Research Assistants

Listed below are the research assistants currently working at McGill University. Click here for a list of everyone from McGill and from partner institutions who has contributed to IMPACTS.


Safia Amiry

Department of Integrated Studies in Education (PhD)

I was born in Kabul, Afghanistan where, during the Taliban period, women were denied their fundamental rights. That made me more passionate about women’s rights and gender equality in all aspects. Therefore, I volunteered with many organizations back in Afghanistan, working on women’s advocacy programs. My Fulbright program in the US in 2017 allowed me to do a certificate program on Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, along with my Master’s degree in International Development Studies. Studying this subject academically gave me a clearer picture to reroute my focus for my Ph.D. program and further explore this subject.

I am currently enrolled in the Ph.D. program in Educational Studies with a focus on Gender and Women's Studies. I am planning to look at the role of women in the peace-building process in post-conflict countries, especially Afghanistan. Because I believe that the role of women and women’s needs are mostly undermined in the peace negotiation process where women are one of the primary victims during the war, which includes sexual violence. Being with the IMPACTS project allows me to better understand women and gender issues at different levels, including policy development, and further explore them through my research. I am looking forward to adding to my experience and also learning through this project.


Philips Ayeni

School of Information Studies (PhD)

Philips has a background in library and information science and he is currently undertaking a doctoral program in information studies with a research focus on assessing metadata quality of open data. He has previous relevant experience in managing and providing access to information resources with the use of information technologies. Being passionate about scholarly communication and open access has spurred his interest in current development landscape in scholarly communication. He has received conference travel awards and fellowships from reputable organizations such as Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL), Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP), FORCE11 Scholarly Communication Institute (FSCI), and Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI) at the University of Victoria. He is therefore pleased and excited to bring his experiences and skills in managing the research data, teams project collaboration software and data repository associated with the iMPACTS project. He seeks to ensure that relevant data and research outputs related to the project are captured well, effectively accessed and utilized.


Bianca Braganza

Faculty of Law (BCL/LLB)

Bianca is passionate about children and youth access to education and justice; the intersection of health, migration, and the law; and the anthropology and philosophy of international human rights law. She is also interested in the integration of law with the arts such as film, photography and theatre, in order to examine and explore the sociocultural, economic and political forces that create systemic marginalisation and oppression on a global scale, through creative community participatory methods. She is extremely excited to be on the IMPACTS team and working to fuse education and awareness with the arts, as well as to examine the role the media and pop culture play in perpetuating myths and stereotypes about sexual violence.


Polly Cheng

Department of Education and Counselling Psychology (PhD)

I am a PhD student in counselling psychology and my research interests are in the areas of sexual violence and social justice. I believe it is essential to understand the intricacies of experiences and how it relates to someone’s identity. As a new member of the team on the IMPACTS project, I am very excited to participate and contribute to the research of sexual violence on campuses. My role on IMPACTS team is to review surveys, organize and analyze the data.


Christopher Dietzel

Department of Integrated Studies in Education (PhD)

Chris is a doctoral candidate researching sexual consent related to dating app use and sexual violence against LGBTQ+ people. He has worked as a research assistant on the IMPACTS Project for several years and is currently the lead research assistant. Chris recently received a Mitacs Research Fellowship to work as a visiting scholar at Swinburne University of Technology (Melbourne, Australia) where he worked with Dr. Kath Albury to research safety, risk, and wellbeing among diverse dating app users. Chris' research interests include exploring the intersections of identity, safety, and technology, with a particular focus on the experiences of people of diverse gender and sexual identities.


Anuradha Dugal

Department of Integrated Studies in Education (MA)

Anu Dugal has been Director of Community Initiatives at Canadian Women’s Foundation since 2008 and was previously Board Member (2002 – 2007) and Chair of the Violence Prevention Committee. She is currently responsible for national strategies related to violence against women and girls, including trafficking. While deeply implicated in grant making, knowledge mobilization, program enhancement, convening, and coalition building, her main area of focus is currently working on policy that will bring about systemic change for women and girls in Canada. Anu is very involved in social issues and she sits on Minister Monsef's Advisory Council for the federal government strategy on Gender-based Violence, as well as being a member of the Conseil des Montrealaises.


Hamid Golhasany

Department of Integrated Studies in Education (PhD)

I work on knowledge mobilization with a particular focus on capacity development in departments and universities to support researchers and students. Knowledge mobilization is the process of connecting researchers’ knowledge and expertise with change agents outside academic environments so that we can improve policies and practices in our communities. 

