2020 brought forth many challenges, but with the academic term coming to an end we’d like to highlight some special achievements from our members this past year.

One of our graduate student members successfully defended his doctoral thesis this year: Jiangtian Li (supervised by Rob Stainton) defended his PhD thesis tilted “On Polysemy: A Philosophical, Psycholinguistic, and Computational Study” on August 17 via Zoom.

Jiangtian Li graduate defense poster Jon Bowen seated in front of a whiteboard Jess Du Toit Vanier Scholarship recipient Chris Smeenk 2020 faculty scholar
A few of our current members & alumni received prestigious awards:

  • Jon Bowen received a Canada Graduate Scholarships Doctoral Program award for his project entitled “Towards Gibsonian Mindreading”. He was one of only 17 recipients at Western University.
  • Jess Du Toit received a 2020-21 Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship. She was one of only three recipients at Western University, and out of 166 recipients nationwide.
  • Chris Smeenk was named a 2020 Western University Faculty Scholar. Established in 2005, the Faculty Scholars Award recognizes significant recent scholarly achievements in teaching or research.
  • In addition to other grant awards announced earlier in the year, three of our faculty members were among the winners of the inaugural Western Space Seed Grant Program, offered by the Institute for Earth and Space Exploration. Max Smith is principal investigator of the project “Health Ethics in Space: Toward a Research Agenda for Space Bioethics”, with Shauna Burke, Kevin Shoemaker, Jacob Shelley, and Anthony Skelton as co-investigators.
  • Rotman alumnus Melissa Jacquart’s paper, “Diversity Is Not Enough: The Importance of Inclusive Pedagogy”, won the 2020 Lenssen Prize for the best article on teaching philosophy published in the last two years.

A number of our former postdocs and graduate students have exciting placement news:

  • Zelda Blair finished her MA in philosophy and matriculated into medical school at the University of Minnesota.
  • Craig Fox will begin a postdoctoral fellowship at the Edelstein Centre for History and Philosophy of Science, Technology and Medicine in 2021.
  • Paul Istasy started medical school this past fall at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry.
  • Adam Koberinski began a SSHRC postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Waterloo
  • Jane Parnell started a new job at the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, Court Services Division.
  • Jamie Shaw started a SSHRC postdoc at the University of Toronto.
  • Catherine Stinson began a tenure-track position with the School of Computing and the Department of Philosophy at Queen’s University.

And finally, this year we were proud to welcome several new members (look for their profile pages, coming soon!):

  • Nouri Najjar, Assistant Professor at Ivey School of Business
  • Niels Linneman, Postdoctoral Associate on New Directions in Philosophy of Cosmology Research Project
  • Matthew Parker, Research Associate on New Directions in Philosophy of Cosmology Research Project
  • Heather Champion, Doctoral Student, Department of Philosophy
  • Benjamin Chin-Yee, Clinical Fellow, Division of Hematology at Schulich School of Medicine
  • Emily Davidson, Masters Student, Department of Neuroscience
  • YenTung Lee, Doctoral Student, Department of Philosophy
  • John Stark, Masters Student, Department of Philosophy
  • Andrew Tweedie, Doctoral Student, Department of Philosophy
  • Alin Paul Varciu, Doctoral Student, Department of Philosophy
  • Chris Wyenberg, Doctoral Candidate, Department of Physics & Astronomy
  • Cameron Yetman, Masters Student, Department of Philosophy

Please join us in welcoming these new members to the Institute and in congratulating our members for the accomplishments listed above!

Pictured above: Participants in a December 2020 zoom call welcoming new graduate student members to the Institute; doctoral defense poster created for Jiangtian Li;Jon Bowen, recipient of a 2020 Canada Graduate Doctoral Program Scholarship; Jess du Toit, recipient of a 2020-21 Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship;Chris Smeenk, recipient of a 2020 Western University Faculty Scholar Award.