Graduate Fellowship in Applied Ethics


Supporting UBC graduate students working in applied ethics

The fellowship will provide a one-time annual stipend of $25,000 plus a research-related allowance of $1,500, as well as access to office space at the CAE in the Klinck Building on UBC Vancouver campus. Applicants from UBC Okanagan are also welcomed and efforts will be made to include successful UBC Okanagan fellowship holders in CAE activities via Zoom and/or provision for a visit to the UBC campus.

The period of the fellowship will be the 2024/25 academic year (i.e., September 1, 2024 to August 31, 2025). Applicants must be enrolled in a research-based graduate program at UBC during this period.

Relevant topics for this fellowship include but are not limited to: bioethics, business ethics, environmental ethics, public health ethics,  research ethics and health inequities.

Students receiving other scholarships may receive a top-up from the Graduate Fellowship in Applied Ethics to a total of $25,000.

Expectations for graduate fellows:

  • Regularly meet with a CAE faculty member or associate faculty member who advises on this project.
  • Interact with other CAE fellows and attend CAE events.
  • Organize a lecture by a visiting scholar in their area of interest (supported by $2,500 from the CAE’s Visiting Scholar Fund).
  • Give a presentation of their work-in-progress at UBC.
  • Write a dissertation or thesis chapter or publishable article on a topic of applied ethics.
  • Resister and attend the Graduate Seminar in Applied Ethics.

Application procedures

Deadline: April 15, 2024

Applications should be emailed to the CAE Director David Silver ( and should include:

  • A letter describing the research project the applicant intends to pursue and its connection to applied ethics. This letter should also indicate which CAE regular faculty member or members the applicant expects to work with on this project. (CAE faculty members are: Kimberley Brownlee, Susan Cox, Judy Illes, Michael McDonald, Madeline Ransom, David Silver, and Daniel Steel, Alice Virani). Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact a potentially interested CAE faculty prior to submitting their applications.
  • A sample of the applicant’s written work.
  • The applicant’s curriculum vitae.
  • Transcripts from undergraduate and graduate studies (if applicable).
  • Two letters of recommendation, one of which should be from the applicant’s supervisor.

Awards adjudication

Applications will be assessed by an awards adjudication committee comprised of regular CAE faculty. The criteria for assessment are:

  • Quality of the candidate’s scholarly record overall (including CV, transcripts, sample of writing and letters of reference).
  • Identification of a relevant applied ethics issue or problem to be undertaken during fellowship and rationale supporting the proposed work.
  • Fit with a regular CAE faculty member who is willing to supervise the student/project.
  • Identification of specific outputs that will arise from fellowship period (such as publishable papers, conference presentations, dissertation chapter).
  • Consideration will be given to life, career and work experiences in addition to academic qualifications.
  • We encourage applications from members of groups that have been marginalized on any grounds enumerated under the B.C. Human Rights Code, including sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, racialization, disability, political belief, religion, marital or family status, age, and/or status as a First Nation, Metis, Inuit, or Indigenous person.

Current Graduate Fellows

Lily Ivanova
Lily Ivanova is a PhD candidate in the Sociology Department at UBC, where she studies how people understand violence and human rights abuses through immersive experiences, like museums and theatre. As a qualitative sociologist, she is interested in the empirical processes through which people navigate complex ethical situations, focusing on the phenomenological, conceptual, emotional and social experiences of understanding and taking responsibility for violence. At the Centre for Applied Ethics, she is using an ethnographic and interview-based case study of šxʷʔam̓ət (home), an interactive play about the legacy of residential schools and ongoing effects of colonialism created and performed by Theatre for Living in 2018, to explore how Indigenous and Settler participants and audience members understand taking responsibility for violence, intergenerational trauma, and the ongoing harms of genocide.

Alyssa Izatt
Alyssa Izatt is a PhD student in the Department of Philosophy and a Fellow with the W. Maurice Young Centre for Applied Ethics. She researches primarily in bioethics and moral philosophy, focusing on issues relating to reproductive ethics and family ethics. Her current research focuses on the normative significance of regret and how it is—and ought to be—used in medical decision-making. At the centre, Alyssa has shared her work on access barriers in the provision of elective sterilization for young women, which highlights the importance of informed consent and reproductive autonomy.

Jennifer Kwon
Jennifer Kwon is a PhD candidate at UBC Dentistry, and she also serves as a dental hygiene instructor at the same institution. Her research delves into the intricate relationship between professionalism and the formation of professional identities in the context of dental education. Through her work, she aims to uncover approaches to enhance the curriculum that can foster the development of dental professionals who have a strong ethical foundation and well-defined character.

In addition to her primary research focus, Jennifer collaborates with international scholars on various topics, including teacher development and student achievement in dentistry, herbal remedies for orofacial pain, as well as the application of artificial intelligence in dentistry and the cultivation of professional identity.

