Concordia University

https://www.concordia.ca/content/shared/en/news/stories/2019/05/01/concordias-2019-public-scholars-take-on-surgical-robots-the-future-of-fibre-optics-and-queer-utopias.html

Concordia’s 2019 Public Scholars take on surgical robots, the future of fibre optics and queer utopias

10 new PhD students get set to share their innovative research with society at large
May 1, 2019
|
2019 marks the third iteration of the Public Scholars Program, a collaboration between Concordia’s School of Graduate Studies and the Montreal Gazette.

Now in its third year, Concordia’s Public Scholars Program will showcase the research of its new cohort of PhD students throughout 2019-20.

How to age well through self-compassion, how to build more bikeable and walkable cities and how to design sensors for minimally invasive surgery are just some of the specialties of the new group.

The Public Scholars Program was designed by Concordia’s School of Graduate Studies in partnership with the Montreal Gazette to create links between academics and the public in order to show how their research can contribute to society.

In their own words, here’s what this year’s 10 researchers are working on and what they hope to accomplish through the program:

Zeina Ismail-Allouche

Zeina Ismail-Allouche

Individualized Program

I'm interested in the narratives of youths who have experienced transracial and intercountry adoption, particularly in the context of the global refugee crisis. Through my research I hope to offer responses to this urgent situation and improve conditions for children separated from their birth families as a result of it.

I have over 20 years of international experience working in the child welfare sector and have participated in the drafting of the United Nations Guidelines for the Alternative Care for Children. The Public Scholars Program will help me promote my research and contribute to the larger discussion on child welfare practices.


Naghmeh Bandari

Naghmeh Bandari

Mechanical engineering

I develop optical tactile sensors for minimally invasive surgery. These sensors integrate with instruments used in remote surgery to recreate the sense of touch.

Interacting with the public has always been important to me. It enables me to get feedback on my research and helps steer me toward areas where there is a greater public need. I’d like to use the Public Scholars Program to inform society about the benefits of my research and how it will increase the efficiency of minimally invasive surgeries in the future.


Sherif Goubran

Sherif Goubran

Individualized Program

I’m looking into how Canada’s sustainable building designs align with the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

As an architect and Vanier Scholar, I hope to exemplify next-generation learning and highlight the relevance of PhD degrees today. I also want to be able to operate outside my academic comfort zone and bring my research into practice. Concordia's Public Scholars program will allow me to realize both these goals.


Heather Herriot

Heather Herriot

Psychology

I’m focusing on pathways to successful aging — how self-compassion can help older adults cope with stress and prevent declines to their health.

I use data from longitudinal research and laboratory stress experiments to see how to prevent disturbances in biomarkers of stress and health, such as cortisol and inflammation.

I’m proud and excited to represent Concordia as a Public Scholar, as I believe this platform could help me to share my research on Canada's aging population.


Lea Kabiljo

Lea Kabiljo

Art education

I’m looking at the practical applications of oral history as a teaching tool in art education.

I’ve worked as a high school teacher and was the executive director of LOVE, a leading non-profit organization in violence prevention for youth. I want to ensure that my work stays accessible and is informed by societal needs.

I strongly believe that academic investigation should be built on ongoing dialogue with real-world settings, and the Public Scholars Program offers the perfect platform through which to do so.


Seyed Mohammad Mirjalili

Seyed Mohammad Mirjalili

Electrical and computer engineering

My research focuses on the design, analysis and optimization of new optical devices for the next generation of fibre-optic communications.

The scientific community requires feedback to solve practical problems and respond to public needs.

The regular tasks of a researcher are not always enough to influence the roadmap of science. With this in mind, the Public Scholars Program is a great way to build bridges between Concordia’s scientific communities and society at large.


Amir Molaei

Amir Molaei

Mechanical engineering

I create robots for surgical operations, enhancing surgeons’ abilities to perform micro-surgical tasks in a more precise and less invasive way.

Being at Concordia has brought me golden opportunities in terms of academics and industrial collaboration. I love working with interdisciplinary groups, and being part of a cohort of students from different fields means we’ll have the chance to think about sustainable solutions to a number of different social problems.

What I’m looking for with the Public Scholars Program is to let the public know that we’re all part of the same society, and that at university we’re looking for solutions to better our quality of life.


Matthew-Robin Nye

Matthew-Robin Nye

Interdisciplinary humanities

I’m looking at how the concept of “utopia” in queer studies inflects an existing environment, and how creative gestures can shift affects, bodies and identities in these spaces.

Study, research and creative speculation define Concordia’s academic community. I’m interested in ways that artists, researchers and institutions communicate their studies without diluting the complexity of their thought in the process.

Through the humanities, we learn about who we are, our place in this world and our relationship to it. I believe that today more than ever, we need a space for creativity and speculative thought.


Aryana Soliz

Aryana Soliz

Sociology and Anthropology

My research explores cycling and walking practices in Central Mexico as well as the ways in which urban infrastructure enables and restricts non-motorized transportation.

I strongly believe in the value of public scholarship, including its ability to translate complex research findings and to stimulate inclusive dialogue on the challenges affecting our lives and our planet. Through the Public Scholars Program, I hope to share my research findings while also working with other public scholars to create new opportunities for collaborative learning.


Emilie St-Hilaire

Emilie St-Hilaire

Humanities

I’m studying the idiosyncratic and widely misunderstood practice of reborn doll collecting from a feminist perspective. Can an understanding of the therapeutic benefits of these practices outweigh their uncanniness?

Through the Public Scholars Program, I plan to write about topics such as motherhood, lifelike dolls as companions and the therapeutic benefits of “weird” hobbies.

The goals set for us in the context of this program will be great milestones. I look forward to finally getting these ideas out there!

 

Find out more about Concordia’s Public Scholars Program.

 



Back to top

© Concordia University