Graduate Students

Megan Aiken

Research Interests: Canadian government & politics; public policy; health policy

My doctoral thesis, “Locked-in Language: the Politics and Discourse of Opioids in Canadian Parliament, 1908-2018,” considers the growth and maintenance of Canada’s prohibitionist drug policy regime from its inception up to the first dedicated Parliamentary debate on the so-called “opioid crisis.”

Abdullah Alzubaidi

Supervisor: Dr. Lori Thorlakson

Title: It's All in the Fine Print- Or Is It? An Analysis of the Deliberative Spaces Provided by the Print Media of New Zealand and British Columbia Leading-into Their Respective Electoral Reform Referendums.

The research that I am currently undertaking aims to advance literature on mediated deliberation, referendums, and electoral system change by investigating the coverage provided by major print media publications in both the Oceanic country of New Zealand leading-into their 1992 and 1993 electoral reform referendums, and the Pacific Canadian province of British Columbia before electoral reform referendums that occurred there in 2005 and 2009. This research encompasses several of my areas of research interest, including deliberative democracy, mediated deliberation, the mass media, referendums, electoral reform, and electoral system change.

Megan Auer

Supervisor: Dr. Linda Trimble & Dr. Siobhan Byrne

Meagan studies the politics of higher education under the supervision of Dr. Rob Aitken. Her interests include graduate education, teaching & pedagogy, program design & delivery, and academic governance. Her dissertation research explores continuity and change in the crisis narratives surrounding higher education. She approaches her research through theories such as affect, neoliberalism, and discipline.


Kyle Beattie

Supervisor: Dr. Rob Aitken

My doctoral dissertation focuses on the field of corruption studies. Whereas most of the discipline of corruption studies has largely focused on developing world corruption, I am interested in the types of corruption that emanate from the developed world. These forms of corruption, which are often much more sophisticated, include illegal wars, economic sanctions, fiat currency manipulation, media control and manipulation of public opinion, and the UN veto vote, among others. I am particularly interested in developing new measurements of corruption using my knowledge of computer programming and large quantitative datasets combined with the Islamic notion of fasad (corruption) as a basis from which to define the term. I speak, write, and/or research in English, Spanish, and Arabic.


Renee Beausoleil (McBeth)

Supervisor: Cressida J. Heyes

Dissertation title: Home in the city: Practical governance for urban housing and support services.

My research is focused on co-creating governance resources with individuals connected to urban housing and support services. Employing a feminist decolonial analysis within a community-engaged governance process, this project articulates principles and processes that can assist service organizations and community members in collaborating across differences to address inequity in downtown communities. Through this deeply relational fieldwork, my dissertation introduces and analyses a “practical governance” methodology as a community governance strategy and a theory of political relations.


Laticia Chapman

Supervisor: Dr. Roger Epp

Research Interests: Political Theory, Canadian Politics

I study rural public libraries in Western Canada. This research combines my interest in the historical-political origins of Canada's rural-serving public library system - and public institutions/civil-society more generally - with an ethnographic approach to the role libraries play in their communities, listening to the people who work in and use them.

Telisa Courtney

Supervisor: Dr. Andy Knight and Dr. Jan Selman

Research Interests: International Relations; Gender and Politics

Telisa is a 5th year PhD candidate. Their research focuses on the use of applied theatre as a tool for conflict resolution, reconciliation, and community building. In particular, how do theatrical processes work with human psychology to change attitudes within participants in theatre programs.

Chadwick (Chad) Cowie

Supervisor: Dr. Yasmeen Abu-Laban

Research Interests: Indigenous, Canadian, and Comparative

Chad is from the Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg community of Pamitaashkodeyong. His current research not only assesses Indigenous electoral participation, but also if such participation assists with change and reconciliation. Chad's other areas of research include Canadian/Indigenous relations, Indigenous governances and diplomacy, federalism, as well as methodology and Indigenous ways of knowing.