Kelsey Vicars
Kelsey Vicars is a PhD candidate in the Philosophy department at UBC. She works on topics at the intersection of ethics and philosophy of language, such as hate speech, silencing, slurs, freedom of expression, and censorship. Her thesis defends a conception of silencing that departs from traditional ways of thinking, and explores the resulting ethical and legal ramifications. As a fellow at the Centre for Applied Ethics, Kelsey is working on a chapter of her thesis that considers silencing and censorship in non-legal contexts, including healthcare, academic, and business settings.


Former Graduate Fellows

Andrea Vásquez Fernández
Andrea earned her MSc. at the University of British Columbia and currently is a PhD candidate at UBC. She holds a B.Sc. in Forest Engineering and a diploma on Environmental Management, Quality, and Auditing both from Peru’s National Agrarian University of La Molina. Andrea is Quechua-Andean Peruvian and has been invited in 2012 by Amazonian Asheninka and Yine Peoples to form an alliance with them. She is a part of a pluri-cultural research team, which is also formed by Asheninka and Yine community members. Together, using Indigenous theories and methodologies in power-shared projects are committed to conduct collaboratively community-led endeavors to address communities’ concerns and desired futures. Currently they are conducting a project called ‘RESPECT-AMAZONIA,’ which has been supported by UBC’s Public Scholar Initiative, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Aileen D Ross Doctoral Fellowship, International Development Research Centre (IDRC), among others.

Albert Cotugno  

Albert Cotugno is a PhD candidate in Philosophy. His dissertation, supervised by Evan Thompson, offers a novel account of the role attention plays in one’s moral life. In particular, he argues that attention is a primary means by which we shape our subjective experience of the world and that, through understanding the nature of this relationship, we can exert considerable agency in developing a moral outlook. His research draws from a variety of sources, including cognitive science, Phenomenology, and Buddhist and Ancient Chinese philosophy. At the Centre, his project examines the ethical implications of addictive technologies that harness users’ attention.

Temitayo Olarewaju
Temitayo Olarewaju is a Ph.D. Candidate at Peter A. Allard School of Law. His Ph.D. dissertation examines the intersections of land grabbing and international criminal law. He argues international crimes offer a means of inhibiting and penalizing land grabs. At W. Maurice Young Centre for Applied Ethics, he examines the unethical harms of land grabbing and is involved in postulating a moral theory of land dispossession.

Jeffrey Morgan
Jeffrey is a PhD student with UBC’s School of Population and Public Health and a Fellow with the Centre for Applied Ethics. His research explores how values, biases, and social contexts are encoded in health administrative data about substance use, and the ethical and epistemological implications for public health, health services, and policy research. His research is supervised by Dr. Kim McGrail and Dr. Seonaid Nolan, with fellowship mentorship from Dr. Michael Burgess. Beyond this work, Jeffrey has a passion for community-based participatory research, with an interest in developing and sharing innovative approaches to research capacity building and meaningfully involving communities at every step of the research process.

Michelle Turner
Michelle Turner is a midwife, white settler and PhD student, whose work aims to advance equity-focused strategies for sexual and reproductive health. Her PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies (Education and Public Health) aims to support creatively engaging and ethically informed pregnancy and childbirth education programs.

Louise Harding
Louise Harding is an MSc student in Population and Public Health. Her thesis project involved convening an Indigenous brain wellness and mental health working group to explore the question: What is the meaning of brain health in an Indigenous health context? Her supervisor is Dr. Judy Illes at Neuroethics Canada in the Department of Medicine, and Dr. Malcolm King at the University of Saskatchewan is her advisor. She approaches her work as a second-generation British settler with a BSc in Psychology and minor in First Nations and Indigenous Studies, and previously worked at the Urban Native Youth Association. Recently she published a scoping review of the academic literature about global Indigenous communities’ perspectives on the brain and mind, available here.

Graham Macdonald
Graham Macdonald is a medical sociologist and PhD Candidate in the Rehabilitation Sciences program in the Faculty of Medicine at UBC. His dissertation, supervised by Dr. Laura Nimmon, explores how patient and public engagement in research shapes societal discourses of patienthood. With a background in political economy and qualitative research methodology, his research has spanned many topics including: social determinants of health for inflammatory disease and arthritis; the influence of technology on doctor-patient interaction; the political economy of disability and care relationships; power dynamics in interprofessional care teams; and various topics around equity and evaluation in medical education. Beyond this, he has contributed to projects in knowledge translation, arthritis research, occupational science, and disability rights.

Emily Jean Leischner
Emily Jean Leischner is a white, settler PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology. She studies the ethics of museum practice using community-based methods to connect with the creative, innovative, and political ways communities are engaging with their heritage. After a decade in the museum field, she am currently working on her dissertation with members of the Nuxalk First Nation, whose territory is located in the central coast of what is also known as British Columbia. This research, and her project for the Centre for Applied Ethics, broadly examines settler colonialism and the capture, care, and return of Indigenous voices held in museums and archives.

