York graduate students win $5.59 million in awards

Students in York’s Faculty of Graduate Studies have won $5.59 million in research scholarship and fellowship grants. The grants are part of $99 million in awards announced by the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) on Sept. 15. A total of 144 York students at the master’s, doctoral and postdoctoral level received fellowships and grants for projects which range from a study of the Safe Schools Act and the history of the Toronto subway system to justice in post-genocide Rwanda and the reinterpretation of ideology through suicide bombings.  

“All Canadians stand to gain from this federal investment in advanced training for over 2,000 first-class Canadian graduate students and postdoctoral fellows,” said York Vice-President Research & Innovation Stan Shapson (right). “These award winners will become key players in Canada’s knowledge economy — as leaders, innovators and researchers in business, the professions, politics, education and many other fields.”

As they pursue their degrees, the master’s and doctoral award winners will be honing research skills in key areas of knowledge. The postdoctoral fellowships will support new PhD graduates at a key stage in their careers as they prepare to enter university teaching, research and other professions.

“Research is a vital part of a university education,” added Shapson. “SSHRC’s support will enable these outstanding students and scholars to build the knowledge to better understand Canada’s most pressing economic, political, social and cultural issues. This support also helps to maintain Canada’s international reputation as a nation committed to excellence.”

Eight-eight York students studying at the master’s level received a total of $1.55 million in funding under the Canada Graduate Scholarships program for master’s students which provides with $17,500 for one year. Christina Akrong, a master’s student in the Faculty of Education, will pursue her study titled, “Mitigating the effects of the Safe Schools Act: suspension and expulsion”. Elya Durisin, a master’s student in the Faculty of Environmental Studies, will conduct a visual inquiry into the experiences of women who are waiting for subsidized housing.

Right: One study funded by the SSHRC includes a  visual inquiry into the experiences of women who are waiting for subsidized housing

A total of $2.62 million in funding under the Canada Graduate Scholarships program, which provides $35,000 a year for up to three years, was awarded to 25 York doctoral candidates. Jason Young, a PhD candidate in history, received three years of funding to study the birth and growth of the Toronto subway system from 1946 to 1968. Mark Toufayan, the Harley D. Hallett scholar and PhD candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School, received $105,000 for his three-year study of the identity of human rights law. Laura Eramian, a doctoral candidate in anthropology, received three years of funding to study the popular notions of justice in post-genocide Rwanda.

Left: PhD candidate Jason Young will study the birth and growth of the Toronto subway system. This photograph shows the subway in 1954.

Among the 28 researchers who were awarded a total of $1.18 million under the doctoral fellowship program, which provides up to $20,000 per year for up to four years, psychologist Gwen Jenkins received a three-year fellowship to examine the influence of complainant and defendant identity on mock juror’s judgements of drug-facilitated sexual assault. Charles Wells, a researcher in the Division of Social Sciences in York’s Faculty of Arts, has received $60,000 to investigate the reinterpreting of ideology through suicide bombing.

Right: Charles Wells will investigate the reinterpreting of ideology through suicide bombing

In all, 88 master’s students, 25 PhD students, 28 doctoral fellows and three post-doctoral fellows at York University received funding from the SSHRC.

All of the scholarship and fellowship recipients were chosen by independent juries of expert researchers who reward only the highest standards of academic achievement.

For a complete list of successful recipients, visit the SSHRC Web site. Click here to view the full list of recipients.