The Storytellers

Meet the Top 25

The results are in. Check back here for Storyteller Tuesdays, starting April 18, as we profile our Top 25 finalists and their submissions.

Who will be this year’s Final Five winners? Find out May 29, when we select the winners at this year's Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Natalie Baird

University of Manitoba

Visualizing Changing Oceans: Inuit Knowledge and Participatory Video

Natalie Baird is a visual artist and graduate student at the University of Manitoba, where she brings her community arts practice to social-ecological research. Natalie completed her bachelor of environmental sciences degree at the University of Manitoba in 2014. She is an artist-in-residence at the Misericordia Health Centre, as well as the film photography instructor at Art City, facilitating high-quality art programming to people of all ages and abilities. In 2016, Natalie began her master of environment degree at the University of Manitoba, exploring participatory visual methods to document and communicate Inuit traditional knowledge of changing ocean dynamics.

Elise Boulanger

Vancouver Island University

Where is Here: Small Cities, Deep Mapping and Sustainable Futures

Elise Boulanger is a fourth-year Global Studies student attending Vancouver Island University (VIU), located on the traditional territory of the Snuneymuxw. Before pursuing social sciences, she graduated with a diploma in classical vocal performance, and continues to pursue musical endeavours in the genres of classical, folk, pop and electro-swing. Elise is presently the Social Sciences Faculty Representative at VIU, and enjoys connecting people. She is currently studying food and water security, a topic she is passionate about.

John Bryans

Concordia University

The Actor’s Dude Dilemma - a Modern Major General Parody

John Bryans is an actor and graduate student based in Montréal. He is currently completing his master of arts (sociology) degree in the Sociology and Anthropology Department at Concordia University. He holds a bachelor of kinesiology degree from the University of Manitoba, and is a graduate of George Brown Theatre School.

John’s current research draws primarily from the fields of critical obesity, masculinity and performance studies. His work incorporates media and creative arts, employing documentary film and sound art as research tools.

John is also a member of the Centre for Sensory Studies at Concordia University. Beginning in April 2017, he will be hosting a new podcast showcasing student research titled “Best, Concordia” in conjunction with the Ethnography Lab at Concordia.

Amanda Chalupa

McGill University

Rebuilding community & the lives of child migrants

Amanda Chalupa is a PhD student in the Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry at McGill University, funded by the Canada Graduate Scholarships to Honour Nelson Mandela. She examines how refugees and migrants rebuild their lives, individually and as communities, and what policies and practices facilitate these processes. Although her academic research focuses on Polish people who had been sent to the gulags as children during WWII, she has also worked with Indigenous communities, Holocaust survivors, school-based programs for Montréal youth, social entrepreneurship, and documentary filmmakers. This research has taken her to five continents, where she has conducted interviews, participated in reunions focused on positive refugee camp experiences and visited the Tanzanian village where her grandparents had been refugees in the 1940s.

Cheryl Chan

University of Waterloo

Fish for our Future: Communities and Marine Conservation

Cheryl Chan is a master of environmental studies candidate in the School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability at the University of Waterloo. She is also a member of the Community Conservation Research Network. Cheryl’s research focuses on small-scale fishing communities and the governance of marine protected areas in Jamaica. In particular, she is interested in the tensions between marine conservation initiatives and community well-being. Prior to attending the University of Waterloo, Cheryl was a science teacher. She holds bachelor of education and bachelor of science degrees from Queen’s University. Cheryl is passionate about marine ecosystems, science communication and community engagement in conservation.

AnneMarie Dorland

University of Calgary

Design Thinking and Design Doing: Creative Practice in Design Studios

AnneMarie Dorland is a PhD candidate at the University of Calgary, where she brings together her backgrounds in design, brand strategy and research practices to explore the intersection of innovation in the creative industries and the work practices of cultural producers. Her ethnographic research explores how we can better connect creativity and innovation, and how designers apply and adapt forms of problem-solving and “design thinking” to their work. She has contributed to several international publications, and is passionate about extending and sharing her expertise through her teaching and mentorship roles at the University of Calgary.

Denise DuBois

University of Toronto

Voices of Youth: Friendship and Belonging from the Perspective of Youth with IDD

Denise DuBois is a second-year doctoral candidate at the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy and the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Toronto. Prior to beginning her doctoral studies, Denise practiced as an occupational therapist for five years at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, serving adolescents and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). In response to the current developmental sector housing crisis in Ontario, her doctoral thesis will critically examine what makes a home socially inclusive for adults with IDD. Denise has a bachelor of journalism (honours) degree from Carleton University, where she specialized in health and science communication.

