Kalysha Closson receives Dean's Convocation Medal

June 15, 2018

As one of SFU's most outstanding graduate students from the Faculty of Health Sciences, Kalysha Closson is being recognized with the award of the Dean of Graduate Studies Convocation Medal. On behalf of SFU, we congratulate Ms. Closson on her outstanding achievements.

Working alongside Drs. Angela Kaida and Robert Hogg, her master’s work explored the intersect between sexual decision making, gender and HIV-risk among young men and women growing up in the HIV hyper-endemic setting of Soweto, South Africa. Among her already well-published portfolio, three chapters of her master’s thesis, Sexual self-efficacy among adolescent men and women living in an HIV-hyper-endemic setting of South Africa, have already been published within three international high impact peer-reviewed journals.

Kalysha Closson joined the Faculty of Health Sciences in January of 2012, completing both her undergrad and masters with a CGPA of 4.11. Kalysha’s earned eight competitive scholarships, fellowships, and research awards as a graduate student, including a prestigious Canadian government scholarship which will support her doctoral research.

Of all the graduate students Kalysha’s supervisor, Dr. Robert Hogg has mentored, he ranks “Kalysha’s research potential in the top 1% in terms of her ability to follow through with research projects from the development of the research question through to the completion of the research manuscript as well as translating her research to the larger community of academics, key stakeholders, community members and affected populations.”

“Kalysha is on a trajectory to become a global leader in sexual and reproductive health,” adds Hogg. “[Her] research interests and pursuits have significant global health implications and great potential for significant impact, particularly in meeting large international targets to improve adolescent health, gender equality and to end AIDS by 2030.”

Kalysha could not have completed this work without the ongoing support and mentorship of Drs. Robert Hogg, Angela Kaida, and Cari Miller. “All three of my committee members were instrumental in guiding and supporting me in the process. And beyond the actual writing of my masters, my supervisory committee was supportive in helping me to collaborate with the youth-engaged South African cohort study AYAZAZI lead by Drs. Angela Kaida and Mark Brockman at SFU in collaboration with the MaTCH research Unit (MRU) in Durban, South Africa and the Perinatal HIV Research Unit (PHRU), in Soweto, South Africa.”

This September she will start her PhD at UBC in the fall where she intends to continue to work with young women to further explore and unpack how to better engage with young women in research in order to increase understandings of relationship power and HIV risk in South Africa.

Kalysha currently works as a research associate at SFU and the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, where she seeks to understand barriers to HIV prevention and treatment among individuals marginalized by socio-structural inequities, including youth in Canada and South Africa.

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