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 open access scholarly communication practices of researchers in Canada. Being passionate about scholarly communication and open access has spurred his interest in current development landscape in scholarly communication. He has previous relevant experience in managing and providing access to information resources with the use of information technologies. He is therefore excited to join the team by 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 well captured, effectively accessed, and utilized.


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.


Anita Hagh

Department of Integrated Studies in Education (PhD)

Anita holds a B.A. in Linguistics & Russian and an M.A. in Education & Society, from McGill University. Her research focuses on emerging literacies, texts, and forms of communication in contemporary digital cultures. She is especially interested in the role of non-human agents, such as AI and algorithms, in the production of culture and information online. In projects related to these general research interests, Anita investigates the affirmative potentials of digital cultures and everyday online life. She favors research methods that are sensitive to affect, emotion and empathy, and that allow unique, holistic perspectives & analysis.


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.


Marine Khediguian

Department of Integrated Studies in Education (B.Ed)

I am a second-year student of the Faculty of Education of McGill University, majoring in Teaching English as a Second Language. Through this major, I am mainly learning about the intricacies of the English language and the pedagogical implications of teaching this language in a francophone environment. In addition, I am learning about the integration of ESL students in an environment where their first language is not widely spoken, which can have a great impact on their integration. Outside of my own studies, I have been working in my community as an ESL, arts, and most recently mathematics high school teacher for grades 7 and 8, on a part-time basis. I also work as a private tutor for students with learning disabilities.

I am excited to have been invited to work on the IMPACTS research project and given the opportunity to contribute to this important initiative to start to understand the prevalence of gender-based violence in higher education. More precisely, I look forward to researching the extensiveness of this type of violence in the online school context we have been thrown in during the COVID-19 pandemic and how this new reality has affected the reporting of this type of violence.


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.


Ati Mojedhi

Department of Integrated Studies in Education

Ati has been involved with IMPACTS over the past few years as a research assistant. Since she completed her PhD, Ati is working as a research associate. Her primary research interests are in gender and women studies as well as domestic violence, with a particular focus on socio-cultural factors. In her current role, she is engaged in different aspects of IMPACTS, including the multi-institutional survey on sexual violence and the cultural practices of consent among diverse populations in Canada. 


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 include data analysis, interpreting the results, and contributing to building Dr. Rentschler's archive of student activism.


Sam Nepton

Department of Integrated Studies in Education (B.Ed)

I am currently in my second year of the Kindergarten & Elementary Education program at McGill University. As a future elementary school teacher and a lifelong learner, I believe that education is our most powerful tool for addressing social issues. With that being said, I am interested in finding ways to improve the mental health and sexual education programs in educational institutions, and further research the benefits of these programs. Additionally, I am interested in learning more about how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted victims of cyberbullying and sexual violence, and how it has affected their ability to disclose information and access supports. Through iMPACTS, I hope to be able to research the realities of social media culture, sexual violence, and harassment, while taking part in knowledge mobilization efforts and providing educational opportunities to the McGill (and greater) community.


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.


Mathieu Nyarai

Department of Integrated Studies in Education (B.Ed)

I am currently a second-year student in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education at McGill University, specializing in Secondary Social Sciences. Education has been a passion of mine for over five years now, and I particularly hope to use history as a framework to discuss broader sociocultural issues with my students. As for IMPACTS, I find myself drawn to issues surrounding our usage of traditional and social medias, particularly how portrayals of the objectification of women, hypermasculinity or sexual violence can have a normalizing effect on younger audiences. This is my first taste of the academic world, and I am very excited to learn from (and with!) the rest of the team.


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.


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.


Sarah Towle

Master of Science, Family Medicine and Biomedical Ethics 

Sarah began working with iMPACTS in 2019, researching patient representation and trauma-informed gynaecology practices. She continues to serve as an equity facilitator in McGill's Faculty of Medicine and helps develop workshops for medical students on gender, sexuality, and consent. Her more recent work has explored supports available for sex workers during the COVID-19 pandemic and the role of no-visitor policies in labour and delivery wards. Currently she is providing knowledge mobilization and translation support to the iMPACTS team.

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