Audrey Dutilly

Université Laval

Développement des sons de la parole: regard sur les enfants négligés

Currently completing a master’s degree in speech therapy at Laval University, Audrey Dutilly began her university training by obtaining a bachelor’s degree in language sciences. During one internship, she was research assistant to Audette Sylvestre, a researcher leading a study aimed at better understanding the links between early childhood parental neglect, language development and children’s school readiness. Audrey’s work focused on the impact of neglect on the development of sounds of speech in three- and four-year-old children.

Laura Fallon

Memorial University of Newfoundland

The use of inter-rater reliability in forensic psychology journals

Laura Fallon is currently completing the Masters in Applied Psychological Science program at Memorial University. With an interest in forensic psychology, Laura’s most recent project examined the reliability of research being published in this field. She is also interested in how empirical research can improve the methods by which police officers interview witnesses, victims, and suspects, and the application of forensic psychology research in the real world. Laura has presented her work at national and international conferences, participated in the Three Minute Thesis Competition, and was recently part of the winning team at the 2016 Canadian Evaluation Society Student Case Competition.

Joseph Gagné

Université Laval

Voix de guerre

Joseph Gagné is a historian originally from Chapleau, Ontario. He obtained a bachelor’s degree at Laurentian University before completing his master’s at Université Laval, where he is currently a PhD candidate. His work focuses on Quebec, Ontario and the United States. Of particular interest to him is the French Regime in the Great Lakes region. His doctoral research is focused on military intelligence during the Seven Years’ War. You can follow his activities on the Curious New France blog at:

Andrea Gauthier

University of Toronto

How can we harness game design to promote learning?

Andrea Gauthier is a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto’s ScienceVis Lab, where she is researching how “serious” game design can be harnessed to promote learning in medical and life sciences education. Specifically, her thesis investigates how game mechanics can bolster productive negativity to facilitate conceptual change in students who hold deep-rooted misconceptions about the emergent nature of molecular environments. Andrea’s interest in educational gaming stems from her prior studies at the University of Toronto, where she obtained her Master of Science in biomedical communications, and in Scientific and Technical Illustration at Sheridan Institute of Technology, where she obtained her bachelor of applied arts.

Jenna Gilchrist

University of Toronto

Self-Compassion Protects Against Negative Emotions in Sport

Jenna Gilchrist is a fourth year PhD student at the University of Toronto. Her research explores how emotions regulate behaviour in sport contexts, with a specific emphasis on self-conscious emotions (e.g., pride, shame, guilt). Specifically, she addresses how feelings of pride, both experienced and anticipated, are associated with grit, flourishing and goal-progress among athletes across the lifespan. She is also interested in how self-compassion can help to mitigate negative experiences in sport, including negative body-related emotions among adolescent girls. Jenna’s research is funded by SSHRC.

Allison Gray

University of Windsor

The Intersection of Animal Abuse and Interpersonal Violence

Allison Gray is a doctoral candidate at the University of Windsor, and is working with the Animal and Interpersonal Abuse Research Group, directed by Amy Fitzgerald. In storytelling format, Allison’s video presents a glimpse of the group’s research on the intersection of violence against women and family pets, with the goal of working with community services to mitigate its effects for both humans and animals. Allison’s other academic interests include green criminology, social harm and food crime. When not reading, Allison can be found playing volleyball and soccer, making a mess in the kitchen and cuddling her rescue animals.

Abhilash Kantamneni

University of Guelph

Co-producing knowledge with communities to govern energy transitions

Abhilash (Abhi) Kantamneni is a PhD candidate in geography at the University of Guelph. Abhi partners with communities to research the governance and diffusion of energy transitions. His data-driven approach to knowledge mobilization and community engagement have earned him wide recognition, including being named to the “40 Under 40” list by Midwest Energy News as an energy transition leader. Abhi holds a bachelor of science in electrical engineering (Anna University, 2008), a master of science in physics (Michigan Tech, 2013) and a master of science in computer science (Michigan Tech, 2016).

Myriam Lapointe-Gagnon

Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières

La narration au cœur du processus résilient chez les jeunes immigrants

Myriam Lapointe-Gagnon is a PhD candidate studying psychology, research and intervention component, at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières. She has worked as a youth worker in one of Montréal’s most ethnically diverse boroughs. Through engaging, at the grassroots level, with youth who had recently immigrated to Canada, she learned about the fascinating resilience of certain young people to the challenges of immigration. Driven by a genuine desire to understand the resilience of these youth, she invited them to tell their story. Her goal: to develop interventions aimed at guiding and supporting this resilience.

Mimi Masson

University of Toronto

Spotlight on French-as-a-Second-Language teachers

Mimi Masson moved from France to Canada when she was six years old. She grew up in Toronto, and then worked in Japan for 10 years as a language teacher. Mimi speaks French, English, Spanish and Japanese. She is now a doctoral student in the Language and Literacies Education program in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning at the University of Toronto—Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Her research focuses on language teacher identity, collaborative learning networks, arts-based research practices and technology-mediated learning. Mimi has recently taken up abstract painting as a personal interest, and as a means to reconnect with her professional practice through art.

