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UofGH alumna awarded prestigious $17,500 Canada Graduate Scholarship

Text that reads: “I’m thrilled. It’s a very coveted scholarship. You can have confidence in the strength of your application but it’s very hard to predict. It’s certainly not something you can count on, so I was very thrilled to get it.

When Justice Studies alumna Emma Kelly was attending the University of Guelph-Humber, she rarely missed an opportunity to get involved on campus.

She was a member of multiple societies. She spent two terms on IGNITE’s Board of Directors. In her fourth year, she was VP of volunteer coordination for Alpha Phi Sigma. She competed in mooting competitions and with the CSI team. Eventually, she trained other students too.

She couldn’t have known then the extent to which that enthusiasm would pay off.

Kelly, who is now pursuing her Master’s degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice Policy at the University of Guelph, has been awarded the prestigious $17,500 Canada Graduate Scholarship.

“I’m thrilled,” Kelly said of the scholarship, which is funded by the federal government’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. “It’s a very coveted scholarship. You can have confidence in the strength of your application but it’s very hard to predict. It’s certainly not something you can count on, so I was very thrilled to get it.

“I think my extracurricular activity did make a big difference,” she added.

“I tried to get as much extracurricular experience as possible while I was at the University of Guelph-Humber because there were just so many opportunities. That was one of the huge assets of UofGH – the number of different opportunities to get involved.”

Making the grade

There were many elements that went into Kelly being chosen to receive the scholarship. Her academic record, extracurricular activity and her volunteer experience made up about half of the evaluation.

The other crucial aspect of Kelly’s application was her research proposal. Kelly’s proposed thesis was on perceptions of procedural justice and police legitimacy in the racialized LGBTIQ2S+ community.

“There’s been a lot of media attention to perceptions of police in the community, especially with the debate over police presence in Pride and the policing of racialized LGBTIQ2S+ individuals. But surprisingly there’s not a lot of research on the perceptions in the community and some research tends to group the community as one monolithic perspective, which is definitely not the case.

“It’s a very diverse group of people, so I’d be looking at how perspectives differ depending on social location, lived experiences and other factors. Most importantly, I’d be looking at differences within the community, because the experiences of a gay man may be different than a trans woman with the police. I want to illustrate some of those differences.”

Given the subject matter of her research, Kelly said receiving this scholarship was particularly rewarding.

“The meaning of the funding was gratifying because it shows the people who were making the decision thought that my project and this research is important,” she said. “That’s really validating and also great for the LGBTIQ2S+ community as well, because this scholarship is supporting research that is being done with the aim to better the experiences of people in the community.”

Keeping close to the UofGH community

There was one final component to Kelly’s application: she needed two reference letters.

She knew right away where to turn: Justice Studies Assistant Program Head Dr. Glenn Hanna and one of her favourite instructors, Dr. Ron Stansfield. They were more than happy to help.

“Their references were very helpful,” said Kelly, who worked for a year in background investigations with an American company before pursuing her Master’s. “Glenn has been wonderful – while I was in school and after I graduated, he has supported me in whatever I needed. He’s been great.

“I also just want to reiterate that a lot of my experiences and definitely the support from professors at the University of Guelph-Humber helped set me up to be in a position to have a strong application for this scholarship. I’m so grateful for that.”