Shefa Siegel
Shefa Siegel is a writer and Ph.D. student in Interdisciplinary Studies. His research explores the moral and environmental intersections of mining, scarcity, and greed, and his dissertation, “The Origin of Avarice,” is due to be published by Little, Brown (UK) and Penguin (Canada) in 2023. His writing combines literary non-fiction with history, ethics, and memoir, and as a practitioner and research scholar he has been working on these themes for parts of two decades, including fieldwork in over ten countries. He wrote a previous doctorate in international environmental policy, and served as the global politics instructor at Lester B. Pearson College of the Pacific. His supervisors are Dr. Wade Davis in the Department of Anthropology, and Dr. Taylor Owen of McGill University’s Max Bell School for Public Policy.

Hsuan-Che (Brad) Huang
Hsuan-Che (Brad) Huang is a Ph.D. candidate in the Organizational Behavior and Human Resources Division at the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia. His research program broadly focuses on morality, organizational justice, conflict management, and culture and diversity. Specifically, some of his current work addresses how third parties moralize others’ forgiving behavior amid workplace conflicts and how pretentious leaders signal their own virtuous moral compass by professing to be an ally in support of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in organizations.

Coming from an interdisciplinary background, he holds a B.S. in Psychology (Summa Cum Laude) and Life Science, with two Certificates in Neurobiology and Cognitive Science and Psychology Research, from National Taiwan University. Beyond academics, he has been engaged in community volunteering work and transferred his research on conflict and forgiveness to society for a better, peaceful world. Anecdotally, he was a gamer and winner of several esports tournaments prior to his Ph.D.

Matthew Smithdeal
Matthew Smithdeal is a neurodivergent, genderqueer PhD candidate in the Department of Philosophy. They specialize in Philosophy of Psychology and Psychiatry and investigate the cognitive architecture underpinning our tendency to essentialize individuals based on socially constructed categories. More specifically, they are interested in understanding how essentializing categories of people relates to an increased tendency to stereotype and dehumanize members of the essentialized category.

At the Centre, they are primarily examining how biogenetic explanations for mental conditions contribute to an increase in stereotyping and dehumanization of neurodivergent individuals. They are working on designing Research-based Theatre interventions that translate lived experiences and one’s narrative to neurotypical individuals to mitigate this tendency

Kinley Gillette
Kinley Gillette is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Philosophy, where he has a designated research specialization in Science and Technology Studies (STS). Kinley’s research combines philosophy of science with political theory in an effort to understand the role of expertise in democracy, especially in the context of environmental governance. In particular, Kinley uses democratic theory to evaluate attempts to democratize science and examines the epistemic and political stability of “divisions of labour” that separate experts from non-experts in collective decision-making. Kinley is also a co-organizer of the STS-Sciences Discussion Group, which brings STS scholars and scientists together to discuss the politics of science and science communication.

Jad Brake
Jad Brake is a PhD Candidate in Anthropology at UBC. His PhD research explores how autistic adults  experience autism. Specifically, Jad uses an ethnographic approach to study the ways in which autistic adults in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia practice and perceive friendship relationships.

In his research project for The W. Maurice Young Center for Applied Ethics Fellowship, Jad examines ethical challenges and complexities arising in the context of ethnographic research with autistics. In particular, and drawing on a relational ethics perspective, Jad’s project emphasizes the importance of creating and maintaining trust relationships between the researcher and the researched established and maintained through social practices of engagement, care, and responsibility. This approach has implications for how researchers treat the issue of informed consent and more generally for how we think about what best supports the autonomy of research participants, especially those who are considered as more volnurable.

Kate Jaffe
Kaitlyn Jaffe is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Sociology and a graduate fellow at the SPPH Centre for Applied Ethics. As a medical sociologist, Kaitlyn’s scholarly interests center around the social determinants of health, health equity, research ethics, and the construction of medical knowledge. Her dissertation research uses nested qualitative interviews to study experiences of clinical trial participation among marginalized groups, specifically people who use drugs. The aim of this research is to understand how social processes can shape medical knowledge production as well as identify strategies for improving the design and conduct of clinical trials in substance use research. Kaitlyn’s research is supported by a CIHR Vanier Fellowship and the UBC Public Scholars Initiative.

Alina McKay
Alina McKay is a PhD Candidate at UBC’s School of Population and Public Health and a Fellow at the Centre for Applied Ethics. Her research focuses on housing in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES) and the lessons that can be learned from the long history of supportive housing in the area. This analysis also takes into account the history of intensive research in the DTES and the ethics of engaging in research with people living there. Her findings support the need for researchers and their institutions to take on new responsibilities including commitments to publishing Open Access (i.e. feely accessible to anyone anywhere in the world) and measures that ensure that research findings are shared in meaningful ways with participants that center community voices and expertise.

