Two York students named finalists in SSHRC 2022 Storytellers Challenge

SSHRC Storytellers image printed with permission from SSHRC

York University students Alexandra Markwell and Vincci Li are Top 25 finalists in the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s (SSHRC) 2022 Storytellers Challenge. 

This annual contest challenges post-secondary students from across the country to demonstrate how SSHRC-funded research is making a difference in the lives of Canadians. 

This year’s Top 25 Storytellers represent post-secondary institutions throughout Canada and were chosen from among 230 applicants. Their research stories include topics that are important to Canadians and have wide-reaching implications such as racial profiling in policing, the spread of misinformation and more.  

Alexandra Markwell
Alexandra Markwell

Markwell is a psychology student at the Faculty of Health and an incoming clinical development master’s student. Their research submission for the 2022 Storytellers Challenge is Responsive Parenting Programs: Empowering Parents to Support Children’s Language. The research is supported through SSHRC’s Insight Grant.  

In Markwell’s application, they mention, “in a SSHRC-funded project at York University, our team examined how effective responsive parent programs are at enhancing children’s early language skills by analyzing 33 studies with more than 600 families from around the world. We found that teaching parents to be more responsive led to improvements in children’s language skills. However, we also found that families with more social disadvantages benefitted less.”  

The research findings examine that families need to be supported through systems and policies that decrease social disadvantage, reduce strain on parents and allow parent-child relationships to thrive in order for children to have support through lifelong learning, success, and mental wellness.  

Vincci Li
Vincci Li

Li is a PhD candidate in York’s Social & Political Thought graduate program. Their research submission for the 2022 Storytellers Challenge is Crowdfunding for Our Lives. 

Through this study, Li learned the stories of people who have created a medical crowdfunding campaign, benefitted from one, or contributed to a campaign for personal health care-related expenses. The research project is supported through SHHRC’s Canada Graduate Scholarship-Doctorial program.  

In the storytelling submission, Li says, “My research adds to existing studies by centering the stories of those who have lived through the experience of raising or contributing to medical crowdfunding campaigns. Together with my participants, we’re exploring the strengths and gaps in personal and social safety nets.” 

Li’s research not only asks questions about how Canadians care for each other but how people should care for one another in order to work toward building a more fair and equitable system of health care and social services in Canada.  

Each finalist receives $3,000 and a chance at one of the coveted Final Five spots, which comes with an additional $1,000. The Final Five winners will be announced at an event at the Congress for the Humanities and Social Sciences, hosted at York University, on May 16 at 2 p.m. EST.  

The event will be live-streamed for the public to access. For additional information about the 2022 Storytellers Challenge, visit the SSHRC website.