Anas Fassih

Supervisor: Dr. Mojtaba Mahdavi

My broad research interests fall at the nexus between international relations and comparative politics with a chief emphasis on third world security, political economy of energy, postcolonial analysis, and global North-South energy relationships (post-petroleum) as either political dependence, independence or both. In my PhD thesis, I aim to unravel the complexity of how energy systems, petroleum or solar (or hydroelectric), concentrate rather than disperse power and shape particular kinds of state's sovereignty in the Twenty-first century.

Stacey Haugen

Supervisors: Dr. Roger Epp & Dr. Sandra Rein

My research examines the challenges and benefits of refugee resettlement and integration in rural communities in Canada and Europe.


Noelle Jaipaul

Supervisor: Cressida Heyes

Research Interests: Political Theory; Gender and Politics

Noelle is a PhD candidate whose research is focused on the political and ethical challenges of outer space exploration. In particular, Noelle's research aims to develop a deeper understanding of the Overview Effect through examining our spatial and temporal orientations and the various ontologies that inform our view of outer space. 

Danika Jorgensen-Skakum

Research Interests: political theory, posthumanism, digital sovereignty, Indigenous digital sovereignty, new materialism, critical disability studies, critical animal studies

Danika is a queer Métis scholar whose work focuses primarily on Indigenous digital sovereignty in the context of Canadian network relations. Danika also writes on (re)composition, death, and what it means to become in the context of the so-called Anthropocene.

Gerson Julcarima Alvarez

Supervisor: Dr. Isabel Altamirano-Jimenez

Research Interests:Comparative Indigenous politics, semi-presidentialism in Global South, and religion and politics.

Broadly interested in social research techniques based on programming language (Python), I have recently explored some textual analysis strategies. My doctoral research seeks to understand from a comparative perspective the creation/building processes of new institutional arrangements that effectively reflect Indigenous nations' autonomy (self-determination and self-governance).


Ehsan Kashfi

Supervisor: Dr. Mojtaba Mahdavi

My research is about the manifold state-sponsored attempts to reconstruct Shia identity in the post-revolutionary Iran, seeking to delineate the discursive processes and institutions through which Shi'ism is evoked and restored to articulate a hegemonic narrative of identity, securing political support and cementing legitimacy.

Reza Khodarahmi

Supervisor: Dr. Mojtaba Mahdavi

Research Interests: Political Theory, Social Movements, Political Subjectivity, Modernity

My research is about nationalist rhetoric, political modernity and state building in contemporary history of Iran. I am trying to understand how and why the duality of "people-nation", a contrast between the public space and its holistic, homogenous political representation, has been a constitutive element of political sphere in modern Iran.

Brydon Kramer

Supervisor: Dr. Isabel Altamirano-Jimenez

Research Interests: Political theory; histories of political thought; politics of colonization and imperialism; Indigenous politics, especially Indigenous feminism(s); gender and sexuality studies; racial capitalism and the Black radical tradition; historical materialism; political ecology and environmental politics.

My research challenges political theory’s methodological ‘statism,’ which positions the state as the dominant container of political life/analysis. To do this, I draw on various radical traditions to offer a framework capable of both critiquing the state while, also, investigating the different modes of knowing and relating that challenge/exceed it.

Huong Le

Supervisor: Dr. Lori Thorlakson

Research Interests: Comparative Politics and International Relation

My doctoral research provides a conceptual and empirical review of factors that form and frame individual' perceptions of fairness on renewable energy; investigates the relationship between political ideology and perception of distributive fairness on who should pay for renewable energy infrastructure. It also aims to explain the role of political ideology and partisanship in support for different types of renewable energy and support for adoption of EV as well as support for energy transition. The thesis also explores attitudes around broader issues related to climate policies, including different factors that drive support for local v global climate change policies.


