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Meet 10 PhD candidates at the forefront of techno-social evolution

Concordia’s fourth cohort of Public Scholars launches May 1
May 1, 2020
The 2020-21 Public Scholars cohort represents an explosion of talent that addresses emerging technology and its impact on society. (From left:) Rachel Thomas, Hamid Ebrahimi Orimi, Sylvie Ouellette, Isabelle Guillard, Bettina Forget, Ehsan Yazdanpanah Moghadam, Erica Pimentel, Anne-Marie Turcotte, Keroles Riad and Marc-André Argentino. | Photo: Lisa Graves

Ten PhD candidates from across Concordia have been confirmed for the 2020-21 Public Scholar Program. Every year, a select cohort of the university’s brightest graduate students are chosen based on their academic performance, diversity of research and community involvement.

Launched in 2017 by the School of Graduate Studies in partnership with the Montreal Gazette, the program provides these talented students with training and tools to engage the broader community. The Public Scholars develop key skills in workshops given by experts in areas such as media relations, digital and social media, public policy, presentation and business etiquette.

In addition to the Gazette, Concordia community partners like 4TH SPACE, District 3 Innovation Center and NOW news provide platforms for the students to engage with the public.

“We’re proud to support the program,” says Kristy Clarke, manager of academic programs and development in the School of Graduate Studies.

“Helping promising new researchers engage with the community, while also developing employer-valued communication skills, is a win for the students, Concordia and our society. We’re excited to see how these students will evolve in the coming year.”

The 2020-21 cohort represents an explosion of talent that addresses emerging technology and its impact on society in a time of increasingly rapid change. The group also boasts the strongest francophone presence yet, as well as a diversity of cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

The Public Scholar Program brings these minds together to not only share their research but learn from, and contribute to, the research of their fellow scholars and the development of their communities.

Meet Concordia’s 2020-21 Public Scholars

Hamid Ebrahimi Orimi is developing a bioprinter that may one day lead to printed organs. Ehsan Yazdanpanah Moghadam explores microdevices to battle neurodegenerative diseases. Both are in the mechanical engineering program at the Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science.

Anne-Marie Turcotte studies sociology and anthropology in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Her work reveals the relevance of broken windows in Nunavik and she also co-leads the Best, Concordia Scientific Podcast.

Chemistry and biochemistry student Sylvie Ouellette is investigating how bacteria scavenge iron for solutions to antibiotic resistance. And she’s a published novelist!

The Department of Art Education in the Faculty of Fine Arts is well represented in this year’s cohort. Bettina Forget explores how art can inspire young women to go into STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields. She is also a researcher-in-residence at the SETI Institute.

Isabelle Guillard is introducing ecological art into education curricula and is an established artist.

Erica Pimentel, who is studying business administration at the John Molson School of Business, examines how professionals create meaning at work and how blockchain technology can disrupt business.

Humanities student Rachel Thomas, whose research is grounded in medical sociology, medical history and fine arts, is using a narrative graphic novel to examine how the obese female body is understood in Western medicine and society.

Keroles Riad is in the Individualized (INDI) program, with a focus on engineering and chemistry. He is developing stronger, liquid material for 3D printing and leads the Waste Not, Want Not composting initiative.

Marc-André Argentino is also in the INDI program and his research is taking place at the intersections of theological studies, engineering and computer science. He is exploring how extremist groups manipulate virtual communities, particularly in periods of social upheaval, including pandemics.

Watch out for upcoming events and publications

The 2020-21 Public Scholars represent Concordia’s commitment to interdisciplinary diversity and academic excellence to address the critical questions of our time. They will be involved in numerous Concordia community initiatives in the coming year, in addition to sharing their research in weekly blogs and Gazette op-eds.

Meet the 2020-21 Concordia Public Scholars.


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