Prestigious scholarship awarded to two U of M students

Two University of Manitoba graduate students have recently been honoured with the award of the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship. Amy Scott and Harlyn Silverstein will each be receiving $150,000 over three years towards their area of research.

The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship is thought to be comparable in prestige and honour to the United Kingdom’s Rhodes Scholarship.

The prestigious nature and the sheer monetary value of the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship helps to recruit new prospective graduate students to Canadian universities, as well as encourage current Canadian students to remain in Canada and conduct their research at Canadian universities.

Scott is an Anthropology student who is conducting research in order to study how stress affects the skeleton and, more specifically, how stress affects the skeleton’s growth and development. To conduct this research, Scott will use skeletal samples from late to post medieval Denmark. Scott will use these samples to determine whether stress on the skeleton has any correlation to the changes in food availability of that time.

This new method of analysis will enable future researchers to determine stress severity through the exploration of different skeletal indicators. This method of research will allow an occasion to look at and study health issues in the past that has never been possible before. Once this research method has been made operational skeletal samples from Canadian populations may be used as well, which could include, but is not limited to, First Nations Peoples and European settlers from the colonial days.

Silverstein is a chemistry student who will be conducting research on multiferroic materials. These are a unique type of material that can be polarized both magnetically and electrically at the same time. Also interesting about this material, an electric current can sometimes stimulate a magnetic field, as well as the other way around. The potential for this kind of material could be to help create technological devices, which are smaller, faster, and more energy efficient than what we current have. In terms of practical examples, multiferroics have the potential to possibly reduce technological identity theft by making encrypted information harder to hack, help in the creation of electronic devices that have the ability to transform their own wasted heat into energy, and possibly double the bit storage capacity of electronics.

“These recipients are examples of the high calibre of students who choose to study and research at the University of Manitoba. I congratulate them on their success,” said John Doering, vice-provost (graduate education) and dean of graduate studies at the University of Manitoba.
Including Scott and Silverstein, there have now been 11 total Vanier scholars from the University of Manitoba within the last four years.