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Congratulations to our award-winning members!

January 12, 2021

Language Sciences would like to congratulate our many members who won awards, and received grants and funding, in 2020!

Psychology Associate Professor Darko Odic was named a Rising Star by the Association for Psychological Science and received a Jacobs Research Foundation Fellowship for 2021 – 2023. Dr. Odic said he was excited to work with the Jacobs Foundation through their Fellowship program, which focuses on bridging theoretical and applied work in developmental psychology. "The Foundation’s generous funding will play a central role in my lab’s ongoing and future working relating our intuitive number sense to formal mathematics in children, including those struggling with math in early schooling.”

Psychology Associate Professor Jiaying Zhao received funding from UBC’s Research Excellence Clusters program for the Decision Insights for Business & Society (DIBS) research cluster. "We are working on a number of exciting behaviour change projects with government and industry partners to promote sustainability actions with behavioural insights. These projects span from transportation behaviour, sustainable product choices, energy conservation, to plastic waste reduction."

Physical Therapy Professor Lara Boyd received a UBC Killam Research Fellowship. Dr. Boyd will work with researchers at the Florey Institute to learn how to employ supervised machine learning models to develop set(s) of rules about which combinations of biomarkers can best predict recovery from stroke and guide treatment interventions on an individual level.

Anthropology Associate Professor Shaylih Muehlmann was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. "I'm planning to use the Guggenheim to continue my fieldwork on the gendered effects of drug war violence in Mexico, once travel is allowed again."

Electrical and Computer Engineering graduate student Pramit Saha received the Young Scientist Award 2020 from the Medical Image Computing and Computer Assisted Intervention Society for the paper 'Ultra2Speech - A Deep Learning Framework for Formant Frequency Estimation and Tracking from Ultrasound Tongue Images'. "It feels great to get this recognition and to see that the research community is acknowledging our endeavors in solving a challenging problem. Not only does it motivate me to continue ongoing research on understanding speech articulation better but also gives our work more exposure and opens up new possibilities."

Linguistics doctoral student Roger Yu-Hsiang Lo, Asian Studies doctoral student Shota Iwasaki, Language and Literacy Education doctoral student Monica Shank Lauwo, were named UBC Public Scholars.

The Public Scholars Award encourages doctoral students to engage more overtly with the public good via enhancing understanding within the public and the academy. With this award, Roger hopes to develop a software tool to facilitate the construction and analysis of signed language corpora.

Iwasaki's project explores a new literary pedagogy as a socially engaged practice that fosters learners' awareness of marginalized people in the real world through the teaching of literature.

For her work, Shank Lauwo partners with Tanzanian children to make visible their language and literacy practices, generate materials centring their own languages and perspectives, and  catalyze dialogue on how their funds of knowledge can be embraced as foundational educational resources.

Language and Literacy Education Professor Bonny Norton and doctoral candidate Asma Afreen received a Mitacs Research Training award, jointly offered by Mitacs and Language Sciences, for ‘Learning and Teaching Bangla Online During COVID-19’. The study will include an investigation of the generative potential of Storybooks Bangladesh, which is part of the Global Storybooks project.

Language Sciences Undergraduate Research Conference (LSURC) chair Nicole Ebbutt was one of the 2020 winners of the Edna Dharmaratne Award. "I am grateful for this award recognizing community involvement and for everything Edna has department. LSURC 2021 will feature undergraduate student presentations from across Canada as well as themed plenary speakers focussing on ‘The Language of Science’."

French, Hispanic and Italian Studies doctoral student Mirta Roncagalli won the Ximena Osegueda Prize for best graduate essay in Hispanic Studies with 'La evolución de la libertad kentiana entre espacio y escritura en Cuatro años en París'. Roncagalli to receive the award, "a rewarding piece of this great academic puzzle that keeps me motivated and passionate about this quest."

Sauder School of Business Professor Emeritus Izak Benbasat was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada for his role in the development of the field of management information systems (MIS) and for his mentorship of generations of MIS scholars.

Psychology Associate Professor of Teaching Steven Barnes and Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies and the Department of Anthropology Associate Professor Mark Turin were named Faculty of Arts 2020 Leaders in Open Learning.

Dr. Turin said he is a devoted advocate for open learning who uses 95% open educational resources in his courses. He uses open educational resources whenever possible, designs opportunities for producing open access materials, and encourages students to think about how information is shared.


A number of members were involved with successful Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Development grants:

  • Psychology postdoctoral fellow AJ Orena was a co-applicant on the grant ' Tracking the linguistic and social properties of bilingual speakers across languages'.
  • Language and Literacy Development Assistant Professor Sandra Zappa-Hollman was the applicant for ' A Case Study of Canadian University Instructors' Beliefs, Dispositions, and Perceptions of Ability Towards Working with Emergent Multilingual Undergraduate Learners' and a co-applicant on '
  • School of Audiology and Speech Sciences Assistant Professor Alexis Black was the applicant for ' The impact of stimulus complexity on infant learning and behaviour'.
  • Community, Culture, and Global Studies Assistant Professor Shannon Ward was the applicant for ' Revitalizing Mother Tongues in Diaspora: Early Childhood Language Socialization among Tibetan Refugees', with collaborator Anthropology Associate Professor Mark Turin
  • Linguistics Assistant Professor Miikka Silfverberg was the applicant for ‘Inferring Inflectional Paradigms from Glossed Corpora for First Nations Languages’ with collaborators Professors Henry Davis and Lisa Matthewson.

International history and public policy Associate Professor Heidi Tworek was awarded a SSHRC Partnership Engage grant for the project 'New Approaches to Counter Online Abuse in Politics' and was a collaborator on the SSHRC Insight grant ' Beyond verification: authenticity and mis/disinformation'.

A number of members were awarded SSHRC Connection grants:

  • Central, Eastern, and Northern European Studies Assistant Professor Ervin Malakaj, with co-applicant Associate Professor Kyle Frackman, for the project 'The Pasts and Futures of Queer German Studies'.
  • Linguistics Associate Professor Molly Babel, with co-applicants affiliate member SFU Linguistics Assistant Professor Ashley Farris-Trimble and UBC Lingustics Associate Professor Kathleen Currie Hall, for the project '17th Biennial Conference on Laboratory Phonology: Laboratory Phonology on the Margins'
  • Linguistics honorary Affiliate Professor Martina Wiltschko was the applicant for ' Language revitalization and linguistics at the crossroads: a mutual capacity-building workshop'.

A number of members were awarded SSHRC Insight grants:

  • Philosophy Professor Matthew Bedke for 'Taking a Stand: On the Subjectivity of What Matters'.
  • Affiliate member Dr. Rachel Weber was a co-applicant for 'Investigating the Executive Functioning Profiles of Students with Visual Impairments'.
  • Linguistics Professor Henry Davis with Assistant Professor of Teaching Strang Burton and Professor Lisa Matthewson for ' Developing Accessible Grammars for BC First Nations Languages'

Educational & Counselling Psychology, & Special Education Associate Professor was the co-applicant on the SSHRC Partnership Engage COVID-19 Special Initiative grant 'COVID-19: Understanding the Impact of COVID-19 on Inclusive Education for Students with Disabilities in British Columbia's Public Education (K-12) System'.

Asian Studies Associate Professor Anne Murphy was awarded a SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant for ' Caste in Canada: The Unheard Stories of Dalit Canadians'

Congratulations to all our members!

Do you win an award or receive a grant we didn't mention here? Let us know at!

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