Social Sciences Research Colloquium

Recognizing Research Excellence in the Faculty of Social Sciences

(This year’s event will be offered virtually.)

The annual Social Sciences Research Colloquium is an opportunity to hear from the faculty recipients of two awards presented each year by the Faculty of Social Sciences: Distinguished Researcher and Untenured Researcher of the Year.

In addition to faculty award winners, the Research Colloquium features presenters selected from among recent recipients of the FOSS Student Research Award. All awardees from the previous year are invited to apply; selected students are included in the final program of the Research Colloquium.

About the awards

The faculty awards recognize members of FOSS who demonstrate consistent records of outstanding research achievements as reflected in the quality and quantity of refereed publications, grant awards and other research activities. The Distinguished Researcher award for tenured faculty considers accomplishments from the past five academic years. The Untenured Researcher of the Year award considers accomplishments within the previous academic year. As part of the award, each recipient is invited to deliver a research presentation to the Brock community.

The Student Research Award recognizes student research that contributes to, and advances research and scholarship in, the Social Sciences. The award is open to PhD candidates and to senior undergraduate and MA students whose programs include a research component. All awardees are to be congratulated for their achievements. More information on the award, including how to apply, is available here.


Presenters at the 2019 Research Colloquium: Master’s student in Popular Culture Russ Martin, Professor of Child and Youth Studies Rebecca Raby, and Master’s student in Geography Aaron Nartey. (Read more.)

Recipients of faculty research awards (by year presented):


Distinguished Researcher
Andrea Doucet, Sociology

Early Career Researcher of the Year (formerly called Untenured Researcher of the Year)
Julia Baird, Environmental Sustainability Research Centre; Geography and Tourism Studies

Jessica Blythe, Environmental Sustainability Research Centre


Distinguished Researcher
Mike Pisaric, Geography and Tourism Studies

Untenured Researcher of the Year
Karen Louise Smith, Communication, Popular Culture and Film


December 2020 event

1:00     Welcome, land acknowledgment

1:05     Opening remarks Dawn Zinga, Associate Dean Graduate and Research, Faculty of Social Sciences

1:10     Guest speaker: Suzanne Curtin, Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies

1:20 to 2:05    Graduate student presentations:

Appiah Bonsu, recipient of a 2019 FOSS Student Research Award, will present the following talk:

Exploration of How Policies Have Limited Access to Health Care Services for Trans People in United States of America

supervisor: Trent Newmeyer, Associate Professor of Sociology

Jessica Falk, recipient of a 2019 FOSS Student Research Award, will present the following talk:

Don Cherry’s Final Rant

supervisor: Margot Francis, Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies

Pulkit Garg, recipient of a 2019 FOSS Student Research Award, will present the following talk:

Reviewing the Options for the Agricultural Sector to Adapt to Climate Change: Case Study of the Niagara Region, ON

supervisor: Liette Vasseur, Professor, Department of Biology

2:15 to 3:30    Faculty presentations and discussion:

Karen Louise Smith, Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication, Popular Culture and Film and recipient of the 2019 Untenured Researcher of the Year award, will present the following talk:

iPads and Free Data: Universal Access for Ontario’s Learners During the Pandemic?

In April 2020, the Ontario government announced 21,000 iPads and free data plans for Ontario learners (ages 4-18) to stay connected during the pandemic. This paper explores the challenges implicit in attempting to bridge the digital divide by distributing devices and data plans during the pandemic.

Nicole Goodman, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science received the 2018 Untenured Researcher of the Year award.

Regulating cyber elections: the case of online voting in Canada

The coronavirus pandemic has forced election authorities to rethink how they run elections. Many officials in Canada are considering remote types of voting such as voting by mail and online voting to ensure public health and maintain democratic governance. While online voting is new to many countries, it has been offered to millions of electors in hundreds of local elections in Canada since 2003. Canada is also the only jurisdiction in the world to run fully remote online elections. Despite the prevalence of online voting in binding public elections in Canada, there is zero regulatory oversight. All other country cases that use some type of electronic voting have standards, certification processes or regulatory frameworks in place. In her talk Dr. Goodman will discuss the lack of online voting regulation in Canada and propose a model to fill this lacuna and promote electoral integrity in an age of cyber elections. With careful development, Canada can be a leader and not a laggard in this important policy area.

Michael Pisaric, Professor in the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies and recipient of the 2019 Distinguished Researcher award, will present the following talk:

Looking back to see the future

Studying past environmental and climate change can provide important insights into the trajectory of future changes due to anthropogenic impacts on global environmental and climate systems.  This talk will highlight how sediment from the bottom of lakes and other unique archives can be utilized to examine environmental and climate change in the past.

3:30     Guest speaker: Michelle McGinn, Associate Vice-President Research

3:40     Closing remarks, thanks: Ingrid Makus, Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences


Distinguished Researcher
Rebecca Raby, Child and Youth Studies

Untenured Researcher of the Year
Nicole Goodman, Political Science


Distinguished Researcher
Larry Savage, Labour Studies
Charles Conteh, Political Science

Untenured Researcher of the Year
Danielle Sirianni Molnar, Child and Youth Studies
Caitlin Mahy, Psychology