2023 ARIA recipients

ARIA Summer Projects

In 2023, 28 students from different departments and programs received Faculty of Arts Undergraduate Research Internship Awards.


Alex DePani : The Chateauguay Watershed as a Territory of Life: Documentation for Conservation Action

Alex is a third-year student in McGill's Honours economics program, doing a minor in statistics. Finding new ways to think about our economy amidst worries of environmental degradation and rising inequalities is an issue he is truly passionate about. Having spent his whole life in the same neighborhood located in the East-end of Montreal, Alex had the opportunity to truly appreciate his local environment and the impact that it can have on personal development, well-being and relationship-building. He aspires to apply his community-driven values as well as a bottom-up approach to his work as he graduates as an economist.

Prof. Colin Scott, Anthropology 

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Art History 

Jocelyn Campo: Guidelines for ethical practices of display and dialogue for contemporary art by Indigenous artists

Originally from Buffalo, NY, Jocelyn is going into her fourth year at McGill in honours art history with a minor in social entrepreneurship. She is excited to continue her research on the ethics of museum and gallery displays after working in an Indigenous contemporary art gallery last summer. She plans on consulting First Nations individuals on appropriate display of art and objects. Jocelyn aims to graduate in December 2023 after which she plans on working in a gallery or auction house.

Prof. Gwendolyn Owens, Visual Arts Collection

Cognitive Science

Benjamin Hartwick : Role of thalamic head-direction cells in updating the brain’s spatial map.

Ben is a second-year Cognitive Science student with a focus in neuroscience and computer science. His academic interests include computational neuroscience, philosophy, and psychology. This summer, his research will focus on how different cell types interact within brain networks which provide our navigational abilities. He is excited to learn through the research experience and work alongside the members of the Peyrache Lab to contribute emerging knowledge in the field.

Prof. Adrien Peyrache, Neurology and Neurosurgery


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Emma Tomiuk: Role of thalamic head-direction cells in updating the brain’s spatial map.

Emma is a third year Honours Cognitive Science student with a minor in Computer Science. She is interested in applying theories of cognition and artificial intelligence to develop new technologies. Emma will be exploring this interest this summer by conducting research in the field of human-computer interaction in Professor Jeremy Cooperstock’s Shared Reality Lab in the Faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering. In her free time, Emma enjoys playing violin and piano, composing music, and drawing.

Prof. Jeremy Cooperstock, Electrical & Computer Engineering


Audrey Michel: The Socio-Material Matrix of Christian Literary Composition

Audrey Michel is a fourth-year student pursuing a double degree in Music and Honours Classics. This summer, she will be working alongside Prof. Heidi Wendt on a project entitled “The Socio-Material Matrix of Christian Literary Composition” where she will primarily be reviewing Christian and non-Christian texts from the first centuries AD. She looks forward to discovering how Roman intellectuals engaged with book culture, genre, and tradition as a means to display expertise.

Prof. Heidi Wendt, Dept. of History and Classical Studies; School of Religious Studies

East Asian Studies

Yan Lang: Gendered Subjects in East Asian Idol Cultures

Yan Lang (she/her) is a second-year student in East Asian Studies, History, and Urban Studies. She was born and raised in Changsha, China, and considers Kansas, US, her second hometown. Her academic interests include fandom culture, urban spaces, and post-socialism. A watcher of Japanese idols since her childhood, she is excited to research the performance of gender and sexuality in idol culture this summer. In her free time, she likes hitori-karaoke, singing karaoke by herself.

Prof. Marianne Tarcov, East Asian Studies


Emma Gibb: InSOmnolence: The Sociability of Sleep

Emma is in U2 majoring in Cultural Studies in the department of English. Working within the arts sector in Montreal, Emma has experience programming and curating work on different scales, including work with non-profit Artch and community artists salons. With keen interest in the intersections between art practice and research, Emma will be assisting Professor Alanna Thain in her interdisciplinary project “The Sociability of Sleep,” where she will be doing research-creation work with artists for an exhibition in July.

Prof. Alanna Thain, English 

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Dana Prather : The Companies We Keep: The History of English-Language Theatre in Québec, 1930-2015

Dana is a U2 student majoring in English: Drama & Theatre and Psychology. An active member of McGill’s theatre arts community, she has been involved with Players’ Theatre as a performer and Tuesday Night Café Theatre as the Executive Director. She has been Professor Erin Hurley’s research assistant since September 2022 and is grateful to continue working with her this summer on a book-length study on the history of English-language theatre in Québec from 1930-2015.

Prof. Erin Hurley, English

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Alexa Infelise: Research on Gender in Economics

Alexa Infelise is a U3 student pursuing a degree in economics and cognitive science, with a keen interest in understanding economic decision-making through the lens of psychology and human behaviour. She is passionate about applying her knowledge to drive real-world, tangible change. This summer, Alexa will be applying her econometric and behavioral economic knowledge to investigate the factors influencing women’s economic empowerment. She is excited to expand her understanding of gender and economics through her research.

Prof. Sonia Laszlo, Economics


Charlotte Pink: An analysis of three prominent freeways in Canadian cities, the conditions that promoted their construction, and their contemporary effects on the communities they were built through.

