Lakehead University Awarded SSHRC Grants to Build New Knowledge and Develop Talent

(October 2, 2012 – Thunder Bay, ON)

Innovative research initiatives have earned Lakehead faculty and students more than $1.5 million over five years in Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) funding.

Lakehead researchers from various fields such as anthropology, natural resources management, history and psychology are spearheading projects that touch on key aspects of the human experience.

“The new SSHRC funding recognizes the excellence of research and scholarly works conducted at Lakehead as well as their societal and economic impact.   We are so grateful to SSHRC for this grant support, and congratulate our researchers and students for their achievement in the competition,” says Dr. Rui Wang, Vice-President (Research, Economic Development & Innovation).

In addition to SSHRC multi-year Insight and Insight Development Grants, Lakehead’s researchers have received Public Outreach Dissemination Grants, Conference and Scholarly Journal Grants, a Partnership Grant and graduate student funding.

“These grants are giving our researchers the resources to answer questions about our past and to address the shifting needs of contemporary society,” says Provost and Vice-President (Academic) Dr. Rod Hanley. “SSHRC’s emphasis on improving the lives of Canadians through research aligns well with Lakehead’s approach to education.”

Here are some examples of the newly-funded Lakehead University research projects:

  • Dr. Tamara Varney, an anthropologist, is using state-of-the-art synchrotron-based technology to determine lead concentrations in the skeletal remains of British Royal Navy sailors and other inhabitants of Antigua in the colonial era. Her research will reveal how social class affected exposure to this widely-used toxic metal.

  • Dr. Ed Rawana, a clinical psychologist, is turning his attention to the present as he implements strategies to prevent bullying and to encourage academic achievement in elementary and high school students.

  • New SSHRC grant holder Dr. Paul Carr, an Interdisciplinary Studies professor at Lakehead Orillia, received one of the largest awards to explore the interconnections between political literacy, education, and robust democratic societies.

  • Another of the 2012 SSHRC grants was awarded to Dr. Judy Iseke, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Education, for her research project Indigenous Knowledge and Music in Indigenous Language: Storytelling in Education.

View the complete list of Lakehead University 2012 SSHRC grant projects on the backgrounder below.

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For more information, please contact Brandon Walker, Media Relations Officer, at (807) 343-8177 or


Lakehead Social Sciences and Humanities Grants Backgrounder


Dr. Tamara Varney, (Anthropology)
Identifying the social determinants of lead poisoning in colonial-era Antigua through the use of synchrotron-based techniques

Anthropologist Dr. Tamara Varney has collected bone samples from historic cemeteries facing imminent destruction from inclement weather or modern development on the West Indies island of Antigua.  Her research seeks to discover just how prevalent lead poisoning was in the 19th century, to scientifically determine if an individual’s social class influenced their level of lead exposure.

To make this determination, Dr. Varney is analyzing bone samples from individuals of European and African ancestry taken from a Royal Naval Hospital cemetery and a small plantation slave cemetery, using Canada’s only synchrotron facility, the Canadian Light Source.

This high tech particle accelerator uses intense light and electro-magnets to yield detailed microscopic and elemental information. Dr. Varney’s research is the first in Canada to address a social historical question using this natural sciences technology. Dr. Varney received a $62,950 Insight Development Grant (see below for more information).

Dr. Ed Rawana (Psychology)
Cultivating a Strengths Approach in Education: A Strengths-In-Motion Training Program for School Administrators 

Dr. Ed Rawana’s research focuses on studying the psychological strengths and high-risk behaviours in children and adolescents. A Clinical Psychologist and Research Director with the Centre of Excellence for Children and Adolescents with Special Needs, Dr. Rawana is examining the strengths perspective, which incorporates the idea that everyone has strengths.  

Dr. Rawana and his team will be hosting a two-day workshop open to 60 registrants consisting of Directors of Education, Superintendents, Principals, and other educators to introduce them to the principles, tools and resources needed for introducing a school-wide strengths based approach to improve academic achievement and decrease bullying. Dr. Rawana received a $49,584 Public Outreach Dissemination Grant  (see below for more information).

Lindsey Wachter (Kinesiology student)
Perfectionist Youth Hockey Players’ Perceptions of Their Parents’ Involvement in Sport

This study aims to advance literature in the area of parental involvement in sport by gaining a better understanding of how an athlete's personality can influence his or her perception of desirable and undesirable parental behaviours. How perfectionism may influence these perceptions will be studied and compared to previous research that didn’t consider the impact personality might have.  

Athletes will be recruited from elite youth teams in Northwestern Ontario and asked to complete a measure of perfectionism to identify healthy and unhealthy perfectionists. Those with high levels of either orientation of perfectionism will be interviewed where they will be asked to discuss their parents’ role in their own sport participation. Lindsey Wachter received a $17,500 grant (see below for more information).

2012 Lakehead University SSHRC Grant Recipients

Aid to Research Workshops and Conferences in Canada (One-year grant):

Dr. Harvey Lemelin (Outdoor Recreation, Parks and Tourism)
3rd Conference of the International Polar Tourism Research Network, $24,594

Aid to Scholarly Journals (three-year grant):

Dr. Kristin Burnett (History)
Canadian Bulletin of Medical History, $70,843.

Insight Development Grants (two-year grants):

Dr. Lida Fan, (Social Work) Migration of Aboriginal people to cities and its policy implications: A tale of two cities, $67,265.

Co-applicants:  Dr. Keith Brownlee (Lakehead), Dr. Raymond Neckoway (Memorial University of Newfoundland), Dr. Nazim N. Habibov (University of Windsor)

Dr. Tamara Varney (Anthropology)
Identifying the social determinants of lead poisoning in colonial-era Antigua through the use of synchrotron-based techniques $62,950.

