Top row, L-R: Tatiana Pakhomova, Iveoma Udevi-Aruevoru, and Emily Blyth. Bottom row, L-R: Brandi Berry, Chelsey Perry-Ens, and Meridith Sones.

2021 Graduate Student Award and Scholarship Recipients

September 20, 2021

The Graduate Student Awards provide multi-year funding to recruit exceptional incoming Masters and PhD domestic and international students. Additionally, the Tri-Agency Awards (Fellowships or Scholarships) are awarded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), to support outstanding students pursuing a doctoral or master's degree in a health-related field. 

Iveoma Udevi-Aruevoru

Iveoma Udevi-Aruevoru: SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Fellowship Canada Graduate Scholarship (Masters)

Iveoma Udevi-Aruevoru is an incoming MSc student in the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS). She is honoured to be awarded the SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship.

Udevi-Aruevoru completed her BSc in Health Sciences at FHS in 2017. Since then, she has been working at the Women’s Health Research Institute at BC Women’s Hospital where she had the opportunity to work on impactful research projects in women’s health. Now equipped with invaluable work experience, she is keen to begin graduate training in conducting original research in global maternal health at FHS.

Her SSHRC-funded research project aims to 1) critically examine the motivations underlying the move to privatize humanitarian aid; and 2) analyze the Canadian government's role in promoting privatized humanitarian aid as a solution for reproductive, maternal and infant global health challenges around the world.

Udevi-Aruevoru is excited to return to FHS this fall. The collaborative and interdisciplinary nature of FHS, along with the guidance from her supervisor Dr. Susan Erikson, will help her achieve her goal of contributing scholarship that helps address complex global health problems.  

Brandi Berry

Brandi Berry: CIHR Canada Graduate Scholarship (Masters)

Brandi Berry is of mixed Cree & Metis descent with Red River ancestry. After receiving her Bachelor of Sciences in nursing and working throughout the pandemic, she returned to Simon Fraser University for her MSc in partnership with First Nations Health Authority. Berry appreciates the diversity of research interests present within FHS and being able to learn so much from students and faculty.

Her current research with Dr. Scott Venners uses causal inference to understand the relationship between Indigenous language fluency and wellness outcomes in First Nations communities. Practicing language is a way Indigenous people are reconnecting with their culture after so many barriers have been put in place to prevent it. Language is a cornerstone to so many parts of Indigenous culture and identity, and with many languages at risk of not being passed to the next generation, there is a risk of losing knowledge that helps to keep Indigenous people well. Working with such a complex research topic, Berry feels supported by her co-supervisors Dr. Nicole Berry, Dr. Jeff Reading, and Dr. Marianne Ignace.

This incredible financial support from CIHR has allowed Berry to focus in on her research. She plans to continue to research Indigenous health and is excited about what the future holds. When Berry isn’t working, you can find her trying to learn languages on her own (French, Spanish, nehiyawewin & Michif), beading, or out in her garden.

Chelsey Perry-Ens

Chelsey Perry-Ens: BC Graduate Scholarship

Chelsey Perry-Ens is of mixed ancestry and is a member of the Nisga’a First Nation. Upon receiving a bachelor’s degree in psychology honours and business, Perry-Ens wanted to begin a master’s degree where she could gain more knowledge in community-based research. As an Indigenous person, she is interested in Indigenous health and social structures that shape people of minority groups' ability to access health care as well as health outcomes. She is also interested in sexual health, mental health, social justice, and the health impacts of intergenerational trauma.

Perry-Ens was drawn to the FHS MSc program in Health Sciences because it is a unique interdisciplinary program that allows her to combine several of her research interests such as sexual health, mental health, Indigenous health, and social inequities. Perry-Ens will be conducting research in areas of Indigenous health and sexual health with the Centre for Gender and Sexual Health Equity (CGSHE). She is excited to be working with Dr. Shira Goldenberg, Dr. Brittany Bingham, and Dr. Lyana Patrick. The BC Graduate Scholarship enables her to focus on research projects such as investigating aspects of cultural health and safety in different health domains of sex workers by utilizing the CGSHE AESHA community-based longitudinal and epidemiological research data as well as investigating the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic amongst urban Indigenous populations.

