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Recipients of the 2024 SE Research Centre Graduate Student Awards

We are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2024 SE Research Centre Graduate Student Awards: Natasha Taylor and Taylor Kurta!

Natasha_Taylor.png   Master's stream recipient: Natasha Taylor

Natasha is a Master’s student at the University of Regina under the Clinical Psychology program. Natasha’s thesis research project aims to investigate the various expressions (e.g., physiological signs, facial expressions, behaviours) associated with feelings of loneliness among older adults, and how these expressions relate to social isolation. She does this by implementing ‘induced loneliness’, a combined approach of 1) having older adults recall autobiographical memories (memories of personal events that happened to one’s self) and 2) visual stimuli (e.g., showing an image to elicit an emotion). New knowledge from this research has the potential to inform a more holistic and compassionate approach to health and social care for older adults, particularly for older adults who are not able to express their emotional needs due to various communication obstacles (e.g., dementia, language barrier, etc.). Natasha aims to mobilize this knowledge through plain language summaries that will be disseminated to existing networks of patient partners (e.g., Long-Term Care Connects) and community partners (e.g., Age Friendly Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan Seniors’ Mechanism) and through broader communication channels (e.g., SE Research Centre networks).

Taylor_Kurta.png   PhD stream recipient: Taylor Kurta

Taylor is a PhD candidate at the University of Waterloo in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies. Taylor’s dissertation investigates decreasing stigma associated with persons living with dementia (PLwD) through liberatory arts – specifically, collaborative songwriting. With a background in Music Therapy and expertise in songwriting, Taylor will work with PLwD living in long-term care to write a song that challenges the stigmatizing narratives of dementia. The resulting song will be recorded at Metalworks Studio, one of North America's premier recording studios, which has recorded many world-renowned artists, including Anne Murray, Burton Cummings, and Prince. Taylor plans to mobilize this knowledge (i.e., song) through public screenings in the form of a short film about the songwriting process and making the song readily available on various digital platforms including SoundsUnite. Knowledge from this research has the potential to reach, inform, and reframe healthcare practitioners’, policymakers’, and community members’ preconceived notions of dementia.

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