FGS honours best and brightest with Thesis and Dissertation Awards

The Faculty of Graduate Studies honoured its best and brightest at a reception this week with prizes for last year’s outstanding Master’s theses and Doctoral dissertations.

Seven theses received the awards this year—three Master’s students: Michelle Bobala, Jennifer Dysart and Sue Patrick Breit—and four Doctoral dissertations written by Amanda Paxton, Jacqueline Beaudry, Rory B.B. Lucyshyn-Wright and Karine Côté-Boucher.
The awards are given out every spring, based on dissertations defended the previous calendar year.

Dean Barbara Crow said the awards committee is composed of six elected members of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and two student members.

“All of the dissertations submitted by graduate programs were exceptional and were deserving of accolades and awards,” Dean Crow said.

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Dean Barbara Crow, Prof. Linda Peake and Michelle Bobala, with Michelle's Thesis Award

Michelle Bobala
Michelle Bobala’s thesis, written as part of her Master’s degree in the Graduate Program in Development Studies, was titled "Empowering Women and Promoting Gender Equality? The Relevance of MDG3 in the Context of Georgetown, Guyana." Her research has had a significant impact on research into the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and is also being used to inform the work of Red Thread, a multiracial womens’ organization in Georgetown, Guyana, to support the advancement of women.

The Millennium Development Goals are eight goals that all 191 United Nations member states have agreed to try to achieve by 2015. Goal 3, the subject of Michelle’s thesis, is to promote gender equality and empower women.

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Prof. Brenda Longfellow, right, talks about Jennifer Dysart's research and her film at the reception

Jennifer Dysart
Jennifer Dysart’s thesis, created as part of her Master’s degree in the Graduate Program in Film, is a short documentary film entitled "Kewekapawetan: Return After the Flood." Dysart says she anticipates an international premiere this fall. Kewekapawetan documents the aftermath of the flooding of a First Nation community in Manitoba by Manitoba Hydro in the 1970s to expand hydro-electric capacity. The flooding devastated what had been a vibrant and self-sufficient community.

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Sue Patrick Breit describes her research at the reception

‘Kewekapawetan’ means ‘going back’ or ‘looking back’ in the Cree language and the film is about going on home on multiple levels, Jennifer says. It’s about the annual return of the people of South Indian Lake Manitoba to their original village site on an annual basis. It’s also about her own journey back to her Cree heritage and a homeland where she has never lived.

Sue Patrick Breit
Sue Patrick Breit’s thesis, written as part of her Master’s degree in the Graduate Program in Interdisciplinary Studies, combined prose and song and was entitled "The Phenomenology of a Simple Song: Expression, Creativity, and the Recovery of Aesthetics." Her thesis is a phenomenological examination of creativity and aesthetics through the practice of songwriting. To listen to Sue’s songs, you can visit her myspace page: myspace.com/suepatrickbreit/music/songs.

Dr. Amanda Paxton
Dr. Amanda Paxton’s dissertation, which she completed as part of theGraduate Program in English, was titled "All or Nothing: Sado-Erotics and Subjectivity in Victorian Religious Poetry." Her research examined Victorian literature about the sadomasochistic relationship between the poetic speaker and God as lover, and the socio-cultural reasons for the reemergence of this kind of writing in the 19th century. A portion of one chapter of her dissertation has already been accepted for publication by the prestigious Journal of Victorian Culture.

Amanda’s dissertation sheds light on the unexpected intersections between spirituality and sexuality during the Victorian period. Her readings and analyses brought to light a number of highly original insights about this form of literature and its relationship to the culture and social norms of Victorian England.

Dr. Jacqueline Beaudry describes her research at the reception

Dr. Jacqueline Beaudry describes her research at the reception

Dr. Jacqueline Beaudry
Dr. Jacqueline Beaudry’s dissertation, "An Examination of the Development of Rapid-onset Diabetes Induced by Elevated Exogenous Glucocortoids and a High-fat Diet in Young Sprague Dawley Rats," was written as part of her doctorate in the Graduate Program in Kinesiology & Health Science. Jacqueline developed a new research model using rats that assessed the combined effect of stress hormones and high-fat diets, and then developed a therapeutic model, which included both exercise and medication, to address the insulin resistance effects induced by stress and diet.

Jacqueline is currently working with Dr. Daniel Drucker at Mount Sinai Hospital in the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute.

Dr. Rory Lucyshyn-Wright
Dr. Rory B.B. Lucyshyn-Wright’s dissertation "Riesz-Schwartz Extensive Quantities and Vector-Valued Integration in Closed Categories," was written has part of his doctorate in the Graduate Program in Mathematics & Statistics. Rory’s research was an analysis of the structures of ideas used to measure quantity in the context of physics. Rory’s research constitutes a major advance in the field of category theory, an area of mathematics that is designed to exhibit common threads in distinct fields of mathematics, physics and computer science.

As one of the highest ranked of the award-winning dissertations, Rory’s dissertation is also York University’s nomination for CAGS/Proquest-UMI Distinguished Dissertation Award in the area of Engineering, Medical, and Natural Sciences. Supervisor and Associate Vice President of Research Walter Tholen noted that Rory now holds one of York’s first NSERC postdoctoral fellowships in pure mathematics, which he is pursuing at the University of Ottawa.

Dr. Karine Côté-Boucher
Dr. Karine Côté-Boucher’s dissertation "The Micro-Politics of Border Control: Internal Struggles at Canada Customs," was written as part of her doctorate in the Graduate Program in Sociology. As one of the highest ranked of the award-winning dissertations, Karine’s dissertation is also York University’s nomination for CAGS/Proquest-UMI Distinguished Dissertation Award in the area of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. Her project examines how multiple generations of border control agents are negotiating the shift in Canada Customs from a tax collection agency to one providing security and facilitating trade. In the course of her highly revealing interviews, for which she gained an unprecedented level of access and which she conducted in both official languages, Karine reveals the ways in which the loss of control to administrators and loss of clout in the security field has led customs officers to adopt an enforcement narrative and a policing sensibility in efforts to uphold their power and sense of significance.Karine was unable to attend the reception because she recently accepted a tenure-track professorship in criminology at the University of Montreal.

FGS congratulates all of the thesis and dissertation prize winners on their exceptional work, and thanks their supervisory committees for their tireless support and effort.

For more pictures from the reception, please visit the Faculty of Graduate Studies Facebook page.

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