Western students Frederick Armah, Sarbani Banerjee, Gleb Meirson, Mark-Shane Scale, Ahmed El Ansary and Yann Benetreau-Dupin have been named recipients of the Ontario Trillium Scholarships. Introduced in November 2010, the Ontario Trillium Scholarship (OTS) program was launched to raise the profile and prestige of Ontario universities internationally, and increase economic performance by bringing highly educated individuals to the province.
Trillium scholars are nominated by their graduate program due to their scholarly achievements and strong research potential, and receive $40,000 annually for up to four years of study.
“The opportunity to recruit these talented scholars to Western from all over the world has been wonderful,” says Linda Miller, vice-provost, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. “Their research talent and diversity will no doubt enrich our campus community for years to come.”
Western awards seven Ontario Trillium Scholarships annually. The final recipient will be named in Winter 2012.
Armah, pursuing a PhD in geography, hails from Winneba in the Central Region of Ghana, and received his undergraduate training in chemistry at the University of Cape Coast in Ghana and a master’s degree in environmental studies and sustainability science from Lund University in Sweden.
Armah’s proposed thesis, Small-Scale Goldmining in Ghana: Adaptive Co-management and Human Health Risk Assessment, contributes to the understanding of the evolution of adaptive management systems in gold mining communities in Ghana. He hopes to bring a broader reflection on forms of local resource management institutions and the means to help improve these local institutions toward more efficiency, equity and co-operation with higher levels of resource governance. These issues, Armah contends, are ultimately central to human health and wellbeing.
“Western is a world leader in graduate research and the academic environment is international. It is a place where cross-cutting cultures meet to synthesize solutions to complex environmental health problems confronting us,” he says. “I have carefully and thoughtfully chosen to work within the geography group at Western because of the high level of scientific research being undertaken by the various teams.”
Banerjee, pursuing a PhD in comparative literature, completed both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in comparative literature at Jadavpur University in India.
Banerjee’s proposed thesis, Stories of Her Shifting Orbits – Indian Woman Refurbishing her Face through the Fluid Edges of Post-independence History, examines the metamorphosis of ‘family’ as a concept and locating the changing position of women within and without the domesticity, against the larger backdrop of post-Independence India. The goal of this research is to identify the different strategies of patriarchy in terms of the sexual violence they inflict.
“It goes without saying that the faculty members here are superb – their disposal to an uninitiated student could not have been any better,” she says. “Any word to describe the immense momentum of love, co-operation and support that I have been receiving from these people would be too limited and dilute.”
Meirson, pursuing a PhD in chemical engineering, completed both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemical engineering at Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa.
Meirson’s proposed thesis, Advanced polymer composite materials and technologies, examines the flow of fiber reinforcement in compression moulding flows. The procedure will involve building an experimental database, and then developing a mathematical model to be confirmed by the resulting data.
“I wanted to join a vibrant and progressive research atmosphere outside of my native environment,” says Meirson, who will arrive on campus next term. “Western, with its high academic and social standards and great support system, presents an excellent opportunity to fulfill my dream. I am very excited about my new project, and looking forward to meeting new people at the university.”
Scale, pursuing a PhD in library and information science, hails from Kingston, Jamaica, and completed his bachelor’s (political science and statistics) and master’s degrees (library and information studies) at the University of the West Indies in Mona.
His proposed thesis, Exploring the Provision of Online Library Services for Small Businesses using Jamaican Folklore, explores many of the challenges currently facing library systems in the Internet age.
Scale feels this research is important not only for libraries but for all businesses and agencies, government organizations and non-profits, who are responsible for putting content online and transmitting information to online users of varied educational backgrounds.
“Since coming to Canada, I am amazed at how multicultural or pluralistic the society is. My homeland has a motto of ‘Out of many, one people,’ but to me Canada is more global and culturally diverse,” he says. “I look forward to Western as a culturally diverse university and its role in helping me grow and develop as a global citizen, as well as a professional, researcher, an academic and a scholar.”
Ahmed El Ansary
El Ansary, pursuing a PhD in civil and environmental engineering, completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering at Cairo University in Egypt.
His proposed thesis, Seismic performance of a novel reinforced concrete precast wall system with tuned liquid dampers, addresses the need for development of a structure system for buildings that is economical, easy and quick to construct, while being able to absorb the energy released during an earthquake without suffering from collapse.
“As a researcher in structural engineering, I would like to contribute to making the world a safer place during natural disasters,” El Ansary says. “I have chosen Western because of the international reputation of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the area of natural disaster mitigations, and am most excited about the atmosphere of co-operation between research groups in the civil engineering department.”
Benetreau-Dupin, pursuing a PhD in philosophy, hails from Bourges, a small city in the centre of France. He completed his bachelor’s degree in logic, history and philosophy of science at the Université Paris-1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (which included one year of study at the University of Bologna in Italy), then completed his master’s degree in philosophy at Boston University.
His proposed research centres on philosophical issues in contemporary cosmology. In particular, Benetreau-Dupin examines to what extent the uniqueness of the universe challenges the project of cosmology as a science, and how this issue affects the validity of particular experimental-related studies.
“Western is an important research university in many fields, which makes it the ideal setting for interdisciplinary collaborations,” Benetreau-Dupin says. “The presence of the Rotman Institute is also one of the reasons I chose Western, as it provides a promising place to pursue my research in collaboration with scientists and to develop more interdisciplinary projects in science education.”