing my PhD in rehabilitation science has provided me with a better understanding of how rehabilitation sciences have a role in enhancing the health and well-being of children and youth with autism spectrum disorder.
Q. Why did you choose to pursue your studies in the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute at the University of Toronto?
I chose RSI to work with my supervisor Dr. Barbara Gibson. She is an international leader, and her support of my work from the beginning has made an indelible impact in my life. The design of the RSI program is also optimal as there are a reasonable amount of required courses as part of the degree, but also provides lots of time for independent learning and inquiry.
Q. What advice would you give to prospective RSI students?
Spend some time to think about really what drives you and interests you, and work to pursue those interests through research. The research journey may not always be easy, but it will be worth it in the end.
Q. Do you pursue any extracurricular activities or hobbies?
Founder and former director of the Extraordinary Youth Council in Toronto, a recreation program designed for youth with autism spectrum disorder centred on teaching physical activity, life skills, and social skills.
Q. Please share a recent accomplishment!
Received the RSI Community service award for my work in the autism community in 2018, Gordon Cressy Student leadership Award, and the UTAA Graduate Scholar Award in 2017, at the University of Toronto Awards of Excellence Ceremony.