Research Assistant

Shaila Shams

Shaila Shams is a PhD candidate in the Languages, Cultures and Literacies programme in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University. Her research interests include but are not limited to second language education, identity, intersectionality, religion, globalization, and migration studies. Her doctoral research focuses on understanding the lived experiences of Bangladeshi Muslim migrants in Vancouver, British Columbia and their settlement trajectory.


Qiang Ling

Qiang is a PhD student in the Mathematics Education program in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University. She is interested in research on children’s mathematical thinking and integration of technology in education.

Amy Jin

Amy Jin is a PhD student in the Languages, Cultures and Literacies program in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University. Her research interests include plurilingualism, translanguaging, and CALL.


Former Research Assistants

Gahyun Son

Gahyun Son is a PhD candidate in the Languages, Cultures and Literacies programme in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University. Her research interests include plulingualism, academic literacies, inclusive teaching and learning practices in higher education. Her thesis focuses on plurilingual students' writing and learning practices in a business course, examining them through a critical perspective.

Michael Maser

Michael is a PhD candidate in the ETAP grad studies thread of the Faculty of Education. Michael, a career educator, is researching the nature of student learning experiences. Michael helped to found two innovative, independent schools in BC and he is a passionate advocate of personalizing learning for K-12 and Higher Ed. students.

Daniel Ferraz

Daniel is a procrastinating grad student in the Educational Psychology program at SFU. Struggling with his own writing and thesis project, he likes to think about how to be more productive (and help others to do the same) and create a stronger sense of community in the Faculty of Education. His research focus at the moment is the effects of Neoliberalism in students and their personhood, specially in the K12 system.

Kari Gustafson

Kari Gustafson plays a lot of role-playing games and spends a lot of time walking on paths among trees. Kari uses those activities to understand how we might re/imagine neurodiversity & disability, and re/shape our communities through collaboratively imagined storyworlds and responsive, relational processes of becoming-together.

Tania Bakas

Tania Bakas is a graduate student in the Counselling Psychology program in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University. Her research centres on understanding the lived experiences of ex-prisoners-perpetrators from the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda in the context of action-based psychosocial reconciliation. Tania is particularly interested in implementation science and de-colonizing research methods.

Poh Tan

Poh is an entrepreneur, a stem cell biologist, an educator, a volunteer and a mother. Poh’s current focus is on inspiring young children and their educators to use scientific thinking as a tool to open up their world and courageously walk into a bright future full of limitless possibilities.

Poh obtained her first PhD from the Faculty of Medicine at UBC focusing on the biology of blood stem cells. Her experience led her to a successful career in the biotechnology sector and eventually, helped her become an entrepreneur with two businesses.  After becoming a mother, she found her true passion – science education in the early years.  Yearning to learn more about how preschoolers learn, she decided to pursue a second PhD to understand early learners development to hopefully one day, see the world as her children see it every day – as a fascinating and new place to learn. Her research is focused on understanding the development of scientific literacy through self-study, relational ontology and Hawaiian epistemology.  She is a two time TEDx speaker and has published her work in peer-reviewed journals and is an author of two children's books. 

Poh is part of the Community Scientist Initiative and Scientist in Schools Programs at the Telus World of Science, a graduate writing facilitator for the SFU library, an industry mentor for the Beedie School of Business and is active on the scientific panel at the Rare Genomics Institute.  In addition, she expresses her creative side through the practice of hula.  Poh has been a hula dancer and a student of Hawaiian cultural practices for over 13 years.

Samuel Chen

Hi, my name is Sam and I’m currently pursuing my doctorate in Education with a focus on Transformational Change.  My research looks at Legacy and transitions between fathers and sons in a family business context.  I’m from a business background but am pursuing this topic in the Faculty of Education because the business epistemological lens is focused on succession which is about the transfer of the business.  But legacy and legacy processes focus on people and involves how we come to know ourselves, understand our positionality and orient ourselves relationally. I’m curious about how our stories unfold generation to generation.    

I am new to the field of Education and am still trying to orient myself as to different research areas and how SFU’s Faculty of Education is contributing to excellence and leadership worldwide.  That’s why I’m so excited to join the Research Hub team as an RA. If you see me looking lost on any of our campuses, please stop me and say hello as I try to find my bearings.   

Outside of my studies, I am passionate about music, beverages, culinary pursuits, fountain pens, Chinese calligraphy and most things related to culture.

Dvorah Silverman

Hi, my name is Dvorah and I am a community organizer, facilitator, and educator with a passion for furthering anti-oppressive values, challenging all forms of violence and working at the community level to affect change. I am currently a Masters student in the Equity in Education program, where I engage in understandings of critical social justice to shape my work in program development and community education. My specific research interests include critical whiteness studies, critical Indigenous education, critical race feminisms, Indigenous feminisms and Indigenous epistemologies and ontologies. I also work at YWCA Metro Vancouver as the Mentorship Program Coordinator where I support the High School Mentorship Program and the Indigenous Mentorship Program. In my spare time, I enjoy hiking, cooking, travelling and writing poetry. As the new Research Hub RA, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to join the team, participate in research activities and learn from Faculty members.

Natalia Azize

Hi! I’m Natalia, I am an educator, curriculum designer, e-learning developer, and educational technologist. I am very happy to be a member of the Research Hub and to be a part of all the amazing activities happening here. I am currently pursuing a Master’s in Educational Technology and Learning Design at Simon Fraser University. This program has allowed me to understand more deeply the roles that digital technologies play in education and to think more thoroughly about the benefits and detriments of technology in the processes that underlie teaching and learning. As for my thesis research, I am going to investigate the use of open data by instructors and students in higher education, through the lens of the Technology Adoption Model (TAM) framework. In my free time, I love nature and being outdoors, and my favorite activities are hiking, camping and stand-up paddling.

Bronwen McCann

"Hello! My name is Bronwen, and I am a master's student working as a Research Assistant for the faculty's new Research Hub. My research (broadly speaking) is in arts-based curriculum development, and considering the deeper philosophical implications of established pedagogical approaches in early childhood education, and their subsequent effects on maturity. To accompany my studies, I am learning a new instrument (the harp), as well as subbing at an outdoor school in East Vancouver.

I am very much looking forward to working alongside such a friendly and approachable group of people. Thank you for the warm welcome!"

Foster Ranney

Foster Ranney, a doctoral student in the education psychology program, started working with the Research Hub in September of 2018. This is his first time writing with Research in Focus, although it isn't his first writing assignment. Previously, he worked as an editor or referee with four student or youth publications, starting with a school literary magazine in high school and continuing here at SFU with the student-designed Undergraduate Journal of Psychology. His research stems from a multidisciplinary cogsci background and has currently meandered to education policy and the history of educational institutions. He's hoping to develop a doctoral thesis about how teachers are adapting classroom practices subsequent to the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation calls to action. The calls to action were written to allow peace and reconciliation to happen between the original and colonial peoples living subject to the Canadian government, and the recommendations address every level of the public education system.