Student Concerns Subcommittee
The Student Concerns Subcommittee (SCS) includes three elected members representing Canada’s regions: Western (BC, AB, SK, MB), Central (ON, QC), and Eastern (NB, NL, NS, PEI). Three additional elected members will hold cross-appointed positions on this subcommittee representing (and liaising between) the Black Caucus, Decolonization and Equity Issues Subcommittees.
The members of the subcommittee choose the Chair (who sits on the Executive Committee). Additional consultative members may be appointed by the subcommittee, with the approval of the Executive Committee, to develop policy, participate in programs or initiatives, and take action in special areas or regions, as required.
The mandate of the subcommittee includes;
- Identify priorities with respect to issues affecting students
- Advise on student funding programs and assist with adjudication
- Stimulate and facilitate communication among students
- Membership on Association initiatives supporting students
- Membership on the Awards Committees
- Knowledge sharing through virtual events, website resources, and Conference sessions
2023-2024 Subcommittee Members
The 2023-2024 Subcommittee members are excited to continue building an inclusive, supportive, and informed student culture. We welcome ideas and involvement from all sociology students.
- J Overholser - Chair / Communications
J Overholser, University of Calgary
B.Sc. (Neuroscience and Psychology, Honors; Michigan State University), MA (Gender Studies, with Distinction; University of Leeds), PhD (Sociology – Current; University of Calgary)
Pronouns: they/them, ze/zir
I am pleased to work with the Canadian Sociological Association’s (CSA) Student Concerns Subcommittee (SCS) as the Communication Representative. I look forward to applying my background experience and passion for informal and alternative communication to this position, especially when it comes to utilizing platforms such as twitter for professional and academic knowledge mobilization.
My work both in academia as a queer and trans* studies scholar and within community/public service has been built upon a foundation of critical social theories. Thus I emphasize the need to apply academic research, knowledge, and inquiry to address contemporary inequalities and marginalization faced by a variety of communities and their members. With this foundation I also focus on improving the accessibility and inclusiveness of academic/research institutions and spaces. I am truly excited to bring my academic experiences and my background in 2SLGBTQ+ community outreach to this position. Most notably when it comes to collecting and disseminating information and resources to help address specific community concerns, further building knowledge mobilization networks to support graduate students, and engaging in accessible and informal communication methods. I am honored to be able to work with the Student Concerns Subcommittee and help facilitate engaged communication with the committee members and the graduate students they seek to support.
- Alicia Clifford - Cross-Appointed Decolonization Subcommittee Rep
Alicia Clifford, McMaster University, Department of Health, Aging and Society
BA and MA (University of Calgary), PhD Student (McMaster University)
It is such an honour to be cross-appointed to the Student Concerns and Decolonization Subcommittees. Over the past eight years, I have been involved in various initiatives that sought ways to educate and prioritize Indigenous ways of knowing, being, and doing. I am grateful to be able to continue this work. While at the University of Calgary, I co- founded a graduate student group that provided peer-to-peer mentorship to non-Indigenous graduate students that wanted to learn more about colonialism, what it means to build relationships with Indigenous communities, and engage in ethical research. Currently, at McMaster, I am a CUPE3906 Indigenous Solidarity Working Group member. We work collectively to support local Indigenous voices in their fight for sovereignty. I have been a member of the Canadian Sociological Association since 2018 and was the recipient of the Angus Reid Practitioners/Applied Sociology Student Award in 2019 for my community work alongside Indigenous women. As a settler, I have a responsibility to be of service and actively participate in decolonization. I look forward to creating a space to continue the dialogue about how best to engage in decolonizing the association, the academy, and the research we undertake.
- Andy Holmes - Central Canada Rep
Andy Holmes, University of Toronto
BA (University of British Columbia), MA (University of Toronto), PhD Student (University of Toronto)
It is an honour to be representing Central Canada on the Student Concerns Subcommittee. We are continuously facing challenging times – some new and many old. I am certain that as sociologists we play an important responsibility to do research, advocate, and understand solutions to many of the social problems we face. In moments of racial, class, and gendered injustice within a climate crisis and ‘post-COVID-19’ world (among many issues), there are tremendous opportunities for us as sociologists to devise ingenious research projects.
During my undergraduate years at the University of British Columbia, I tirelessly advocated for 2SLGBTQ+ issues in multiple places. I educated students and teachers in high schools on understanding gender and sexual diversity, volunteered in multiple grass-roots 2SLGBTQ+ organizations, and between 2017-2018 was appointed to the City of Vancouver’s 2SLGBTQ+ Advisory Committee where I helped draft a city bylaw that made Vancouver the first city in Canada to ban ‘conversion therapy’ for both adults and minors. As a social justice advocate with a passion for alleviating structural intersectional inequalities, as your Central Canada representative, I will listen and advocate for student needs.
