FGS Nominating Committee Election: Biographical Statements May 2017

Graduate Student Nominees' Biographical Statements

Academic Planning & Policy Committee (2 to be elected)

Kurosh Amoui Kalareh (Graduate Program in Social & Political Thought)

I’m a third-year PhD student at the Social & Political Thought (SPTH) program, and I’m the program’s student representative on the FGS Council. I’m running for the Academic Planning and Policy Committee to advocate for more accountability and transparency in governance at FGS, to ensure strong and community-oriented policy making, and to address and contest the corporatization of higher education that is sacrificing “knowledge” and quality education for the sake of profit-making.

During the last year, I’ve sat on the York University Senate (the highest academic governance body of the university) as an elected representative of York University Graduate Students’ Association. My Senate experience has quite familiarized me with various aspects and complexities of academic governance, academic policies and decision-making within the university sector. I had also formerly served SPTH as: student member of the executive; student member of the PhD admission committee; student member of the search committee for graduate program director; and member of the organizing committee of SPTH’s annual graduate conference, Strategies of Critique. Besides, for the second year in a row, I am helping as the elected member of the International Graduate Students Committee of CUPE 3903, and I am glad to see that the difficult financial situation of our international graduate students has finally been partially resolved.

I look forward to bringing my experience at the administrative level to FGS in order to enhance the graduate studies at York, and to be the voice of our graduate students’ community at this important committee.

Shoshana Elharar (Graduate Program in Humanities)

Shoshana Elharar grew up in Tel-Aviv, Israel. She got her BA degree at Tel-Aviv University (Economic and Business - 1975). Immediately later she started working at the biggest bank in Israel, Bank Hapoalim, where she was promoted from one post to another, until in 1994 she was sent to Luxembourg to be the Manager of the private banking of ‘Bank Hapoalim Luxembourg’. In those days already a widow with two kids to raise all by herself.

After few years of working in Luxembourg, she returned to Tel-Aviv, to serve as a member in the Board of Directors of a Bank, in the Board of Directors of a Pension-Fund, as well as in some private ‘for-profit’ companies. In those same years she acquired her Master degree in Philosophy, at the same Tel-Aviv University (2000).

In 2002-2003 her kids decided to acquire their academic degrees in North America, ending at the universities of Waterloo and Toronto, Canada. Few years later she resigned from all her jobs and rich volunteer work in Tel-Aviv, and moved to join her two sons in Toronto. In this stage of her life, she decided to go back to the best thing she loves to do, namely: to go back to school and study. She applied to YorkU to finish an MA degree in Humanities (2014), and another Master in Jewish Studies (2016).

In 2014 she started her Humanities PhD, to work on a research in the Urbanization field, under the supervisor of Prof. Markus Reisenleitner.

Eleni Fegaras (Graduate Program in Biology)

My name is Eleni Fegaras, and I am currently a second year Masters candidate in the cell and molecular biology program here at York University. I am in the process of transferring into the PhD program, and plan to schedule my transfer exam in April of this year. I received my BFA degree here at York in Visual Arts, specializing in drawing and painting, with a minor in biology. I chose to pursue Biology because I worked in a lab in my fourth and fifth year and loved it. I am currently a member of the AGSBS Symposium Committee. We organize and host the biology graduate programs yearly symposium, which is a half day of academic activities such as student poster presentations. I got involved in this year’s symposium because I won the poster competition last year and wanted to be a part of the planning process. I would now like to volunteer for the FGS academic planning and policy committee because I want to be more deeply involved in this school. I plan on being here for several more years, and would like to learn how the school is run and form connections with fellow graduate students and members of faculty. Learning about university policies and procedures is so important to me because in the future I want to become a professor.

Dylan Hillyer (Graduate Program in Music)

Dylan Hillyer is a 2nd-year PhD student in Musicology.  As a member of the LGBT+, and specifically trans communities, his dissertation work attempts to broaden the underserved field of transgender musicology, by examining Against Me!’s Transgender Dysphoria Blues album and its methods of communicating transgender meaning.  To serve this topic, he is currently taking courses in both GFWS (Gender, Feminist, & Women’s Studies) and Music departments.  He has presented a paper on this topic (2016, York University Music 6010 Graduate Colloquium) as well as on John Oswald’s Plunderphonics (2014, Sounds Rerouted, University of Toronto).  Dylan holds a BFA and MA in Music, the latter with a focus in composition, both from York University, and has received the Harvey-Marsden Music Award (2011) and entry scholarships throughout his academic career.

