2012/2013 Winners

November 2012

IMG Clarke Liz

Liz Clarke

Liz Clarke is a doctoral candidate in the English and Film Studies department. Her dissertation, “War and the Sexes: Gender in American Film, 1898-1927,” examines representations of gender and militarism in entertainment film in the context of progressive-era politics, early film exhibition practices, intended (female) audiences, and changing gender norms in society more broadly. In preparation for writing, Clarke performed research in numerous archives including the George Eastman House, Museum of Modern Art and the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, as part of the SSHRC-funded Michael Smith Foreign Studies travel grant. Her work currently advocates that archival research is necessary to understanding the history of women in film.

Serge Lokshin 

Serge Lokshin (2012-2013 Runner Up)

Serge Lokshin’s primary research interest and focus for the purposes of his master’s thesis is the comparative study of juvenile justice and trial proceedings. More specifically, he am interested in understanding the role of the courts in processing youth as well as the perpetuation of stigmas (i.e., social, cultural) that result from their interactions within the criminal justice system. His study sets out to examine both the Canadian and Russian contexts with respect to the topic of juvenile delinquency and will shed some crucial light on this issue. It is essentially a ‘compare and contrast’ study in order to understand the functions and differences in juvenile delinquency across international and legal contexts. Prior to his entry into the criminology master’s program, he attended York University in Toronto where he completed my undergraduate degree in criminology.

December 2012

Heather CurrieHeather Currie

Heather is a graduate student in the department of Education. Her recent qualitative research study, “Daughters of Single Fathers: Working as a Team”, looks at the experiences of daughters of single fathers in an urban setting. A phenomenological approach was used to look at the attributes, challenges, and needs facing daughters of single fathers. Data was gathered through in-depth interviews and later analyzed for emerging themes. Heather’s personal experience being raised by her father, for a majority of her life, motivated this research.

Heather received her BA from Ryerson University in Early Childhood Education. She further completed her BEd at Wilfrid Laurier, with a focus on primary education. Aside from her research interest in family dynamics, she is also interested in early learning, specifically within the Kindergarten environment. Heather would like to extend her gratitude to Dr. Steve Sider, from the department of Education, for his support and contribution to this research study.

January 2013

Sylvia Terzian

Sylvia Terzian

Sylvia Terzian has recently completed her PhD in the Department of English & Film Studies, and was nominated for the Gold Medal of Academic Excellence. Her primary research interests are in Postcolonial and Diaspora Literature and Theory, with a focus on contemporary Arab North-American fiction. Her dissertation, entitled “Arab Pluralities and Transnationality: ‘A Crisis of Diasporic Consciousness’ in Arab North-American Fiction,” is interdisciplinary in its engagement with historical, literary, anthropological, sociological, and cultural studies. Drawing on several intersecting theoretical models —postcolonial and diaspora studies, trauma theory, psychoanalysis, and queer theory—the dissertation addresses the implications of the experience of migration, settlement, and belonging for Arab consciousness and sense of identity in Canada and the United States. Her research focus, more broadly and comparatively considered, also extends into other literary traditions: in particular, Arabic Literature and World Anglophone Literature. Sylvia has served as a teaching assistant during her MA and PhD at Wilfrid Laurier, and more recently, has taught two senior undergraduate courses, entitled “Middle Eastern North American Narratives” and “Post-9/11 American Fiction.”

Ada Sharpe 

Ada Sharpe

Ada is a doctoral candidate in the Department of English and Film studies, currently writing her dissertation on representations of accomplishment and the decorative arts in British women’s writing of the Romantic period. Her SSHRC-funded research draws on a number of popular print forms emerging in Romantic Britain between 1780 and 1835, including the novel, verse collection, and gift book, and seeks to elucidate the ways in which literary representations of female accomplishment (such as drawing, painting, and embroidery) provide a familiar frame of reference through which women writers negotiate issues of gender.

Ada is particularly fascinated by lesser-known women novelists of the early nineteenth century, such as Mary Brunton and Amelia Opie, whose didactic fiction features some of the most virtuous, admirable, and accomplished heroines in British literary history. Ada’s research has taken her to archives in Britain and the US and enabled her to discover a wealth of bizarre and wonderful primary sources, including manuals on the decorative arts and conduct books on female amusements.

