Six York graduate students win prestigious Vanier scholarships

Six students from the Faculty of Graduate Studies at York University are winners of the prestigious new Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships, a new program designed by the federal government to attract and retain the world’s top-tier graduate students. The announcement was made Friday in Ottawa.

Each graduate student will receive $50,000 per year for up to three years to pursue research that will lead to the growth of the global knowledge base.

The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship program is designed to support doctoral students who demonstrate leadership skills and a high standard of scholarly achievement in graduate studies in the social sciences and humanities, natural sciences and engineering. “York University continues to attract graduates who are leaders in their field and whose research contributes to Canada’s competitiveness on the world stage,” said York President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri. “The federal government’s Vanier scholarship program helps position Canada as a global centre for higher learning.”

The scholarships are administered through Canada’s three federal granting agencies, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

“I am delighted by these results, not only because each and every one of our deserving awardees is about to undertake a fascinating research project, but the range of their projects speaks to York’s commitment to innovation, interdisciplinarity and engagement,” said Douglas Peers, dean of York’s Faculty of Graduate Studies and associate vice-president graduate, Faculty of Graduate Studies.

The following York Faculty of Graduate Studies students were among 166 recipients across the country:

Kristine Fitzgerald, a master’s candidate in the Graduate Program in Psychology, will investigate racial bias in the Canadian courtroom, particularly in cases with Aboriginal defendants. Fitzgerald will focus on three areas in her doctoral research: she intends to highlight the anticipated severity of racial bias toward Aboriginal defendents; assess the current challenge for cause procedure at reducing courtroom racial bias; and determine the impact of this bias on jury deliberations and decisions.

Issac Osuoka, an international doctoral student in the Graduate Program in Environmental Studies, will investigate how the development of formal civil society, through the mushrooming of the non-governmental organization sector, has failed to resolve the contradictions between state and communities in fossil fuel-producing countries in the global south, particularly the Gulf of Guinea (which includes Nigeria).

Lisa Romano-Dwyer, a doctoral student in the Graduate Program in Education, will research the ways education in general, and the humanities in particular, “cultivate humanity” as a possible response to resolving school violence.

Kaley Roosen (BSc Spec. Hons. ’07) is a master’s candidate in the Graduate Program in Psychology. In her doctoral research, she will study the placebo response to enhance our understanding of context effects and individual difference factors that influence placebo analgesia, with the goal of aiding future research involving the administration of pain-reducing drugs.

Rob Stansel, a master’s candidate in the Graduate Program in History and a newly minted doctoral student, will examine merchant communities and the criminal law in London from 1750 to 1830. In the context of the present economic crisis, Stansel will investigate how legal institutions and ideologies shaped the expanding global economy of the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

Samantha Yamada is a master’s candidate in the Graduate Program in Psychology. As part of her PhD, Yamada will explore an interactive partnership model as a more effective way to bridge research and practice in the field of child and adolescent mental health

For more information, visit the Vanier graduate scholarships Web site.