McGill Alert / Alerte de McGill

Updated: Fri, 07/12/2024 - 12:16

McGill Alert. The downtown campus will remain partially closed through the evening of Monday, July 15. See the Campus Safety site for details.

Alerte de McGill. Le campus du centre-ville restera partiellement fermé jusqu’au lundi 15 juillet, en soirée. Complément d’information : Direction de la protection et de la prévention

The 2022-23 CAnD3 Annual Report is here!

Fellows Feature: Sagi Ramaj, Avelin Peguy Angos, and Alla Konnikov

The CAnD3 Fellows and alumni are joining us in Montreal on June 12th for our annual Keynote Address. We are very excited to see them all in person to celebrate a successful training year and the halfway point of the $2.5M Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) partnership grant that formed CAnD3. As the 2022-2023 training year wraps up with the Keynote Address, this is the last Fellows Feature of this academic year. However, we are welcoming another cohort of talented Fellows for the next year, and we cannot wait for you to meet them.

For this feature, we caught up with Fellows Sagi, Avelin, and Alla to learn about their research and what they have gained from the program.

Featured image: Sagi Ramaj (left), Avelin Peguy Angos (middle), and Alla Konnikov (right).

Sagi Ramaj

Sagi remembers the moment that the field of sociology “clicked” for her—it was when she began to look at migration from a sociological perspective. “My family immigrated to Canada from Albania when I was 5, and I’ve always grown up with immigrant experiences being a regular part of my life and my networks.” Ever since she was exposed to the sociology of migration during her undergraduate degree, Sagi has been studying immigrant experiences, which intrigue her both academically and personally.

Sagi is now pursuing a PhD in Sociology at the University of Toronto, where her dissertation work looks at how residential contexts, including neighborhoods and metropolitan areas, influence labor market and housing inequalities at the intersection of nativity status and sexual orientation. “My research interest in LGBT immigrants developed during my master’s thesis,” explains Sagi. “It became clear that this was a very quantitatively understudied group, even though the qualitative literature was consistently reporting that this group felt very socially isolated from various communities due to the intersecting axis of their identities.”

Sagi’s recent publications with Kate Choi from Western University have focused on unaffordable housing in Canada, exploring which groups have high unaffordable housing rates, what factors drive these gaps, and what strategies individuals and families can employ to protect themselves. They have already published on ethno-racial and nativity status gaps in unaffordable housing rates and on multigenerational households as a strategy to protect children from unaffordable housing. They are currently working on a paper about young adults’ living arrangements and unaffordable housing.

“I love all the projects I’m on, but I’m particularly passionate about the unaffordable housing projects because safe shelter is one of the most fundamental needs we have as humans that should be available to all, and it is a moral and governmental failure that it isn’t.”

Sagi loves to travel. On the left, you can see her enjoying a cappuccino in Rovereto, Italy. On the right, she is at the Museum of Contemporary Art in LA. Sagi also enjoys playing video games. Just in the first quarter of this year, she had finished 31 books. You can add her as a friend on Goodreads here.

After completing her PhD, Sagi wants to stay involved in research, but outside of academia. “I’m open to trying different things—the path is certainly less clear-cut than if I was pursuing an academic career, so I have to be patient and accept that I may not love the first thing I try. The CAnD3 program has been incredibly helpful for my career goals by facilitating a non-academic internship!”

Sagi has been interning with the Toronto-based research firm and CAnD3 partner Environics Analytics as part of her experiential learning training. “It’s been wonderful to get a taste of what kinds of jobs are out there for people with my skillset and background. The work is interesting and intellectually challenging, and my colleagues have been great, so it’s been a really helpful experience for me as I try and figure out what I want to pursue post-graduation.”

Learn more about Sagi and connect with her.

Avelin Peguy Angos

Avelin’s research objective is to determine how the practice of child fostering—whereby a parent entrusts the care of their child to other family members or friends for different periods of time—affects investment in children’s education and progress and school in sub-Saharan Africa.