- Shayan Morshedi - Eastern Canada Rep
Shayan Morshedi, Memorial University
BSc (Chemical Engineering, Sharif University of Technology), MA (Cognitive Sciences, Cognitive Sciences Studies), PhD (Sociology, Memorial University).
I am honoured to be on the CSA Student Concerns Subcommittee. As an Eastern Canada representative, I am here to voice student concerns and needs.
I obtained my B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from the Sharif University of Technology. Due to my social concerns, I dramatically changed my field and attended the Institute for Cognitive Sciences Studies (ICSS), where I achieved my MA in cognitive sciences, working on violence and collective cognition. In September 2022, I started my Ph.D. in sociology at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador. My current research focuses on collective memory, violence, and social cognition.
My main goal in the Student Concerns Subcommittee is to voice students’ issues and concerns. Particularly, regarding my studies and interests, I am interested in voicing the silences and pointing out marginalized and forgotten groups.
I am looking forward to finding ways, with my colleagues in the SCS, to reduce the hidden barriers for students and introduce opportunities to highlight and improve their research.
- Pedrom Nasiri - Cross-appointed Equity Issues Subcommittee Rep Rep
Pedrom Nasiri, University of Calgary
BA (Social and Cultural Anthropology; University of Calgary), MA (Social and Cultural Anthropology; University of Toronto), PhD (Sociology; University of Calgary)
I am honoured to serve as the Chair of the Canadian Sociological Association’s (CSA) Student Concerns Subcommittee (SCS). My role on this committee is supported by my previous experience serving various roles on in-house student and general faculty committees at the University of Calgary, including the Gender & Sexual Alliance Subcommittee, the Sociology Graduate Studies Committee, and the Trans Community Coalition. This experience is additionally supported by numerous external committee positions, including those at the Sociologists for Women in Society and the Gender & Society Junior Scholars’ Advisory Board.
My academic, community, and service work is guided by critical social theories that emphasize the need to employ academic theory and inquiry to address everyday social injustices. To this end, I have co-founded on-campus coalitions committed to addressing long-standing inequities faced by community members; co-founded off-campus community organisations dedicated to knowledge translation and mobilisation in an effort to challenge the marginalization of equity-seeking communities; and worked to develop community-based research projects that disrupt and challenge the entangled processes of colonialism, imperialism, and empire. As the cross-appointed equity subcommittee representative, I will bridge these experiences into my work with the CSA to create more opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds and experiences. I am honoured and appreciative for this opportunity to work with the Student Concerns Subcommittee and Equity Subcommittee.
- Alhan Yazdani - Western Canada Rep
Alhan Yazdani, University of Calgary
BSc (Science Psychology, MacEwan University), BA (Sociology, First Class Honours, University of Calgary), MA (Sociology – Current, University of Calgary)
I am pleased to be the Western Representative on the CSA Student Concerns Subcommittee. My role in this committee is supported by my previous experience serving on a number of student committees at U of C, including being the Conference Event Coordinator for the Sociology Department Graduate Student Research Symposium, the Communication Representative on the Sociology Graduate Student Caucus, member of the EDI committee, graduate student representative on the Sociology Department Council, and a member of the Faculty of Arts Appeal Committee.
In this position, I will build upon the existing efforts of my colleagues and continue to advocate for the interest of fellow students. For me, I have always been interested in understanding how different laws impact those who are marginalized, especially focusing on youth who have come into contact with the law. As a result, I look forward to seeking out diverse ways that I can apply my professional academic knowledge and experiences to address student concerns, improve conditions, and create opportunities for students worldwide conducting research. I hope to challenge and bring into light some of the existing issues student are facing and with the help of my colleagues on the SCS begin to address them. Isabella Mendez-Figueroa says in one quote that: “If I was the only visible representation available, I was going to use my voice to echo the feelings of my entire community and make it known that we are all here– all of our struggles, our efforts, and our passions, are not absent from places where we are not seen.” This is what I hope to achieve during my time on the SCS committee. In addition to addressing marginalization issues, I look forward to seeking out different meaningful ways the subcommittee can promote and improve a stronger collaboration between faculty and students.
I commend the work of previous CSA executives and it is an honour to have this opportunity to contribute to the work that is being done by the CSA and the SCS.