2024 Sherman Graduate Residents

Naharin Sultana Anni

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Naharin Sultana Anni (she/her), a 3rd year Ph.D. candidate at global health in McMaster University. She has finished her medical degree (MBBS) from the University of Dhaka and later pursued an MPH in Clinical Epidemiology from Yonsei University, South Korea. Her Ph.D. research focuses on Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and HPV vaccines. Apart from Ph.D., She is working as a teaching assistant (TA) for foundation of global health. 

HPV stands as one of the most widespread sexually transmitted infections (STIs), affecting approximately 75% of sexually active Canadians. Previous research predominantly focused on evaluating HPV-related knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) in Canadian women, largely due to cervical cancer being the second most common cancer among women. However, understanding KAP regarding HPV and its vaccine in men is equally crucial, as HPV can lead to severe health consequences among men and heighten transmission risks to their sexual partners. During this residency period at Sherman Center, Naharin aims to comprehensively assess HPV-related KAP among men aged 18-50 across Canada through an online survey. She anticipates significant support from this program in collecting and analyzing quantitative data from Canadian men across diverse cultural, social, and economic backgrounds, ultimately contributing to the improvement of HPV vaccination programs in Canada. 

Bruno dos Santos

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Bruno dos Santos (He/Him) is a Ph.D. student in the School of Earth, Environment & Society at McMaster University. He holds a M.Sc. in Remote Sensing from the National Institute for Space Research (São Paulo, Brazil). His doctoral research focuses on understanding how transportation acts as a barrier for individuals in finding or maintaining employment. Additionally, he explores how variables obtained from satellite imagery contribute to transportation geography studies. 

During his residency at the Sherman Centre, Bruno aims to develop standardized methods for transportation analysis in research, with a particular emphasis on studies utilizing Statistics Canada surveys. In Canada, the absence of established standards and objectives poses a challenge to comprehending the difficulties faced by individuals at risk of transportation poverty. By working with microdata files from Canadian national surveys, Bruno seeks to create a standardized methodology for conducting accessibility models that identify access to job opportunities. This comprehensive approach covers all steps, from pre-processing the data to assessing the results. 

Milica Hinic 

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I am currently in the Communications and New Media Master’s (CNM MA) Program. My research interests are knowledge mobilization (KMb) and academic podcasting. Complimenting my research interests, I started working with the Social Sciences Community Research Platform (CRP) as a knowledge mobilization facilitator. In addition, I have been part of the NIL research team for the past 2 years. My role includes working collaboratively in investigating relevant contextual sources for future applications of Locomotion, an interactive live dance coding language and 3D avatar modelling. Now, seeking creative ways to provide meaningful participant voices like community workshops! 

My Creative Research Project idea stems from my previous undergraduate research, The Student Learning Podcast Experience, A podcast about a podcast. Interviewing Humanities & Social Sciences faculty, staff and students on how podcasts are used as a tool within classrooms. Going forward, my Creative Research Project aims to enter the academic podcasting community by interviewing scholars who amplify their research and learnings through podcasts. Potential interviewees include Hannah McGregor, Lori Becksted, Ian Cook, Alyn Euritt, and Siobhan McHugh. The research will be shared as a podcast series seeking to gain insights about podcasts as a medium for knowledge mobilization. Addressing the question: In what ways does Critical Podcasting Methodology (CPM) change our understanding of podcasts as mediums of knowledge mobilization? And how can we apply this pedagogical praxis for researchers/scholars curating podcasts?  

Elyse Letts

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Elyse Letts (she/her) is a PhD student in Medical Sciences at McMaster University with the Child Health & Exercise Medicine Program. Her research focuses on improving physical activity and sedentary time measurement in toddlers as well as investigating the impact of physical activity on toddler health outcomes. She completed an undergraduate degree (BSc) in Kinesiology at the University of Waterloo. Outside of research, she loves to read, travel, and bake! 

The aim of Elyse’s project is to develop a publicly-available tool to assess toddler physical activity using machine learning, without needing any technical coding experience. Physical activity is essential for healthy growth and development in children and supports improved health. For young children, the Canadian 24-hour Movement Behaviour Guidelines for the Early Years suggests that toddlers get 180 minutes of physical activity each day. But to understand if toddlers are meeting these guidelines, we must first be able to accurately measure their activity levels. In her thesis work, Elyse has developed a machine learning model that can measure toddler activity. She will now expand this this into a tool that can be used by anyone who works with toddlers, for example clinicians, researchers, and public health agencies. 

Brad McNeil

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Brad McNeil (He/Him) is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Communication Studies and Media Arts at McMaster University. He completed an MA in History at University of Waterloo. His research interests lie at the multiple intersections between freedom of expression, content moderation, and platform governance. His doctoral research focusses on the ways civil society groups in the Global South organize to resist the negative effects of global platform’s content moderation policies. During his residency at the Sherman Centre, Brad will create a database of civil society organizations (CSOs) operating in the Global South which are engaged in efforts to reform the content moderation policies of global social media platforms. This database will contribute to a larger governance mapping project that will develop a typology of civil society types operating in the Global South.

