Katrina BahnamKatrina Bahnam received the President’s Medal for outstanding contribution to campus activities while maintaining a superior academic record.

Grad cited as shining example of achievement and service

Receiving the President’s Medal as a awarded to a graduating student who has made an outstanding contribution to campus activities while maintaining a superior academic record means more to Katrina Bahnam than prestige.

“I’m a first-generation student,” says the newly-minted alumna, who received her political science degree during Convocation ceremonies Monday. “My parents immigrated from Iraq in hopes that my brothers and I could pursue our dreams. This medal represents their sacrifices and all that they left behind for us. And it represents all of the love and support I had along the way.

“In short, I am so, so grateful for this honour.”

In citing Bahnam for the award, provost Patti Weir called her “a shining role model for other students who seek to balance stellar academic achievements alongside leadership, community advocacy, and a high level of dedication to those in need of support around them.”

Bahnam maintained high grades and conducted research work as an Outstanding Scholar on the project “Feminizing Party Difference” with professor Cheryl Collier and “Citizen Engagement in Municipal Decision Making” with professor John Sutcliffe.

She worked as a teaching assistant and volunteered as a mentor for peers in political science and welcoming new students to campus. She has held the presidencies of the Mock Trial Association; the Society of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; and a student chapter supporting the United Way.

Her previous recognition includes the Best Buddies Friendship Award for her work with adults on the autism disorder spectrum at Harmony in Action; the Human Rights and Social Justice Award from the campus Office of Human Rights, Equity, and Accessibility; and awards of excellence and student of the year from the University of Windsor Students’ Alliance.

Bahnam says the most important this she learned is to ask for help when you need it.

“When I was entering my third year, I was diagnosed with two chronic illnesses,” she says. “It forced me to learn to ask for help along the way — with schoolwork, extracurriculars, and my mental health.”

She says asking for help made all the difference in the world.

“It reminded me I’m human and can’t do everything alone,” says Bahnam. “And importantly, it made my university experience more enjoyable and gave me time to focus on and prioritize both my physical and mental health.”

In September, she will take up her long-time dream of studying law at the University of Ottawa.

Urvashi Soni-SinhaUWindsor instructor Urvashi Soni-Sinha contributed to the winner of the “best book” prize from the Canadian Association of Work and Labour Studies.

Research work recognized as best book in labour studies

A UWindsor researcher contributed to a publication that has received the “best book” prize from the Canadian Association of Work and Labour Studies.

Entitled Closing the Employment Standards Enforcement Gap: Improving Protections for People in Precarious Jobs, the book is the product of a collaborative research initiative on employment standards and their enforcement in Ontario directed by Leah F. Vosko and funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Canada under its Partnership Grants Program.

Taking shape over a seven-year period, the project involved a network of partners, including the University of Windsor’s Urvashi Soni-Sinha, who oversaw the Windsor-based qualitative research and interviews with low wage workers and community advocates. She was assisted by three research assistants at different times over the grant period: Melissa Sharpe-Harrigan, Ayesha Mian Akram, and Lacy Carty.

“This study looks at Ontario’s Employment Standards Legislation, which is the basic floor level of rights given to workers by the province,” Dr. Soni-Sinha explains. “These are workers not represented by unions.”

Soni-Sinha teaches in women’s and gender studies and is adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminology. Her research interests are in the areas of gender, race, and employment; women and globalization; and feminist methodologies.

Using the lens of critical feminist political economy, the central argument of Closing the Enforcement Gap is that while employment standards are a key source of formal protection for many workers, they are not living up to their founding promise of providing a floor of minimum terms and conditions of employment.

Soni-Sinha Notes that many workers in low-paying jobs face challenges in terms of citizenship or residency, and they are reluctant to make a formal complaint. The inherent power differential, the processes of gendering and racialization, and the fear of reprisal leaves several loopholes in the complaint-driven system of employment standards enforcement.

“Employment rights are supposed to be universally available to workers,” she says. “However, there has been a reluctance on part of the governments to enforce these rights in an environment of neoliberalism, globalization, and competition.”

The prize was awarded in a June 3 ceremony at the annual general meeting of the Canadian Association of Work and Labour Studies on Zoom.

graphic representing scienceThe goal of the Faculty of Science Research Chairs program is to increase funding and capacity by growing existing research programs.

Program aimed at increasing science faculty research capacity

The Faculty of Science has announced a new research chair program for Fall 2021.

The goal of the Faculty of Science Research Chairs program, says Dan Mennill, associate dean of graduate studies and research for the Faculty of Science, is to increase research funding and capacity in the faculty by growing existing research programs.

“We are looking to foster new partnerships and research directions by supporting outstanding faculty researchers with a two-year chair,” says Dr. Mennill. “This, in turn, is expected to build on our funding success in areas of existing research strength through the attraction of incremental research dollars to science.”

Each Research Chair will receive $80,000 over a period of two years with funds covering research costs such as personnel, consumables, travel, and supplies with an option for a course release in the second year.

Applications will be reviewed by a committee chaired by the associate dean of graduate studies and research and comprising the department heads in the Faculty of Science. The committee will look for candidates with demonstrated track records of research excellence and external funding success, with a focus on early-career researchers.

Proposals are due to Rana Chan at ranachan@uwindsor.ca and Mennill at ScienceADGSR@uwindsor.ca no later than Friday, June 25. Results will be announced in July and the awards will commence immediately.

Pitcher of water with lemon slicesAdding a slice of lemon or other fruits to water can give it a refreshing natural flavour.

Message offers tips for staying hydrated in the heat

Cells, tissues, and organs need water to work properly. Especially during the hot summer months, it can be a challenge to consume enough water throughout the day.

In a message sent Monday to UWindsor staff and faculty, Human Resources lists a series of tips to stay properly hydrated:

  • Carry a reusable water bottle everywhere you go. You are more likely to drink water if it is close to you.
  • Make a habit of drinking a glass of water every morning when you get up, before each meal and snacks.
  • Find an app for your smartphone that can help you track your water intake and remind you to drink water.
  • Add into your diet more fruits and vegetables with high water content, such as cantaloupe, strawberries, spinach, watermelon, peaches, bell peppers, and cucumbers.
  • Add a slice of lemon, lime, strawberries, or other fruits to your water to give it a natural flavour.

Read the entire Wellness Tip of the Week.

Outlook logoIT Services is tagging external email messages in Outlook to enhance the security of University systems and data.

External email tags enabled on Outlook accounts

External email message tags will be enabled today.

Once rolled out, all emails from external senders will be tagged automatically in Outlook on the Web and mobile clients, as well as Mac Outlook. This feature will boost phishing protection capabilities in Outlook and further enhance the security of University systems and data.

A “mail tip” will appear at the top of the reading pane with the sender’s email address.

illustration of tags location
External tags in Outlook on the web.

tags in iOS
External tags in Outlook on iOS.

External tags will be rolled out to the Outlook for Windows client in a future Office auto update.