Meet the next cohort of Code for Canada Fellows!

Heshan, Christina, Korhan, Farwa, Thomas, Neil, Dena, Sidra, Regan, Malik, Gillian and Ian are the next Code for Canada fellows!
Heshan, Christina, Korhan, Farwa, Thomas, Neil, Dena, Sidra, Regan, Malik, Gillian and Ian are the next Code for Canada fellows!

Please put your hands together, and join us in welcoming the fifth cohort of Code for Canada fellows. These 12 tech and design professionals have in-demand skills that they’ve chosen to use in the public interest. And we happen to think that makes them worthy of some applause. 👏

Over the next 10 months, Heshan, Christina, Korhan, Farwa, Thomas, Neil, Dena, Sidra, Regan, Malik, Gillian and Ian will be working collaboratively with their government partners to build and improve the services that residents rely on. Together, they’ll show that it’s not only possible to apply new digital methods to solving government challenges, but that doing so results in better outcomes for everyone involved.

You can learn more about them and their projects below, and you follow their journey on our blog, in our newsletter, and on Twitter.

Canadian Armed Forces Transition Group

Every year, between 10,000 to 12,000 members of the Canadian Armed Forces leave the military and re-enter civilian life. Code for Canada fellows with the Canadian Armed Forces Transition Group (CAF TG) will build digital tools to make the experience of transition more user-centred and effective. Their work will help outgoing members access training, healthcare and other services they need to take their best next step into the future.

Heshan Modaragamage — Product Manager (he/him)

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A computer scientist and entrepreneur, Heshan has led product strategy for services ranging from search engines to machine vision tools and real-time transportation management. He’s been the CTO at a number of startups, and is the founder of Hyfer Technologies, a successful software development firm based in Toronto. As a former member of the Canadian Forces and Royal Canadian Navy, he says the chance to build products that help his fellow veterans is “an absolute honour.”

Follow Heshan on LinkedIn

Christina Lanning —UX Designer (she/her)

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A UX designer and HR professional, Christina has honed her product design skills in both the private and public sectors. She was a talent management consultant at WSIB and a product designer at tilr, an algorithmic hiring startup. As a fellow, she’s eager to learn more about the experience of outgoing Canadian Forces’ members, and excited to create a solution that meets their diverse needs.

Follow Christina on LinkedIn

Korhan Akçura — Developer (he/him)

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Korhan is a software engineer and full-stack developer with extensive experience in the digital gaming industry. He’s an avid hackathon participant, and enjoys any opportunity to use his technical skills to make a positive impact in people’s lives. He’s excited to join the team at CAF TG and build something that helps veterans successfully re-integrate into Canadian society.

Follow Korhan on LinkedIn

Employment and Social Development Canada

Fellows with Employment and Social Development Canada will explore how emerging technologies and methods could reshape the way social benefits are delivered to Canadians — both on the back-end of policy, and the front-end of user experience.

Farwa Farshori — Product Manager (she/her)

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Farwa specializes in creating digital solutions and digital spaces for marginalized communities. She uses anti-racist and anti-oppressive practices in her work, and has helped launch products for non-profits and independent media companies. She is excited to join ESDC and build seamless services that benefit a vast number of Canadians. When she’s not steering digital product development, you can find Farwa volunteering with Sanchari.Can, a community group encouraging women of colour to explore the outdoors.

Follow Farwa on LinkedIn

Thomas Hoy— UX Designer (he/him)

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Thomas is a UX designer and composer, with experience working on independent documentaries and inside design agencies. He says he’s thrilled to be a Code for Canada fellow at ESDC because “the subject matter is fascinating and the stakes are high.” He believes it’s possible for residents to receive support from government “in a quick, simple way” and is looking forward to helping his government partners realize that vision.

Follow Thomas on LinkedIn

Neil Mispelaar — Developer (he/him)

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Neil is a software and UX developer with extensive experience working on internal digital projects for the federal government, including most recently at Statistics Canada. He says the fellowship is “an amazing opportunity to develop a product that will be delivered directly to Canadians.” He’s been a regular participant at Random Hacks of Kindness in Ottawa, and is particularly passionate about building digital services that are fully accessible and easy to use for everyone.

Follow Neil on Instagram

Dena Sotoudeh— Product Manager (she/her)

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Dena is a product manager with a background in e-learning; she’s worked for a variety of digital teaching and coaching companies, and was the founder of the BrightMinds Online School. She’s excited to join ESDC at a moment when the COVID-19 pandemic is increasing demand for their services and creating new challenges and opportunities for virtual benefit delivery. She’s a regular contributor to Product South, and uses her volunteer time to organize food and clothing drives in her community.

Follow Dena on Linkedin

Sidra Mahmood — UX Designer (she/her)

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Sidra Mahmood is a self-taught UX/UI designer and web developer. She spent the previous three years leading product design for the City of Toronto’s open data portal, and also helped co-create the city’s Open Data Master Plan. Some of her previous clients include Planned Parenthood, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, and The Hospital for Sick Children. As a fellow at ESDC, she’s looking forward to using data-driven design practices to improve usability for residents and public servants.

Follow Sidra on Twitter and Github

Regan Meloche — Developer (he/him)

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Regan is a full-stack developer who’s coded everything from consumer-facing apps to the systems that power autonomous farming technology. He’s always looking for opportunities to use his skills for good; he worked with Data for Good Regina on a project in support of the United Way and helped teach coding at ComIT, a charity that helps people find careers in digital. As a fellow at ESDC, he says he’s hoping to “help realize the idea of the government being a leader in the tech space.”

Follow Regan on LinkedIn

Canada Energy Regulator

Fellows at the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) will research and prototype new digital engagement tools. Their work will support and enhance the way the CER consults with stakeholders, Indigenous Peoples and the public on important energy projects.

Malik Jumani— Product Manager (he/him)

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Malik has been a product manager and consultant for a number of digital companies and startups, and is also the co-founder of Dextra Innovations, a not-for-profit that develops prostheses for refugees. He’s excited to work at the scale of government, and wants to help the CER connect with stakeholders, so they can make better decisions about energy projects and the environment.

Follow Malik on LinkedIn, Twitter and Medium

Gillian Wu — UX Designer (she/her)

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Gillian has worked in design and UX across startups, enterprise firms and agencies. She loves mentoring new designers and also volunteers with UnitedWomxn, a platform that amplifies the voices of youth and womxn in the Greater Toronto Area. As a fellow at the CER, she’s excited to use her design experience to make a positive impact for Canadians, and to help modernize existing processes within government.

Follow Gillian on Linkedin and Twitter

Ian Cappellani — Developer (he/him)

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Ian is a full-stack developer with experience working on agile software teams. He’s passionate about web accessibility and has created courses on the topic for Learning Lions, a non-profit that provides IT skills to youth in Kenya. As a fellow at the CER, he’s looking forward to using his skills to help more — and more diverse — voices be included in the national energy conversation.

Follow Ian on LinkedIn

The Code for Canada fellowship embeds technology professionals into government, where they work alongside public servants to build great digital services.

To learn more about becoming a fellow, or hosting a team of fellows in your department, visit