Subcommittee Members

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Chair: Member Representing Central Canada (2018 – 2021)

Awish Aslam, University of Western Ontario

Sociology, PhD. Student
BA and MA at the University of Western Ontario

I ran for the position of Central Representative for the Student Concerns Subcommittee because I have a desire to help enhance the experiences of the over 500 student members of the Canadian Sociological Association. As a student member of the CSA, I have benefited from the efforts of this subcommittee myself and I would like to contribute to the ongoing work of this active group of students. I believe that students have much to offer the CSA, and through this position I would aim to foster support for broader student engagement by communicating the diverse needs and interests of student members to the CSA executive to ultimately develop practical avenues for involvement. In order to ensure that the Subcommittee’s mandate is met, it is important to not only continue with their existing programming, but to also build on these efforts by developing new initiatives that will meet the dynamic needs of Canadian sociology students. I am eager to collaborate with other members to further explore these needs, propose initiatives to address said gaps, and work to put these plans into action. In my own department, I have been involved with several student organizations through which I have had the opportunity to develop various skills that will allow me to make a positive contribution to the Student Concerns Subcommittee. This includes communicating with and balancing the multiple perspectives of different groups when making decisions, as well as planning/organizing events, such as graduate student conferences. I am very enthusiastic about becoming more involved with the CSA, and given my skills and interests, and greatly appreciate the opportunity to serve on the Student Concerns Subcommittee.

Member Representing Western Canada (2019 – 2022)

Malette_Profile photoNicole Malette, University of British Columbia, Department of Sociology

BA and MA (McMaster University), PhD Candidate (current, University of British Columbia)

I have been a member of the Canadian Sociological association since 2013, was the recipient of the Canadian Sociological Association Graduate Student Research Award in 2015 and am a member of the Sociology of Education research cluster. I have also presented research at every Congress since 2013 and am chairing two sessions at the upcoming UBC Congress proceedings.

I am keenly interested in becoming a member of the Canadian Sociological Association’s (CSA) Student Concerns Subcommittee. I have consistently tried to create supportive learning environments for my peers by taking part in student-subcommittees, creating student-focused research projects and by working with inter-disciplinary groups to build effective campus-based programming. Within the department of sociology here at The University of British Columbia (UBC) I have served on a number of in-house student committees, including being the Vice President of Finance, PhD Student Faculty Representative and Hiring Committee Student Representative. I also chaired the Sociology Undergraduate Mentoring Program at UBC for 5 years. As chair of the Sociology Undergraduate Mentoring Program I paired undergraduate sociology students with graduate students of similar research interests. My aim for this program was to foster supportive work relationships between our students, so that graduate students could earn experience helping others and that undergraduates could effectively receive help for their research and graduate school applications.

Creating supportive work environments for my peers has also been a large part of my research agenda. For example, last summer I worked with the UBC Sustainability Scholars program to identify areas of needed support around TA wellness at UBC, and build capacity around Teaching Assistant (TA) wellness in departments across the university. I conducted focus groups and distributed surveys to graduate and undergraduate teaching assistants across UBC’s Vancouver and Okanagan campuses to better understand how TA wellness is impacted by work duties and how UBC could best support TA wellness. I have used the findings from that research to work in partnership with the Centre for Teaching and Learning Technologies at UBC and CUPE 2278 (Teaching Assistant Union) to create research-based wellness programming and employment policies that can better serve teaching assistants’ needs.

As a member of the CSA’s Students Concerns committee, I would like to continue to help support others in their learning. To do this, I would like to help create a mentorship program between faculty members and graduate students across institutions, within the CSA community. I think a mentorship program will help foster meaningful networks among CSA members and give graduate students important social resources. In conjunction with creating a mentorship program I would also like to help the committee survey the needs of Canadian sociology graduate students. By better understanding the needs of our graduate student members we can create policies and programs that best support their development.

Member Representing Eastern Canada (2020 – 2023)

Rachel McLay, Dalhousie University

PhD Student, Department of Sociology & Social Anthropology

BA, University of King’s College (2013), MA, Dalhousie University (2019)

I am interested in helping to build on the Student Concerns Subcommittee’s efforts to meet students’ needs for networking and academic/professional development opportunities, particularly outside of the annual CSA meeting. Not only is this imperative in 2020, it is essential that programming is accessible to all in future years as well, and that outreach continues year-round. To facilitate this, in addition to the ongoing webinar series, I would like to develop the subcommittee’s online and social media presence so that it may better act as a “hub,” connecting students to jobs, travel funding, calls for papers, webinars, and any other opportunities that may be of interest. Right now, due to the crisis caused by COVID-19, many are feeling isolated; students’ already daunting task of building connections with other researchers has only become more difficult. Fostering an ongoing sense of community among Canadian sociologists can help us all to find our way in these confusing times.

I became a member of the CSA in 2019, during my master’s degree, and I have contributed research and participated in four research clusters: Political Sociology and Social Movements; Internet, Technology, and Digital Sociology; Rural Sociology; and Sociology of Migration. My own research spans these areas and more, but much of it focuses specifically on the Atlantic Canadian context. My professional experience includes leading a large-scale telephone survey of the region—so I am used to finding out what Atlantic Canadians have to say! My knowledge of and connection to this part of the country will help me to represent the needs and interests of my fellow pre-doctoral sociologists in Eastern Canada.

Past Subcommittee Chairs

  • Emma Kay (Eastern Student Rep, Dalhousie University) 2018 – 2020
  • Jennifer Adkins (Western Student Rep, University of British Columbia) 2018 – 2019
  • Timothy Kang (Central Student Rep, University of Toronto) 2017 – 2018
  • Rebeccah Nelems (Western Student Rep, University of Victoria) 2016 – 2017
  • Louise Birdsell-Bauer (Central Student Rep, University of Toronto) 2015 – 2016
  • Katie MacDonald (Western Student Rep, University of Alberta) 2013 – 2015
  • Jamie Baker (Eastern Student Rep, Memorial University) 2010 – 2013
  • Stella Park (Central Student Rep, University of Toronto) 2007 – 2010
  • Kelly Greenfield (Eastern Student Rep, Memorial University)