Graduate Students

Award winning students!

Jon Lai, a graduate student and research assistant with RAPP, participated in the Canadian Research Data Centre Network’s (CRDCN) 20th-anniversary conference in October 2020, organized in partnership with Statistics Canada. The conference theme was Public Policy and the Data Revolution. We are thrilled to announce that Jon placed second in the CRDCN 3-minute thesis competition! Check out his winning video. Jon was also accepted into the 2020-21 AGE-WELL APPTA Policy Challenge program. This is a unique educational opportunity for AGE-WELL Trainees to work closely with policy experts and learn firsthand how research is translated into policy options. Jon focused on one of several challenging questions identified by government stakeholders from across Canadian jurisdictions: What financial impacts will older Canadians likely experience due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and what are some possible solutions? Released on April 1, 2021, Jon’s report focuses on Responding to the COVID-19 Emergency, Returning to Growth: Older Workers and the Pandemic Recovery.

As an undergraduate research assistant with RAPP, Mackenzie Martin had the opportunity to be part of an interdisciplinary research project with undergraduate students in computing science. She wrote an academic article about her experience as a case study that was published in 2020 in the Journal of Student Research: The value of collaborating with undergraduate students on an interdisciplinary project. Since then, Mackenzie won a Rhodes Scholarship to the University of Oxford in the UK where she obtained a masters degree. She is currently a doctoral student in the Department of Social Policy and Intervention at the University of Oxford.

Andrew Magnaye, a doctoral student and graduate research assistant with RAPP, received awards from Mitacs Globalink, World Universities Network (WUN) Research Mobility fund, and AGE-WELL NCE ACCESS in 2019 to support his international doctoral exchange at Sheffield University in the UK to enhance his understanding of migration and care. While there, he also got the opportunity to attend the Transforming Care conference in Copenhagen, building his network of young scholars across world regions.



In 2019, Jamie MacDonald received a Roger S. Smith Undergraduate Award to work with RAPP team members on a summer research project. Jamie examined young carers in Canada, individuals aged 15-19 years old who are caring for grandparents, parents, siblings, and close friends with chronic health conditions, physical or mental disabilities, or aging-related needs. She continued to work with RAPP as a research assistant through completing her undergraduate degree and now through her graduate studies in aging!

Current graduate students

RAPP is fortunate to attract talented graduate students interested in aging. Where possible, our graduate students work as research assistants on projects to augment their learning with practical skill development. Our current cohort of students and their areas of interest include:

  • Victoria Bleeks (PhD student) is focusing on the arts and aging
  • Shanika Donalds (PhD student) is focusing on caregiving patterns across the life course in transnational families
  • Choong Kim (PhD student) is focusing on different ways of valuing care work
  • Jon Lai (Masters student) is focusing on the impact of ageism on job satisfaction among workers
  • Andrew Magnaye (PhD student) is focusing on caring beyond borders: transnational family caregiving in Canada
  • Jamie MacDonald (Masters student) is focusing on the impact of technology on reducing older adults’ feelings of isolation and loneliness
  • Lara Pinchbeck (PhD student) is focusing on material culture environments for people with invisible disAbilities

Students say…
“I feel very privileged to be part of this team. This is a great learning experience and one that cannot be achieved through sitting in any course. Getting to know all the team members, getting familiar with their work, and being exposed to the dynamics of a multidisciplinary project is certainly an extraordinary opportunity that helps me get better prepared for a future career as a researcher and an academic.”

RAPP Alumni
RAPP Alumni are employed in aging-related policy units, community programs, and academia. The following graduate students completed their degree programs with RAPP in the last seven years:

  • Tori Ren (PhD 2019) Design for dementia. Supervisor Megan Strickfaden (shown at left celebrating her convocation with her supervisor)
  • Matthea Libman (MSc 2019). Course-based masters degree on the guardianship of older adults. Co-supervisors: Janet Fast and Sherry Ann Chapman
  • Jasneet Parmar (MSc 2019) Supports for caregivers of older adults with complex needs receiving home care services. Supervisor: Norah Keating
  • Anna Chudyk (MSc 2018) Social participation of older persons in rural communities. Supervisor: Norah Keating
  • Sharon Anderson (PhD 2017). How marriages change after a stroke. Supervisor: Norah Keating Sharon’s research showed that mutual appreciation is key to saving marriage after a stroke
  • Nicole Gaudet (MSc 2015). Dementia care by design: De Hogeweyk as a case study. Documentary films and written report. Supervisors: Megan Strickfaden and Janet Fast.
  • Teresa Lawrence (MSc 2015). Social return on investment: The current Alberta Seniors context. Report to Alberta Seniors. Supervisor: Janet Fast
  • Drew Turner (MSc 2015). Making senior centre activities more men-friendly: An environmental scan of Canadian senior centre programming. Report to the Seniors Association of Greater Edmonton (SAGE). Supervisor: Janet Fast