During Summer 2020, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Mitacs launched the Research Training Awards, a new program providing opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to undertake a paid research training internship. In this Research Spotlight, our two BU RTA Awardees share their experience!
Catherine Moleski, Applied Psychology
“I’m very grateful to have been given the chance to participate in a Mitacs research training internship under the supervision of Dr. Adrianna Mendrek. My project explores the relationships between self-compassion, body image, self-esteem, menstrual attitudes and eating disorder symptoms. It also asks those with lived experience of an eating disorder or disordered eating how they have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic: what have they found challenging? What has been helpful during this time?
To date, the project is going well! I’ve been through the ethics approval process, learned how to build an online survey for data collection, recruited participants, and have begun to analyze the data. Participants have been very generous and forthcoming with sharing their experience. Preliminary results show the emergence of some really interesting themes in terms of mental health and body image, both positively and negatively. I am looking forward to seeing what other themes emerge, and how they link with self-compassion and the other measures.
I have had a fantastic experience working on this project. The Mitacs internship has given me the chance to undertake from start to finish a project that has deep personal and academic meaning for me. The internship has enriched my academic experience by providing me valuable hands-on research skills, and I’ve discovered areas of interest where I might like to take my Honours thesis. It has also given me the opportunity to work closely with a faculty member, and I feel incredibly supported by everyone who has helped me on this project. Ultimately, I hope that the findings from this project can be shared with the wider scientific community in order to increase our knowledge of eating disorders, and how we might better inform approaches to recovery.”
Olivia Hewitt, Social Studies and Secondary Education
” This past summer I had the opportunity to work with Dr. David Webster, a history professor at Bishop’s University, uniting three areas of study, education, history, and international studies. The aim of the project was to collect, document, describe, and disseminate the archival records of the international movement in support of the independence of East Timor, covering the period of 1975-1999. I collected and scanned archival records, described them using International council of Archives standards, and shared the digitized records, and full descriptions, online, on the Timor International Solidarity Archive (TiSA), a web page based on the Access to Memory (AtoM) platform. TiSA shares digitized documents from the global solidarity movement which operated from 1975 to 1999 in diverse countries, including Australia, Belgium, Britain, Canada, France, Japan, Portugal, the United States and Timor-Leste itself.
The project and research I completed this summer contributed new documentary evidence from multiple archives and make this evidence available to researchers and the general public, thereby contributing to the state of knowledge in this field, as well as making already-available documents and archival material more widely available. Overall, my involvement with the project has allowed for more documentation to be added helping the innovation of this online archive to become the leading international documentary evidence for solidarity for East Timor. My research focused on identifying and detailing files from a solidarity organization situated in Perth, Australia called the Friends of East Timor-Western Australia (FOET-WA). Additionally, I had the opportunity to select documents and write two articles on the most interesting aspects of my research. In my first article, I focused on solidarity activists and their experiences when traveling to East Timor during the mid-1970s to late 1990s. While my second article, which I am currently still writing, explores the ownership of a solidarity movement, emphasizing on the international movement in solidarity with East Timor.
Exploring this obscure but complex conflict that shook a major region in Asia has allowed me to broaden my view on international and historical global issues. As a student studying history and secondary education, with the hopes to become a high school history teacher, this project has allowed me to develop a greater understanding of the importance of research and the impact a solidarity movement can have on one small nation. I am grateful for this opportunity to have participated in this project and it has truly enriched my academic growth and experience.”