Social Sciences honours achievements and innovation

On Tuesday, Jan. 28, the Faculty of Social Sciences gathered to recognize the many successes of its students, faculty and staff members in 2019 at the fifth annual Celebration of Excellence.

President Gervan Fearon welcomed guests and honorees at the event and offered congratulations on their accomplishments, both as the University’s president and as a fellow social scientist.

Diane Dupont, Interim Dean of Graduate Studies, also spoke to applaud the many achievements of students across the Faculty’s 13 units.

“The research being undertaken by these graduate students spans many disciplines and seeks to provide insights and solutions into issues of global importance,” Dupont said, noting that many students have been recognized with provincial and national awards.

“More importantly, the graduate students have been active in knowledge mobilization through their participation in Brock’s Mapping the New Knowledges conference and the 3 Minute Thesis competition. Last year’s Brock 3MT winner was a Social Sciences graduate student who went on to compete provincially, thereby promoting the excellence of the graduate programs at Brock.”

Dawn Zinga, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Research in the Faculty of Social Sciences, presented awards to recognize the strongest writing completed at the graduate level in the Faculty.

Master’s in Geography student Stephanie Murray received the Best Master’s Thesis award for “Defining Freedom: An Ethnographic Study with American Vanlifers,” supervised by David Butz.

James McBride of the master’s in Social Justice and Equity Studies was awarded Best Major Research Paper for “Staying with the Trouble of Unruly Creatures: Restorying Invasive Species with Material Feminisms,” supervised by Lauren Corman.

Shauna Kingston from the master’s in Child and Youth Studies was recognized for writing the Best Paper in a Graduate Course, “Plant Power: Biopolitics in Canada’s Food Guide,” submitted for consideration by Rebecca Raby.

“One of the greatest parts of my role as associate dean is finding out about the amazing researchers we have at Brock,” Zinga said. “The depth and breadth of research conducted within the Faculty is staggering.”

Other awards for research, teaching and staff service from 2019 were highlighted before the final award presentation, looking forward to the new decade.

Dean Ingrid Makus presented the 2020 Distinguished Researcher Award to Michael Pisaric from the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies.

Ingrid Makus, Dean of Social Sciences, presented two of the Faculty’s highest internal honours: the 2020 Distinguished Researcher Award and Untenured Researcher of the Year.

Michael Pisaric, Professor and Chair of the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies, was named the Distinguished Researcher. Pisaric, who studies climate change and landscape evolution, said he was honoured to receive it.

“Research is a collaborative endeavour for me, and my greatest collaborators are the many students that I have been fortunate to work with during my career,” Pisaric said. “My success as a researcher is a product of these great students and our shared interests in understanding how the world around us works.”

Ingrid Makus, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, presented the Untenured Researcher Award to Karen Louise Smith in the Department of Communication, Popular Culture and Film.

Karen Louise Smith, Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication, Popular Culture and Film, was named the Untenured Researcher of the Year.

Smith, who works in the cutting-edge field of big data, privacy and digital literacy, said it was an honour to have her recent research recognized by her colleagues.

“In being recognized individually, I am also pleased that the Faculty acknowledges that research is a team sport,” Smith said. “Community partners, colleagues, students and staff have been wonderful collaborators to work with.”

“It is wonderfully gratifying to see how our dedicated faculty excel in teaching and research,” said Makus about the event. “Taking the time to celebrate outstanding award winners is also an opportunity to recognize the many everyday successes of our students, staff and faculty in Social Sciences.”

A full list of honourees can be found here.

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