2022 O'Brien Fellows
Doctorate in History - University of New Brunswick
Leanna Thomas is a White settler doctoral candidate in History at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) in Fredericton. She grew up in rural Pokiok, across the Wolastoq/Saint John River from the mill-town of Nackawic. After living in Florida for several years, she began pursuing further education at the University of Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando, where she wrote a master’s thesis focused on Acadian exile and resettlement in Louisiana following their Deportation from Atlantic Canada. During her studies at UCF, she became exposed to Acadian and French Caribbean literature, and she discovered intriguing similarities in select literary works among these Atlantic, diasporic, and francophone societies.
Leanna returned to Fredericton in 2018 to continue her studies at UNB, joined by her husband and her son who are adapting well to New Brunswick’s seasons. Through funding from the SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier scholarship, she is examining how Acadian and French Caribbean societies have evolved inside social, economic, and political structures built and established by colonial powers. She explores how their literature reveals enduring remnants of these structures upheld through the nation-states of France and Canada, and she has articles published in the journals Louisiana History, Acadiensis, and Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism.
In addition to ongoing research with the Institut d’études acadiennes in Moncton, Leanna is traveling to France in Summer 2022 where she will be studying archival documents related to authors Aimé Césaire, Simone Schwarz-Bart, and Édouard Glissant. Leanna anticipates that her studies will bring New Brunswick’s history to the forefront of conversations concerning colonial history, anti-colonial movements, and archival institutions, and she is grateful to be a recipient of the O’Brien Fellowship.
Doctorate in History - University of New Brunswick
Katelyn Stieva is a PhD candidate in History at the University of New Brunswick. A long-time resident of the Maritimes and raised in a military family, Katelyn brought together their love of the region with their interest in questions of military culture and society. Their research examines the multiple and complex relationships that exist between racialized communities and the Canadian Armed Force, with an emphasis on understanding the wartime service of Black Canadians during the First and Second World War.
Katelyn’s research pays particular attention to Black communities in New Brunswick, and the meanings attached to military service by both those who served in uniform and by broader society. In conducting this research, Katelyn works closely alongside the Gregg Centre for the Study of War and Society, where they are also contributing to several ongoing research projects.
Natalie Kathleen Rideout
Doctorate in Biology - University of New Brunswick
Natalie is a PhD Candidate with the Canadian Rivers Institute at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. She grew up outside of Halifax, NS, where she was lucky to be actively encouraged to be curious about the natural world. After leaving home for Mount Allison University, she discovered her passion for studying biodiversity and the effects we have on our environment.
That passion brought Natalie to Fredericton and the University of New Brunswick, where she completed a MSc with Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) research scientist, Dr. Donald J. Baird, examining how human activities have altered the floodplain wetlands of the Wolastoq | Saint John River, along with their biodiversity and ecosystem health. She continues to work with Donald on her PhD, part of a federal interdepartmental project lead by AAFC (Agriculture and Agri-food Canada), PHAC (Public Health Agency of Canada) and ECCC: Environmental Change OneHealth Observatory (ECO2). Natalie is studying ecosystem fluxes in terms of insect emergence from drainage ditches—a common feature in agriculturally-dominated landscapes and a biodiversity hotspot if managed correctly—and linking these to aerial insectivore diets and management practices.
Natalie also works part-time for Environment and Climate Change Canada and is the current Student Leadership Representative for the UNBF campus to the Canadian Rivers Institute. In her spare time, her passion for the natural world continues in the form of hiking, bird watching and climbing. She can also be found curled up with a good book, a cup of tea and her watercolours. Natalie is thankful to the O’Brien Foundation for allowing her to continue being curious about our world and how to help us find balance in it.
Doctorate in Experimental Psychology - University of New Brunswick
Danie Beaulieu is originally from the rural town of Grand Falls, New Brunswick. SheDanie Beaulieu is originally from the rural town of Grand Falls, New Brunswick. Shecompleted an honours degree in Psychology at the Université de Moncton. She later received a master’s degree in Experimental Psychology at the University of New Brunswick, where she is currently enrolled in a doctorate degree in Experimental Psychology. Danie’s work as a teaching assistant for several psychology courses, such as in honours and statistics, was recognized throughout her academic career as she was awarded the Canadian Council of Departments of Psychology Teaching Assistant Award in 2021.
Danie’s research focuses on the experiences of individuals living with cancer, disordered eating, and unhealthy weight membership. Her research contributions have allowed her to directly witness the multiple burdens that individuals with complex health needs in this province face daily. She is interested in identifying the strategies, including leisure activity, social connectedness, mindfulness, and psychological flexibility, that improve psychological and physical outcomes after disease.
In addition to her coursework, Danie has worked as a residential care worker for variousIn addition to her coursework, Danie has worked as a residential care worker for variousgroup homes in Saint John, supervising and supporting youths and adults with moderate to severe psychopathological issues. This opportunity allowed her to appreciate the intricate needs of this population and further understand the possible setbacks in therapeutic progress when implementing behavioural modification programs and developing self-regulating skills. Danie is sincerely grateful for the recognition from the O’Brien Foundation and is looking forward to pursuing her research.
