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Arts students win prestigious Person’s Case scholarships


June 8, 2010

The Government of Alberta has awarded five Faculty of Arts students the Person’s Case Scholarship for 2010. The scholarship recognizes students’ current and future contributions to the advancement of women, or students who are studying in fields where members of their gender are traditionally few in number.

Kay She, Political Science
A fourth year political science major, Kay She began her academic career in English but found the pull of politics and its distinct lack of women players too strong to ignore.

“There were very few women politicians I could choose as a role model, and I was interested in finding out why, in a society where gender had achieved formal equality, there were still so many informal barriers set up to discourage women from partaking in political life,” says She.

If Kay She seems like a familiar name, it might be because you’ve seen her on posters around campus last year. After running for Vice-President External of the University of Calgary’s Student Union, Kay realized the impact her work had a distinctly feminist voice.  

She also works with a federal student lobbying organization on a national childcare policy for post-secondary institutions that allow students with children to be able to access affordable daycare on or near campus. This summer, she will be interning in Washington, D.C., at the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars.

Emily Gugielmin, Political Science
Emily Guglielmin started at the University of Calgary majoring in political science and hasn’t looked back. “When I started applying to universities my Dad told me to just apply for something that I thought I would really like and enjoy and see where that took me,” says Emily. “I found I really liked political science, but my main interests lie in community development and Indigenous studies.”

Guglielmin believes she received a Persons Case Scholarship because everything she does in her everyday life she does with a feminist outlook. 

“I think that I received the award because of my involvement with The Women's Resource Centre and Feminist Initiatives Recognizing Equality (F.I.R.E. club), as well as other Calgary organizations,” says Guglielmin. “The main thing I hope to improve is women's access to sexual and reproductive health information and education, both locally and internationally.  Access to facilities that focus on sexual and reproductive health, and education on the subjection is extremely sporadic in Alberta, as well as in the rest of Canada.”

Next year, Guglielmin’s plans will take her to Durban, South Africa on student exchange. She hopes to stick around after the exchange is over to volunteer and travel. “The three places I have always wanted to go are South Africa, Borneo, and North Korea: South Africa, to learn about the different approaches to HIV/AIDS education and the role of Indigenous healers in spreading information; Borneo, to see the Orangutans; and North Korea, to see all the propaganda and because hardly anyone else has gone.” 

After that, Guglielmin hopes to work in a community organization that helps people. “I would love to work somewhere like the YWCA Sheriff King's Home, or the Calgary Sexual Health Centre because I love what those organizations are doing in the community, and I think they play a really important role in Calgary community development.”

Michaela Zverina, Clinical Psychology
Currently, Michaela Zverina is a clinical psychology doctoral student in the midst of completing the first year of her Ph.D. As an undergraduate, Zverina became interested in issues of domestic abuse while volunteering at the Calgary Counselling Centre and working as a summer research assistant.

“During this time I learned about the services the Counselling Centre offered, including its groups for victims of abuse in intimate relationships,” says Zverina. “I was struck by the impact such groups seemed to have on participants, particularly women, and became interested in how, through research on therapy, the lives of those impacted by intimate partner abuse could be better supported.”

For her Masters thesis, Zverina examined how self-identified male victims of their female partners’ abuse managed their victim status in group psychotherapy.

“As I see it, our general lack of understanding about women’s conceptualizations of abuse within therapeutic contexts acts as barriers to the advancement of women in our society especially as women are more often victimized, experience more controlling and extreme kinds of abuse, and suffer more serious injuries than men,” says Zverina. “It is my hope that my research will bring awareness to a greater understanding of the positioning of victims in group therapy and will provide specific recommendations for group therapy facilitators working with victims of abuse.”

Zverina’s plans carry on past her academic career. “I hope to utilize my research findings to guide my own practice throughout my Ph.D. practicum training and eventually as a registered Alberta psychologist. I plan on disseminating the novel findings in the academic and clinical community to further support those impacted by intimate partner abuse.”

Other recipients of the Person’s Case Scholarship from the Faculty of Arts are:

Jocelyn Phu, Law & Society and Urban Studies double major
Shamsa Hassan, Political Science