Roberto Mendoza

Supervisor: Dr. Jared Wesley

Research Interests: Political Finance, Money in Politics, Corruption

I am a “pracademic” (a practicing political scientist) whose career path has taken me from government and consultancy boardrooms to university classrooms. My research focuses on Political Finance and Money in Politics in a comparative perspective with a focus on Canadian Politics.

Devan Prthipaul

Supervisor: Dr. Yasmeen Abu-Laban

Research Interests: Political Theory; Gender & Politics

My doctoral research is around understanding and comparing political communication in Canada and China. My work is interdisciplinary, drawing on theories from communication studies, cultural studies, and political theory. I take an active role in publishing articles, chapters, presenting at conferences, and have an interest in university pedagogy as well.

Rissa Reist

Supervisor: Dr. Linda Trimble

Research Interests: Indigenous Politics, Gender and Politics, Canadian Politics, Political Communication

Rissa is a Ph.D. candidate and Killiam scholarship winner studying the relationship between political humour and settler-colonial violence in Canada. Her dissertation focuses on political humour’s powerful capacity to reframe the stories told about settler-colonial violence by challenging stereotypes about Indigenous peoples, and offering a path forward for conversation, reconciliation, and healing.

Savannah C. Ribeiro

Supervisor: Dr. Yasmeen Abu-Laban

Research Interests: Comparative Politics, European Politics, Political Theory, Critical Theory

Savannah did her bachelor's degree at Grant MacEwan University and completed a master of arts at the University of Toronto's Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Affairs. She studies the politics of the dead and how the living project particular meanings, ideas, or political projects onto the dead, and how these meanings, ideas, and projects can influence individuals’ relationships with their nation

Elise Sammons

Supervisor: Dr. Siobhan Byrne

In my research, I'm interested in exploring how memory, both individual and collective, intersects with politics. In my doctoral dissertation project, I am tracing public remembering of the 1939 voyage of the M.S. St. Louis, which has come to symbolize North American apathy to the fate of European Jews in the 1930s. Through a longitudinal and comparative study of this memory, my research contributes to our knowledge of the legacy of this significant historical event, but also contributes to debates about what constitutes political memory, and to methodologies for studying memory.

Sewordor Toklo

Research Interests: Political Behavior, Comparative Politics, Corruption, Clientelism and Gender Politics

Sewordor Toklo is a Ph.D. student at the University of Alberta. His research is on the effects of corruption and clientelism perceptions on political behavior, focusing on Africa.

Seon Yuzyk

Supervisor: Dr. Jared Wesley

Research Interests: Political theory and Canadian politics

My research engages a conjunctural reading of racial capitalism at the junction of climate change in Canada.

Alicia Bednarski

Supervisor: Dr. Yasmeen Abu-Laban

My research interests include the politics of gender, race, migration, and citizenship. For my thesis research, I am examining political and news media rhetoric surrounding the alleged practice of foreign women coming to Canada to give birth and contextualizing these discourses within gendered and racialized notions of what Canadian citizenship should look like.

Dara Campbell

Supervisor: Dr. Feo Snagovsky

Research Interests: Political Behaviour, Voter Behaviour, Political Communication, Canadian Politics

Dara (she/her) is a racialized settler from Prince George, BC. She's curious about political communication, right-wing narratives, and working-class voter behaviour in Canada. Dara works as a communications consultant focused on social transformation, climate justice, and Indigenous sovereignty. Beyond work and academia, she enjoys cycling, cooking, and diving into books and podcasts.

Maddie Dempsey

Supervisor: Joshua St. Pierre

Research Interests: Critical Disability Studies, Queer Theory, Critical Theory, Intersectional Feminism

Maddie (they/she) is a radical intersectional feminist, inspired by Sara Ahmed’s understanding of the Femininst Killjoy. Their research looks at the ways late autism diagnosis impacts women’s socio-political participation, rooted in a critique of the medical industrial complex, and its ignorance towards women’s health.