 February 2013

Amira Ragab

Amira Ragab (2012-2013 Grand Prize Winner)

Amira is a Master's student and research assistant at the Department of Mathematics. After successfully completing the graduate courses, she started her thesis work in the areas of Artificial Intelligence and Computer Vision. In particular, she has been working on the development of mathematical models for tackling the problem of automatic gesture recognition. She proposed the use of Hilbert space-filling curve for representing images of static hand gestures. Experiments on several benchmark data sets reveal the efficiency and effectiveness of the proposed method in comparison to the state-of-the-art methods for image-based gesture recognition. The current work will be extended to recognize dynamic gestures captured using data gloves. Amira is working under the supervision of Professor Maher Ahmed and Professor Siu-Cheung Chau, and she is the recipient of the 2012/2013 Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship in Science and Technology (QEII-GSST).


Colin McLaren

Colin McLaren

Colin McLaren is a Master's student in the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education, currently studying in the Group Dynamics and Physical Activity Lab with Dr. Mark Eys. His research surrounds the dynamics of youth sport teams, with a specific focus on working with volunteer house-league coaches.

Funded by a SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship, an Ontario Graduate Scholarship, and the Wilfrid Laurier Centennial Scholarship, Colin's current research focuses on the motivational climate in youth recreational sport, and how different ego- and task-related coaching behaviours influence perceptions of group cohesion and intentions to return to sport. Specifically, an intervention program was introduced that educated coaches to define success in terms of effort, improvement, teamwork, and cooperation as opposed to outperforming others and winning at all costs. In addition, he is also conducting a separate research project examining both the salience of roles in youth sport, and how various social and group level variables influence group processes in a competitive youth sport context.

From an applied standpoint, Colin also works with a local youth soccer organization in a consultation role where he runs workshops with rep-level coaches on topics such as teambuilding and intra-team communication, and assists in conducting house-league coach certification clinics.


March 2013


Yasaman S. Munro

Yasaman S. Munro is currently a doctoral candidate in the Wilfrid Laurier University-University of Waterloo joint program in Religious Diversity in North America. Her SSHRC-funded research focuses on Ayurveda and associated South Asian medical traditions among Hindu South Asians now living in the Waterloo Region of Canada, many of whom are involved with the two major Hindu temples in this area. Recognizing the importance of relational networks and material culture, Yasaman asks interviewees to walk her through their everyday health practices and beliefs in domestic and religious spaces, and she traces and photographs the Ayurvedic materials people use for wellbeing. Her research has taken her to India where interviewees buy their Ayurvedic medicines and go for treatments at Ayurvedic hospitals and religious sites. More broadly, Yasaman examines how religion and social identity are linked with the ways that people respond to sickness, aging and death.


Zoey Jones

Zoey Jones

Zoey is a Master’s candidate in the Department of Criminology at Laurier’s Brantford campus. Her qualitative thesis, “Purchasing Sex and Negotiating Morality: An exploratory study of sex industry clients and stigma”, focuses on the lived experiences of fourteen male clients of sex workers.

This study has yielded unexpected results reflecting on the qualitative interview process itself and the researcher’s role within it. Zoey will be presenting at the Qualitatives 2013 conference in Ottawa focusing on and unpacking ethical challenges, the involvement of academic and personal identity, and the emotion work she has experienced and analyzed throughout this project.
Her research has also encountered a variety of themes including reflections of wider cultural commodification of women, definitions of sexual and non-sexual intimacy, and techniques utilized to combat broader social definitions of ‘deviant’ sexuality.
Zoey would like to thank her supervisor, Dr. Stacey Hannem, for her invaluable contribution and support.


April 2013

Laleh Samarbakhsh

Laleh Samarbakhsh

Laleh is a doctoral candidate in Financial Economics at the School of Business and Economics. Her dissertation, “Three Essays on Default Risk in Capital Markets,” examines the risk of bankruptcy, failure, and default in capital markets with specific focus on the recent financial crisis and distress periods. 

In her essay titled "Role of Leverage in Hedge Funds Failure", Laleh investigates the determinants of hedge fund failure during the 2008 financial crisis - why some hedge funds failed while others survived. Working on 15 years of hedge funds data, she finds that highly levered hedge funds have a higher propensity of failure during and after the crisis period.

To investigate default risk injection and its flow from one market to another, Laleh performed comprehensive empirical research using numerous financial databases including Equity Options, Credit Default Swaps, and Accounting Reports. She tests whether the default risk is priced in Equity Options and to what extent it can impact the mis-pricing of the options - a flow from fixed income market to the equity options market.

Her work has been presented at refereed Finance conferences including Financial Management Association, Eastern Finance Association and Northern Finance Association meetings.

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