On the IMPACTS Project, my responsibilities are to document the societal outcomes and impacts of the project. I also assist in the development of knowledge mobilization plans to mobilize our researchers’ knowledge and resources beyond academia.


Alyson Gounden Rock

Desautels Faculty of Management (PhD)

Alyson is a doctoral student in Organizational Behavior at the Desautels Faculty of Management. She studies social norms that contribute to unequal gender outcomes at work and in society. Current research (including a chapter in a forthcoming IMPACTs publication on social and mental issues related to COVID) investigates how this pandemic might affect the emergence, stability and change of discriminatory norms that surround working from home. Related research focuses on how social process contribute to organizational inequality through task segregation (in the context of US unions). Before her doctoral studies, Alyson worked as a strategy consultant (with Bain & Company and PWC), as a social entrepreneur, and as a volunteer with the HBS/HKS Community Action Partners, where her clients have included a not-for-profit organization that provides legal advice and services to victims of sexual violence.


Shannon Hutcheson

Department of Integrated Studies in Education (PhD)

I am a doctoral student who came to Montreal to pursue research in international/comparative education and the international student experience at McGill. After working in education and studying School Psychology at the University of Minnesota, I spent four years working in Lyon, France as a Psychology and English as a second language (ESL) instructor in higher education. I'm happy to be part of the Define the Line project and I look forward to providing a comparative/multicultural lens.


Masoomeh Kalantari

Desautels Faculty of Management (PhD)

Masoomeh is a doctoral student of Organizational Behavior at the Desautels Faculty of Management. Her research investigates the role of gender and race in organizations. Understanding the organizational culture and how social and sociodemographic dimensions such as race and gender influence the nature of interactions within organizations are important factors in studies of organizational behaviour. As a member of the IMPACTS team, her research contributes to a better understanding of organizations and more specifically university campuses, and the critical roles gender and race may play in these settings.


Kaelyn Macaulay

Faculty of Law (BCL/JD)

I am in my second year of law at McGill, having previously completed a BA in English Literature and worked as a Digital Humanities research assistant at the University of Calgary. My role on the iMPACTS team will be to provide editorial support and to research legal issues related to the project. Throughout my academic and professional career, I have explored the overlap between the areas of education, policy, and accessibility. As such, I am most excited to contribute to raising awareness about the topic of sexual violence on university campuses, which represents a major barrier to education that disproportionately affects vulnerable groups.


Maggie Mills

Department of Art History and Communication Studies (MA)

I am an MA candidate in Communication Studies at McGill University. My current research focuses on queer, feminist artists and creative labour in the digital economy. Previous work centred on feminist literary and artistic traditions, the connection between craft and storytelling, and the intersection of art and politics more broadly. I am excited to uncover the history of activism and movement-building in response to sexual violence on campus in my role as an RA on the IMPACTS project, under the supervision of Prof. Carrie Rentschler.


Nina Morena

Department of Art History and Communication Studies (PhD)

My doctoral research explores the ways in which breast cancer patients seek and share health information on social media and how this impacts their disease management. I’m interested in intersections of gender and illness and how medical misinformation travels through platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. My work for IMPACTS is with Dr. Carrie Rentschler and her team. My responsibilities as an RA is data analysis, interpreting the results, and archiving important information.


Benjamin Nothwehr

Sociology and Gender, Sexuality, Feminist, and Social Justice Studies (BA)

I am a fourth year undergraduate student with research interests in queer and transgender embodiment, interactions between gender and self-produced/new media (such as zines and mobile applications), grassroots social movements and coalition-building between minority communities, critical prison studies, transformative justice, and theories of the flesh. After completing my undergraduate studies, I hope to continue researching feminist media studies in graduate school. 

My work for this project includes helping to develop toolkits and research guides for use by researchers, educators, and students that spark discussion around rape culture on university campuses in order to approach these issues with a nuanced and intersectional lens. Additionally, I examine how different organizations and campus initiatives define themselves as 'survivor-centred', how this definition is weaved into the organization's praxis, and how they orient the responsibility of the bystander witness in cases of sexual assault. 


Nioushah Noushi

Department of Integrated Studies in Education (PhD)

I am a PhD student working jointly in the Faculty of Education (DISE) and the Faculty of Dentistry (Population Health Axis). My PhD research seeks to gain insight into if and how professors, teachers, and clinicians incorporate social responsibility into their teaching approaches in the Faculties of Dentistry and Education, and the School of Social Work at McGill University. We also aim to understand the explicit and implicit influence that teachers can have on their students and trainees. 

By doing this research, I hope to have an impact toward improving dental education, students’ experiences, and thus improving oral health care for all.


