Brock graduate students recognized for research excellence


Kate Paterson (left) and Samantha Stromski are winners of SSHRC graduate scholarships and also won the Youth University Research Prizes at the Mapping the New Knowledges Graduate Student Research Conference in April.

Graduate student researchers Kate Paterson and Samantha Stromski share common ground when it comes to advocating for concepts of fairness and equality.

Paterson and Stromski are among 27 Brock graduate students who were recognized for research excellence with 2014 Canada Graduate Student funding awards from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

Both are entering their second year of a two-year master’s degree. Paterson is in the Social Justice and Equity Studies program while Stromski is in the Child and Youth Studies program. The SSHRC award will provide each of them with $17,500 for the coming year.

In total, Brock graduate students received SSHRC funding that totalled $775,000. A list of the graduate student SSHRC awards is available online.

Paterson and Stromski were also the winners of the Youth University Research Prizes at the Mapping the New Knowledges Graduate Student Research Conference held in April. The award recognizes graduate students for excellence in child and youth related research and each winner receives $200.

While their specific research projects are quite different, the goal of each project aims to break down barriers to equity and justice attitudes and practices in the lives of children and youth.

At the conference, Paterson gave an oral presentation that focused on understanding how traditional and non-traditional storybooks influence young children’s attitudes about gender and sexual diversity.

As an undergraduate student at Mount Allison, Paterson explored children’s understanding of gender in traditional fairytales that portray strict gender boundaries and normative gender roles. Building on this knowledge, her graduate research now looks at the non-traditional side of things by examining children’s understandings of “anti-oppressive children’s stories” that integrate and promote themes of gender and sexual diversity.

To support her work, Paterson offers examples of anti-oppressive storybooks such as 10,000 Dresses, a picture book about a transgendered person that was published in 2008, and Tango Makes 3, a 2005 storybook based in a true account of two male penguins at New York’s Central Park Zoo.

“As gender inequality continues to persist, it is imperative that we gain an appreciation of where this inequity originates, how it is perpetuated, and where possible areas for change and reform may lie,” says Paterson. “My hope is that my research findings may help to open up educational opportunities for learning and liberation that extend beyond simple strategies of tolerance of gender variance and sexual diversity in the classroom.”

Stromski presented a poster at the conference about her work that explores needs of young people with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) when dealing with the Canadian justice system.

In her research, she will conduct in-depth interviews with professionals who work with youth with FASD, as well as gather participant observations during court cases where young people with FASD are involved.

Current statistics, Stromski says, indicate that 40 to 50 per cent of people with FASD end up in justice system.

“The characteristics of their disability makes them impulsive and very suggestible and that leads them into trouble with the law,” says Stromski. “It’s like a revolving door. Once they are in the justice system, their disability makes them vulnerable to being misunderstood. This is where my research comes in. The goal of my study is to provide new directions for the development of support programs that will assist youth with FASD in navigating their way through the justice system with more ease, resulting in more equitable experiences for youth with FASD.”

Here is a list of Brock’s graduate students who received SSHRC awards:

SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarships

Ann Farrell, Psychology
“Predicting adolescent bullying subtypes with individual and ecological factors of development: Independent and moderating effects”

Alicia Rubel, Psychology
“The purpose function of belief in a just world”

SSHRC Doctoral Fellowships

Laura Lane, Educational Studies
“Social networking for social justice: Exploring feminist Facebook groups as gendered learning spaces”

Andrew LiVecchi, English
“English consolation and colonialism in Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte Darthur”

Taysa-Rhea Mise, Psychology
“Evaluating motivation in association with perceptions of well-being over time”

SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarships

Gianluca Agostinelli, English
“Landscape(s) of Language: Navigating Niagara’s 21st century Italian-Canadian narratives”

Brent Brenyo, History
“The Censorship of Lesbian, Gay, Transgendered, Bisexual and Queer voices in Public Education in Canada”

Carly Cameron, Applied Health Sciences
“The relationship between trait body image and daily cortisol: Extending social self-preservation theory”

Tyler Collymore, Applied Health Sciences
“Cross-fit for Social Development in Urban Youth”

Emma Dunn, English
“Voracious Vampires: An anorexic logic in Stephanie Meyer’s “Twilight”

Huzaifa Faizan, Accountancy
“Relationship of self-serving attributional bias and locus of control in student success in an online accounting course: An empirical study”

Renée Girard, History
“On the influence of Tacitus’s Germania on the Jesuit missionaries’ perception of the Natives in New France”

Whitney Kerr, Applied Disability Studies
“Efficiency and effectiveness of behaviour intervention plans”

Sarah Mann, Social Justice & Equity Studies
“Online university employees’ responses to student disclosures of victimization”

Matthew Marini, Applied Health Sciences
“The influence of coaching on positive youth development”

Molly McMeekin, Classics
“Ancient Greek Commerce: A comparative study”

Cara Nightingale, Social Justice & Equity Studies
“Racial Segregation, Social Housing, and Othering in Canada”

Kathryn Paterson, Social Justice & Equity Studies
“Hungry for a hero?: Gender performativity and teen girls’ responses to female heroism”

Katelyn Scott, Education
“Storying student classroom experiences and resulting perceived self-efficacy: An ethnographic collective case study approach”

Hilary Scruton, Child & Youth Studies
“Supporting children with learning disabilities across the summer learning gap”

Katlynne Smith, Education
“Preparing students with ASD for inclusive classrooms: A case study exploration of giant steps”

Natalie Spadafora, Child & Youth Studies
“The Far Reach of Bullying: From the classroom onto the sports field and back”

Katelyn Spadoni, Classics
“Mental Health in Ancient Society”

Samantha Stromski, Child & Youth Studies
“Searching for specialized accommodations and support for individuals with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder within the criminal justice system”

Erin Vaantaja, Child & Youth Studies
“The social context of recess”

Jennifer Weiler, Education
“Supporting LINC Literacy Learners: Evaluating collaborative inquiry to improve professional practice”

Heather Woods, Education
“Exploring elementary teachers’ efficacy perceptions regarding anti-bullying interventions”

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