2020-21 Senior Doctoral Fellows

Register for the 2020-2021 SDF Speaker Series

The Senior Doctoral Fellows for 2020-21 are: 

  • Jonathon Chio (Human Biology)
  • Catia Dignard (Caribbean Studies)
  • Lucy El-Sherif (Critical Studies in Equity and Solidarity)
  • Huda Hassan (African Studies)
  • Jade Kim (International Foundation Program)
  • Kunga Sherab (Buddhism, Psychology and Mental Health)
  • Rebecca Beaulne-Stuebing (Critical Studies in Equity and Solidarity)

Fellows’ Bios

Jonathon Chio (Human Biology)

Jonathon Chio is a PhD student who joined the Institute of Medical Science (IMS) in September 2014. Working under the supervision of Dr. Michael Fehlings, Jonathon’s doctoral thesis aims to facilitate the clinical translation of human immunoglobulin G as an immunomodulatory therapy for treating spinal cord injury. Outside of his academic work, Jonathon strives to enhance the experience for both undergraduate and graduate students; helping them to reach their full professional and personal potential. In the IMS community, at the graduate level, he is an Executive Editor on the Institute of Medical Science Student Magazine, mentor in the IMS peer-to-peer mentorship program and student representative on various subcommittees involved with strategic planning and curriculum development. He had also helped to develop the graduate professional development module and participated in the Student Council; holding positions of Secretary, Magazine Representative and Interdepartmental Representative. At the undergraduate level, Jonathon helps to organize the annual IMS Summer Undergraduate Research Program. Outside of the IMS, he leads a neuroscience outreach program and is a teaching assistant for the Human Biology Program.



Catia Dignard (Caribbean Studies)

Catia Dignard is a PhD candidate in Hispanic Literatures and Cultures at the University of Toronto. Her dissertation examines the topic of linguistic representations of black characters in contemporary Cuban fiction, and how these reflect evolving notions of nationhood, class and race relations on the island. Her doctoral research is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (2020-2022), and draws upon literary and critical theory (postcolonial, critical race and disability studies), sociolinguistics and anthropology. She has been a Junior Fellow of Victoria College (2019-20) and is currently a Northrop Frye Centre Doctoral Fellow (2020-21).

Catia has previously coordinated student cultural exchanges in Nicaragua (2007-2010), Cuba (2009-2013) and Italy as an Economics and Intercultural Studies professor. She is now a course instructor of Spanish for Beginners with the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and as a singer-songwriter, she also collaborates in musical projects with Cuban artists and writers.”



Lucy El-Sherif (Critical Studies in Equity and Solidarity)

Lucy El-Sherif is an Arab Muslim mother and immigrant to Turtle Island. She is a doctoral candidate in the Curriculum and Pedagogy program at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). 

Her doctoral research on Palestinian folk-dancing, dabke, and its engagement by youth on Turtle Island examines how race unevenly fashions the structural subject positions available to settlers and the pedagogical processes of social citizenship that shape their subjectivities.Her work has been funded by three Ontario Graduate Scholarship awards.  Her research interests include how racialization and colonization co-constitute each other and how social citizenship is learned and embodied. 

Her publications include: “Webs of Relationships: Pedagogies of Citizenship and Modalities of Settlement for ‘Muslims in Canada” (Lateral: Journal of Cultural Studies Association), and “’One Message, All the Time, and in Every Way’: Spatial Subjectivities and Pedagogies of Citizenship” (with Mark Sinke in Curriculum Inquiry); as well as the forthcoming “Islamophobia and Proximities to Whiteness: Organizing Outside of the Brown Muslim Subject” (with Nadiya Ali and Hawa Mire in Re-Orient: the Journal of Critical Muslim Studies). As well, she has published in The Conversation CanadaThe Hamilton Spectator,and Huffington Post Canada. Lucy also co-produced the 2017 short documentary film, The Muslim Ban: Nothing New (with Heba Elsherief, Muna-Udbi Ali, Milca Kuflu, and Ladan Siad).  

