York Centre for Asian Research announces award winners

photos of Kaitlin Weedmark-Kish and Conely de Leon

Over the last seven years, the York Centre for Asian Research (YCAR) has offered over 30 awards to graduate students at York in support their language training and research fieldwork in Asia and the diaspora. This year is no exception. Several awards will help students in their Khmer and Mandarin language studies, as well as fieldwork in China and the Philippines.

headshot of Kaitlin Weedmark-KishKaitlin Weedmark-Kish, a first year master’s student in the Faculty of Environmental Studies, is the 2012 recipient of the Vivienne Poy Asian Research Award.

The Vivienne Poy Asian Research Award is named for the Honourable Vivienne Poy and assists a graduate student in fulfilling the fieldwork requirement for the Graduate Diploma in Asian Studies.

Weedmark-Kish’s research concerns the health implications of rapid environmental change in Shanghai on its elderly population. Through a unique application of soft systems methodologies, using open interviews, rich picture development and transect walks, she is exploring issues of health within the context of social dominance and power over the past 30 years.

She is also the recipient of a YCAR Language Award. While conducting her fieldwork in Shanghai in summer and early fall 2012, Weedmark-Kish also took intermediate Mandarin language classes at Fudan University.

A doctoral candidate in the Department of Geography in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, Laura Schoenberger’s dissertation research examines recent changes to land control in Cambodia and the counter-movements that have emerged to assert local rights to land. As a recipient of a YCAR Language Award, Schoenberger studied Khmer at the Southeast Asian Studies Summer Institute at the University Wisconsin-Madison this summer.

She has an MA in geography from McGill University and a BA in International Development Studies. Before starting her PhD, she worked for the United Nations in Lao PDR, for environmental non-governmental organizations in Vietnam and Cambodia, and for Canada’s International Development Research Centre in Ottawa and Singapore.

The YCAR Language Award was created to support graduate students in fulfilling the language requirement for the Graduate Diploma in Asian Studies and to facilitate awardees’ masters or doctoral-level research.

The 2012 Albert C. W. Chan Foundation Fellowship will fund research on whether long‐term family separation (for example, as an outcome of Canada’s Live‐In Caregiver Program), results in enduring and pervasive adverse effects on the socioeconomic, cultural and political engagement of children of Filipina migrant domestic workers as adults.

headshot of Conely de LeonRecipient Conely de Leon, a doctoral candidate in the School of Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies at York, will be conducting dissertation fieldwork in Manila, Philippines, during the coming academic year.

More specifically, her research will focus on the relationships that adult children now in Canada have to extended kin, often identified as grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and close family friends, who acted as their “primary” caregivers in the Philippines while separated from their mothers. By exploring these relationship dynamics through one‐on‐one, in‐depth interviews, de Leon hopes to offer some insight into the complexities of long‐term family separation and its impact on the socioeconomic, cultural and political development of children of Filipina migrant domestic workers into adulthood.

de Leon received her MA in sociology and equity studies in education, and women and gender studies at the University of Toronto, and her BA (Honours) in women’s studies and English language and literature at Queen’s University. Her research interests focus on critical race theory, transnational feminist praxis, gender and migration, and the development of critical Filipino studies in Canada.

The Fellowship was established by the Albert C.W. Chan Foundation to encourage and assist York University graduate students to conduct field research in East and/or Southeast Asia.

The deadline for 2013 awards is Feb. 11 2013.

For more information about YCAR awards, visit the awards page of the YCAR website.

In 2012, YCAR also hosted an award competition offering York students a week-long study visit to the Republic of China (Taiwan). Four spots were available as part of a 12-student delegation that included senior undergraduate and graduate students from the University of Toronto and Wilfrid Laurier University. Students of all York Faculties were eligible to apply for the Young Leaders’ Delegation opportunity, organized and funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China (ROC/Taiwan).

York’s awardees were: Rebecca Beaulne-Stuebing (masters candidate in education); Josh Fawcett Weiner (masters candidate in political science); Trevor Kezwer (fourth-year undergraduate student in political science); and Lydia Guo (Osgoode JD program).