Congratulations to the recipients of the City of Toronto Scholarships in Women and Gender Studies. Mackenzie Stephenson is the 35th recipient of the undergraduate scholarship and Alexandra Maris is the 20th recipient of the graduate scholarship.
The centenary of women being admitted as students to the University of Toronto was recognised by Toronto City Council in 1985 through the establishment of an undergraduate scholarship in women and gender studies. A graduate scholarship was added in 1997. Noting that nearly 90 per cent of the population lived in urban communities, City Council wanted to encourage feminist scholarship which focussed on the urban environment and on social issues which are important to urban communities.
It was an honour to work with Professor Kay Armatage, then director of WGSI City officials to establish the Award and a privilege to be involved in selection since its establishment. Every recipient of these awards has made a mark on feminist scholarship and the current recipients follow in this tradition.
Mackenzie Stephenson is in her fourth year with a double major in Women and Gender Studies and Sociology. She is an outstanding student who is providing leadership as the current chair of the Women and Gender Studies Undergraduate student union. Mackenzie’s studies focus on “Black feminist thought and the role of the state in its creation of race, gender, and class and its implications for members of the Black diaspora living on stolen Indigenous land”.
Mackenzie is currently president of the Women and Gender Studies Student Union and has been involved in the union since her first year. She is also the 2020 award winner of the City of Toronto Women and Gender Studies Scholarship.
Alexandra Maris is part of the WGSI Collaborative program and is a 5th year PhD student in the Exercise Science Department. For many years she has been an active participants in WGS Programs. Her application noted that she is “interrogating privilege at the nexus of sport, tourism and issues surrounding race, class and gender”.
She completed her Master of Arts in Women and Gender Studies at the University of Toronto and has an Honorary Bachelor of Arts with High Distinction. Her work has a transnational lens to include looking at sporting tourism in the form of martial art camps abroad, she examines destination training camps through critical race theory and post-colonial theory to complicate racial sporting projects. Alexandra has won several awards, scholarships and fellowships for her strong academic record and for being an outstanding candidate in her field. She is a teaching assistant at her home institution in the Kinesiology Department.
Honorary Member, WGSI and member of the founding teaching collective of WGSI