Current Students – Master’s Program


Samantha David

Samantha is a third year MA student of Filipino and Mi’kmaq heritage. She graduated from Carleton University with a Bachelor’s of Public Affairs and Policy Management with a specialization in International Studies. Her honors research essay, focused on a comparative analysis of traditional knowledge-western science collaborations through policy frameworks generated in New Zealand, the United States and Canada.

She is currently with the School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies at Carleton on a part-time basis, looking to expand her understanding of Indigenous knowledge systems and the approaches that can be taken to create space for Indigenous-led innovation, both domestically and abroad.

Currently, Samantha is a planning analyst for the Indigenous Science Liaison Office at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, where she facilitates relationship-building activities, scientist cultural competency training and the co-development of research between Indigenous communities and western-trained scientists. She also co-chairs the Indigenous Network Circle and works to increase opportunities for, and the advancement of, Indigenous employees in the public service.

Her academic research interests are focused on innovation driven by Indigenous knowledge systems, Indigenous-Canadian relationships, global issues and research diplomacy. Samantha spends most of her spare time consuming literature and world news on a regular basis. She is also an active volunteer with Ottawa’s music festival scene and is always seeking out new experiences to broaden her understanding of other cultures.


Christopher DesRivières

My name is Christopher DesRivières and I graduated from La Cité Collégiale in 2008 with a degree in Architectural Technology and I began working in the construction industry. After spending over a decade working full-time in construction, I returned to school part-time in 2014, graduating from Carleton University with a Major in Canadian Studies and a Minor in Anthropology. My return to school allowed me to further challenge my understanding of built spaces through a decolonizing lens, and reflect on my own identity as a white, male settler navigating unceded and unsurrendered lands.

I had the privilege to take two graduate-level courses last year though Carleton’s Accelerated Program, which has only reinforced my decision to pursue an MA in Canadian Studies, with a specialization in Heritage and Conservation. I intend to use my professional experiences in construction and architectural technology to guide my MA research, which will examine the ways in which heritage buildings and sites built on unceded and unsurrendered Algonquin territory are used to portray narratives that reinforce settler histories. My main objective is to contribute to the growing body of knowledge on the decolonization of heritage sites in the hope to better facilitate the Indigenization of heritage and conservation practices.


Aisling Gilmour

I am a M.A. student in Indigenous and Canadian Studies at Carleton University. I am from Ottawa, Ontario on unceded Algonquin Anishinaabe territory, and my pronouns are they/them. My ancestors settled here from France, Scotland, and Ireland. In Winter 2020, I completed my B.A. in Philosophy and Indigenous Studies with a minor in Sexuality Studies, and see my current work as continuing research done during that degree. Some of my research interests include feminism, existentialism, anti-colonial politics, and emancipatory movements.

My research is concerned with understanding Indigenous self-determination, feminist struggle and class struggle in relation to each other. For my thesis, I am writing on Indigenous-settler solidarity praxes and radical relationality/kinship. The project involves a case study, interviews, and thinking critical Western traditions in relation with Indigenous knowledge. This has led me to re-read Fanon’s work, the Fanon-influenced vein of Indigenous decolonization theory from Turtle Island, and Indigenous feminist theory alongside movement texts. As a case study, I investigate the Indigenous-setter solidarity movement that emerged around the blockades in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en during the winter of 2020.

If you’re interested in discussing these things, please contact me at: AislingGilmour@cmail.carleton.ca


Vanessa Hodge

I completed a bachelor’s degree in English Literature at Carleton University in 2020. I am currently enrolled in Carleton’s Canadian Studies master’s program and the Indigenous Policy and Administration graduate diploma.

My experience working with Indigenous peoples and my interest in Canada motivated me to take numerous Canadian and Indigenous literature courses in my undergraduate studies.

In the final year of my studies, I realized that my interest in Canadian and Indigenous affairs extended beyond literature and I began supplementing my literary knowledge of Canada with courses in Canadian history and Canadian studies. I am particularly interested in the implications of what it means to be a settler in a settler-colonial nation, the contemporary debates surrounding Canadian identity, and the politics concerning Indigenous peoples. I examine how colonial institutions are still strongly embedded in our society, even—or especially—at the different levels of government.


Jack Hollinger

I am a second year MA student in the SICS Heritage Conservation stream.  I worked for many years in the heritage sector prior to coming to Carleton for graduate school – initially as a carpenter and joiner and later as an educator, coordinating the Heritage Carpentry and Joinery program at Algonquin College’s Heritage Institute.  As a craftsperson I have an intimate relationship with the material world.  I feel the combining of academic and practical pursuits is imperative for the successful understanding and retention of our heritage resources.

I also feel many of these resources – specifically those pertaining to traditional craft knowledge – are essential to a holistic understanding of our national fabric.

My research explores the divide between blue and white collar workers in the heritage sector, the role education can take in bridging this divide, and the capacity for craftsmanship to maintain links between our past and our future.


Greg MacPherson

I am a first-year M.A student in the SICS Heritage Conservation stream. In 2020 I completed my Bachelor of Environmental Studies (B.E.S) in Urban Planning at the University of Waterloo, where I had the opportunity to complete several work placements in municipal and private sector planning throughout Ontario.

My research interests include the salvage and reuse of building materials, including those originating from demolished modern and post-modern buildings. In particular, I am interested in how salvage and reuse can be implemented within existing development planning and heritage conservation policy frameworks at the municipal and provincial level. I am also interested in the decolonization of planning systems and how heritage planning can more equally and effectively conserve and support the diverse histories which make up Canadian communities.

