Board of Trustees Spirit of Brock medal

Faculty of Graduate Studies

Board of Trustees Spirit of Brock medal

Faculty of Education

May Al-Fartousi
PhD Educational Studies

May Al-Fartousi’s doctoral research breaks new ground as it examines the experiences of Muslim Shi’i young females negotiating their identities in their community, home and schools.

In the words of May’s external examiner: “In my estimation, the importance of her contribution to the subject is timely and fills a major void in scholarship and, at the same time, provides the Muslim community with a possible template to deal with these topics in a methodical manner.”

She will continue to lead the way with her most recent research proposal that explores how Muslim-Canadian mothers negotiate cultural, ethnical and religious experiences related to raising their daughters with learning exceptionalities. This research will include the voices of health service providers, counselors, immigration officers and Muslim associations that provide support for Muslim youth with disabilities.

May’s work has garnered multiple prestigious provincial, national and international awards, grants and recognitions, and yet she has the ability to remain grounded in the academic and professional literature while staying connected to the daily realities of people’s lives. She demonstrates a willingness to generously share her research, resources, experiences and ideas with others in order to enrich learning.

Perhaps most remarkable is May’s courage. She has begun conversations that some would not dare to open on critical issues such as racism, sexism, and social prejudice. In the process of these discussions, she challenges others — her students, colleagues and professionals — to interrogate their assumptions, reframe their thinking, and work towards meaningful social change.

May has delivered numerous practical workshops for young girls and their parents at local mosques. Through these workshops she provides young girls and parents with the support in negotiating their diverse values and identities across multiple social worlds.

In April, May began working on another project, “My Social Worlds,” based on her PhD research, to help respond to the needs of Muslim youth in the community. Over several months she hopes to develop a curriculum and educational activities that will address issues related to the integrated identity of Muslim youth.

This project is yet another exciting new opportunity for May to reach out to the community as a researcher, educator and community activist. She vows to continue to inspire and encourage all who know her to be change-agents within their classrooms, schools and communities, and world.

In her words: “through the sharing of my diverse lived experiences and through my research I will continue to provide insights into the complex social, religious and cultural factors that influence minority students and their families.”


May Al-Fartousi, recipient of the graduate student Spirit of Brock medal for the

May Al-Fartousi, recipient of the graduate student Spirit of Brock medal for the Faculty of Education