Ph.D. student Jillian Sunderland receives the Barbara Frum Memorial Award in Canadian Scholarship

October 16, 2020 by Jeremy Nichols

Congratulations to Ph.D. student Jillian Sunderland, who recently received the Barbara Frum Memorial Award in Canadian Scholarship. This competitive award is given to academically excellent Master’s and PhD students undertaking research related to Canada.

Jillian is currently enrolled in her second year of Ph.D. studies in Sociology at the University of Toronto and was just awarded the SSHRC Bombardier Scholarship.  After completing her BA (honours) in Sociology as Valedictorian at the University of Winnipeg, she went on to complete an MA in Sociology at McMaster University, funded by the SSHRC CGS-M Award. On the recommendation of McMaster University based on Jillian’s scholarship on extremist groups, the Edmonton Police hired her as a research associate to prepare a report on countering violent extremism funded by Public Safety Canada. The report Turning the Tide on Online Violent Extremism: A Guide for Canadian Law Enforcement. Edmonton Police Service in partnership with REACH Edmonton was used for training purposes and to developed strategies counter violent extremism.

Also, during that time, Jillian volunteered for the McMaster research shop and developed a report published by the communications/public engagement office at McMaster University. This report, entitled A halfway house for Indigenous men: Moving towards individual healing and public safety, was done for the John Howard Society of Hamilton to petition Corrections Canada to create a culturally and spiritually sensitive halfway house for formerly incarcerated Indigenous men. This report was meant to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation calls to action. Given this, on completion of her MA Jillian was awarded Canadian Sociological Association outstanding graduate student award.

This award will fund Jillian's current research that looks at the way gender and masculinities function in alt-right movements in the United States and Canada and how ideologies are shaped and contested in online spaces. For her second-year practicum program, she is investigating how masculinity/gender/feminist frames were used in discussions of the St. Michaels College sexual assault case that dominated Canadian headlines 2018.

Jillian’s supervisor is Prof. Judy Taylor. She is the Co-President at the GSSA as well as the Communications/Social Media Manager at the Race and Ethnicity Cluster at CSA.  She is a research assistant for Prof. Anna Korteweg on her SSHRC funded project exploring European women who joined ISIS and how race and gender intersect to shape citizenship rights/national responsibility.  Jillian’s areas of specialization are gender and masculinities, race and ethnicity, and feminist and sociological theory.