In my spare time I love watching sports of all kinds, reading, playing board games, and hiking.


Christine Mao

Christine Mao is the Director of the Diversity and Inclusion Office at Health Canada. Prior to that, she was the Manager of the corporate Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED). Her academic background includes being Called to the Degree of Barrister-at-Law with The Law Society of Upper Canada in 2000, graduating with a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Windsor in 1998, and an Honours Bachelor of Arts, majoring in psychology, and minoring in sociology from Wilfrid Laurier University in 1995.

She began her federal government career at ISED in 2002. Since 2010, she has built and earned a reputation for being passionate about diversity and inclusion. Whilst at ISED, she earned multiple awards as a result of her work, and in February 2021, she was recruited by Health Canada to lead their corporate Diversity and Inclusion Office. Under Christine’s leadership are three pillars of work:

  • The Network Secretariat – responsible for servicing the 10 employee networks at Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada
  • The Mission Team – responsible for administering and reporting on legislative requirements such as the Canadian Multiculturalism Act, Employment Equity Act, the Official Languages Act, as well as the Many Voices One Mind: A Pathway to Reconciliation – Departmental Progress Scorecard
  • The Vision Team – responsible for developing and implementing innovative approaches to diversity, equity and inclusion, including the department’s Equitable Access to Language Training Program, HC’s Guide to Supporting Gender Diversity in the Workplace, and a new communications series on religious and secular celebrations.

In addition to her day job, Christine is also a spouse, a mom to two teenagers (14 and 17), a dog, a cat and two kittens. She is also actively involved as a Co-Guider of the 42nd Barrhaven Pathfinders Unit.

Christine looks forward to pursuing her part-time Master of Arts in Canadian Studies with the School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies at Carleton University. Christine is keen to learn how she can take her EEDI work to the next level so that we can build and support a more diverse, equitable and inclusive community and workplace for us all.


Julia Mason

I am a first year M.A. student in the Canadian Studies program, and my pronouns are she/her. I am a settler Canadian with family from Malta and the U.K. I graduated from Trent University in 2020 with a B.A. International Development Studies and a minor in Indigenous Studies.

My academic research interests revolve around settler colonialism within urban activist spaces. For me, this stems from an interest and investment in the spaces where Settler-led and Indigenous-led activism interact, and the relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in this particular area of society. Topics of concern include grassroots activism in Canada, settler moves to innocence and comfort, power dynamics within grassroots activism, and the role of non-Indigenous organizations in activism.

A personal goal of mine is to continue exploring how I connect and engage with the settler Canadian identity and what my responsibilities are as a settler.

In my free time, I also trying to spend more time connecting with Maltese culture and traditions, and hope to travel back for my second visit as soon as it is safe.


Bethany Stewart

ᐧᐋᒋᔮ ᐯᕪᓃ ᔅᑎᐧᐃᕐᑦ ᓂᑎᓯᓂᑳᓱᓐ᙮ ᐧᐄᒥᓐᒌᐅᔫ ᓃ᙮ Hello, my name is Bethany Stewart, and I am Cree from the Cree Nation of Wemindji, Eeyou Istchee. I am a Millennium Scoop Survivor and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) activist. My activism is driven by my own personal experiences. My mother is one of our many MMIWG and for this reason, I am a strong advocate for the rights, safety, and justice for all Indigenous women and girls. Prior to starting my master’s degree at Carleton University, I completed a double major in political science and visual arts at the University of Ottawa. I currently work at the University of Ottawa and Carleton University, researching how to Indigenize and decolonize post-secondary curricula.

After completing my master’s degree at Carleton University in Canadian and Indigenous Studies, I plan to work directly within the Indigenous community. As a Millennium Scoop Survivor, my goal is to ensure Indigenous children do not get taken from their homes and experience what had to. I will advocate for change in Canada’s child welfare system to strive for a better childhood and future for all Indigenous kids. I also will continue to advocate for MMIWG to ensure Indigenous women get justice.


Oliver Thorne

Oliver (Ollie) Thorne (they/he) is a non-binary white queer student, academic, and activist currently residing on unceded, unsurrendered Algonquin territory. For the last 3 years, they have been a facilitator for SAEFTY Ottawa, the only by and for trans youth group and advocacy collective in the Ottawa region. They organize local community events and advocate for the depathologization of trans identities and for accessible gender affirming healthcare. Ollie has presented SAEFTY’s report “Youth and Family Experiences at the CHEO Gender Diversity Clinic” to national audiences in 2019 at CPATH and the Canadian Bioethics Society Conference.

They are currently finishing his graduate degree in Canadian and Indigenous studies at Carleton University and seek to continue to critically engage with the Ontario healthcare system through academic writing and community advocacy.

In his spare time, Ollie enjoys reading literature that challenges colonialism and trying new coffee shops. Their go to order is a medium caramel latte with oat milk.


Jonas Vasseur

I graduated from MacEwan University with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Sociology, and have been working at a museum in the Yukon for a few years now. I am very excited to be enrolled in my first year of an MA in the School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies at Carleton University.

I’ve always had an interest in what makes people tick (both now and in the past), and I look forward to a deep dive into another aspect of that through this program at Carleton. Every person has an interesting story to tell, especially with some digging.

I love being part of sharing and discovering a new story and I’m hopeful that in the future I can be regularly and directly involved in caring for and researching pieces of our (and others) collective past.

In my spare time I love to get up on a mountain, try a board game, cook a meal, read a book, or play some music.