St. George’s Society of Toronto honours four YorkU graduate students

Four York University graduate students were honoured for their research achievements in British culture and health sciences at the St. George’s Society of Toronto’s scholars’ reception.

shield logo of the St. George's Society of Toronto

St. George's Society of Toronto

PhD students Gavin Bembridge in Linguistics, Leigha Comer in Biology, Sara Farhan in History, and MFA student Alistair Newton in Theatre formally received their awards last week.

The Society’s Graduate Student Award supports master’s and doctoral students in areas of research pertaining to British culture (i.e. English language and literature, history, art, science, social and political science, geography, environment), and health sciences, specifically in the area of nursing and nurse practitioners. Recipients receive up to $12,500 in funds to support their research.

Sara Farhan attended the reception with her professors and spoke at length about her research at York. Her work examines the development of the first medical college in Iraq – the Royal Medical College of Baghdad. It highlights the college's role in the development of a national collective identity at a time when Iraq was politically and economically convoluted in Britain’s diplomacies.

“Ultimately, my research will provide an alternate perspective to approaching cultural and pedagogical fusion on a transnational scale; one which rejects passivity theories and celebrates local level agency and activity,” she noted. “Through this project I hope to contribute to the historiography of British and Iraqi cultural and the scientific contributions throughout the British mandate and the Hashemite period.”

photo of Sara Farhan

Sara Farhan

Farhan also praised the Society for the opportunities the award has provided her, and how it has contributed to her academic success.

“The majority of sources from British Mandate of Mesopotamia/ Iraq to the early 1960s are located at the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies Library, Oxford University’s Middle East Centre; and The National Archives Kew’s Public Record Office in England,” she said. “In April, 2017, I will be traveling to Oxford, UK where I can examine the rare collections hosted at Oxford University. I will then present some of my preliminary findings at the Middle East and North Africa Conference hosted by Trinity College in England.”

“By supporting this research, The St. George’s Society is having a significant impact on medical education, and is therefore a celebration of knowledge and research with a global impact.”

Other awardees include Gavin Bembridge, PhD candidate in Linguistics, who has completed both his BA and MA here at York. His work specializes in the areas of morphology and syntax.

Leigha Comer, PhD candidate in Sociology, conducts public health research in chronic pain and illnesses. Upon completion of her studies, she hopes to work with Canadian medical schools to develop a comprehensive pain curriculum, and to help bridge the gap between biomedical and psychosocial care of chronic illness.

Alistair Newton, MFA candidate in Theatre, will direct a production for Canadian Stage's Shakespeare in High Park in the summer of 2017, as well as a production at The Berkley Street Theatre, and he will also assist Canadian Stage Artistic Director Matthew Jocelyn on his upcoming production of the North American premiere of Liv Stein.

The St. George’s Society of Toronto is a registered non-profit organization. Through its member donations and fundraising events, the society donates to over 20 charitable organizations annually. Today, the members of the St. George’s Society of Toronto are impassioned patrons of culture, education, health care, and charitable institutions across the city.