Kathrina Mazurik

University of Saskatchewan

The Experiences of Canadian Young Adults Living at Home

Kathrina Mazurik is a PhD candidate at the University of Saskatchewan. Interested in the intersection of family and the transition to adulthood, her SSHRC-funded dissertation explores the experiences of Canadian young adults who live with their parents. Although she works out of the Department of Psychology, Kathrina is always striving to build interdisciplinary bridges between the sociological, anthropological and psychological fields. Her research is guided by a dual aim to situate young people within their sociocultural worlds, and to highlight the creative reconfigurations of family and adulthood across time.

Meagan McCardle

Memorial University of Newfoundland

Enhancing Youth Legal Literacy through Technology

Meagan McCardle is a graduate student at Memorial University of Newfoundland, where she is pursuing her master's degree in experimental psychology. She conducts research in forensic and legal psychology, with a focus on improving youth comprehension of legal rights and youth protection in the criminal justice system. Her research interests also include testing assumptions about human behaviour that underlie Canadian law, juror assessments of witness credibility and human assumptions surrounding deception detection. Meagan hopes her research will lead to lasting changes in the Canadian criminal justice system that increase the protection of youth, and ensure the proper implementation of the law.

Ayesha Mian Akram

University of Windsor

Closing the Employment Standards Enforcement Gap

Ayesha Mian Akram is a doctoral student in sociology at the University of Windsor, where she is conducting research into the sociology of religion. She is a graduate of the University of Alberta, with undergraduate and graduate degrees in education. Her master’s thesis explored the identity experiences of Canadian Muslim women who practice hijab. In 2013, Ayesha was hired as a consultant with the Edmonton Police Service on a project to incorporate the hijab headscarf into the official police uniform. Ayesha has been working as a student researcher with the Closing the Employment Standards Enforcement Gap project since 2015.

Nadia Naffi

Concordia University

How Canadian Youth Construe their Role in the Integration and the Inclusion of Syrian Refugees

Nadia Naffi is a PhD candidate in education at Concordia University in Montréal. As part of her work, she studies the role that social media plays in the inclusion and integration of Syrian refugees into host societies. Her research is a first step toward developing recommendations to help representatives of government and non-governmental agencies, social workers and professionals in the education field create learning and training programs focused on the inclusion and integration of newcomers, in a context where the presence of these newcomers is construed through content shared on social media.

Amy Peirone

University of Windsor

Spousal Violence in Canada

Amy Peirone is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminology at the University of Windsor. There, she is involved with the Animal and Interpersonal Abuse Research Group and the Health Research Centre for the Study of Violence against Women. Her research interests include intimate partner violence, policing and perceptions of the police, and quantitative research methodologies.

Ali Sharifkhani

University of Toronto

Sectoral Shifts and Equity Return Predictability

Ali Sharifkhani is a PhD candidate in finance at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. His primary research interests lie at the intersection of finance and labour economics. Prior to joining Rotman in 2013, Ali worked at the International Monetary Fund where he was involved in projects investigating the linkages between financial markets and the real economy. He enjoys playing and listening to traditional Iranian music, traveling, and reading history.

Tammara Soma

University of Toronto

Closing the Loop: Food Waste and Consumption in Indonesia

Tammara Soma received a Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship in 2014, and is also a 2014 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation doctoral scholar. As a doctoral candidate in urban planning in the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto, she is the principal investigator and project manager of its Food Systems Lab. Tammara’s research investigates the factors that influence overconsumption and food waste in Bogor, Indonesia. She also blogs for the Huffington Post, and is the co-founder of the International Food Loss and Food Waste Studies Group.

Courtney Szto

Simon Fraser University

Changing on the Fly: Exploring Multiculturalism, Citizenship, and Hockey

Courtney Szto is a fourth-year PhD student in the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University. Her current research focuses on the intersection of sport, citizenship and race. She is an avid blogger and a member of the Hockey in Society and Engaging Sports editing teams. In her spare time, she volunteers as the past-president of the United Nations Association in Canada—Vancouver branch runs small group personal training, and enjoys hiking with her camera gear in tow. Courtney is a natural right winger, reluctant centre and perfectly average defence woman.

Megan Wilson

University of Guelph


Megan Wilson is a fourth-year undergraduate student studying English and media studies at the University of Guelph. She is also a student research assistant on a project called Privacy Stories, which is supervised by associate professor Mark Lipton. This collaborative, SSHRC-funded research applies transmedia and digital storytelling to learn about young adults' negotiations with digital policy, online privacy and data tracking. Privacy Stories aims to provide Canadians with resources to improve their digital engagement, and protect their data ownership. Megan plans to start her master’s degree at Guelph this September, studying media education and teaching in the digital age.