Get to Know with Jonathan Newman


Get to know Laurier researchers and learn about their fascinating work.

Tune into Get to Know with Jonathan Newman, a weekly, half-hour interview series on Zoom. Every Friday over lunch hour, Jonathan, Laurier’s vice-president: research, speaks to a faculty researcher about their origins, their personal triumphs and their latest findings.

Season Two

  • Date: Every Friday from Sept. 24 to Nov. 26
  • Time: 12:15 p.m. to 12:45 p.m.
  • Location: Zoom
  • Schedule of Guests

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Sept. 24: Sandra Danilovic

Sandra Danilovic is an assistant professor of Game Design and Development at Laurier. She investigates game-making practices as creative tools for mental health and self-care. Danilovic’s principal areas of research are autobiographical game design, interactive illness and disability narratives, computational literacy and maker cultures. She specializes in organizing game jams (game design workshops) for underserved and disadvantaged communities, and is currently exploring autobiographical game design as a sense-making tool for youth living with opioid addiction. Prior to entering academia, Danilovic was an award-winning documentary filmmaker and multimedia artist.

Avis Beek

Oct. 1: Avis Beek

Avis Beek is an assistant professor in Laurier’s Faculty of Education. Prior to joining academia, Beek was a science and math teacher in Nunavut, the Middle East, Asia and Europe. These experiences, combined with her doctoral research on student international-mindedness in International Baccalaureate schools, shaped her current research focus on international education and training educators for global contexts. Beek is working on an evaluative research project to learn about the experience of students in Laurier’s Bachelor of Arts in International Education Studies program and the extent to which they develop global perspectives throughout their studies. Beek is affiliated with a non-governmental organization in Greece that offers informal education to refugee children.

Diano Marrone

Oct. 8: Diano Marrone

Diano Marrone is an associate professor in Laurier’s Department of Psychology who studies the neurobiology of memory. His research examines how memories are stored and refined or destroyed in the brain across two lines of research: one in which he compares the mechanisms for learning and memory across species, a field often called neuroethology; and a more applied line of research in which Marrone studies an animal model of diabetes and its effects on the brain's ability to remember.

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Oct. 15: Sepideh Yeganegi

Sepideh Yeganegi is an assistant professor of Policy at Laurier’s Lazaridis School for Business and Economics. Her research focuses on spinouts, independent businesses founded by ex-employees. Spinouts are a prevalent and successful form of entrepreneurial entry and play a key role in pursuing new technologies that parent firms avoid due to low margins or incompatibility with the parent firm’s core business. Yet, parent firms may perceive spinouts as plunderers of their knowledge and innovations and therefore use institutions such as intellectual property rights and non-compete agreements to suppress or otherwise shape them. Yeganegi's research examines factors at the individual and institutional levels that enable or constrain employees leaving to start their own spinout ventures.

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Oct. 22: Anthony Vannelli

Anthony (Tony) Vannelli serves as Laurier’s provost and vice-president: academic. He is a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering and is an accomplished academic administrator, researcher and university teacher who holds a doctorate in Electrical Engineering from the University of Waterloo, and a Master of Science in Mathematics and a Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics from Concordia University. Vannelli’s area of scholarship is quite interdisciplinary, using advanced mathematical optimization to solve large circuit layout problems. Vannelli has a distinguished record of teaching and research at the University of Waterloo, including as Associate Dean of Research and External Partnerships, Chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and as an NSERC University Research Fellow. 

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Oct. 29: Anh Ngo

Anh Ngo is an assistant professor in Laurier’s Faculty of Social Work. She studies the lived experiences and well-being of racialized communities in Canada to inform critical refugee and critical multiculturalism studies. Theoretically, Ngo is interested in critical race theories with a focus on Cold War epistemology and racial capitalism. At present, she is leading two SSHRC-funded projects. One is a collaboration with a migrant seniors’ advocacy group funded by a Partnership Engagement Grant exploring the issue of culturally appropriate and accessible housing supports. Ngo also secured a Connections Grant which will support a symposium that examines Canadian operations of imperialism within local contexts as conditions of migrant subjectivity and relationality. Ngo identifies as a racialized migrant settler, having arrived at the present territory as an internationally displaced person.

Greig de Peuter

Nov. 5: Greig de Peuter

Greig de Peuter is an associate professor of Communication Studies. His research explores the politics of work in cultural industries. Specifically, de Peuter is interested in how cultural workers engage in collective organizing to make their work more sustainable, empowering and accessible. The main framework for this research is the collaborative research project Cultural Workers Organize. Some of de Peuter's recent research projects include a co-authored book about the ongoing wave of union organizing in digital media, New Media Unions: Organizing Digital Journalists, and a co-authored report on a survey of worker-owned enterprises, Sharing Like We Mean It: Working Cooperatively in the Cultural and Tech Sectors. Currently, he is involved in projects on co-operatives in the digital economy, artists and basic income, and cultural workers’ collective responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Percy Lezard

Nov. 12: Percy Lezard

Percy Lezard is an assistant professor in Laurier’s Indigenous Studies Program. Their research interests lie at the intersections of Indigenous knowledge, education and worldviews, critically reflexive education, social work and community health. Over many years as a community-based practitioner and academic, Lezard has focused on reframing social work education through a sqilxw two-spirit and mnincelx lens. Their work interrupts and intervenes on the colonial project of social work to minimize the harmful impacts on Indigenous peoples and communities. Lezard researches and generates new pedagogies to create a culture of healing in social work education by incorporating sqilxw-centred approaches, pedagogies and knowledges as a compliment to the traditional knowledges of the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee peoples, on whose lands they used to reside as a guest. 

John Milloy

Nov. 19: John Milloy

John Milloy is an assistant professor of Public Ethics at Martin Luther University College. His research focuses on the intersection of religious faith and politics. During his time in elected life, Milloy often struggled with how to stay true to his faith while still engaging in the rough and tumble of politics. This personal struggle was an impetus to come to Luther and start examining this question more broadly through a theological lens, a historical lens as well as attempting to understand what is happening in Canadian political life. Milloy is the director of the Centre for Public Ethics and has hosted a variety of politicians to speak about the way faith influences their work, including former Premier Kathleen Wynne. He has studied the influence of faith on the careers of a variety of other political actors of faith from Pierre Trudeau to Preston Manning to Paul Martin.

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Nov. 26: Deanna Yerichuk

Deanna Yerichuk is assistant professor in the Faculty of Music and coordinates Laurier’s Bachelor of Music in Community Music program. Her research focuses on historical and contemporary issues of inclusion and justice in community music. Yerichuk is principal investigator on two SSHRC-funded projects: The Gahu Project, which uses participatory action research methods to explore music and racial justice; and Community Music in Canada, which explores participatory music projects working toward social justice within Canada. Yerichuk has a second focus on arts-based research methods and is a co-investigator on a five-year research-creation project that integrates professional musicians and community members in collaborative opera development on the topic of future cataclysms.

Missed an interview?
Watch the recording on the Laurier YouTube channel.