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York students win Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships

York students win Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships

York graduate students Pierre-Yann Dubé Dolbec, Douglas Hunter and Juha Mikkonen are the 2012 recipients of Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships, Canada’s most prestigious awards for doctoral research. Each will receive $50,000 per year for three years.

Vanier scholars are selected for their exceptional leadership skills and for realizing the highest standards of scholarly achievement in graduate studies in natural sciences, engineering, and the social sciences and humanities.

Pierre-Yann Dubé Dolbec (left) is a doctoral student in York’s Graduate Program in Administration, offered through the Schulich School of Business. A world traveller, Dubé Dolbec has conducted research, studied and fostered collaborations in more than 30 countries, including India, France and Denmark.

Dubé Dolbec has an undergraduate degree in business administration from Laval University and a master’s of science in marketing from HEC Montréal. His previous research on brand experiences is set to be published in the coming year.

“Pierre-Yann is motivated, highly involved and enthusiastic,” said Allan Hutchinson, dean and associate vice-president graduate, “and he has an exemplary drive for research innovation.”

Dubé Dolbec's research is aimed at helping create public spaces that encourage more socially responsible behaviour when people come together in large groups, perhaps avoiding destructive riots and creating an environment that fosters more peaceful discussion.

Douglas Hunter
(right) is completing his doctoral studies in York’s Graduate Program in History. A nationally known and award-winning author, public intellectual, popular historian, journalist and artist, Hunter is dedicated to educating a national audience by making Canadian history accessible.

“With an unusual academic background for a doctoral student in history, Mr. Hunter’s work in historical nonfiction has been exceptional, incisive and richly informative,” said Hutchinson.

The winner of the National Business Book Award in 2002 for The Bubble and the Bear: How Nortel Burst the Canadian Dream (Doubleday 2002) in which Hunter analyzed the rise and fall of Nortel Networks, Hunter is also the author of six history books on topics as diverse as hockey and North American exploration, and numerous articles on historians and historical artifacts. With an undergraduate degree in humanities from McMaster University and an advanced degree in securities, Hunter's career has included working as a journalist, editor, illustrator and graphic designer for newspapers, magazines and publishing houses, before he started his own business in 1993.

Now focused on his doctoral research at York, Hunter is exploring “cryptohistory”, looking at how scholarly histories have influenced and been influenced by public prejudices. Similar to conventional histories, cryptohistorical ideas bolstered the celebration of the racial and cultural superiority of European colonists and later immigrant communities. Douglas is interested in particular in how cryptohistorians appropriated indigenous records, particularly in rock art, oral traditions and archaeological material, to support claims of pre-Columbian European visitors.

Juha Mikkonen (left)
is working toward a PhD in health policy and equity studies. Working in Finnish, French and English, Mikkonen joined York with impressive background in research. With more than 50 professional and academic contributions geared towards linking academic and non-academic fields, he also has more than a decade working in health promotion in Helsinki and in poverty reduction in 27 European nations.

Mikkonen joined York`s Health Policy and Equity Studies Program with undergraduate and master’s degrees in social sciences from the University of Helsinki, Finland. As a visiting scholar at York University, he co-authored a report, Social Determinants of Health: The Canadian Facts with York Professor Dennis Raphael. The report aims to educate the public and health advocates about social determinants of health and shifting thought processes surrounding well-being.

His doctoral research, a comparative analysis of Canadian and Finnish public health policy, will help in developing future policy in both countries and beyond. “Creative motivated and thoughtful, Mikkonen will provide many insights into current health policy debate in Canada,” said Hutchinson.

“We are, of course, incredibly proud of our Vanier scholars,” says Peter Mulvihill, associate dean, Graduate Studies at York University. “They have each demonstrated their talents at bringing their research out into the world, and the world into their research. I look forward to seeing their progress and the evolution of their work over the next few years.”

Administered by Canada’s three federal granting agencies, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Vanier Canada scholarship program’s goal is to build world-class research capacity in Canada by recruiting and supporting top-tier doctoral students who will positively contribute to Canada's economic, social and research-based growth.

The Vanier scholarship program is available online at

Republished courtesy of YFile– York University’s daily e-bulletin.