Philippe Remi Hamel
Master's in Civil Engineering - University of New Brunswick
Philippe Hamel is a Master’s candidate at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) in Civil Engineering. Philippe grew up in Fredericton, New Brunswick, where he completed a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering at UNB in 2020. Upon graduation, he enrolled in a Master’s degree at UNB in Civil Engineering, under the supervision of Dr. Katy Haralampides and of Dr. Tiger Jeans. Throughout his studies, Philippe has worked as a hydraulics modeler and as a field technician with the Canadian Rivers Institute.
The focus of his Master’s thesis is to use computational modelling methods to estimate the risk of fish mortality during their passage through the hydroelectric turbines of the Mactaquac Dam, located in NB on the Wolastoq/Saint John River (WSJR). Philippe’s research will identify which operational modes will reduce the dam’s impact on species at risk found in the river. His research is conducted as part of the greater Mactaquac Aquatic Ecosystem Study, a comprehensive, world-class whole river ecosystem study of the WSJR.
Philippe has received support for his research from the University of New Brunswick, the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of New Brunswick, and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). He is thrilled to also be receiving support from the O’Brien Foundation.
Doctorate in Chemical Engineering - Dalhousie University
Sean Thornton is a Ph.D. Candidate at Dalhousie University, supervised by Dr. Ghada Koleilat and Dr. Sean Hinds. He is studying Chemical Engineering, specifically next-generation solar cell materials. His Ph.D. research focuses on environmentally sustainable perovskite solar cells.
Sean is from Shediac River, New Brunswick, and loves soccer, skiing, hiking, and playing guitar and chess. He is passionate about green and sustainable energy and mitigating the effects of climate change.
Madison Amber Herrington
Master's in Experimental Psychology - University of New Brunswick (Saint John Campus)
Madison Herrington grew up in Quispamsis, New Brunswick. After graduating from Kennebecasis Valley High School, Madison continued her education at the University of New Brunswick Saint John (UNBSJ) campus. In 2020, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology-Psychology and minors in Chemistry and Health Sciences. After graduation, Madison returned to UNBSJ to complete an equivalent of an Honours in Psychology. Madison completed her honours thesis under the supervision of Dr. Lilly Both. Her honours thesis investigated orientations towards standard and person-centered dementia care practices. Currently, Madison continues to work under the supervision of Dr. Lilly Both and is an MA candidate in Experimental Psychology. Her Master’s thesis investigates predictors of ageist attitudes.
Throughout her studies, Madison has worked on various research projects as a research assistant. Madison has co-authored two poster presentations at the NB Health Research Conference in 2019, conducted a virtual presentation at the International Psychological Applications Conferences and Trends (InPACT) in 2022, and has several publications including a peer-reviewed abstract, a proceedings book chapter, and is a co-author on a published journal article investigating the use of technology for long-term care residents with dementia. Madison has been supported by numerous scholarships and awards, two of which include the Board of Governors Merit Awards for Graduate Studies and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) scholarship. Madison is honoured to receive additional support from the O’Brien Foundation.
Master's in Chemistry - University of New Brunswick
Peter Fox grew up in Fredericton, New Brunswick and was raised by his parents Deborah and Donald Fox. He is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Chemistry at the University of New Brunswick. Prior to the start of his graduate studies, he had four successful years completing his B.Sc. in Chemistry also at the University of New Brunswick. His current research under the supervision of Dr. C. Adam Dyker involves developing new materials to be used in organic batteries. After the completion of his master’s degree, he will be pursuing a PhD in Chemistry at the University of Dalhousie, Halifax under the supervision of Dr. Mark Stradiotto.
Outside of his academic life, Peter enjoys various outdoor activities including hiking, golfing, and fishing. Peter is extremely grateful for the support of the O’Brien Foundation towards his future studies.
Doctorate in History - University of New Brunswick
John Matchim is a doctoral candidate at the University of New Brunswick’s Department of History, Fredericton. He previously worked as a research associate for Memorial University’s Faculty of Medicine in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and received his M.A. in History from Memorial University in 2010.
John studies the social history of medicine in rural-remote regions of northeastern Canada and the Circumpolar North. His dissertation research focuses on the International Grenfell Association (IGA), a semi-autonomous health care provider that operated in Labrador and northern Newfoundland until 1980, and the IGA’s hospital ship Strathcona III. John recently returned from a two-month research visit to the Centre for Demographic and Aging Research (CEDAR) at Umeå University, northern Sweden, which houses a unique collection of parish records dating back to the mid sixteenth century.
Originally from Bonavista Bay, Newfoundland, John presently lives with his partner in Moncton, where they enjoy hiking, cooking, and exploring New Brunswick communities.