This project seeks to develop a more global research agenda for platform governance by mapping out the web of governance relations between CSOs of the Global South and large transnational NGOs that represent them in formal, institutionalized multistakeholder governance forums for platform governance. This project understands civil society in the Global South as a site of resistance to harmful social and political effects of platform’s content moderation policies, which often come in the form of fact checking protocols, digital literacy workshops, and counter speech training for users/citizens, as a form of governance in and of themselves.

Fatima Nazir

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Fatima Nazir is a Master’s in Engineering Design student with a background in Applied Psychology. She has a keen interest in using human-centered design thinking to create innovative solutions that improve people’s lives. She has contributed to a wide variety of projects from designing an Inclusive Innovation Workshop to conducting research where she analyzed AI’s impact on people’s perceptions of social and economic structures. Her current graduate work with St Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton is focused on designing the Future of Virtual Hospital Rounds within a multidisciplinary team. Fatima has a passion for human-centered design thinking, a creative approach to problem-solving that places people’s stories at the heart of innovation. Combining this passion in design research with innovation and storytelling, her residency at the Sherman Centre will focus on exploring how literary tools, such as Archetypes and the Hero’s Journey, can be used to enrich design thinking education for novices from diverse backgrounds.

Rooted in the liberatory design principles that emphasize human values, she aims to empower designers to more profoundly honor people’s stories, experiences, and emotions through an interdisciplinary mindset. The goal of her research is to discover how storytelling and design thinking tools can complement one another, potentially revealing important nuances in people’s stories. In the end, Fatima’s aim is to develop a toolkit that facilitates this integration, improving learners’ ability to engage with and understand diverse narratives through the lens of design thinking.  

Anabelle Ragsag

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Anabelle Ragsag is a Ph.D. Social Work student interested in understanding the refusal of algorithmic harms and re-envisioning of algorithmic care by Southeast Asian Canadian mothers on Ontario Works. Anabelle’s background is in politics and policy, labour, and data science from the University of the Philippines, Carleton University, and the University of Guelph. She grounds her community building efforts, research, and personal endeavours in creative, collaborative, and liberatory approaches. She loves traveling, thrifting, and equal parts building relationships, and spending time alone. 

For the 2024 Sherman Centre Graduate Residency, Anabelle pursues a smaller part of her PhD thesis. Algorithmic harms are predominantly understood from AI ethics literature, favouring the perspective of technology designers and its systems rather than centring on those harmed. While AI justice studies is emerging to contest this, little is known about how these algorithmic harms work within social welfare systems. One of the existing, even if Anabelle argues, technology-centric and incomplete ways of knowing where these harms find their way in social welfare systems is through the AIAAIC Repository (standing for AI, Algorithmic, and Automation Incidents and Controversies). Anabelle envisions creating a database and case study description of how algorithmic harms in social welfare systems are currently presented technologically, from this Repository, even if she recognizes its limits, as a data source.  

Andrea Vela Alarcón

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Andrea Vela Alarcón (she/her/Ella) is a community educator, illustrator and doctoral candidate in Communication, New Media, and Cultural Studies at McMaster University. Her academic, creative and pedagogical practices are rooted in anti-colonial approaches and feminist care ethics to facilitate spaces of critical conversations and creation geared toward a world beyond extraction. Through her work, Andrea collaborates with communities in the crafting of stories that center refusal and resistance against the logic of capitalist resource extraction.  

During her tenure as a resident with the Sherman Centre, Andrea aims to develop a digital storytelling intervention presenting a series of personal written and illustrated reflections examining, from a geographic, historical, and gendered lens, her relationship with the Amazonian city of Iquitos (Peru) and its long history of resource extraction. The project will be understood as a process and site of political action exposing and unmasking non-innocent histories and stories that perpetuate the easy politics of ‘exotic women’ and ‘Terra Nulius’.  Histories and stories that continue to legitimize resource extraction’s sexual commodification of Amazonian girls and women.  

Katie Waring

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Katie Waring (she/her) is a multimedia writer and third-year doctoral candidate in the Communication, New Media, and Cultural Studies program. Her research looks at the potential for community-engaged digital storytelling in highlighting suppressed histories. She holds an MFA in nonfiction writing from the University of Pittsburgh and her creative work has been published in literary journals such as The Normal School and American Literary Review, among others. She originally hails from New York.

During her Sherman residency, Katie aims to develop a navigable map which will be featured in the digital community archive she is curating for her dissertation. As part of her research, Katie is interviewing survivors of New York State’s Craig Developmental Center (also known as the Craig Colony for Epileptics) to construct a digital archive which centers patient testimony. As the first such colony for disabled people in North America, the Craig Colony helped galvanize a eugenic movement and promoted the segregation and sterilization of disabled people deemed ‘unfit’ for normative society. The digital archive aims to draw more public and academic attention to Craig’s historical importance through survivor-led testimonials, as well as serve as a public memorial to victims of institutional violence. The map will help visitors to the archive understand the scale and scope of the colony, as well as locate archival stories within their place-based context.