McGillians shine as scholarship season kicks off

Social Work PhD student lands coveted Trudeau Award

By McGill Reporter Staff

Émilie Raymond, a McGill doctoral student in Social Work, has earned a prestigious Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation scholarship, while another 18 PhD candidates have landed Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships.

Raymond was awarded the Trudeau scholarship – one of Canada’s largest and most prestigious doctoral awards – for her work in gerontological studies.

Her doctoral thesis will focus on a paradox she has observed in previous research with seniors: despite extensive focus in public discourse and policies on the idea of social participation by seniors, their voices are often poorly heard in decision-making forums. She will work with seniors’ social movements to examine how they perceive and implement citizen participation – and to compare these experiences with social policies that seek to encourage participatory behaviours among seniors.

Working with her supervisor, Social Work Professor Dr. Amanda Grenier, Raymond hopes to contribute to the renewal of gerontological studies by offering a participatory approach that invites seniors to become authentic partners in research. She also plans to support the efforts of seniors’ associations to defend and promote the rights of the groups they represent.

In Raymond’s view, the accelerated greying of the population is far more than a demographic or economic issue; for her, it is a global and historic imperative to re-examine the trajectory of life and to reflect on ways to build a more supportive intergenerational society.

“The McGill School of Social Work is very proud that one of its students has been named a Trudeau Scholar,” said Wendy Thomson, Director of the School. “This award will provide substantial support to Émilie’s important work on the role of seniors in society – a critical issue for Canada and many other countries in the years ahead.”

Fifteen 2010 Trudeau Scholars across Canada have been offered up to $180,000 each to advance their research into issues such as labour, mental health, conflict resolution and the environment. The scholarships subsidize tuition fees and living expenses and enable the recipients to travel for research and scholarly networking and the sharing of their knowledge. In addition to receiving financial support, Trudeau Scholars benefit from the expertise and knowledge of Trudeau Fellows and Mentors, highly accomplished individuals who are leaders in both academic and non-academic settings. Interaction with non-academic milieus, including public policy networks and

the public at large, is a key component of the Trudeau Scholarship Program.

Earlier in the week, 18 McGill doctoral students were named recipients of the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship. These major awards, worth $150,000 each, underscore the Canadian government’s commitment to research.

“The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship program is an important part of the Government of Canada’s science and technology strategy,” said Industry Minister Tony Clement. “By helping our universities attract and retain the world’s top doctoral students, the program is helping us develop and apply leading-edge knowledge, grow a world-class workforce, and position Canada as a true destination of choice for the world’s top students and researchers.”

“The award of 18 Vanier Scholarships to McGill researchers demonstrates the excellence and dedication of our doctoral students,” said Martin Kreiswirth, Associate Provost (Graduate Education) at McGill. “I couldn’t be more pleased, and I’m particularly gratified to learn that four of our winners are international students.”

“I’m extraordinarily proud to be recognized by the Government in this way,” said Emily B.J. Coffey, a PhD student in the Faculty of Medicine’s department of neurology and neurosurgery. “I’m excited to begin the research that this scholarship is funding and I’m pleased to be able to contribute to knowledge that will one day help people recover from injury or trauma to the brain.” Coffey’s research will help us better understand the way our brains change when we learn complex skills, through the study of musical production and perception.

The other 17 recipients are:

Giulia El-Dardiry, Anthropology; Jennifer Otto, Church History; Antoni Tekiel, Condensed Matter Physics; Sebastien Boridy, Drug Research; Felipe Dargent, Evolution and Ecology; Matthew Parsons, Immunology-Transplantation; Mathieu Lavallée-Adam, Information Technology; Jeffrey Poissant, Mechanical Engineering; Sra Thiam, Medical Anthropology; Laura Risk, Music and Musicology; Jenea Bin, Jieun Cha, Mohsen Jamali, Sebastien Langlois, Nervous System; Graham Hamblin, Organic Chemistry; Woo Jin Edward Lee and Alexandra Richard-Guay, Social Work.