Sagnik Guha

Supervisor: Dr. Greg Anderson

My research interests largely relate to the field of International Relations and International Political Economy. I am interested in the discourse surrounding global development and institutions of global governance. Specifically, I am interested in studying the impact of these institutions on the global South (particularly Asia) and examining shifts in developmental paradigms concurrent to the rise of India, China and the dynamic geopolitics of Asia. Understanding the complex interplay of factors underlying the interactions of these emerging economies with the 'old order' of the 20th century forms an important part of my research interests.

Mitchell Pawluk

Supervisor: Dr. Cressida Heyes

Mitchell’s research focuses on populism, radical democratic theory, and agonism. Specifically, he aspires to develop a conception of populism that is not only congruent with pluralism but that radically expands it beyond the status quo, opening the door to unexplored democratic possibilities.

Aidan Trembath

Supervisor: Dr. Roger Epp

Research Interests: Critical Security Studies, Provincial Politics, Indigenous-settler Relations

My field interweaves securitization discourse theory with Canadian provincial politics, critical infrastructure studies, and Indigenous-settler relations. I research discourses of security and counter-security in Canadian provinces to explore how Indigenous political actors within and outside of provincial institutions dismantle security narratives that privilege a settler-colonial status quo.

Evan Walker
Supervisor: Dr. Greg Anderson
Research Interests: Political Economy, Political Behaviour
My research interests investigate the politics of economic decline. Specifically, the political attitudes held within communities dubbed "globalization's left-behinds". Tertiary research interests include political behaviour, public policy, and democratization.
Matthew Boonstra

Supervisor: Dr. Jared Wesley
My research areas include early learning and child care policy in Alberta, Canada, and other countries; Canadian politics; Alberta politics; and municipal politics.

I am in my final year of the Masters in Policy Studies program, and work as a Policy Analyst in the Alberta Ministry of Children and Family Services. My capstone examines factors that contribute to quality in early learning and child care (ELCC), and best practices in Canada and other countries.

Ikenuo Fatima Ebun

I am a first-year student of the MAPS program interested in learning about the processes involved in policy making to enable me to become a great policy analyst in gender related policies.

Kelcey Fleming

Supervisor:  Dr.Jared Wesley

My research interests include public safety, criminal justice, and education policies and my capstone focuses on effective evaluation strategies within Alberta Justice. Prior to MAPS, I obtained a degree in Education as well as worked with municipalities in support of administration and operations of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Gary Jason Godinho

My research interests include the study of Federalism, Energy Policy, Transit Policy, and Alberta’s Relations especially with India. I am specifically interested in having my capstone paper on one of these research areas so that I can help develop innovative policy solutions for Albertans.

Shi Kerslake

Research Interests: Public Policy, Democracy, Public Communication, Conspiracy Theories, and Human Rights.

Completed my undergraduate research at the University of Alberta, Augustana Campus, working on Conspiracism and its relationship with Democracy as seen through the academic approaches of political scientists. My masters research will be focused on the processes and applications of public policy through my practicum position.

Patrick Leason

Supervisor: Dr. Corey Snelgrove

Undertaking a capstone project which researches how wildfire mitigation policy can be improved in the context of Indigenous communities in Alberta.

Matthew Yip

Supervisor: Greg Anderson

My primary interest in policy lies within policy implementation. I find examining from the problem definition phase to the implementation phase to the outcome of the policy itself and seeking to understand how different mechanisms at each stage of the policy process. That is something that I examined in my honours thesis and I hope to have the opportunity to look at further in my studies.

Victoria Young

Supervisor: Dr. Siobhan Byrne

Research Interests: Geopolitics, Semi-Autonomous States, Internal Displacement, Territoriality, Humanitarian Policy

My research explores a policy protocol to establish a safe area, a popular form of civilian protection in the 1990s, in the FATA region wedged between Pakistan and Afghanistan. I defend that a safe area in this case advances UN Sustainable Development Goals and eases the refugee influx post-Taliban insurgence.