Shoshana Pepin-Signer

Department of Integrated Studies in Education (MA)

I have been working as a high school teacher for several years after receiving my B.Ed. from McGill University. In my time in a school setting, it has become increasingly clear to me that teachers are not receiving adequate training to tackle issues such as sex education and sexual violence in their classrooms. My research seeks to address the gaps in teacher training regarding sex education and in the curriculum itself. Furthermore, I will be critically examining youth culture in order to address the misogynistic and sexually violent content created for and marketed to young adults. I am pleased to be a member of the iMPACTS team and to be working alongside passionate individuals dedicated to addressing sexual violence both on and off university campuses.


Carolyn Peris

Department of Integrated Studies in Education (MA)

Carolyn is a special needs teacher, advocate and life-long supporter of individuals with (dis)abilities. Carolyn currently works at a specialized school for students with various developmental (dis)abilities located in Montreal, Quebec. In addition to teaching, Carolyn is completing a master’s degree at McGill University in Educational Leadership. She is a member of a research team, Impact, which focuses on dismantling and preventing sexual violence. Her research will focus on sexual violence against individuals with (dis)abilities.


Marco Rodighiero

Department of Integrated Studies in Education (B.Ed)

As someone who hopes to one day be in the position of molding the young minds of the leaders of tomorrow, I believe that a better future can only be achieved by creating a social environment that is welcoming to all. As a result, I am thrilled to be a part of the IMPACTS project and am hoping to use the pedagogical teaching I've received to effectively express some of the nuances surrounding our work.

My current role within the IMPACTS team is to conduct research, verify citations, and to assist other team members with their articles. However, as someone who has a keen interest in law and policy and has been fairly politically active in the past, I hope to be able to further explore the legal aspects surrounding this issue. As a current university student I am honoured to have the opportunity  to be a part of the solution to the issues of sexual violence and rape culture that have plagued college campuses and minority groups for far too long.


Dre Stewart

Department of Integrated Studies in Education (B.Ed)

Dre is studying to become a Secondary English teacher and is passionate about young adult media literacy. Her research with IMPACTS concentrates on sex education in Canada and the potential it has to build capacity for addressing issues of sexual violence. Through an examination of its political controversies, current curricula and their implementation, Dre's research is aimed at preparing preservice teachers to take on sex education in their classrooms so the next generation of young people can help put an end to sexual violence. As part of IMPACTS, Dre's research aims to achieve a broader outlook through the inter-disciplinary collaboration made possible by the project and Dre is grateful for the opportunity to contribute to addressing such an urgent issue in our society. 


Farah Roxanne Stonebanks

Department of Integrated Studies in Education (MA)

While completing my undergraduate honours degree in Psychology, my interests became focused on children’s and adolescents’ social and emotional well-being. Specifically, I began to examine bullying and anti-bullying programs/initiatives and how schools can work to prevent and react to the negative occurrences between students. The DISE graduate program will allow me to deepen my knowledge of education in order to further my research employing a variety of fields of knowledge.

My work for iMPACTS is based in Project C. It focuses on the role of news and social media in relation to its messages on rape culture, how these messages are interpreted by the university community and how media partners can work with universities to help address rape culture in their immediate and larger milieus. It is a meaningful and timely project which will produce positive long-term effects due to the authentic engagement and commitment of this collaborative team.


Kimia Towfigh

Faculty of Law (BCL/JD)

Kimia is in the final year of her legal studies at McGill University Faculty of Law. With the iMPACTS project, she is co-editor of the forthcoming special issue of the Education & Law Journal. She is thrilled to join the iMPACTS project in an editorial capacity and hopes to collaborate with academics, professors, and students with the aim of contributing to academic discourse by highlighting important social issues relating to the intersection between policy, law, and education.


Sarah Towle

Department of Family Medicine, specialization in Biomedical Ethics (MSc)

I am in my second year of a thesis-based masters in the Department of Family Medicine. My research involves examining how medical students learn about pelvic examinations, particularly surrounding concepts of informed consent and trauma-informed care through a feminist ethics lens. Through this research and with the guidance of IMPACTS, I hope to develop workshops and resources for medical schools on trauma-informed care. 

On campus, I am a peer-facilitator with Student Equity Education, giving workshops on gender, sexuality, consent, race, and indigenous realities to first-year students. In 2019, I received funding from the Mary H. Brown Endowment Fund to create a peer-support group for first-generation university students, like myself. I also hold a graduate-student fellowship with McGill’s Institute for Health and Social Policy. I am excited to join the IMPACTS project to learn from the rich knowledge of the research team and to work towards policy, curriculum, and medical change related to consent.

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