Current Student Profiles


Karen Mize Berglander is a Ph.D. student in ethnomusicology. Originally from Topeka, Kansas, she completed a M.A. in musicology at the University of Denver and a dual B.A. in German and Music, with an emphasis in voice, at the College of Saint Benedict. She is an active performer and served as supplemental chorus for the Colorado Symphony in addition to her involvement with academic choirs, opera workshops, and the University of Denver’s gamelan and kathak dance ensembles. Karen’s research examines experiences and expressions of femininity and queerness in the North American D.I.Y. punk scene and aims to tackle those issues from both an academic and activist approach. As an activist, Karen is particularly interested in the role that D.I.Y. performance venues play as safe spaces and the ways these venues can be utilized as a point for community outreach among at-risk populations.

Mariana Castro Carvajal is originally from Mexico City but lived periodically in Nezahualcóyotl, Cuernavaca, Monterrey, and Colima. She began her formal music training at the age of 14 in classical piano under Antonina Dragan, Vlada Vassilieva, and Anatoly Zatin, at the Institute in Fine Arts, Colima, Mexico. She was the recipient of the 2016 ELAP scholarship that consisted of an exchange program with Brandon University, Manitoba. In 2017, she transferred to Brandon and completed the Bachelor of Music (Honours) with great distinction. As a first year M.A. student in ethnomusicology, Mariana is interested in studying Mexican national identity and indigenismo within the context, function, and means of protest music. Furthermore, she wants to elucidate the ways in which music and musicking, regardless of their prescribed aesthetics, might further social justice and change in vulnerable Latin American communities.

Carolyn Chong’s research interests include the role of the arts in Indigenous resurgence, decolonization, health, and social justice movements. Living in northern Norway for two years inspired her to pursue a multi-sited doctoral research project examining pan-Indigenous musical performance and arts festivals (northern Canada and Norway) and their role in redefining Indigenous-settler relationships. Before returning to the field of ethnomusicology, Carolyn worked in mental health as an Occupational Therapist in London, England. Listen Carolyn Chong's talk here.

Jacob Danson Faraday has worked as a performer, sound designer, recording engineer, and touring sound technician for many years. Inspired by this work, he now examines the creative influence of live sound technicians, and the working communities of large-scale touring productions. Currently enrolled in the ethnomusicology PhD programme at Memorial University, he holds an MSc from the University of Edinburgh and a BMus from Dalhousie University.

Christian Dauble is from Dunedin, Florida. At the age of twelve he began studying the highland bagpipe, under Pipe Major Sandy Keith, as part of Dunedin’s Scottish Arts program. He completed a B.A. in Music and a B.S. in Anthropology at Florida State University. During his time at FSU he continued to study the bagpipe, as well as the Chinese guzheng and Balinese gamelan gong kebyar. A first year Master’s student, Christian is interested in studying performance practice of the classical Ceol Mor music of the highland pipe along with identity and nationalism within the broader piping community.

Jane Dennison is a dancer focusing on traditional Newfoundland set dancing for her graduate studies at Memorial University of Newfoundland. She has been collecting, performing and teaching traditional dances from various countries for more than 25 years. She was the principal author and dance consultant for a teaching resource for Newfoundland and Labrador schools and has presented papers and workshops at national and international traditional dance and music conferences. Jane recently retired from a career with the Government of Canada as an international trade commissioner specializing in technology innovation.

Kiersten Fage is a Ph.D. student in ethnomusicology. She holds a B. Mus. and a B. A. (Honours) from the University of Western Australia and a M. Mus. in Early Music (Baroque Cello) from McGill University. Kiersten grew up in the small coastal town of Albany, Western Australia, surrounded by folk music and performed regularly with her cello in bands, sessions, and folk festivals. These experiences inspired her honours thesis “Searching for the Scots Cello,” which investigated the relatively untouched area of 18th- and 19th-century Scottish folk cello playing. This research became an integral part of her master’s research project, which involved performances of 18th-century Scottish dance music on period instruments. Kiersten’s current Ph.D. research explores the rise, fall, and modern revival of folk cello playing in North America. From African American cello players in dance bands of the Colonial period to the cello players of the string bands in the early twentieth century and contemporary folk cellists, Kiersten’s research aims to connect past and present to recognise folk cello playing as an established tradition. Kiersten is also involved with a project at the Centre d’etudes acadiennes at the University of Moncton that is creating digital transcriptions of Acadian folk songs and tunes.