Charlotte Pink (she/her) is a third-year Urban Studies and History student from Vancouver, BC. In her spare time, she loves running up Mont-Royal, attending concerts, and cooking. During her years at McGill, she has become interested in sustainable residential and transportation design, the history of suburban development, and U.S. history. Combining overlapping passions in History and Urban Studies is the impetus behind her project, and she looks forward to exploring these further under the supervision of Professor Kevin Manaugh this summer.

Prof. Kevin Manaugh, Department of Geography & Bieler School of Environment

Maria Gheorghiu: The Intersection Between Housing and Energy in Quebec: a Crisis?

Maria Gheorghiu is a third year Honours Urban Studies student at McGill University. Raised in Montreal, she has spent time working with provincial political actors and has a particular interest for public policy. Recipient of the Arts Undergraduate Research Award, she will spend the summer of 2023 creating an inventory of Quebec’s policies and programs aimed towards energy poverty mitigation, with the goal of providing recommendations to policymakers in this respect.

Prof. Mylene Riva, Geography 


Liam Rinehart : The interaction of tone, prosody, and syntax in Igala

Liam is a third-year undergraduate student pursuing an Honours degree in Linguistics with a Russian Language minor. Although originally interested in phonology and historical linguistics, over his time at McGill Liam’s main focus has shifted to elements of syntax and morphology that are discoverable by observing phonological processes. This summer, he will be exploring the interaction between tone, prosody, and syntax in Igala, an understudied minority language spoken in Central Nigeria.

Prof. Martina Martinović, Linguistics

Simone Brown: Acoustic Phonetics of A Sound Change in Tlingit

Simone Brown is a fourth-year undergraduate student majoring in Linguistics and History. She is interested in the Indigenous languages in Canada and communication sciences. One day, Simone hopes to become a speech pathologist to make speech therapy more accessible for underprivileged children. She is the Co-President of McGill Undergraduates for Communication Disorders Awareness and works as a freelance writer and tutor. In her spare time, Simone enjoys poetry, baking, and spending time outside.

Prof. James Crippen, Linguistics




Florens Souza:  Democracy in the Digital Age: On Social Media Algorithms and Social Epistemology

Florens Souza is a U2 honours philosophy student interested in the way social media algorithms affect belief formation. They are particularly interested in political beliefs and how social media algorithms impact the way people participate in democracy. Florens argues that the advent of social media has influenced the way people talk about politics, identify themselves as political agents, and organize themselves politically. After completing their undergraduate studies, Florens plans on attending graduate school for philosophy.

Prof. Jocelyn Maclure, Philosophy 

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Bria LaBella: Pluralism, Religion, and Institutionalization in the Indonesian Context

Bria LaBella is a 20-year-old, second-year, philosophy honors student at McGill University who also plays as a goalkeeper on the Varsity Martlet Soccer Team. Her philosophical and academic interests lie in pollical philosophy, jurisprudence, the continental tradition, and the conjunction of all three. Specifically, she is interested in how our relationship with ourselves, the world, and others is represented and cultivated through our reflexive relationship with law and politics.

Prof. Philip Buckley, Philosophy

Amelia Lang : Spinoza and Slavery

Amelia is pursuing degrees in Political Science and Philosophy and minors in Art History. She is particularly interested in the history of philosophy, political epistemology, and feminist philosophy. These domains converge in her work as she assists Professor Hasana Sharp’s research into the relationship Spinoza’s ideas have with the realities of slavery. This project will expose Amelia to the research she aspires to conduct, examining the relationship between historical political and economic topographies and philosophy.

Prof. Hasana Sharp, Philosophy

Political Science 

Selena Cai: The Politics of Hybridity in Global Policy-Making

Selena Cai is a rising fourth-year student pursuing a joint honours degree in history and political science with a minor in classical studies. Under the direction of Professor Pouliot, she will be researching the rise of a global “consultocracy” and the politics of hybridity. Selena is excited to study global policymaking and gain new skills such as network analysis and qualitative analysis. She is looking forward to learning about policy creation through academia.

Prof Vincent Pouliot, Political Science 

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Natalie Pennisi : Populism in the Canadian Heartland

Natalie is a fourth-year student from South Jersey pursuing a Joint Honours degree in History and Political Science. Her interests include modern Mediterranean history, electoralism, and political ideology. On campus, she is a student fellow for the Research Group on Constitutional Studies as well as a peer tutor for the Arts Undergraduate Society. This summer, she will work alongside Prof. Gordon by researching and defining the Canadian heartland and its role in Canadian populism.

Prof. Kelly Gordon, Political Science 

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Jack Zimakas: A Comparative Analysis of Transnational Migration, Labor Remittances and Development Outcomes

Jack Zimakas is a Fourth-Year Political Science and Economics student committed to making evidence-based research the substance, not the question of policy debates. An avid learner of Middle Eastern history and culture, as well as of the interaction of informal economies with national development efforts, Jack seeks to help improve life in these often-developing states—separate from the predatory institutions of power that ordinary people know they cannot trust.

