Meet the Top 25

The Storytellers

Meet the Top 25

The results are in. Now you can experience how the Top 25 Storytellers are demonstrating the impact of SSHRC-funded research and building a better future.

Watch this space, as we profile five of the finalists and their submissions each week on Storyteller Tuesday, beginning April 8, 2014.




Klara Abdi

The University of British Columbia

A PhD candidate in the department of language and literacy education at The University of British Columbia, Klara Abdi studies how transnational movement impacts the educational experiences, worldviews and multilingual socialization of Chinese-Canadian children and their families. Klara’s research was inspired by the experiences of her own children living in China for four years. Originally from Prague, Czech Republic, her love of languages led her to study six languages and become a French, Spanish and English as a second language teacher. Supported by a doctoral Canada Graduate Scholarship, Klara is interested in the language development and identity construction of multilingual children. She examined Canadian youth with Hispanic backgrounds learning Spanish as part of her SSHRC-funded master’s research. Klara has a passion for travel and wants her children to grow up with the broad perspective that comes from living abroad.

Audrey-Kristel Barbeau

McGill University

Audrey-Kristel Barbeau has both a bachelor’s (UQAM) and a master’s (McGill) degree in music education. Her research focuses on the effects that playing a musical instrumental have on people’s health. Since the beginning of her doctoral studies, she has been studying how active participation in music affects the health of seniors (especially with respect to quality of life, anxiety, depression, respiratory function and blood pressure). She is also interested in how performing in a concert can impact the stress levels of amateur musicians aged 60 and over. Audrey-Kristel is currently working at McGill as a teaching assistant in the instrumental conducting course and frequently replaces the lead instructor in the basic conducting course. She is the founder and musical director of the Montreal New Horizons Band, a bilingual and intergenerational ensemble for adults who are learning to play an instrument.

Hazel Hollingdale

The University of British Columbia

Hazel Hollingdale is a doctoral candidate in sociology at The University of British Columbia. Focusing on risk-taking behaviour and masculinity within male-dominated organizations, her research explores organizational sociology, gender and the effects of organizational structures on social processes and inequality. Her PhD research tests the Lehman Sisters hypothesis, examining whether risk-taking in financial firms varies based on the sex composition of the workforce. Hazel’s earlier graduate research looked at the organizational response to occupational health and safety in high-risk, male-dominated fields.

Jessica Jacobson-Konefall

Queen’s University

A doctoral candidate in cultural studies at Queen’s University and visiting associate at the University of Manitoba’s Centre for Globalization and Cultural Studies, Jessica Jacobson-Konefall's research focuses on how First Nations new media art shapes and defies concepts of civic space and related notions of identity and community in Winnipeg, MB. Jessica is currently digitizing the archived holdings of a contemporary aboriginal art gallery to support the development of the educational, interactive website ArtCan.ca—part of the University of Toronto’s CACHET (Canadian Art Commons for History of Art Education and Training) initiative. As a researcher for Diana Brydon, Canada Research Chair in Globalization and Cultural Studies, Jessica is working with Brazilian scholars on contemporary, indigenous, audio-visual aesthetics in both North and South America.

Ryan Katz-Rosene

Carleton University

A doctoral candidate in political economy at Carleton University, Ryan Katz-Rosene studies the ecological political economies of Canada’s energy and transportation infrastructure. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in political studies and history at Trent University and his master’s degree in political economy at Carleton University. Ryan enjoys playing competitive ultimate frisbee and playing music during increasingly rare “moments of leisure.” He lives on a farm in Cantley, QC, with his wife and daughter (along with pigs, chickens, sheep and a dog).

Katarina Kuruc

Carleton University

Katarina Kuruc is a doctoral candidate at Carleton University’s School of Journalism and Communication. She immigrated to Canada from the former Communist Czechoslovakia in the late 1980s, and her personal experience of living in a Communist state, together with her exposure to its limited fashion industry, informs her research. Katarina’s research studies the importance of fashion as a form of visual communication in otherwise restrictive social systems. Her other research interests include visual communication, material culture and semiotics. In addition to her graduate studies, Katarina is an avid traveller, photographer, fashion blogger and devoted Pinterest fan.

Robin MacEwan

Carleton University

Originally from Quesnel, British Columbia, Carleton University’s Robin MacEwan is completing a master’s degree in social work. After graduating from The University of British Columbia-Okanagan (UBC-Okanagan) in 2009, Robin began working with vulnerable children and youth in the foster-care system. This experience inspired her research interest in social support networks for youth raised in foster care. Robin hopes to use the findings from her research to improve policies and support programs in place for these young people. In Robin's downtime, she enjoys snowboarding, reading fiction, travelling and all things culinary. She thanks her research supervisor, Adje Van de Sande, for his ongoing support of this project, and UBC-Okanagan professors Patricia Tomic and Ricardo Trumper for cultivating her ability to think critically about social problems.

