Ursula Jasiobedza
Chau Pham
Jennifer Mervyn
Aleksandra Zecevic


On completion of her Masters in Clinical Psychology of Concordia University, Ursula plans to commence her doctoral studies in the same field at Concordia or York University.

She intends to focus on issues affecting child, adolescent and adult female populations. She has found that gender differences of depression in girls do not appear until adolescence when they are socialized to adopt the ‘feminine’ role. Girls and women face greater societal disapproval for aggression and independence than do boys and men.


Chau will fulfill her dream of becoming a doctor, after battling incredible odds, when she graduates from the University of Manitoba in June 2005. Born in Vietnam, one of t he world’s poorest countries, Chau escaped Vietnam authorities in the middle of the night at the age of five, with some relatives but no parents. Food ran out on the high seas but they finally arrived in a United Nations Camp in Thailand where she was diagnosed with tuberculosis. She recovered due to good medical care and she began her dream of becoming a doctor.

Imagine the shock of arriving in Winnipeg, unable to speak a word of English, walking to school in unimaginable weather and being teased by children about her name.

In 1993, with five Canadian friends she formed “Canadians Helping Kids in Vietnam Inc.” after visiting her homeland and witnessing the terrible living conditions.


Jennifer’s Master’s thesis is titled “The Critical Incidents That Help People Make the Permanent Transition Off the Street”. This fits her life, as she was able to turn her life around after spending her adolescence on the streets. Her Life’s goal is to explore her situation so she can give some answers back to her community.

One reference for the SFC grants wrote, “Jennifer is pre-eminently qualified through her personal experience and professional training to be a wonderful resource for enhancing the lives of women. Her work on ways that people move away from life in the streets is both inspirational and fundamentally practical.

Jennifer plans to complete her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology at the University of British Columbia in 2005.


Considering that women make up 73% of the elderly population, Aleksandra’s research on fall prevention is beneficial. She plans to investigate gait data and apply a model of dynamic systems to explain the complexity of physiological processes behind fall occurrences in the elderly. Aleksandra grew up in Bosnia and Hertzegovina, immigrating to Canada in 1994, and becoming a Canadian citizen.

Pursuing her research ambitions has been a challenge as she left the work force in her thirties with resultant financial constraints.

At the University of Western Ontario she pursued graduate studies until 1997, followed by two years as a research assistant. She has now commenced her doctorate in Kinesiology at UWO specializing in fall prevention for older adults.

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