As a vocalist, songwriter, lyricist and performer, Dylan remains active in his community, contributing queer-positive messages to local music and LGBT+ scenes through performances and online recordings with queer rock band Crankbox (2012-present).  Dylan filled the roles of vocalist and electroacoustics for experimental jazz band Lullaby North (2011-2014), culminating in a Canada Council for the Arts grant sponsored performance at the Ecuador International Jazz Festival (2014).  Dylan co-composed and co-arranged the score for Teeny Tiny Music Show (Hamilton Fringe Festival, 2016).  He has taught voice and choir to young adults as a teaching assistant (2015-current) and for the Etobicoke Jazz Band (2013-2016), and has refined improvisation and public speaking skills as part of improvised comedy group The 404s since 2011.

Amanda Oye (Graduate Program in Communication & Culture)

I am a PhD candidate in the Communication and Culture department at York University. I have a Master of Arts degree in Communication from Simon Fraser University and a Bachelor of Journalism degree from Kwantlen Polytechnic University. I am the perfect candidate for the volunteer position on the Academic Planning and Policy Committee because my experience dealing with policy-related research and documents has given me the experience that I need to excel at it.

My dissertation, which is in progress, includes a critical analysis of policy and regulatory documents related national public broadcasters in Britain, Canada and Australia including the official mandates of each. This project builds on the research I did for my MA theses titled: Broadcasting in the Era of plenty: The Case for National Public Television in Canada. For this project, I analyzed a number of historical broadcast policy and regulatory documents, as well as official documents and interventions pertaining to the latest CRTC licence renewal of the CBC.

I have further gained experience dealing with policy and regulatory documents through my work with Peter Anderson at Simon Fraser University. One of the projects I worked on with him was centered around providing the meta for a digital archive of documents relating to Canada’s media industries. These included background studies and papers that provided key contributions to various government-appointed Commissions and their policy recommendations.

I look forward to the opportunity to contribute to the York academic community through this committee.

Arsh Randhawa (Graduate Program in Kinesiology & Health Science)

Arsh Randhawa is currently in her PhD program in Kinesiology and Health Science at York University. Her research focuses on physical activity, body composition and obesity. She had completed her MSc at York University focusing on implementing healthy behaviour change interventions in different chronic disease populations. Her interest in being a part of FGS committee comes from her immense devotion in serving York community as a President of Graduate Research Association of Students in Public Health (GRASP) from past three years. The association provides support for York students to meet their academic and professional goals. It also helps in building relationships between the Faculty of Health and other schools and students to strengthen their academic and research skills. She is a certified senior teaching assistant and has been a part of many workshops in exploring and sharing teaching and learning innovation across York University. As a part of teaching commons, she has worked with a network of colleagues, collaborations and projects, working across and within Faculties and Support Services. Further, with more than three years of progressive research coordinating experience, she had the opportunity to work with many research volunteers and assistants to be an integral part of various projects.  She has a zest for healthy student initiatives and increasing awareness of mental and physical health issues of students by being a part of Canadian Obesity Network. She also enjoys teaching dance and fitness classes in community centres of City of Brampton.

Ellen Sierakowski (Graduate Program in Public Policy, Administration & Law)

Please consider my application to serve on the FGS Academic Policy & Planning Committee. I am a graduate student in the Public Policy Administration and Law program. I am keen to participate in policy and planning processes and even more excited at the prospect of being a part of York’s Faculty of Graduate Studies. I am eager to contribute and I enjoy working with others in assisting with addressing the committee’s mandate.

During my undergraduate degree, I was nominated to serve on the President’s Non Academic Misconduct Committee at the University of British Columbia. It was an extremely rewarding opportunity. Similarly, my role on UBC’s Aspire Committee gave me the opportunity to be a part of the UBC design and consultation process and to help improve the UBC Okanagan Campus. I am grateful for both of these opportunities, as I feel my contributions positively impacted my university.

Whether it was individual or group decision making, participating in these processes strengthened my interest in policy making and leadership management. I believe that my interest in academic policy aligns with the FGS Academic Policy & Planning Committee’s mandate. I will be available on the dates mentioned for meetings, and can be available for any other time that the committee should need me. Thank you for your consideration.

Appeals & Academic Honesty Committee (1 to be elected)

Ibrahim Farag (Graduate Program in Kinesiology & Health Science)

My name is Ibrahim Farag, I am interested applying to be a member of the FGS Appeals & Academic Honesty Committee. Growing up I was always actively involved within my community and my school. In my graduating year in my undergraduate degree I was president of the Orthodox Christian Student Association. My ambition and desire to better the community led me to various volunteering and work experiences. From food banks to recreational facilities, I always aimed to put myself in positions that will foster personal growth. I believe my past volunteer and work experiences helped me develop the necessary skills to be successful in this position. I volunteer at the Canadian Coptic Center as Junior Director of Athletics. This experience exposed me to working in a team environment and required me to meet strict deadlines. My responsibilities included managing sports and recreational leagues. In the summer of 2016, I was a supervisor for a special needs camp. As a supervisor, my time management and organizational skills were fine tuned. In both positions at the special needs camp and at the Canadian Coptic Center, I was constantly tasked to review and create new policies that benefit both the institution and those we govern.

