Four Carleton University doctoral students, Mohamed Abdelazez, Genevieve Johnston, Lowell Gasoi and Sandy Barron, have won prestigious Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships (CGS) – setting a record for the number of Carleton students to win the award in a single year.
Open to PhD students across Canada, each award is valued at $50,000 a year for three years during doctoral studies.
The awards will fund research on issues that have great potential to improve lives, including health-care sensors and the homeless.
Abdelazez is pursuing a PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering and he will use the funds to focus full time on developing a contactless, non-obtrusive health-care monitoring system. There is a ready consumer market for these sensors, but they aren’t yet fully developed for medical use. Abdelazez’s research hopes to bridge the gap and has the potential to provide many benefits to the Canadian health-care system.
“As an example, the elderly can be more independent and live in the comfort of their homes knowing that their health is constantly monitored,” he said. “They can also be deployed in nurseries, or even the waiting room of a doctor’s office for pre-visit vitals checkup.”
Johnston, a first year PhD Sociology student, will use the Vanier CGS to support her qualitative research on homeless and street-involved youth across Canada which explores how they negotiate and resist marginalization through self-determination, resilience and building communities of support.
Johnston noted her positive experience working alongside Carleton faculty on this critical issue.
“Dr. Jacqueline Kennelly has been very supportive throughout the year and has generously involved me with her projects on youth homelessness,” said Johnston.
Johnston is currently working as a research assistant on the planning committee for Coming Up Together on Youth Homelessness, a conference in February 2018 for youth who have experienced homelessness, academics, policy-makers, homeless service providers and the public.
Gasoi, a PhD Communications candidate at the School of Journalism and Communication, said his excitement and nerves had him reading the Vanier CGS letter three times to be sure he had really won.
His research examines the relationship between artists and government using close observation of artists, advocates and government officials in order to understand how policies, funding and regulations get communicated and actualized. Gasoi said that the award will allow him to focus more fully on his work.
“I have been a theatre artist and administrator for almost 30 years and, in that time, I’ve had a lot of dealings with various government agencies, arts councils, etc.,” said Gasoi. “Those relationships fascinate me because they reflect the ways that we, as a society, place value on artistic creation and the ways that art constitutes our social reality and, often, our national identity.”
The prestige offered by the Vanier award is also valuable to Gasoi.
“Access to the corridors of power is very important to my research. I hope when I start trying to make inroads to close observation at the Ministry of Heritage and other important places in government circles, that the Vanier Scholar on my business card will open some doors that might have been harder to open,” said Gasoi.
Gasoi is the third Communications graduate student to win the award in the last three years.
Barron’s PhD research is about the politics of deaf and blind education in Western Canada during 1880 to 1930.
“It’s mostly an examination of why the three Prairie provinces did as little as they did in that area of education at a time when state formation around other institutions out West was gathering steam,” said Barron.
“It’s about how hearing and sighted people and government officials saw notions of citizenship and educability for everyone, and how deaf and blind children fit into that.”
The Vanier CGS funds will help Barron visit archives across Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. These include government archives, deaf and blind association archives, deaf schools and city archives.
“The security that Vanier affords is going to allow me time and funds for the extensive travel that the success of this project relies on,” said Barron.
About Carleton Research
Carleton is a dynamic, interdisciplinary research-intensive institution with a creative international approach to research that has led to many significant discoveries and works in science and engineering, business, public affairs and the arts. Home to many noted award-winning researchers, Carleton is uniquely committed to discovery, knowledge and understanding of the world around us. Carleton’s location in Ottawa – the nation’s capital – allows unique access for our researchers across many disciplines to such places as Canada’s national labs and museums, Library and Archives Canada, federal government departments and of course, Parliament Hill. Through the building of sustainable communities, we foster new ideas to create a more prosperous future for Canada and the world.
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