Our strength is peopleThe Faculty of Social Science at Western is committed to intellectual inquiry that uncovers problems and solutions issues that affect the human condition. We produce new and innovative research and teach you the knowledge and skills necessary to make a difference in government, business, the non-profit sector and academia.
As a student, you will interact with world class researchers, and participate in interesting experiences, in and out of the classroom.
In the final year of her Anthropology studies, Ashna Ali participated in a Language Revitalization in Practice field course. Through her course, she worked to digitize eight Oneida-language children’s books originally written in the 1970s. She recorded elders reading the books, and is converting the books to an e-book format with interactive elements. Ali felt the course was an “eye-opening experience” and helped her develop a better understanding of Indigenous communities. It also gave her a better appreciation for applying what she learned in class; “For service work, we often take on what we think is best; now we are able to work directly with the community and deliver what they want,” said Ali.
Jay Stock, Department of Anthropology
Stock is considered one of the top-bioarcheologists of his age. Stock was recently part of a team that used a technique called uranium series dating to examine the oldest human fossil found outside of Africa and the Levant. The research challenges previously held theories about early human migration into Eurasia.
Randa Farah, Department of Anthropology
Farah's research and teaching focus on topics in Sociocultural Anthropology, including cultures of the Middle East, forced migration, and the lived experiences of refugees around the world.
Divyansh Ojha and Alysaa CoAlyssa Co and Divyansh Ojha finished the 2nd year of the Consumer Behaviour module in DAN Management. While students, they also started FoodFund, a food subscription company specializing in delivering imperfect food that might otherwise be wasted.
“It’s a program that gives a lot of depth and breadth of business knowledge. It gives a lot of understanding that other programs lack. It does a lot to prepare you for business,” said Alyssa Co.
“It’s a program you can come into with limited previous knowledge and you can build from the ground-up. DAN Management builds on learning, not just piling on knowledge,” said Divyansh Ojha.
Bonnie Simpson, DAN Management
Simpson researched why fundraising appeals work for some people and not others, finding that people who have a strong sense of independence will sometimes balk because appeals seem too much like following the crowd. The research can help charities find more success in their fundraising efforts.
Geoff Wood, DAN Management
The world is likely to undergo major changes in the coming years and decades: global warming, the end of internal combustion vehicles, growith in antibiotic resistance, political uncertainty, and more. Geoffrey Wood researches how firms and society can best be prepared for these changes.
Greg Lee graduated with a degree in Economics and Business Administration in June 2019, and during the career as a student at Western, he focused on learning through as many means as possible.
Lee came to Western in 2011, studying Economics. To build on that knowledge, Lee enrolled in the Ivey Business School in 2014 and enlisted in the Korean military for two years.
"Most universities are pretty much the same when it comes to learning opportunities. But when it comes to great faculty and carign society, Western is still my top choice," said Lee.
Bruno Salcedo, Department of Economics
Salcaedo is researching the use of fake news. His research suggests that the low cost and effort needed to post and share information online has been highly detrimental, both for people looking for information, and for institutions that waste large amounts of resources trying to control the narrative.
Levi Hord was named a recipient of the 2018 Rhodes Scholarship, an international postgraduate award for students to study at the University of Oxford.
Over the course of their undergraduate studies at Western, Hord has undertaken extensive research on the use of gender-neutral language in transgender communities, and how linguistic identity expression varies based on grammatical gender systems. Hord hopes to play an integral part in breaking through the social and intellectual barriers that remain for those who subvert the binary gender system.
Bipasha Baruah, Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s StudiesThe economy is changing, transitioning from a capital intensive carbon economy, to a low-carbon economy. Baruah believes this transition represents a change for a transition to a more equitable and socially just economy. Baruah, researches how these changes may affect employment opportunities for women around the world.
W.G. Pearson, Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s StudiesWestern professor Wendy Pearson was recently named a 2019 recipient of the prestigious 3M National Teaching Fellowship, one of 10 recipients nationwide. The award goes to an elite group each year who show excellence in teaching philosophy. Her teaching and research engage a range of felds, including flm studies, feminist theory, cultural studies, queer theory, science fiction and Indigenous studies.
Destiny Allen-GreenComing to Western as a Geography student, Destiny Allen-Green let her academic curiosity guide her. Allen-Green originally wanted to study Chemistry, Engineering or Geography. Upon researching the Department of Geography at Western, she decided upon geography because there “were many more different module options”, she said.
She was able to participate in various research projects and had many hands-on learning opportunities. During her time as an undergraduate student, Destiny received two NSERC USRA grants for field work, which involved water sampling in southwestern Ontario. These research opportunities led Destiny to explore career options allowing her to be working in the field. She is interested in getting a better understanding of watershed management and understanding how to protect the environment while also allowing development.
Chantelle Richmond, Department of Geography and Environment
Richmond is Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Health and Environment. Richmond will examine the processes that both support and constrain relationship building in Indigenous health research and will consider how to bridge gaps that may occur as partners view the world through different experiences and philosophies.
