University of Manitoba graduate students Amy Scott and Harlyn Silverstein are recipients of Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships.
These awards help recruit and keep in Canada top doctoral students from across the country and around the world. They are considered the Canadian equivalent of the United Kingdom’s Rhodes Scholarships. Scott and Silverstein will each receive $150,000 over three years towards their research.
An anthropology student, Scott will develop a new method to study stress within the skeleton and how it affects growth and development. She will focus on skeletal samples from late to post-medieval Denmark to determine whether patterns of skeletal stress correlate with changes in food procurement during this era. This new form of analysis developed by Scott will allow researchers to gauge stress severity by exploring different skeletal indicators that manifest throughout an individual’s lifetime, providing a unique opportunity to study health and well-being in the archaeological past. While this method will be created using Danish samples, once established, it could be applied to bioarchaeological research of Canadian populations as well, including First Nations Peoples and early European settlers.
Silverstein will characterize a new class of materials that could change the way we live. The chemistry student will study multiferroic materials, which are special because they can be both magnetically and electrically polarized simultaneously. In some cases, an electric current can induce a magnetic field and vice versa. These materials might make it possible to create much smaller, much faster and much more energy efficient devices than currently available. For example, multiferroics could potentially double bit storage capacity, reduce identity theft by making encrypted information more difficult to hack, and create electronic devices smart enough to convert their own wasted heat into green energy.
“These recipients are examples of the high calibre of students who choose to study and research at the University of Manitoba,” said John (Jay) Doering, vice-provost (graduate education) and dean of graduate studies at the University of Manitoba. “I congratulate them on their success.”
“These are stand-out students doing innovative research that will improve our understanding of the world around us. They have great potential,” added Digvir Jayas, vice-president (research and international) and Distinguished Professor at the University of Manitoba.
The pair of PhD students are among 156 national winners, bringing the U of M’s total to 11 Vanier scholars awarded in the last four years.
Canada’s three federal granting agencies—the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council—administer the scholarships. Students are nominated by their university. Nominees are evaluated by multidisciplinary peer-review committees and selected by a board of academics and executives.
The Vanier program honours distinguished Canadian soldier and diplomat Major-General the Right Honourable Georges Philias Vanier (1888-1967), who served as Governor General of Canada from 1959 to 1967.