News Release

REF NO.: 161

SUBJECT: Two Memorial University students selected to participate in national events

DATE: May 29, 2015

Two graduate students from Memorial University have been selected to participate in upcoming Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) events in the nation’s capital next month.

Both events will take place as part of the annual Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, Canada’s largest gathering of academics and scholarly associations.

Joshua Smee is a master’s student in Memorial’s Department of Political Science and has been named a finalist in the 2015 Storytellers National Challenge.

Stephen Jackson is a doctoral student in the interdisciplinary PhD program and will represent Memorial University at SSHRC’s Imagining Canada’s Future event.

The Storytellers contest is an annual competition hosted by SSHRC that challenges post-secondary students from across Canada to demonstrate how their research is impacting the country. Students are required to present their research within three minutes or in up to 300 words and are evaluated by a panel of some 30 judges. The top 25 students were recently selected from more than 250 applicants. Each finalist receives a cash prize and the opportunity to compete in the Storyteller’s Showcase during Congress.

“Being recognized by the SSHRC Storytellers competition is a big deal, particularly for this project, since the whole reason for getting into this area of research was to develop some ideas that I can bring to the wider community in St. John's,” said Mr. Smee. “We need to be talking about the way urban design shapes our lives, and having some data to work from will help keep that conversation going. I'm also excited to have a chance to learn from the other 24 finalists, who are all doing a great job of taking down the myth that social science research has to be esoteric or full of jargon."

Imagining Canada’s Future is another prominent event that will be taking place during Congress.

“I am honoured to have been asked to represent the School of Graduate Studies and Memorial University in Ottawa,” said Mr. Jackson. “The opportunity to express some of our ideas in such a public and academic climate is a first step to continuing fruitful exchange between students and institutions across the country. We have said that a successful future for Canada depends upon learning more about who we all are and how we can work together. This is a terrific start.”

Imagining Canada’s Future is a joint initiative between SSHRC and the Canadian Association for Graduate Studies. The intention of the event is for graduate students to voice their opinions and thoughts on the future of Canada and their place in it. SSHRC has developed six questions for which students base their discussions on. To date, 350 graduate students from 23 universities have participated; only six of which have been selected to participate in the panel discussion. The event will be moderated by Leo Charbonneau, columnist and deputy editor of University Affairs magazine.

The Storyteller’s Showcase and the Imagining Canada’s Future event will take place at the University of Ottawa on June 1.

“The School of Graduate Studies is very proud of Joshua and Stephen for being selected to represent Memorial University in such prestigious events,” said Dr. Katherine Side, interim associate dean, School of Graduate Studies, Memorial University. “It’s gratifying to see the impact their research is having on our university and the country, and we’re confident that they will continue to be influential.”

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