Emily Blyth

Emily Blyth: Graduate Dean’s Entrance Scholarship

As an in coming PhD student with a multi-disciplinary background, Emily R. Blyth is honoured to receive the Graduate Dean’s Entrance Scholarship to pursue her studies with FHS. The commitment to interdisciplinarity at FHS is what first attracted Blyth to the program, as she believes firmly that the complex issues facing Canadians at the intersections of health and social justice call for research that extends beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries.

In her research, Blyth takes on the issue of inequitable policing practices in Canada from just this kind of a boundary-breaking perspective. Indeed, as the known and negative health outcomes from police actions are demonstrably multi-faceted, enduring, and complex – so too must research and response to this inequity be multi-faceted and endure across disciplines.

Through this scholarship, Blyth is humbled to take on this work under the supervision of Dr. Lyana Patrick. Blyth’s research aims to bring light to this pervasive issue and unpack the complacency that runs through society as a result of dominant narratives that minimize the harm done to those most impacted by inequitable police practices, such as Indigenous, Black, and Mad populations. Through the bringing together of the communities most impacted with the institutions that stand to perpetuate this harm, this project seeks to employ community and strength-based research, interactive art, health promotions and media analysis to rethink how everyday narratives of state violence inhibit change and suppress the reality of the dire health inequities that continue to stem from this colonial institution.

Meridith Sones

Meridith Sones: SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship (Doctoral)

Meridith Sones is a PhD candidate in FHS and the Knowledge Mobilization Manager for the Interventions, Research, and Action in Cities Team (INTERACT). Sones’ research explores the design of sociable, healthy, and resilient cities. Her interests span healthy built environments, population health intervention research, equity, community-engaged research, and knowledge translation. For Sones, collaborating with an interdisciplinary network of mentors and peers who are committed to equity and engaged scholarship is a highlight of being part of FHS and the Cities, Health, and Active Transportation Research (CHATR) Lab.

Sones' dissertation—supported by SSHRC—is evaluating the impact of neighbourhood built environments on social connectedness and equity in cities. Sones is currently analyzing the role of public open spaces in promoting social connectedness and resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic. This fall, she is also launching a CERi-funded study in collaboration with her supervisor Dr. Meghan Winters, Dr. Meg Holden (SFU Urban Studies), and the South Vancouver Neighbourhood House. This project will empower youth living in under-resourced areas to discover how their local environments help or hinder social connectedness and identify solutions for neighbourhood improvement.

Sones holds a MPH from the University of Waterloo and previously worked as a public health practitioner, leading knowledge translation and evaluation strategies for public sector organizations in Canada and internationally. Outside of work, you can find Sones exploring the mountains by foot, bike, or skis from her home in North Vancouver on the unceded territory of the Skwxwú7mesh and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.

Tatiana Pakhomova

Tatiana Pakhomova: Djavad Mowafaghian Doctoral Fellowship in Child Health

PhD student Tatiana Pakhomova is honoured to be the 2021 recipient of the Dr. Djavad Mowafaghian Doctoral Fellowship in Child Health, and is excited to be returning to SFU’s Faculty of Health Sciences, from where she holds a Master of Public Health degree.

Pakhomova will be supervised by Dr. Angela Kaida, and will be joining the Global HIV Inter-disciplinary HIV Research Leadership (GHIRL) lab with aims to pursue innovative research on socio-structural health inequities experienced by people in their early life. With the support of the Mowafaghian Doctoral Fellowship, her proposed doctoral work aims to examine the cumulative biological and psychological consequences of gendered socio-structural inequities, with a focus on exploring pathways between inequities and mental health outcomes among youth in HIV-endemic communities.

Pakhomova’s interests include community-based research, social epidemiology, mental health, sexual and reproductive health, intersectional and feminist methodologies, and social justice-based public health approaches. During her time at SFU, Pakhomova looks forward to engaging in collaborative, interdisciplinary research aimed at supporting equity-oriented, youth-engaged and community-directed approaches to addressing health disparities.