Maxime Levy-Tessier (Graduate Program in Social & Political Thought)

My name is Maxime Lévy-Tessier and I wish to nominate myself for the vacant position on the FGS Appeals & Academic Honesty Committee. I am a fourth year PhD student in Social and Political Thought at York University. My coursework and comprehensive exam are complete and my dissertation proposal is well underway. As of this moment, I will require approximately one and a half years to write and to defend my dissertation; I foresee completing all of my program requirements for 2018. As a teaching assistant at York, I have taught for two general education courses in the Social Sciences: 1) SOSC 1000 – Introduction to Social Science (from 2014 to present) and 2) SOSC 1012 Understanding Social Theory (from 2013 to 2014). Prior to my time at York, I also taught a course entitled GEN 20869Critical thinking (Le sens critique) as a junior lecturer for the Media, Arts and Communication program at La cité collégiale in Ottawa.

As a teaching assistant and junior lecturer, I have always stressed the value of academic honesty and integrity to my students. Over the last two years, I have prepared and given workshops in my tutorials to help my students develop appropriate reading, writing, and studying techniques and perhaps more importantly, to actively discourage academic dishonesty. In light of my experience and commitment, I believe my presence to be an asset to the Appeals & Academic Honesty Committee.

Chantell Morais (Graduate Program in Socio-Legal Studies)

Chantell Morais is an Indigenous feminist scholar with a Specialized BA in Sociology from York University. She completed her Masters of Arts at McMaster University in the Gender Studies and Feminist Research program where her MA thesis was rooted in the strength and vibrancy of Indigenous women and their communities. Chantell is currently a first year PhD student in the Socio-legal Studies department at York University where her proposed research focuses on the treatment of Indigenous women in the Canadian criminal justice system. Chantell’s research interests lie in the Canadian prison industry, the resiliency of Indigenous communities, and the effects of incarceration on traditional and cultural practices of Indigenous women. Along with completing her degree Chantell is actively involved with her community where she is currently a literacy tutor for Correctional Services Canada, and sits on the parent council committee of her sons’ elementary school as treasurer. She has two publications actively in print, “Determining responsibility: The death of Ashley Smith while incarcerated” through Canada Watch and “Canada’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women: A media analysis” with Concordia University.

Awards Committee (1 to be elected)

Mark Terry (Graduate Program in Humanities)

After graduating from York University’s Glendon College in Toronto with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 1980, Mark Terry embarked on 25-year career as a journalist and filmmaker earning him the distinction of having made a documentary film on every continent on earth. His science and nature films been recognized on many fronts.
He has been decorated with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for international humanitarian service; he was presented with the Stefansson Medal, the highest honour of The Explorers Club, for his contribution to polar science research; and the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television honoured him with the Gemini Humanitarian Award for his lifetime contribution to social issue documentary filmmaking. In August 2015, he was named one of Canada’s greatest explorers by Canadian Geographic Magazine.

In 2014, he returned to York to pursue his Master of Arts degree in Humanities with a research focus of how documentary film can philosophically be mobilized as an instrument of social change. He continues this research today as a PhD candidate.

In 2015, Mark’s PhD research project was honored by York University when he won the President’s Sustainability Leadership Award.

At the UN climate summit in Morocco last November, Mark presented this project to delegates and negotiators. His innovative work was adopted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change under its Article 6 mandate for education and outreach – marking the first time a student project has been adopted as an official partner program by the United Nations.

Giselle Thompson (Graduate Program in Sociology)

Giselle Thompson is a third-year doctoral student in the Department of Sociology at York
University. She is ABD, having recently completed comprehensive exams in The Sociology of Global Development and The Sociology of Education. Giselle hopes to defend her postulations and research findings on the implications of national debt for public education spending in Jamaica, and the barriers that limited financing present to the operationalization of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child in educational settings. Giselle’s dissertation project is an expansion of her masters thesis, entitled “IMFinducedFiscal Austerity and Education in Jamaica.” She obtained her Masters degree in Sociology from the University of Toledo in 2014, Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology (Honours-With Distinction) from Niagara University in 2012 and Social Service Worker Diploma from Seneca College in 2010.