“I'm passionate about this research for two main reasons. Firstly, with over 200 million inhabitants aged between 15 and 24, Africa has the largest youth population in the world. Africa's development depends on its well-educated and well-trained youth.” Avelin says that we must ensure access to and investment in quality education for all, without discrimination, as recommended by Sustainable Development Goals 4 and 5. “My research will highlight the role that the practice of child fostering (widespread in sub-Saharan Africa) can play in achieving this goal. Secondly, the fact that I myself was a foster child adds to this interest in improving schooling for this group of children, who can sometimes be disadvantaged.”

Avelin is pursuing a PhD in demography at Université de Montreal, where his research focuses on access to basic social services, such as education and health, in sub-Saharan Africa among vulnerable populations, including children who do not live with their biological parents and older adults.

During his free time, Aveline enjoys playing soccer and spending time with his daughter.

Before beginning his PhD, Avelin worked in the Ministry of Economy of his country, Cameroon. There, he was involved in the monitoring and assessment of population programs, the elaboration and planning of public polices, and the writing of development strategy documents. Avelin also has an extensive quantitative training background as a statistician and computer scientist. He says that these experiences gave him the methodological and operational tools for using software, manipulating databases and programming—all of which he wanted to advance through the CAnD3 training program. “I particularly enjoyed creating my e-portfolio, data visualizations with R and python, and the introduction to the IDEA method.”

After his PhD, Aveline wants to contribute to improving the living conditions of children around the world, either indirectly through research or directly by working in a national or international organization with a mission that aligns with his values.

Learn more about Avelin and connect with him.

Alla Konnikov

Alla has a forthcoming publication titled, “Intersections on the road to skill transferability: the role of international training, gender, and visible minority status in shaping immigrant engineers’ career attainment in Canada” in the Canadian Review of Sociology. The paper represents Alla’s broader interest in the intersections among the sociology of work, international migration, and gender. “I focus on the labour markets as an arena where inequality is produced and reproduced through various mechanisms and is embedded within the processes of recruitment and selection, skills transferability, and career development,” explains Alla.

Alla is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Alberta’s Department of Sociology. Here, she is part of a large international and interdisciplinary team that studies the role of algorithms in producing and mitigating gender and racial/ethnic inequalities in the labor force. The ambitious project is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) under the Canada-UK Artificial Intelligence Initiative. Their team published a book chapter on how the diverse team managed the research project studying responsible AI for labor market equality.

With this background, Alla decided to train with CAnD3 for two main reasons: first, to gain a life-course-oriented perspective on how age and aging can be a part of the intersectional mechanisms that shape all aspects of living, and second, to expand her methodological expertise. However, over the course of the program, Alla also became interested in the applied and non-academic research approaches, which CAnD3 embeds within the training to equip Fellows with the skills to work across disciplines, sectors, and countries. “I developed a better understanding of how research is performed in non-academic settings and the types of interdisciplinary opportunities and collaborations that exist.”

Alla enjoys walking her three cats, traveling, especially in Canada and on road trips, and she has a passion for hiking in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta.

Alla is working on several papers with her postdoctoral research team. For example, to assist their computational team in conducting a large-scale analysis of job posting data, they developed a word inventory to identify biased language in the labor market (pre-print published here). An example of how this inventory is being used to study gender bias in job postings was published in Frontiers in Big Data.

Learn more about Alla and connect with her.

About the training program

The Population Analytics in an Aging Society Training Program is a rigorous one-year fellowship hosted by the Consortium on Analytics for Data-Driven Decision-Making (CAnD3), funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and based at McGill University. The program upskills rising researchers in Master's, PhD, and postdoctoral programs in the areas of population data science and computational population social science from a multidisciplinary lens. It also connects Fellows to experiential learning opportunities, which include hands-on research projects and internships with government, not-for-profit, and private sector CAnD3 partners. Since the first year of the program in 2020, CAnD3 has trained 32 Fellows and welcomes 20 new Fellows for the 2022-23 Academic Year.

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