Independent Researcher

Laidlaw Scholars Programme

The Laidlaw Undergraduate Research and Leadership Program is an independent research program that I began in my second year of undergrad and completed in my fourth. It provided an opportunity to design and pursue a research project of my choosing. As a Laidlaw Scholar, I pursued independent research on how societies position and integrate newcomers by analyzing education programs dedicated to recent immigrants. 

This work is predominantly independent, with occasional feedback and support from an academic advisor (the incredible Dr Kevin Lewis O’Neill - Director of the University of Toronto’s Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies). While the program lacks collaboration with co-researchers, it demands similar strategies despite their absence. Communication was vital as I frequently connected to my advisor, program coordinator, and educators—all of whom I needed to maintain robust relationships with if my research was to succeed. Flexibility was a second crucial factor in my research since halfway through the two-year program, the pandemic hit. As a result, I had to entirely pivot from doing a two-school comparative analysis to an in-depth policy analysis while using data collected by others. 

Despite the mid-research adaptation, I maintained my overarching goal of producing research to provoke reflection on how our education systems choose specific pedagogies or structures that aim to support newcomers but may have unintended effects of excluding foreign identities.

Main research finding: This paper investigates Ontario’s education policy focused on newcomer students in secondary schools. This analysis leverages educational policies, data, and research to illustrate that, despite successes in other areas, language education of newcomers in Ontario struggles to support English development while upkeeping recent immigrant’s heritage language. Find the whole report here at this link

Next Project

Policy Research Associate