Graduate student scholars contributing to the public good

Now entering its eighth year, UBC's Public Scholars Initiative (PSI) has announced 45 new doctoral students for the 2022/23 academic year.

How can a PhD student change the world for the better? The Public Scholars Initiative (PSI) recognizes UBC doctoral students who are doing research that extends beyond the traditional approach. These students are doing work for the public good, in collaborative, interdiscplinary ways.

Launched in 2015, the PSI encourages community-engaged research as well as collaborative research. Three new scholars from the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability (IRES), applied together on a collaborative project. Joanne Fitzgibbons, Dana Johnson and Daniel Forrest are working together on a project "Co-constructing a mutualistic city: Envisioning future scenarios to support people and nature in urban landscapes" with the City of Vancouver. While all three will work collaboratively, each will have a unique piece of the project represented in their final dissertation, including an interactive exhibit, illustrations and models of urban landscaping, and a final report on their collaboration with the city.

In addition to interdisciplinary and collaborative research, the PSI also introduced two new elements for the 2022/23 cohort. For the first time since its inception, seven PhD students from the Okanagan campus were added to the cohort.

Another new element this year is the introduction of a climate stream. Scholars in this climate stream are focusing their research on sustainability, climate justice, or environmental impacts of climate change. New scholar Annie Lalande is loooking at food waste in hospitals, while Steven Bristow is looking at irrigation. Ten of the new scholars are focused on climate research.

The scholars are from nearly every faculty and discipline, and showcase the breadth and depth of research at UBC. Congratulations to the new 2022/23 cohort! View their research profiles below.

More than 260 scholars have been accepted into the program during the past eight years, leading to collaborations with more than 150 different partners in 40 different countries. To learn more about how the PSI program reimagines the PhD, visit their website.


UBC Vancouver
Scholar Faculty Project
Tanzoom Ahmed Arts Understanding past and recent contributions of Muslims in Northeast India while questioning the present state-supported…
Khadija Anjum Applied Science Planning for food security of rural and urban daily wage workers in the context of food price shocks in Pakistan
Aram Bajakian Arts Navigating Nostalgias: Musical identities within the Armenian Diaspora
Fabiola Bazo Arts Feminist and Queer Interventions in Contemporary Urban Popular Music in Peru
Laura Brass Education Re-skilling, Up-skilling, and the DE-Valuing of Skill: Skilled Immigrant Women's Lived Experiences to Identity
Steven Bristow Land and Food Systems Precision irrigation under a changing climate: Preparing BC growers to monitor plant-water relations
Ace Chan Medicine Primary Prevention of Cancer-Causing Substance Use in Gender Minority People in Canada
Zitao Chen Applied Science Towards reliable, secure and private machine learning
Cheyanne Connell Arts Naachin of Past and Present: Traditional Performativity and Indigenous Identity-Making
Alysha Lynn Deslippe Land and Food Systems Eating in a Gendered World (EatGen)
Olivia Dreisinger Arts Diagnosis Grad School: A Podcast Series

Joanne (Jo) Fitzgibbons

Daniel Forrest

Dana Johnson

Science Co-constructing a mutualistic city: Envisioning future scenarios to support people and nature in urban landscapes
Leilani Forby Arts Getting to know you: the frequency, intentionality, and content of mind wandering in autistic individuals
Erika Gavenus Science Examining Crown-imposed Fisheries Management Through a Lens of Food Justice
Taees Gheirati Arts Music of the Women of Eastern Khorasan
Trevor Goodyear Applied Science Out on the street: A Community-based study with homeless 2SLGBTQ+ youth who use drugs
Sammy (Cassandra) Iammarino Applied Science Complex systems and power: a mixed methods study of episodic overdose prevention services in healthcare settings
Kevin Kuchinski Medicine Using Genomic Sequencing of sediment specimens from wild bird habitats for avian influenza surveillance
Annie Lalande Science Food as a therapeutic intervention: hospital transformation to address patient health, experience, and planetary health
Sydney Lines Arts Romancing the Empire: Race, Ethnicity, and Nationalism in the Writings of Winnfred Eaton and Laura Goodman Salverson
Keisha Maloney Applied Science Navigating Transitions: Remaking the Planning Engagement Table with/by/for First Nations Peoples in Toronto
Kohle Merry Medicine Promoting Sustainable Telerehabilitation: Co-Development of a Novel Telerehabilitation System for Repetitive Strain Injuries
Younus Mushtaq Ahmed Arts Open Defecation: Caste, Infrastructure, and the politics of development in Urban Chennai, India
Erik Post Arts Projects of Life and Death: Extractivism, Climate Justice, and Decolonial Futures in the Sierra Norte de Puebla, Mexico
Tetiana Povshedna Medicine Healthy aging in women living with HIV: The relationship(s) between chronic/latent viral infections, inflammation, cellular aging, and comorbidities
Rachel Ramsden Medicine Participatory Planning with Young Children: A Mixed Methods Approach to Planning Outdoor Play Environments
Lisa Ritland Medicine Intersectoral and placed-based approaches to fostering equity in children's development
Parboti Roy Arts Violence against Indigenous Women in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bagladesh: the lived experiences of Adivasi women and their navigational mechanisms to address violence
Sarah-Louise Ruder Science Food Sovereignty, Data Justice, and the Politics of Novel Agri-Food Technologies in Canada
Anna R Santo Science Understanding values and pathways toward rewilding
Neha Suvindran Applied Science A Self-healing, Soft and Sustainable Bioelectronic Interface Electrode for Neurotheranostics using Multifunctional Electrospun Liquid Metal Threads (MELMET)
Shayda Swann Medicine Investigating the role of reproductive hormones in healthy aging for women living with HIV: A Community-collaborative cohort study
Romina Fernanda Tantalean Castaneda Arts  
Emily Tilton Arts Understanding Ignorance
Winy Vasquez Benavides Forestry Food Security in the Amazon: an Investigation of the Food Security and Nutrition of the Ashaninka Peoples Living Inside the Protected Forest San Matias-San Carlos
UBC OkanagaN
Kaela Cranston

Faculty of Health and Social Development

Evaluating the digitalization of the Small Steps for Big Changes coach training
Emily Comeau Irving K. Barber Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Tlingit Language and Land App
Emily Giroux Health and Social Development Understanding and Optimizing the Role of Spinal Cord Injury Community-Based Organizations in Research Partnerships
Kaushal Raj Gnyawali Faculty of Applied Science Debris flow mitigation - adapting to climate change and wildfires
Ian Russell Parfitt Irving K Barber Faculty of Science Wildfire Resilience in a changing climate: advancing remote sensing, IoT and AI applications
Camille Xinmei Rousseau Education Pups Uplifting Public Speaking (PUPS) Competence: Co-creating a canine-assisted intervention for children with public speaking anxiety
Alanna Shwed Health and Social Development Transforming the Research System


Thursday, 13 October 2022