The Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLAC) announced the 2012 winners of the Barbados Canadian Friendship Scholarships, awarded to full-time graduate students at York University whose area of research is related to Barbados or the Barbadian-Canadian community.
The two PhD-level students to be selected for this recognition are Jill Andrew (PhD candidate, education) and Jason Mikelakos (PhD candidate, history).
Jill Andrew (BA Hons. '02, BEd '03) holds a bachelor of education degree in social sciences and dramatic arts from York, an MA in women and gender studies from the University of Toronto, and is currently pursuing her PhD in education at York – where her research focuses on women's body images and self-esteem, media representation and visual literacies, particularly for marginalized female populations. Andrew is particularly concerned with the historical and contemporary links between the harmful practice of skin-bleaching and socio-cultural, economic identity among racialized women, Barbadian or Black Canadian women of Bajan heritage in Toronto.
Andrew is also an award-winning journalist and currently writes a lifestyle column for T.O. Night newspaper. She is the producer of the Curvy Catwalk Fashion Fundraiser, BITE ME! Toronto Int'l Body Image Film & Arts Festival, Dining with Dames Girls' Leadership, Self-Esteem & Mentorship Program, and other creative projects. She has been recognized with the Michele Landsberg Media Activism Award and the Endless Possibilities African-Canadian Women's Award, among others. In 2010, Jill was one of 120 Canadian women hand-picked by then-Governor General Michaëlle Jean to participate in the first Governor General's Conference on Women's Security at Rideau Hall.
A member of the evaluation committee commented: "it is the creativity, passion, commitment and insight that Andrew brings to her project that will ensure its originality and its impact. Her grasp of the area in theoretical, empirical and personal terms is very impressive. "
Jason Michelakos completed his BA (Hons.) in philosophy and political studies at Trent University in 2004, winning the Bagnani Award. He is also a graduate of the master's degree program in political science at the University of Western Ontario, where in 2005 he received the Special University Scholarship. Jason is currently a doctoral candidate in York's graduate program in social and political thought. His dissertation examines how disciplinary and governmental power shaped plantation slavery in Barbados and South Carolina. In 2009, he was awarded the Division of Humanities Excellence in Teaching Award at York University.
A member of the evaluation committee observed: "He has an excellent grasp of Barbadian history and is expected to make an original contribution to understanding the genesis of modernity through his study of the disciplinary formation of the plantation system in Barbados and South Carolina."
The Barbados Canadian Friendship Graduate Scholarships were created through the contribution of an anonymous donor and are administered by CERLAC.
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