Co-applicants:  Dr. David M.L. Cooper (University of Saskatchewan), Dr. Ian B. Coulthard (Canadian Light Source Inc.), Dr. Treena M. Swanston (University of Saskatchewan)

Collaborator:  Dr. A. Reginald Murphy (National Parks Authority, Antigua & Barbuda)

Insight Grants (five-year grants):

Dr. Paul Carr (Departments of Sociology and Interdisciplinary Studies - Orillia)
Democracy, political literacy and the quest for transformative education, $265,500. 

Co-applicants:  Dr. Joel Westheimer (University of Ottawa), and Dr. Gina Thésée (Université du Québec à Montréal)

Dr. Judy Iseke (Education)
Indigenous Knowledge and Music in Indigenous Language: Storytelling in Education, $489,575.

Public Outreach Dissemination Grants (one-year grants)

Dr. Michel Beaulieu (History)
Hard Work Conquers All: Mobilizing Knowledge about the Finnish Experience in Canada, $72,600.

Co-applicant:  Dr. Ron Harpelle

Collaborators:  Kelly J. Saxberg, Samira S. Saramo (York University), Hanna K. Snellman (University of Jyäskylä)

Partners:  City of Thunder Bay, Finlandia Association of Thunder Bay, Lakehead University, Northwestern Ontario Archivists Association, Thunder Bay Finnish-Canadian Historical Society, Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society

Dr. Edward Rawana (Psychology)
Cultivating a Strengths Approach in Education: A Strengths-In-Motion Training Program for School Administrators, $49,584.

Co-applicant:  Dr. Keith Brownlee (Lakehead)

Partners:  Children's Centre - Thunder Bay, Lakehead Public Schools, Wellington Catholic District School Board

Peggy Smith (Natural Resources Management)

Building Resilient Forest-Based Communities through Community-based Forest Management II, $92,195.

Collaborators:  Dr. Chander K. Shahi (Lakehead), Dr. Gayle E. Broad (Algoma University), Dr. Ryan C.L. Bullock (University of Saskatchewan)

Partners:  BC Community Forest Association, Canadian Environmental Network, Hearst Economic Development Corporation, Northeast Superior Regional Chief's Forum, Northwatch, Town of Atikokan

Dr. Ronald Harpelle (History)
Pulp Friction: The Intersection of Globalization and Community, $113,588.

Collaborators:  Diego Piniero (Universidad de la Republica), Thomas W. Dunk (Brock University), Bruce W. Muirhead (University of Waterloo), Hanna K. Snellman (University of Jyäskylä)

Partnership Grant LOI:

Dr. Ronald Harpelle (History)
Research TV: A New Media Network for Social Science and Humanities Research, $20,000.

Co-applicants:  Dr. Connie Nelson (Lakehead), Dr. Noreen Golfman (Memorial University of Newfoundland), Dr. Myra Hird (Queen's University).

Collaborators:  Wesley Shrum, Louisiana State University.

Partners: ItSticks Inc., Lakehead University, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Queen's University, University of Alberta - Division of Community Engagement, Univerity of Saskatchewan - Division of Social Sciences, College of Arts and Science, Resources and Sustainable Development in the Arctic:  A Northern Research Network, Yukon College, Confederation College.

Graduate Student Funding:

PhD Students - Doctoral Fellowships Program

Kathy Kortes-Miller, (Program: Education; Supervisor: Dr. Lisa Korteweg) The Pedagogical Use of Simulation in Higher Education ($20,000/year for two years).

Emily Fawcett (Russell), (Program: Psychology; Supervisor:  Dr. Dwight Mazmanian)   Personality and Gender Differences in Precautionary Behavior ($20,000 one year award).

Master's Students - Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarships (one-year awards worth $17,500)

Scott Caspell, (Program: Education; Supervisor:  Dr. David Greenwood) Exploring the role of wilderness and story in shaping our understanding of self, place and the other-than-human world.

Christopher Gash, (Program: Sociology) A Measure for Change: Social Media in Long-Term Care.

Katelyn Gomes, (Program: Psychology; Supervisor:  Kristen Oinonen) Individual Differences in Flirting and Attractivity Mating Strategies: Sex, Gender, and the Menstrual Cycle.

Annie Grainger, (Program: Education) Visions of Reconciliation: Non-Aboriginal Teachers’ Reflections on Decolonizing Perspectives and Reconciliatory Practice.

Robyn O'Loughlin-Pepin, (Program: Education; Supervisor:  Dr. Lori Chambers) The Ontario Family Mediation Process and Its Potential Influence on Children's Educational Achievement.

Lindsey Wachter, (Program: Kinesiology; Supervisor:  Dr. John Gotwals) Perfectionist Youth Hockey Players' Perceptions of Parental Involvement in Sport.

Megan Wady, (Program: Northern Environments and Cultures) Dietary Change and Continuity at the Northern Edge of the Great Plains (3000 - 500 BP): Residue Analysis of the Forks Archaeological Locale, Winnipeg, Canada.



To request an interview with any of our grant recipients, please contact Brandon Walker, Media Relations Officer, at (807) 343-8177 or


Lakehead University
Lakehead is a comprehensive university with a reputation for a multidisciplinary teaching approach that emphasizes collaborative learning and independent critical thinking. More than 8,700 students and 1,850 faculty and staff learn and work at campuses located in Orillia, and Thunder Bay, Ontario, which is home to the west campus of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. Lakehead University promotes innovative research that supports local and regional socio-economic needs. In Orillia, development continues on building a campus that meets Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) standards.

Last updated October 09, 2012

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