Madeleine Ransom
Madeleine Ransom is a former fellow at the W. Maurice Young Centre for Applied Ethics (2018-2019), where she worked on bias in perceptual learning as it pertains to bias in machine learning and human implicit bias, under the supervision of Dr. David Silver. After completing her PhD in philosophy at UBC, she was the recipient of a SSHRC postdoctoral award (2020-2022). She will continue to work on bias in perceptual learning at the Percepts and Concepts lab with Dr. Rob Goldstone at Indiana University, Bloomington. She will also take up a one-year postdoctoral position (2020-2021) at the Centre for Philosophical Psychology at the University of Antwerp, where she will work with Dr. Bence Nanay on bias in multi-sensory integration.

Sina Fazelpour
Sina Fazelpour is a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Postdoctoral Fellow at the Philosophy Department of Carnegie Mellon University. He holds a PhD in Philosophy from the University of British Columbia, a M.Sc in medical biophysics from the University of Toronto, and a B.Eng in electrical and biomedical engineering from McMaster University. His primary research interests are in the philosophy of science and the ethics of science and technology. His research focuses on characterizing the potential harms of algorithmic decision making and evaluating proposed mitigation policies. He also works on understanding the impact of demographic diversity on groups. He has published in the philosophy of science and cognitive science, and his research has been supported by Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship, W. Maurice Young Centre for Applied Ethics Fellowship, and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

Maya Lefkowich
Maya Lefkowich is a PhD student in the Interdisciplinary Studies Graduate Program.

She holds a Master of Public Health degree from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health (at the University of Toronto) where she focused on masculinities and men’s health. Maya is now pursuing research on empowerment journalism – a collaborative approach to reporting on/with marginalized communities. Through her PhD research and Graduate Fellowship in Ethics, Maya will draw on Indigenous, arts-based, and journalism perspectives to explore the ethical implications of solidarity, collaboration, representation, and digital storytelling in First Nations communities in Northern Canada. Originally from Toronto, Maya loves living so close to mountains and the ocean, and is very excited to explore more of Northern Canada as part of her research.

Jennica Nichols
Hello! My name is Jennica Nichols. I was born and raised in Southern Ontario, although I have called Vancouver, British Columbia home since 2016. I have a BSc (molecular biology and biotechnology) and a MPH (epidemiology and global health). I am currently working on my PhD. I research ways to increase research relevance and use by shifting how research is done, how findings are used, and who benefits from the process. I draw from implementation science, public health, evaluation, and education to do this. I try to use my position as a researcher and evaluator to fight for social justice and improve health equity. My current research interest include research-based theatre as a method to do integrated knowledge translation, ethics in arts-based research, intervention co-design, and meaningful stakeholder engagement. On my free time, I like to nerd out about evolution, data science, food, and sustainability.  I am also a scuba diver, camping & biking enthusiast, music lover, and fan of hole-in-the-wall restaurants.

Itai Bavli
Itai Bavli is a PhD Candidate at the University of British Columbia’s Interdisciplinary Studies Graduate Program in the fields of public health, public policy and applied ethics. His research focuses on public health errors and post-market regulations in the United States and Canada. He has recently been awarded the W. Maurice Young Centre for Applied Ethics Graduate Fellowship for a proposal titled: “OxyContin abuse—Ethical issues regarding post-market regulation by the FDA and Health Canada.” He investigates how much evidence – and what kind of evidence – should be sufficient for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Health Canada to justify regulatory action in response to a (potential) public health error.

Mr. Bavli is also a researcher at the Gertner Institute for Epidemiology and Health Policy Research in Israel, where he is part of a research group that investigates the response of health authorities in the United States and Israel to the adverse effects of radiation treatment. He received his BA (Political Science and International Relations) and MA (Political Science) from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Adam Kay
Adam is in his final year of doctoral studies in Organizational Behavior at the UBC Sauder School of Business.

He has an undergraduate degree in Commerce and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Victoria, as well as a Masters of Laws from Osgoode Hall Law School. Prior to pursuing his doctoral work, Adam was a multinational biotech business manager, an international trade and investment lawyer, and an executive coach and consultant. His current research interests include mindfulness, moral identity, pro-social giving, and corporate social responsibility. Adam’s research has been published in peer-reviewed journals with the Journal of Personality & Social Psychology and Academy of Management Perspectives, as well as in book chapters with Routledge, Guilford Press, and Oxford University Press. As a graduate fellow of the W. Maurice Young Centre for Applied Ethics, Adam will be examining the effect of mindfulness on moral identity, and its downstream effects on deviant workplace behaviors.