On this International Women’s Day, meet our amazing grad students

In honour of this year’s International Women’s Day, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies wants to highlight some of the amazing research by our graduate students. From studying socio-cultural dynamics that shape our perceptions of morality, to practicing empowerment journalism, to mapping Indigenous sovereignty through assurgency, the breadth and range of research projects is vast. 

Priye Iworima is an NSERC Postgraduate Scholarship recipient whose work looks at the use of stem cells to treat type 1 diabetes. Her project involves developing a differentiation protocol to generate functional and mature beta cells. She hopes to optimize various process parameters that will permit the large-scale manufacturing of these stem cell derivatives without compromising the integrity of the product.

PSI scholar Celina Solia is exploring the role of cuisine and non-conventional foods in food security and food sovereignty among Indigenous people. Looking at the Mayan Region of Chiapas, Mexico, the project examines questions about how cultural and biological diversities contribute to build more sustainable food systems, with the goal of revitalization of the culinary practices around unconventional foods.

Métis graduate student Jessica Schaub works in partnership with the Hakai Institute, looking at the role of moon jellyfish in the B.C. food web using biochemical markers and genomics. According to her, we should care about what jellyfish eat because we have a lot of important species of fish around BC, like salmon and herring that they might compete with. “So when you get a lot of jellyfish in one area, they could totally take up all the food and leave nothing for salmon or herring, or other fish that we care about.”

2018 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholar Grace Nosek is interested in how law can be used to protect climate change science, particularly in an environment of doubt created by companies focused on protecting profit. In addition to her academic word, she is also the author of a series of young adult eco-fantasy books, the Ava of the Gaia Series, co-founder of the UBC Climate Hub , and the host of the Hopeful Climate podcast.

PSI scholar and Vanier Scholarship recipient Roseanne Gamlen-Greene researches conservation biology of amphibians on Haida Gwaii, British Columbia. In addition to her ecological research that is trying to figure out why toads are declining, a great part of Roseanna's work concerns facilitation of community action around conservation issues, either through efforts to monitor toad populations, find and protect breeding sites, or educate children about the importance of preserving endangered species. 

PSI scholar and SSHRC doctoral fellow Maya Lefkowich is interested in how to tell stories in a good way. Drawing on perspectives from Indigenous, arts-based, and community-based research and participatory journalism, I am positioning my research project to act on key recommendations: 1) meaningful involvement of Indigenous peoples, knowledges, and ways of knowing, 2) critical reflections on power, privilege, and responsibilities in collaborative film production, and 3) methodologies that amplify Indigenous voices and teach non-Indigenous researchers to "listen differently".

As a survivor of the child welfare system, adopted and raised Nêhiyaw, Denali Youngewolfe is acutely aware of the need to challenge dominant narratives of what it is to be Indigenous in Canada. Her research looks at how Indigenous resistance and resurgence are actually part of assurgent, land-based, and culturally situated practices of Indigenous sovereignty; rather than dichotomous responses to settler colonialism. Among her many awards, she is a PSI scholar. 

Vanier Scholarship recipient Julia Huggins researches some of the smallest organisms to inhabit the depths of our oceans. Her current project focuses on ocean chemistry and one of the slightly lesser known implications of climate change in the oceans: deoxygenation. In addition to improving climate models, Julia hopes her research will also encourage people to think more about the parts of the environment that they don't see.

Sunday, 08 March 2020