Preeti Dhaliwal is a critical race feminist, lawyer, writer, performer and facilitator currently pursuing her Master of Laws (LLM) at the University of Victoria. Her LLM thesis investigates how law lives in the body, reframing theatre as jurisprudence in order to explore the legal history of the Komagata Maru and examine the lessons its story offers in relation to race, whiteness, law and trauma.
Having trained in creative facilitation, co-facilitated Theatre of the Oppressed workshops and worked on a theatre production in a prison, Preeti is passionate about arts and social change, arts-based methodologies as a source of transformation (especially in law), and arts-based empowerment (in community). As a two-time writer-in-residence at Voices of Our Nation, Preeti is always seeking the subjective & experiential “I.” Through story, particularly in the form of theatre and interactive performance art, her work connects law and theatre but also draws on autobiography and collective dreaming to build self-knowledge and the potential for personal and social change.
Prior to commencing her LLM, Preeti clerked for the Honourable Justice Anne Mactavish at the Federal Court of Canada and articled at Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP in Toronto. She completed her civil and common law degrees at McGill University where she minored in theatre, founded and facilitated a Women of Colour Writing Circle, co-organized the Law Faculty’s first Critical Race Theory Seminar (which is now a permanent course offering!), and co-hosted a radio to show called Legalease to make legal information more accessible to the public.
Preeti is honoured to be receiving the SWAAC Graduate Student Award of Merit and grateful that her work is being seen and understood through the lens of leadership.
Sophie Duranceau is a PhD candidate in Clinical Psychology and a Vanier Scholar at the University of Regina. Sophie’s dissertation is conducted in collaboration with researchers at the Department of National Defence. Her work examines mental health care seeking patterns in the Canadian Armed Forces – professional services, peer support programs, Internet resources – and the role of social support in the care-seeking process.
Sophie has received scientist-practitioner training in diverse Canadian environments including l’Unité des Grands Brûlés du Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal and RCMP Health Services Depot Division. She continuously strives to utilize her clinical experiences to inform her research and policy work. Sophie has co-authored several peer-reviewed articles in the areas of posttraumatic stress disorder and occupational health. She has been seminally involved in research with the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment. For example, she coordinated an empirical review of crisis interventions and peer support programs across Canadian first responder agencies and helped design the first bilingual pan-Canadian survey of operational stress injuries in Public Safety Personnel. Sophie hopes her work can be helpful to inform policies supporting patient-centered mental health care access for all Canadians.
Prior to studying Psychology, Sophie completed a joint B.A. in Relations Internationales et Droit International where she focused on Canadian and international human rights issues. She also represented the Université du Québec à Montréal at the New York Model United Nations and studied Middle Eastern politics at Tel Aviv University. Such experiences helped shape Sophie’s clinical and research foci on populations exposed to trauma, while igniting her desire to increase health care access in stigmatized and underserved populations.
Sophie is hopeful the SWAAC Graduate Student Award of Merit can help draw attention to various social issues related to Canadian mental health.
Sarah Ficko is a PhD candidate specializing in Land Reclamation at the University of Alberta. She grew up on a farm near Ottawa, and attended Queen’s University where she earned a BSc in Life Sciences in 2006 and a BEd in 2007. In 2010, Sarah completed an MSc in phytoremediation from the Royal Military College of Canada, and then worked as an environmental scientist doing field work on Baffin Island. She started her doctoral studies in 2012, focusing on developing techniques to use shrub cuttings and lichen species to accelerate arctic tundra revegetation following industrial disturbances in the north.
In addition to numerous publications and awards, Sarah has a long history of providing leadership and service to others. As the 2016-2017 Graduate Students’ Association President, she sits on numerous senior University committees, and works with a team of four Vice-Presidents and seven staff members to deliver a wide number of important services, programs, and engagement activities to 7,500 graduate students. During the past year, Sarah and her team have focused on improving the graduate student experience by recommending changes to the provincial government on labour legislation, and institutional tuition and funding models; articulating the need for guaranteed and sustainable living funding packages, quality supervision, and health and wellness supports for all graduate students; and conducting a thorough review of the GSA’s Health and Dental plan. As GSA Vice-President Labour in 2015-2016, Sarah very successfully negotiated a new collective agreement with the University on behalf of all academically employed graduate students, and increased awareness of, and compliance with, the collective agreement.
Sarah is passionate about environmental sustainability, social justice, and education. In her role as Environmental Chaplain for the Anglican Diocese of Edmonton, Sarah combines her interests and research to provide guidance to approximately 60 parishes on ways they can take action and leadership as stewards of the environment
Miriam Matejova is a PhD candidate in Political Science, a Vanier Scholar, a Killam Laureate and a Liu Scholar at the University of British Columbia. Her research focus is on industrial environmental disasters, risk assessment, disaster planning, and social movements. Her dissertation examines industrial disasters – oil spills, mine leaks and nuclear accidents – and their effects on protest mobilization.
Miriam’s research focus stems from her passion for finding policy solutions to pressing environmental issues. Prior to coming to UBC, she worked as an economist at Environment Canada where she specialized in federal environmental impact assessment and protection of species at risk. She has also worked with a number of intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, including the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, the United Nations Association in Canada, and the Northern Uganda Development Foundation. Since 2011 she has volunteered her time to conduct research on energy and environmental security for a global consulting firm GlobalINT. This research supports international workshops and publications focused largely on climate-related risks and extreme environmental events.
As a writer and editor, Miriam uses her skills to both disseminate knowledge and draw attention to pressing social issues. She has written and co-authored articles on international peacebuilding, Canada’s foreign intelligence, and environmental security. Her creative writing often explores issues of immigration, displacement and belonging. Her work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Her Circle, the Inconsequential, and several travel magazines. She is one of the contributors to Caitlin Press’ This Place a Stranger: Canadian Women Travelling Alone, and the editor of Wherever I Find Myself: Stories by Canadian Immigrant Women.
Miriam currently serves as a Graduate Student Member at Large on the International Studies Association (Canada) executive board, reviewer for the Canadian Journal of Undergraduate Research, and editor of the Project Nightingale literary journal. She also volunteers as a translator and reviewer for the TED Open Translation Project.