Lucy is currently an Editor with the journal Curriculum Inquiry,  and a member of the Editorial Board of Equity and Excellence in Education (2021-2024 term). She has been a teaching assistant for Introduction to Equity Studies at New College, as well for Women, Gender and Islam, and Intersections of Inequality in the Department of Historical and Cultural Studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough.Lucy is also an advisor with the OISE Student Success Center.


Huda Hassan (African Studies)

Huda Hassan is a Ph.D candidate at the University of Toronto’s Women and Gender Studies Institute. Her research fields are black diaspora cultural studies, black transnational feminisms, and media studies. She is a 2020-2021 Senior Doctoral Fellow at New College in the African Studies program. She has a BA in African Studies, Philosophy, and Political Science from the University of Toronto, and an MA from York University in Humanities. 
Hassan’s dissertation is a black diaspora cultural studies project examining the constructions of Somalis in settler-state media as criminal, and the responses of Somali artists through self-creation, self-representation, and artistic place-making. Her research interrogates the constructions of criminality, race, ethnicity, religion, and nationalism in Canadian news media reporting and the contributions of Somalis to the aesthetics, semantics, and movements of contemporary Black diasporic art. 

Hassan is a writer, journalist, and critic from Scarborough, and has been published in Pitchfork, Paper Magazine, Hazlitt, Quill and Quire, The Fader, Gawker, BuzzFeed, and The National Post. Hassan has appeared as a cultural critic at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Koffler Center for the Arts, Women’s Health Centre, McGill University, CBC’s Metro Morning and The Current, as well as CTV’s Culture Shock and Pop Life, and more.

Jade Kim (International Foundation Program)

Jade Kim is a doctoral candidate in the Language and Literacies Education (LLE) program at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto. She is a recipient of the Ontario Graduate Scholarship and The International Research Foundation (TIRF) for English Language Education Doctoral Dissertation Grant.

Using an embedded multiple case study design, her research involves working with both international students speaking English as an additional language (EAL) and their course instructors to explore students’ oral participation experience in seminar-type university courses at the graduate level. Her research interests include oral academic discourse, genre analysis, multilingualism/plurilingualism and classroom interactions. Jade has presented her research at several conferences including the Symposium on Second Language Writing (SSLW) and the Literacy Research Association (LRA).

Jade has experience working with both undergraduate and graduate students. Previously, she
taught a course on academic conversation skills at the Graduate Centre for Academic Communication (GCAC) and also assisted graduate students in different fields of study as they were engaging in various types of writing. She is currently a writing centre advisor at the OISE Student Success Centre (OSSC) and a research assistant in a study that examines faculty perspectives on academic writing skills of graduate students.

In addition to supporting graduate students, Jade is actively involved in teaching undergraduate students. She is currently working as a teaching assistant in the Department of Language Studies (University of Toronto Mississauga) and she previously taught a course on language and gender as a course instructor.


Kunga Sherab (Buddhism, Psychology and Mental Health)

Before beginning his graduate education at the University of Toronto, Khenpo Kunga Sherab was a distinguished Tibetan Buddhist scholar with several higher education degrees from an internationally recognized Tibetan academic institution in India. In 2000, he received the Khenpo degree (Mkhan po), the most senior professorial ranking possible in the Tibetan higher education system, equivalent to our PhD. Since then, Kunga Sherab travels regularly around the world for invited lectures at educational institutions and has authored two scholarly books on Buddhist philosophy in Tibetan. In 2009, Khenpo Kunga Sherab first became affiliated with the University of Toronto’s Tibetan Buddhist Studies program in the Department for the Study of Religion, after which he began serving as academic advisor for a number of professors and graduate students in Canada and the United States. In time, Kunga began graduate studies at the DSR. In 2014, he received his MA degree, producing a thesis focused on the engagement of contemporary and classical theories of consciousness, karma and reincarnation by monastic scholars in contemporary Tibet. Kunga then joined the DSR as a PhD student in 2016. His doctoral research focuses on the long cultural history of practices invented by Tibetans between the 13-20th centuries to identify incarnate enlightened minds among children as the basis of the trülku (sprul sku) institution.


Rebecca Beaulne-Stuebing (Critical Studies in Equity and Solidarity)

Coming soon.