Alanna Mager

Ryerson University

Alanna Mager is a master's student in Ryerson University’s School of Professional Communication. A Torontonian with a background in English literature, print publishing and journalism, Alanna, as part of her graduate research, has shifted her focus from analog to digital. Her graduate research focuses on cross-platform, brand storytelling. Informed by narrative, transmedia and marketing discourses, her project aims to establish a new model for creating digital engaging content that communicates brand narrative across platforms. With this focus on storytelling, Alanna hopes to help organizations better promote their work through creative, shareable audio, visual and written content.

Daniel Manson

The University of British Columbia

Daniel is a doctoral candidate studying anthropology at The University of British Columbia. He is currently interested in the politics of migrant illegality, and the ongoing deportation of Roma migrants from France. Daniel’s dissertation examines how the practice of deportation—and the requisite labelling of some migrants as “illegal”—creates spatial and social boundaries by removing undesirable individuals. Daniel’s ethnographic research focuses on the everyday, lived experiences of Romanian Roma migrant youth living in a number of illegal settlements, and one state-sanctioned site, in Strasbourg, France.

Justin Mathews

Queen’s University

An undergraduate student studying political science at Queen’s University, Justin Mathews is news director for Queen's TV, the student-run, campus news station. Justin is also a research assistant for postdoctoral fellow Heather Bastedo, contributing to her ongoing study of the representative work of parliamentarians, both in their local ridings and on Parliament Hill. He was also a recent panelist on TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin. Justin’s interests include Canadian politics, political communication, media and journalism, the role of social media in politics and youth participation.

Annie McEwen

Carleton University

Annie McEwen is a doctoral candidate at Carleton University’s School of Public Policy and Administration. Her research interests involve social policy, poverty and inequality, with a particular focus on child and family policy. In her dissertation, she is using data from the National Longitudinal Survey on Children and Youth to explore the effects income levels have on child development and well-being. Her aim is to inform evidence-based public policy to reduce childhood inequality. A former policy analyst with the federal public service, Annie holds a master’s in public policy and administration from the London School of Economics. She began her doctoral studies at the University of Oxford’s department of social policy and intervention.

Luseadra McKerracher

Simon Fraser University

Victoria, British Columbia’s Luseadra McKerracher is a doctoral candidate at Simon Fraser University, working in the university’s human evolutionary studies program. Luseadra’s research addresses how evolutionary ecological methods and theory are applied to contemporary public health issues. Her doctoral dissertation focuses on weaning among humans: unlike other apes, humans begin weaning their infants from breast milk well before those infants are capable of foraging for, processing or digesting adult foods without assistance. Luseadra investigates when and why we switched from an ape-like weaning strategy to the relatively early weaning strategy that characterizes all contemporary human populations. In addition to her doctoral research, Luseadra is also collaborating on a project studying diet during pregnancy among Fijian women.

Michael Muthukrishna

The University of British Columbia

A doctoral candidate at The University of British Columbia (UBC), Michael Muthukrishna studies the psychological and evolutionary processes underlying culture, including how culture is transmitted, maintained and modified. Michael’s research combines mathematical and computational modelling, as well as experimental psychology, to better understand the dynamic relationship between cultures and individuals. A Vanier scholar and Liu scholar originally from Brisbane, Australia, and technical director for UBC’s Database of Cultural History, Michael is interested in applying cultural evolution research to public policy. His work explores how cultures emerge over time from the interactions of individuals, who are, in turn, shaped by the emerging cultures they help constitute.

Myriam Nafte

University of British Columbia

Myriam Nafte is currently completing her PhD at McMaster University’s anthropology department. After receiving an MA in physical anthropology from McMaster in 1993, she worked in forensic anthropology, combining this with advanced studies in visual art, sculpture and anatomical drawing. For the past 20 years, Myriam has focused her art and research on the human body. She has developed a particular interest in how different cultures process human remains for display as art objects, relics and specimens. From early tribal customs through to medical and religious practices and contemporary art scenes, Myriam explores the notion of the body as material culture through its transition from cadaver to an object of power, identity, art and ideology.

James O'Callaghan

McGill University

James O’Callaghan is an award-winning composer and sound artist based in Montreal. His music intersects acoustic and electro-acoustic media, employing field recordings, computer-assisted transcription of environmental sounds, and unique performance conditions. In 2014, his Isomorphia—a composition for orchestra and electronics—was nominated for a Juno Award for Classical Composition of the Year. The work was the result of a commission from the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, with which James was composer-in-residence in 2012-13. James’ music has been performed across North America and Europe, as well as in New Zealand and Japan, while his artistic research has been published and presented internationally. In 2014, James received a master’s in music in composition from McGill University, where he also taught a course in electro-acoustic composition.

April 29

May 06



Who will be this year’s Final Five? Find out May 26