Gale Franklin is a Master’s student and singer-songwriter from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Gale achieved her Bachelor of Music degree with a focus on song writing from Carleton University in 2018. She also released her debut EP, Fool’s Paradise (2018), which is now available on all online platforms. Her research interests examine the role of music in identity and alliance formation in the context of migration. Her current research will interrogate how Syrian refugees in Canada use music in their daily lives to cultivate a sense of belonging, heal emotional wounds of trauma, and generate Syrian-Canadian identity narratives.

Jennifer Hartmann is a PhD candidate in ethnomusicology who originally hails from Nova Scotia. She holds a Bachelor of Music in history and literature from Dalhousie, and a Master of Arts in musicology from McGill. A violist by training, her research deals with the social function, occupational narrative, and business strategies of wedding string quartet musicians. She lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa with her husband, MUN folklore alumnus Nic Hartmann, and their two daughters, Mari and Rosi. She currently works as an oral history transcriber for the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library. 


Tia Julien is a first year Masters student of ethnomusicology. Originally from Niagara, Ontario, she received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Guelph, specializing in music and English studies. With a passion for music and writing, she strives to understand how the relationships between words and sound function in everyday life. Her interests lie in identity, experience, and storytelling; particularly how music and literature function to connect people to themselves, others, and a shared social environment.

Damien Laframboise is a PhD student in ethnomusicology at Memorial University. He holds a double-concentration honours BA from Laurentian University in music and Italian studies and an MMus from Western University in solo piano performance and literature. His present research interests include the role of music in relation to issues of cultural identity and authenticity, and the uses of music in ethnic integration and dissemination of Canada's immigrant groups, with specific interest in Ontario's Italian-Canadian communities.

Ellen McCutcheon is originally from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia but has spent many years living between Canada and the USA. She has completed a Bacherlor's degree in Music with a concentration in Intercultural studies from Houghton College, in Houghton, NY. While at Houghton, she developed a love for music and various cultures which has led her to become a 1st year MA student in Ethnomusicology. Her research interests include East African music and how it can affect development and the education of refugees.

Certified by the Canadian Association for Music Therapy, Monique McGrath is a music therapist and ethnomusicologist interested in music, health, and culture. Her current research focusses on music therapy with children on the autism spectrum in Uganda. By gaining a profound understanding of Ugandan local beliefs and traditional healing practices related to autism, Monique aims to develop new culturally-informed methods for music therapists interested in cross-cultural work.

Daniel Neill is a Ph.D student in ethnomusicology from Toronto, Ontario. Previous to his studies at Memorial University, he completed a B.Mus in jazz studies through Humber College and an M.A. in musicology at York University while maintaining a busy schedule as a professional drummer and drum instructor. Currently, Daniel’s research is focused on the pedal steel guitar, an instrument that he became interested in through his work as a drummer with various country, blues and Americana artists. His current research is concerned with the roles of gender, social class, and the politics of labour in the instrument maker’s workshop. In addition to his activities as a musician, his interest in riding and maintaining vintage motorcycles has greatly influenced his research interests.

Toshio Tatsu Oki started taking violin lessons under the Suzuki method at the age of four, and has been playing the piano since he was ten. He attended an Engineering program at the University of Western Ontario for three years. After discovering the world of social sciences, he undertook an Honours Bachelor's degree in International Development at York University. It was not until he moved to Japan that he discovered Irish music and started playing his violin again with more passion. The desire to pursue his passion for Irish music led him to the Master's program in Ethnomusicology at Memorial. His research interests lie in hybrid musical processes with a focus on the phenomenon of Irish music in Japan.Listen to Toshio talk about his research here

Diego Pani became involved with music in his teenage years, learning both the traditional multipart singing of Santu Lussurgiu, his hometown in Sardinia, Italy, and starting a punk rock band. This interest in both traditional and popular music drove his subsequent research, which focused on the dynamics of learning, performance and the diffusion of music by young generations of musicians, in reference to the use of media as a learning device (historical recordings), as well as the construction of social meaning via audio and video materials, in the oral/vernacular traditions of Sardinia and popular music of North America. In addition to his academic studies, he sings with the Sardinian heavy blues band King Howl and manages Talk About Records, a DIY record label that specializes in the production of records and events of blues, Americana and rock 'n' roll artists.

