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"I truly appreciate the opportunity to have the ability to research things that I am passionate about. Having the chances to interact with my supervisors and lab mates has provided me with a strong sense of community and belonging."
Student Profile: Raffaele Joseph Massarotto
doctoral student in the Faculty of Science
My name is Raffaele Joseph Massarotto, but most people call me Raffy. I am a second year PhD student, working under the co-supervision of Dr. Anita Cote and Dr. Victoria Claydon. In September 2020, I moved to Vancouver, British Columbia from Mississauga, Ontario. Before arriving at SFU, I completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto and my masters at Brock University, both in kinesiology. During my undergrad, I was a student researcher at the Hospital for Sick Children. I had the opportunity to work under the supervision of Dr. Jane Schneiderman, an exercise physiologist in the Respiratory Medicine and Cardiopulmonary Exercise Lab. This experience completely ignited my passion, steering me towards studies and research in paediatric exercise physiology. On my spare time I enjoy surfing, reading and cooking.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?
Dr. Cote and Dr. Claydon’s field of study had aligned the best with my present research interests. Prior to being accepted, I had the opportunity to meet both Dr. Cote and Dr. Claydon, as well as the other students within their labs and they all had been so kind and welcoming. Knowing this, helped me to determine that I belong at SFU. On another note, it has been nice to get a change of scenery from my Ontario life and to experience all that BC has to offer.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RESEARCH OR YOUR PROGRAM TO A FAMILY MEMBER?
My master's research focused on children’s response to exercise, specifically examining potential sex-related differences related to tests that alter one’s skin blood flow. I aim to expand on the previous research conducted during my masters and plan to examine how the heart changes based on short and long term physical activity in populations that are healthy and those who are impacted with various chronic diseases. Exploring the possible changes in both the heart and the vasculature can highlight structural and functional differences between individuals of different sexes, ages and fitness levels.
WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?
I truly appreciate the opportunity to have the ability to research things that I am passionate about. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the experience to be on campus too often, due to Covid-19, but having the chances to interact with my supervisors and lab mates has provided me with a strong sense of community and belonging. Even with the limited time on campus there have been many instances to collaborate at SFU as well as with other institutions and organizations.
HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR-FUNDED AWARDS? IF SO, PLEASE TELL US WHICH ONES AND A LITTLE ABOUT HOW THE AWARDS HAVE IMPACTED YOUR STUDIES AND/OR RESEARCH.
I have been fortunate enough to have been awarded the BC Graduate Scholarship, the Dean’s Graduate Fellowship and a Graduate Fellowship. This funding has made the transition to BC easier and is giving me the opportunity to focus on my research.
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