Currently, Giselle is a teaching assistant in the Department of Social Science for the Introduction to International Development Studies course. She was also a teaching assistant in the Department of Sociology for the Sociology of Education course from September 2014 to April 2016. Giselle co-authored “Transnational Factors Driving U.S. Inequality and Poverty” with Rubin Patterson that was published in the Routledge Handbook of Poverty in the United States in 2014. She has also published three book reviews, and is a part-time professor in the Social Service Worker program at Seneca College-King Campus. Giselle also holds a research assistantship for a SSHRC funded project that focuses on education and development.


Faculty Members' Biographical Statements

Academic Planning & Policy Committee (2 to be elected)

Mark Hayward (Graduate Program in Communication & Culture)

Mark Hayward has been a member of the Department of Communication Studies and the Graduate Program in Communication & Culture since he arrived at York in 2013. His current research looks at the interactions between media producers and government agencies in Canada surrounding the adoption of multiculturalism as official policy in the 1971. He has taught courses at all levels on topics related to media, culture, and technology. During his time at York, he has been a member of the Research Policy and Planning Committee in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, where he also served as chair, and currently sits on York's Open Access & Open Data Steering Committee.

Patrick Ingram (Graduate Program in Mathematics & Statistics)

Patrick Ingram is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. Before joining York, he obtained his PhD at the University of British Columbia in 2006, and was an NSERC postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto for two years. He subsequently joined the Department of Pure Mathematics at the University of Waterloo as the Brookfield Research Instructor, a three-year term position, and then undertook a tenure-track position at Colorado State University before returning to Canada in 2015. He sits on the Faculty of Graduate Studies' Council at York as the faculty member representative for the Graduate Program in Mathematics & Statistics, and has experience on undergraduate curriculum committees from previous positions.

William A. van Wijngaarden (Graduate Program in Physics & Astronomy)

William van Wijngaarden has been a faculty member at York since 1988.  During that time he has supervised dozens of graduate students and taught a number of different graduate courses.  He has also served on numerous graduate and other university wide committees.  Notable service includes being Chair of the Council of the Faculty of Science and also Chair of Senate.  Graduate education is essential if York is to truly become a research intensive university.  It is critical that high standards be maintained and that student service be improved, if we are to improve our reputation and attract quality applicants.  His record of administrative service is to patiently work to build consensus to get things done.  His vitae is available wvanwijngaarden.info.yorku.ca.  Thank you for your consideration.

Appeals & Academic Honesty Committee (1 to be elected)

Scott Adler (Graduate Program in Psychology)

Scott Adler is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and the Centre for Vision Research, and is the Coordinator for the Developmental Science Graduate Program. He completed his Ph.D. in 1995 at Rutgers University, before becoming a Neurobiology Research Associate in 1998 at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego, before moving to York University in 2000. His research program aims to understand the development of attentional, perceptual, and cognitive capacities in infancy, and is undertaken from a neuroscience perspective. Recently, his research on the impact of caesarean birth on attentional and brain development has received worldwide exposure.  During his time at York, he has served on numerous committees at all levels, including as Chair of the Petitions Committee for the Faculty of Arts from 2001-05 and for the Faculty of Health from 2013-16.  He has also served as Chair of Committee on Exams and Academic Standards (and academic honesty hearings) for the Faculty of Science from 2003-05 and for the Faculty of Health from 2006-09, and has been Chair of the Faculty of Health Sub-Committee for Academic Honesty Hearing Panels from 2006-12 and from 2015-present.  Finally, Scott served on the Senate Appeals Committee from 2008-11.

Chris Ardern (Graduate Program in Kinesiology & Health Science)

Associate Professor, School of Kinesiology and Health Science. Since my appointment in 2006 I have been an active participant in many facets of University life. These include leadership roles in graduate education, University governance, and outreach and research mentorship within York and to the broader community. I have been a member of Graduate Executive on two occasions (2010-12 and 2014-16), served as acting Graduate Program Director (Kinesiology and Health Science, July – December 2016), and held various steering committee, Senate, and community project (YUFA) related positions. As director of the REACH Lab (Research in Epidemiology, Activity, and Cardiometabolic Health), I have been the primary supervisor of 15 graduate students since 2007, and have mentored an additional 24 HQP in my role as Research Scientist at Southlake Regional Health Centre (2011-16). I have been the faculty advisor to the Canadian Obesity Network Student and New Professionals chapter at York since its inception (2008), and have served on the defense or supervisory committees of ~5-10 graduate students per year. Through these roles I have gained an appreciation for both the excellence and challenges of being a graduate student at York, and it is these experiences that serve as motivation to the serve in the work of the Appeals and Academic Honesty Committee.