Inspired by Eddy Van Halen's 1991 guitar solo on "Right Now," Glenn Patterson picked up the electric guitar at the age of twelve. His musical interests shifted from rock, blues, and jazz to traditional fiddle and banjo music during his undergraduate engineering degree at Queen's University (Canada). He then moved to Montreal to pursue a Master's in electrical engineering at Concordia and also hosted a weekly bluegrass and old-time jam session and organized square dances in Montreal and southern Quebec. Having met prominent field recordists in the old-time music revival encouraged him to pursue a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology at Memorial. His research focuses on home recording; popular culture, memory, and media; proactive archiving; and community-engaged and collaborative research within the English-speaking minority of Quebec's Gaspé Peninsula. His PhD dissertation has involved creating a digital sound archives with a local anglophone health and social services advocacy organization, Vision Gaspé-Percé Now. Their blog is available at Along with fiddler/musicologist Laura Risk, he also co-produced the CD-booklet "Douglastown: Music and Song From the Gaspé Coast" between 2010 and 2014; this project was awarded Quebec's 2014 Prix Mnémo for a project deemed remarkable in documenting oral heritage in Quebec.

Ophelia Ravencroft is a music historian and social activist from Halifax, Nova Scotia who has made her home in Newfoundland since 2008. Presently, she is engaged in an ethnography and oral history of the St John's metal community, with a particular eye to concepts of identity and of genre definition among local metalheads. Outside academia, she is a feminist activist who advocates especially for the rights of sex workers, and heads the committee behind St John's SlutWalk.

Peter Verdin has been playing in D.I.Y. bands since he was in high school, including one alleged ska band that he will neither confirm nor deny existed. Although he is primarily a bass player (both upright and electric). Peter is well-versed on a variety of stringed and keyed instruments. After graduating from the University of Minnesota with a B.A. in cultural studies and comparative literature, he spent several years working in a recording studio as a sound engineer and travelling the U.S. as a bass player with the neo-Americana group, the Gypsy Lumberjacks. Peter completed an M.A. in ethnomusicology at University College Cork, Ireland, where his work focused on transnationalism and its effect on ideas of locality. His research interests also include the effects of globalization on contemporary music, mediation, memory, and musical consumption. Now situated in St. John’s with his Wifey and Doggo, he is pursuing a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology at Memorial University.

You can listen to some of the recordings Peter has played on/recorded below:


Jing Xia is a professional guzheng player and teacher from China. During her master study of music administration, she also acted as concert host and chairman secretary of Hunan Symphony Orchestra. Her articles have been published in the Chinese journals Cultural Study and Music Space. Since moving to St. John's, she has been an active performer in city's music scene. As a Ph.D. ethnomusicology student, she is interested in the fusion music combing the guzheng and western genres, and the transformation of this traditional instrument, including instrumental structures, performance styles, and compositions. Her research focuses on the modern development of the guzheng in the western world, especially in the North America.


Jordan W. Zalis is a first-year doctoral student in ethnomusicology who holds his bachelor of music in vocal performance and master of arts in music and culture from Carleton University. His research is focused on sound, music, and sport as they relate to ideas concerning individual and group identity, social organization, and politics. Places like the stadium, the ballpark, and the sofa are where he chooses to study music and media and where he feels at home as a researcher. When away from the field, Jordan is an active creator and performer of new musics ranging from song to experimental sonic composition. Listen to Jordan’s feature on CBC’s “PhDs On the Go” here.


Music, Media and Place

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000