Lakehead University Researchers Receive SSHRC Grants

September 16, 2013 – Orillia and Thunder Bay, ON

Lakehead University researchers are receiving more than $1.5 million from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) for exciting projects relating to new media, First Nations renewable energy initiatives and economic development, weight bias and more.

SSHRC’s Insight Grants aim to build knowledge and understanding about people, societies and the world by supporting research excellence in the social sciences and humanities.

Dr. Sandra Jeppesen, Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Lakehead Orillia and coordinator of Media Studies for Social Change, has been awarded an Insight Grant of $497,482 over five years for her program of research, Indymedia 2.0: New Media Activism in the Digital Economy. This is the largest Insight Grant that Lakehead has ever received.

“This SSHRC grant will allow us to deepen our understanding of grassroots global media activist networks, politics and strategies in the digital media landscape,” said Dr. Jeppesen. 

The seven-person feminist research team, which includes co-applicant Dr. Adrienne Hurley of East Asian Studies at McGill University and various students, will examine anti-racist, queer, anti-colonial, anti-capitalist and anarchist media practices by interviewing 150 grassroots activists around the world to analyze how they are adapting old and new technologies to support radical social movements.

“This project will also create a network of feminist activist-scholars and facilitate the development of online resources for grassroots media activists,” Dr. Jeppesen added.

Dr. Chander Shahi, Associate Professor and Chair of the Forest Science Program at Lakehead Thunder Bay, is receiving an Insight Development Grant of $73,000 to examine First Nations Renewable Energy Initiatives and Economic Development in Northern Ontario.

This funding enables Dr. Shahi to meet with more than 30 First Nation communities in Northern Ontario and hire four First Nation students from Lakehead University to assist with the research.

“The goal is to create a policy framework for a new renewable energy model that can help First Nation communities with economic development opportunities,” Dr. Shahi said.

This project is the result of an expressed interest by the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) and the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA), along with community leaders, to understand the role of the renewable energy sector in the economic development of Northern Ontario’s First Nation communities.

These communities often struggle to survive due to limited shelter, health care, transportation networks and electricity, with many relying on expensive diesel-generated electricity.

The use of renewable energy to improve the socio-economic status of First Nation communities provides an important opportunity. This project will identify, explore and create community-based policy alternatives for renewable energy that will enhance the sustainability of these First Nations communities.

Erin Cameron is in Lakehead's Joint PhD Program in Educational Studies and her field of study is Social, Cultural & Political Contexts of Education. Cameron is receiving a SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship Award of $40,000 over two years for her project, Reclaiming the Other F-Word: Addressing Weight-Based Oppression in Higher Education.

“This SSHRC funding allows me to focus on my research, which is aimed at developing teaching strategies that will help to reduce weight bias and help students understand that obesity is more complex than just calories in and calories out,” Cameron said.

“We live in a society where we are bombarded with messages about obesity, where we  have become obsessed with the thin ideal as a marker of health, yet evidence points to the fact that it is fitness not fatness that matters. As a result, weight bias is now more  prevalent in schools and health care and it’s been suggested that there’s unintentional harm being caused because of that,” she said. “I hope my work will start to change how we teach and think about obesity in schools and universities.”

Cameron will interview faculty members specializing in kinesiology, health sciences, psychology, geography and other disciplines from universities around the world.

“These impressive research projects show that Lakehead University is making an impact on society in many important ways,” said Lakehead President and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Brian Stevenson.


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Media: For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Brandon Walker, Media Relations Officer, at (807) 343-8177 or

Lakehead University 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. For more information about Lakehead University, visit

2013 Lakehead University SSHRC Grant Recipients

Insight Grants (five-year grants):

Dr. Sandra Jeppesen, Interdisciplinary Studies (Orillia), “Indymedia 2.0:  New Media Activism in the Digital Economy”, $497,482.
Co-applicant:  Dr. Adrienne Hurley, McGill University.

Dr. Lori Chambers, Department of Women’s Studies, “A Legal History of Adoption in Ontario”, $181,305.

Dr. Chander Shahi, Faculty of Natural Resources Management, “Enabling Community Based Forest Management in Northern Ontario”, $207,000.

Co-applicant:  Dr. Peggy Smith, Faculty of Natural Resources Management.



Insight Development Grants (two-year grants):


Dr. Ruth Beatty, Faculty of Education (Orillia campus) “Equity and Math Education: Connecting Anishinaabe Agindaasowin and Western Mathematical Ways of Knowing”, $74,815.


Dr. Kristin Burnett, Department of Indigenous Learning, “Feeding My Family": Northern First Nations, Food History, and Canadian Indian Policy in the Post World War II Period”, $74,524.

Co-applicant:  Dr. Lori Chambers, Women’s Studies.


Dr.  Curtis Fogel, Interdisciplinary Studies (Orillia Campus), “Sexual Violence in Amateur Canadian Sport”, $30,550.


Dr.  Valerie Hebert, Department of History (Orillia Campus), “Post-Atrocity Justice in Colonial French Congo: The Gaud-Toqué Affair, 1903-1905”, $33,068.


Dr.  Cheryl Lousley, Interdisciplinary Studies (Orillia Campus), “Planet and Narration: Narrative Testimonies and World-Making at the Brundtland Commission Public Hearings”, $42,509.


Dr. Chander Shahi, Faculty of Natural Resources Management, “First Nations Renewable Energy Initiatives and Economic Development in Northern Ontario“, $73,000.


Graduate Student Funding:


PhD Students – Doctoral Fellowships Program ($20,000/year)


Jocelyn Burkhart (Education) – three-year award.


Erin Cameron (Education) – two-year award.


Sarah Sinclair (Psychology) – two-year award.



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


Jamilee Baroud (Education with specialization in Women’s Studies).


Kyee Bo (Biology).


Aaron Keffer (Northern Environment and Cultures).


Hannah McNinch (Education).


Jenny Morgan (Psychology).


Justin Raposo (English).


Jordan York (Northern Environment and Cultures).