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Dr. Deborah Fels earned her Bachelor of Science - Biological Engineering from the University of Guelph in 1984. She continued her studies, receiving her Masters in Health Science in Clinical Engineering in 1987 and her PhD in Human Factors in 1994 from the University of Toronto. She is also a certified Professional Engineer.
Between 1987-1990 Fels was the director of the Biomedical Engineering Department at Centenary Hospital. In 1990 she took a position as a teaching assistant at the University of Toronto in the Department of Industrial Engineering. She worked in this capacity until 1992 when she became a lecturer in the same department. Between 1993-1995 Fels worked as a part-time professor at the University of Guelph in the Department of Computing and Information Science. At the same time (1994-1995) she was a part-time researcher with the Hugh MacMillan Rehabilitation Centre in Toronto. She joined Ryerson University in September of 1995 as an Assistant Professor, achieving Tenure in 1999, in the Ted Rogers School of Information Technology Management and the Director of the Inclusive Media and Design Centre. Her research interests involve inclusive design, access to media and technology for people with disabilities and older adults, inclusive video game design and inclusive business. She is professionally affiliated with the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario, Human Factors Association of Canada, Human Factors Society, and Association of Computing Machinery (SIGCHI). Fels has won several awards including the Collaborative Research Award from Ryerson University in 2014; the 2013 Dr. Margaret R. Pfanstiehl Memorial Achievement Award-Research and Development in Audio Description from the American Council of the Blind; the Ryerson SRC Award from Ryerson University in 2011; and the Sarwan Sahota Reserach Award from Ryerson University in 2009.