Prof. Khalid Medani, African Studies

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Logan Pecht: Political Violence during the Partition of Northern Ireland

Logan Pecht is a third-year Economics and Honours Political Science student under the Faculty of Arts at McGill University. Originally from Chicago, Illinois in the U.S., Logan has taken an international orientation to his education, recently participating in an official exchange at the Institut d'études politiques de Paris. Furthermore, Logan is actively involved in numerous student groups at McGill, including serving on the delegation team under the International Relations Student Association at McGill and as the president of Democrats at McGill.

Prof. Elissa Berwick, Political Science


Mariella Berberi: Determinants of Adverse Mental Health Outcomes Following Covid-19 Infection

Mariella is a second-year Psychology student at McGill University, with a profound interest in the field of Clinical Psychology. She is fascinated by the study of abnormal behavior, mental health disorders and different kinds of therapies. Mariella is an active Mentor and VP Social of Beyond Me, non profit organization. She volunteers in Dr. Michael Sullivan’s lab and worked on her thesis looking at the relation between catastrophizing and depression in individuals following Covid-19 infection.

Prof., Dr. Michael Sullivan , Psychology

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Nathalie Jack : You Got a Friend in Me: Mechanisms of Perceived Support in Young Adult Friendships

Nathalie is a third-year Psychology student with a minor in GSFS. She is currently completing her Honour’s thesis with the Child and Adolescent Social Competence Lab under supervision of graduate student Erin Macdonald and Professor Melanie Dirks. Nathalie is particularly interested in investigating the ways that children and adolescents navigate their social relationships and the associated outcomes for their well-being. With this ARIA, she will extend her research on social support within young adult friendships.

Prof. Melanie Dirks, Psychology 

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Adrienne Vandenberg: Becoming a parent: Sleep and mental health of new families

Adrienne is a U2 student studying Psychology with minors in Religious Studies and Behavioural Studies. She is currently a volunteer research assistant in the Seeing Human Lab. She is interested in family dynamics and attachment theory, as well as the relationship between sleep and mental health outcomes, topics she is excited to explore under the supervision of Dr. Marie-Hélène Pennestri this summer. She intends to pursue graduate school in Counselling Psychology to further research these topics.

Prof. Marie-Hélène Pennestri, Educational & Counselling Psychology

Suki Wang: Youth who are language minorities in Quebec: using a Bioecological Systems model to examine language development, access to services, and well-being

Suki Wang is a second-year Psychology student with minors in Behavioral Science and German language. Suki’s research interests concern Health Psychology and Linguistics. Suki is eager to pursue those interests with practical research experience this summer with Dr. Nadig by exploring the natural use of language in communication in both neurotypical and atypical population, intersecting with health and social measures. Through this project, Suki hopes to develop better research methods and be a better candidate for future academic goals in the field.

Prof. Aparna Nadig, School of Communication Sciences and Disorders

Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies 

Rubaiat Hye: The Politics of Documentation in Student-Led Social Movement Mobilization

Rain is a third year Honours GSFS major. He spends his time volunteering at two youth centres in Montréal’s CDN/NDG borough and is invested in addressing racial discrimination and policing in schools through this work. Rain is also a 2020 McCall MacBain Loran Scholar and has worked in various community organizations over the course of the past several years, including the Disability Justice Network of Ontario, Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion, and Montréal, Arts Interculturels.

Prof. Carrie Rentschler, Art History and Communication Studies

Religious Studies

Rhiane Persaud: Sikh Gurdwara Communities of Montreal

Rhiane Persaud is a U3 Religious Studies honours student with minors in anthropology and art history. She primarily studies South Asian traditions, with a focus on diasporic Hinduism. She is especially interested in pursuing fieldwork in religious studies and is, therefore, very excited to participate in an internship where she can hone her ethnographic skills.

Prof. Andrea Farran, Religious Studies and South Asian Studies

Mathematics and Statistics 

Tongke (Kevin) Zhao: Optimizing the Convergence Rate of Markov Chain for Sampling from High-Dimensional Spin Configurations in the Sherrington-Kirkpatrick Model

Kevin Zhao, a passionate third-year Honours Applied Mathematics student, is enthusiastic about exploring new topics in probability and statistics. He will be working under the supervision of Professor Elliot Paquette this summer to study Markov Chains on the Sherrington-Kirkpatrick Model, which is a statistical physics model of spin-glasses. Through this research experience, Kevin aims to develop a stronger mathematical understanding and cultivate his interests. Apart from Kevin’s academic pursuits, he is an avid swimmer and is a huge soccer fan.

Prof. Elliot Paquette, Mathematics and Statistics 

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Mariel Yacolca Maguina: Using Machine Learning to Create Instrumental Variables for Causal Modelling

Mariel Yacolca Maguina (she/her) is a student in the Economics and Mathematics departments. She is from Lima, Peru and moved to Canada with her family in 2016. Mariel’s academic interests include statistics, economics, and the intersection of both. On campus, she is a staff writer at the McGill International Review, and enjoys studying with friends, and doing Duolingo to improve her French. Mariel wishes to pursue graduate studies in something that encompasses all of her interests.

Prof. Russel Steele, Mathematics and Statistics

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