A Look Back and Ahead: Scholarships Abound at EAS

February 2, 2021 by Rebecca Mangra

2020, the year defined by the COVID-19 pandemic, presented a remarkable list of firsts: mask mandates, empty airports, stay-at-home orders and the mass conversion to virtual school and work. Despite the chaos and uncertainty, a number of EAS students were able to attain scholarships mounting in thousands of dollars, in a year when they deeply needed it. We were able to chat with a few of them to hear how the money has helped them in their academic journeys.

Collage of four photos featuring Jessica Morgan-Brown, Mark Lush, Shasha Liu and Gabriel (Ruoyang) Weng with Professor Vincent Shen.
Clockwise from top left: Jessica Morgan-Brown, Mark Lush, Shasha Liu and Gabriel (Ruoyang) Weng with Professor Vincent Shen.

Jessica Morgan-Brown, a first-year PhD student, won the Canada Graduate Scholarship – Doctoral (CGS-D). Her research focuses on vernacularization movements and their interconnection with early colonial period Korean literature, specifically in newspapers and literary magazines. Of the scholarship, she says, “The CGS-D has given me some financial peace of mind, particularly in these uncertain times. As a graduate student with family obligations, it has enabled me to be able to focus on my courses, my research, and my family during my first year without having to stretch myself too thin by taking on extra work, as I've often had to do in the past. It's also always confidence-building to know that someone else sees worth in my experience and research and wants to fund my learning and academic endeavours.”

Morgan-Brown will be publishing a book that is co-authored with professors Jieun Kiaer from the University of Oxford and Naya Choi from Seoul National University at the end of June.

Shasha Liu, a seventh-year PhD candidate, also expressed similar sentiments about receiving the Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS), but highlighted that she actually gained the most from the preparation stages. “Participating in workshops related to the scholarships’ applications led me to hone my grant writing skills, which are essential for graduate studies and an academic career in the future.” Liu’s research focuses on the issue of mediating Dunhuang in the 20th century through the perspectives of four visual mediums: photography, painting, animation, and film. She argues that the visual mediations of Dunhuang produce knowledge, shape politics, and rewrite relations among the self, the tradition, and the world. She will be presenting chapters of her dissertation at three upcoming virtual conferences.

Mark Lush, a third-year PhD student, studies the political and social history of the People’s Republic of China. He expressed his gratitude for the CGS-D scholarship he received. It eased the stress of finances as he prepares for his comprehensive examinations. Of future research plans, he says, “I have applied to study at the Minzu University of China in the fall of 2021 through the Canada-China Scholars Exchange Program. Of course, given that we are currently in the midst of a global pandemic, my research plans are tentative. However, I am cautiously optimistic that I will be able to participate in the program and take advantage of this incredible opportunity to study and collaborate with colleagues working in China who share my research interests.”

Gabriel (Ruoyang) Weng, the first recipient of the Vincent Shen Memorial Scholarship in Chinese Thought and Culture, says that the scholarship is a special one for him. It was created shortly after the death of Professor Vincent Shen in 2018, who taught in the EAS Department for over fifteen years. “The Vincent Shen Memorial Scholarship not just serves as a vivid reminder of the memory of Professor Shen as my academic supervisor, but also alleviates my financial burden greatly, as it covers my tuition expenses and accommodation, so that I can zero in on the writing of my dissertation.” Gabriel is in the sixth year of his doctoral studies and his dissertation research focus is on the intellectual history and philosophy of late Imperial China, specifically on eighteenth century Confucian scholars based in the lower Yangzi region.

Deadlines for 2021 scholarships are arriving soon. Applications for the Faculty of Arts & Science scholarships are due April 1, while submissions for the Vincent Shen Memorial Scholarship in Chinese Thought and Culture and the Ontario Graduate Scholarship are due in early March. For more information and deadlines, visit the appropriate scholarship pages on our website (Scholarships & Awards – Undergraduate and Scholarships & Awards – Graduate). You could be featured next!

Please note deadlines and criteria vary for each award and scholarship.