Joy Spear Chief-Morris (History, First Nations Studies)Joy Spear Chief-Morris has her sights set on the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. After beginning her undergraduate studies in a different university, Spear Chief-Morris came to Western University to continue her track and field career.
“I loved my time at Western; I loved being part of the track team. I made some amazing friendships I know will last a lifetime. I had a very successful career in track. I probably would have quit track if I didn’t make the decision to move,” said Spear Chief-Morris.
“I’ve always wanted to have a bit of a larger role helping First Nations people in Canada. I want to be working on the frontlines, working in policy or international relations. Whatever I end up doing, I want to be making a difference in the world for First Nations people, whether that means working with the Government of Canada or an organization in the world.”
Marisa Coulton completed her interdiscplinary degree, studying International Relations and French.
Coulton was the Editor of The Mirror, the undergraduate journal in the Department of History. Coulton took her learning opportunities overseas, spending nine months in the south of France as part of an international exchange.
“There are so many opportunities for personal development, and to hone your passions,” said Marisa Coulton.
Maya Shatzmiller, Department of History
Shatzmiller has conducted ground-breaking research that has challenged widely-held assumptions about the medieval Islamic world. Shatzmiller has studied Arabic and economic data to demonstrate that the medieval Islamic world functioned well, producing wealth and a standard of living higher than anywhere else in the world at the time.
Bill Turkel, Department of History
Turkel is a pioneer in digital research who marries historical analysis with ground-breaking work in computational analysis and reverse engineering. A member of the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists, and Scientists, Turkel uses courses on espionage and 21st-century history to show students that understanding the past isn’t necessarily what or where they thought it was.
Riley Kennedy is a member of the Oneida Nation of the Thames, and is going into his second year of Indigenous Studies and Sociology at Western University.
“My Western experience has been amazing,” said Kennedy. “Going to a research intensive university allows me to have experiences that many other students would not be able to have.”
Along with being a member of the Indigenous Student Association executive and a student senator on the University Senate, Kennedy has worked on two research teams focused on Indigenous community health, and has conducted his own research on community-based participatory research as a methodology.
Janice Forsyth, Indigenous Studies Program
Forsyth researches the history of Indigenous physical culture, and how it can be used to understand the history of Indigenous-settler relations in Canada. This research can help identify barriers to participation, and help communities redevelop a sense of being a distinct people.
Vassy Kapelos completed her degree in Political Science at Western in 2004. She is now the host of CBC’s flagship daily political program, Power & Politics.
“I love politics and it sort of underscored all of that. I loved Western and come from a long line of people who went to Western; I lived the Western Experience to the max. In addition to the academic advantages I had, it just sort of rounded me out as a person. It set me up socially and with the skills I needed to expand my life,” Kapelos said. “A lot of the classes I was able to take at Western upped the ante for me, and, if anything, just increased my desire to learn more about it.”
Laura Stephenson, Department of Political ScienceStephenson specializes in political behaviour, both Canadian and comparative. Her research is focused on understanding how institutions and context influence attitudes, electoral preferences and engagement with politics. During election seasons, Stephenson is a frequent contributor and media commentator.
Kharlas chose to study Psychology at Western because of its reputation for student experience, and for the research opportunities available.
Through his studies, Kharlas was introduced to a number of diferent technologies for exploring the brain. His research interests in novel technologies led him to explore Virtual Reality. He followed this interest in VR to open his own business, VRcadia, which specializes in introducing VR technology to new users. Kharlas is particularly interested in using VR in meditation and other wellness applications.
The research strength of the department provided Kharlas with a better understanding to the depths of research possibilities. He applies these lessons in his business, as he works to improve customer service and expand to new areas.
“It really opened up my world to how many diferent areas of research there were,” said Kharlas.“It gave me an understanding of the diferent pathways I could take.”
Samantha Joel, Department of PsychologyJoel researches how people make decisions about their romantic relationships, and what sort of factors people take into account when they try to decide to pursue a potential date, invest in a new relationship or break up with a romantic partner.
Ryan Stevenson, Department of PsychologyStevenson's research focuses on identifying and addressing sensory process differences in children with autism. Stevenson tries to measure sensory sensitivity in children with and without autism, and hopes to create tools to offer remeditation to sensory issues.
MacKenzie VozzaMacKenzie Vozza has made the most of Western Experience.
In her third year, she participated in an exchange through Western International, living and studying in Southampton, England for 6 months. Through Western’s Alternative Spring Break Program, MacKenzie was part of a group that traveled to Lima, Peru and volunteered in the poorest regions of the country.
“I have also participated in experiential learning locally through Western’s Learning It Together (LiT) program. This program involves going into areas of lower SES in the local community and providing children with programs to teach them healthy eating and improve their math/language skills.”
MacKenzine also worked closely with faculty members to organize events and research areas of inequality in the community.
Rachel Margolis, Department of Sociology
Margolis wants to know how a change in family makeup and an aging population will affect society. Margolis is examining how kinship networks are thinning in North America and Europe, and the policy implications that may have; kin in changing demographics.