TaskExchange champ: Stephana gains skills and finds collaborators

Stephana Cherak

Welcome to our new TaskExchange Champs series, where we showcase the great people using TaskExchange and how they’re making the most of the platform.

This month our TaskExchange Community Engagement and Partnerships Manager Emily, chatted to PhD student and TaskExchange helper Stephana.

Name: Stephana Cherak (on twitter @sjcherak)
Age: 25
Occupation: PhD Student, Epidemiology
Program: Department of Community Health Sciences, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary Critical Care Research Network

Hi Stephana, what a joy to connect with you over Twitter recently! Thank you so much for your wonderful, hilarious tweets. And thanks for making the time to chat today.

My pleasure on both counts!


So you’re a PhD student in Epidemiology? Can you tell us a bit about that?

Sure. I’m a PhD Student in Epidemiology at the University of Calgary in the O'Brien Institute for Public Health and the Hotchkiss Brain Institute. My research focuses on the epidemiology of delirium in the critically ill, and involves a randomised clinial trial which is really exciting! I’ve got two years to go on the PhD. I am also a Statistical Assistant for Statistics Canada at the Calgary Research Data Centre.

Wow, sounds amazing and also busy! I see you’ve responded and completed a lot of tasks on TaskExchange. Which makes me think you’re the most organised person I know! How do you use TaskExchange?

Sub out organized for passionate, and I agree. ;-)

I read through the weekly task alert email every Monday to see what tasks may be available for me to apply for that week. In addition, I follow both TaskExchange and Cochrane on Twitter and both accounts frequently post new and revised tasks that are available for application.

Tweet 2

What motivates you to respond to tasks?

It is through systematic reviews and meta-analyses that we change health care. That’s where clinicians get their information. I am fortunate to possess strong analytical skills and I have a burning desire to be involved in large-scale systematic reviews. I spoke to my PhD supervisors Dr. Kirsten Fiest and Dr. Tom Stelfox  about this, and they encouraged me to sign up to TaskExchange as a means of gaining experience in conducting systematic reviews.

I’m also motivated by the opportunity to foster collaborations and relationships with other trainees and world-class researchers. Through TaskExchange I have broadened my research network, shared my research interests and ideas with other members, and collaborated on projects that contribute to the objectives and efforts of Cochrane and other health evidence groups.

What sort of tasks do you apply for? I’m guessing you’ve done some data extraction, some screening…?

The tasks that I apply for really depend on what my week looks like and what time I have available aside from my thesis research commitments. Some tasks require only 30 minutes of time while others may require 3 days. The great thing about TaskExchange is that there is bound to be something to suit everyone’s schedule. I’ve done data extraction, screening, protocol reviews, I’ve reviewed completed projects as a consumer, and also done translation tasks.

Translations tasks as well! What language do you speak?

I speak three languages other than English: French, Italian and German.

Goodness me! I don’t feel inadequate in the slightest! ;-) What is something fun you’re doing out of work?

I love to run! Sometimes even away from work (kidding). During my undergraduate degree I competed on the University of Calgary Varsity X-Country and Track & Field team. After my undergrad, I furthered my passion for running by competing as an elite runner for Adidas and obtained high national and international rankings in the half- (2nd Nation) and full-marathon (1st Nation, 18th World). Ultimately I’d love to develop a running program to support girls in sport, with the purpose to empower girls through running.

Tweet 3
Stephana encouraging a fellow athlete in a training session


I might just repeat ‘Goodness me! I don’t feel inadequate in the slightest!’ Ha! And our final question, what would you say to someone thinking about helping out on TaskExchange?

I highly recommend TaskExchange for graduate trainees and people at the early stage of their research career. It offers a fantastic network of hugely talented researchers that can teach us so much!

Are you a student or early career researcher interested in helping on TaskExchange? Sign up here. You might like to also read Six tips for helping out on TaskExchange and join us on Twitter.


June 7, 2019

The Cochrane Official Blog is curated and maintained by the Knowledge Translation Department. To submit items for publication to the blog or to add comments to a blog, please email mumoquit@cochrane.org.

The Cochrane Blog presents commentary and personal opinion on topics of interest from a range of contributors to the work of Cochrane. Opinions posted on the Cochrane Blog are those of the individual contributors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of Cochrane.