Three Western PhD candidates have been named among 166 nationwide recipients of the 2022-2023 Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships.
Vanier scholars demonstrate unique leadership skills and a high standard of scholarly achievement in graduate research. Each winner will receive $50,000 annually for three years.
Joseph Rovetti is a PhD student in psychology. His research aims to improve the assessment and treatment of hearing loss.
While one in four Canadians aged 50 to 79 has diagnosable hearing loss, many more have hearing difficulties that cannot be detected using conventional tests. These difficulties only manifest as extra mental work needed to listen, called “listening effort”. With no standard way to define or measure listening effort, these cases currently go undiagnosed.
“To address this, I will run three experiments with adults with normal hearing. In my first experiment, I will test the hypothesis that listening effort in fact has two distinct sub-dimensions: how hard listeners’ brains are working to listen (‘objective’ effort), and how hard listeners feel they are working (‘subjective’ effort). My second and third experiments will measure objective and subjective effort, respectively,” said Rovetti.
These results will serve to inform the definition and measurement of listening effort, helping clinicians to assess and treat hearing loss, said Rovetti.
Luis Meléndez Guerrero is a PhD candidate in anthropology, researching the impact of artisanal (small-scale) and transnational mining on local government in the Peruvian Andes.
Peru holds some of the world’s largest mineral deposits. Meléndez will analyze the political and social transformations in the governance of mineral resources in the northern Peruvian Andes. His work will explore the conflicts and alignments among local small-scale miners, a Canadian mining company and the Peruvian state.
About half of all Canadian mining investments abroad are in Latin America. Meléndez’s research will help to find sustainable alternatives to reconcile Canadian mining with local livelihoods not only in Peru but around the world.
Sohini Chatterjee is a PhD student in gender, sexuality and women’s studies, researching queer and trans communities in India.
“My doctoral project will interrogate insecurities experienced by variously marginalized queer and trans people in the state of West Bengal, in post-377 India,” said Chatterjee.
In 2018, the Supreme Court of India said that section 377 of the Indian Penal Code — a colonial era sodomy law — criminalized consensual homosexual intercourse and was therefore unconstitutional.
Although this was celebrated as the undoing of a historical wrong in national and international media and was marked as a progressive verdict, trans and queer people without class, caste, and non-disabled privileges continued to experience various forms of violence and discrimination.
Chatterjee’s research seeks to understand what it would take for “marginalized trans and queer people and their communities to feel more secure,” she said.