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BSW Student USRA Recipients!

Students in the BSW program have been exceptionally busy this year and we are proud to congratulate the following students who have been awarded Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA) through the Office of Experiential Education!

Mar 29, 2018

The McMaster Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA) are intended to cultivate and support research partnerships between undergraduate students and faculty members. USRAs provide students with an opportunity to receive funds to cover research-based activity during the Fall/Winter or Summer Term.   

Fall/Winter 2017/2018

Aaron Li
Honours BSW student, faculty supervisor was Jennie Vengris.
Focusing on the impact of by-laws on the organization of sex work, here's a snapshot of the focus of Aaron's research:

This project examines the investigative process of municipal law enforcement, specifically pertaining to the by-laws that govern holistic licenses. Although bylaws have a significant impact on the organization of sex work, they are rarely scrutinized for the detrimental effects that they have on the well being of workers. While existing researchers investigating the regulation of sex work have collected narratives of women who have disclosed experiences of exploitation or racialization, this project will conduct a comprehensive assessment of the existing legal investigative processes of law enforcement officers to uncover areas that may be particularly susceptible to racial exploitation. Key areas of focus include understanding why certain policies exist, exploring the political purpose of holistic licenses, and determining human rights violations within the existing investigative processes of law enforcement officers. The project would then consider whether or not unauthorized law enforcement actions are connected to racial or discriminatory ideological forces embedded within social policy.

Spring/Summer 2018

Shangaari Kanesalinkam 
Honours BSW student, faculty supervisor is Saara Greene. 
Here's a snapshot of Shangaari's research which will focus on perceptions of mental health and access to mental health services in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) as experienced by youth who identify with the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora:

The goal is to a) develop an understanding of how Tamil youth perceive mental health issues in the context of their culture and b) decrease barriers to mental health services for Tamil Youth. This research hopes to develop an understanding of mental health and services for Tamil Youth to dismantle existing mental health stigmas in the community. The GTA holds the largest Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora community outside of Asia, with a population approximately 250,000. By exploring and documenting the perceptions of mental health/illness and experiences of accessing mental health services this research hopes to serve as a tool in improving outreach to Tamil youth and increasing awareness of Tamil Youth’s access to mental health organizations in the GTA.

This research was of interest to me as I am part of the Tamil Diaspora Community, and I hope that this research can be of benefit to my community.

Carol Lopez
Honours BSW student, faculty supervisor is Saara Greene.
Carol outlines how her USRA aims to explore the needs and experiences of mothers who have histories of domestic violence:

Of specific interest are their community-based needs after they leave a violent relationship and are reintegrated into the community. The goal of this study is to explore mother’s perceptions of barriers and facilitators in their re-integration into community and to identify informal and formal supports present in the community as perceived by the mothers. With a community-based research approach, this study will aim to understand the nature of reintegration from the perspective and involvement of mothers in order to improve transitional support services in Hamilton.

Chriselle Vaz
Honours BSW student, faculty supervisor is Ameil Joseph.
Here's a snapshot of Chriselle's project, titled "Negotiating Conflicting Understandings of Intimate Relationships: Exploring Meaning Making, Isolation and Identity in Cross-Cultural Contexts for South Asian University Students":

This project aims to understand the role that South Asian culture plays in the experiences of women in the South Asian community in a Canadian context. I will be particularly focusing on these women's personal connection to their culture and the ways that the expectations associated with their culture shape their decisions regarding the intimate relationships they enter. This study is particularly important to me because there is currently marginal research that exists to understand the experiences of this population. I hope that, through my research, support services for South Asian women can be reshaped to consider the impacts that culture plays in their lives.

Congratulations to these USRA recipients! The Office of Experiential Education (EE) will be organizing a poster session in the fall where all USRA recipents will be showcasing their research projects.  Please visit the EE website for more information!