Vanier scholar uses language acquisition to empower refugee children

Monday, June 29, 2020

Serena McDiarmid profle head shotSerena McDiarmid, a PhD candidate in Psychology, has been recognized with the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship for her incredible research proposal titled “Supporting second language acquisition of Canada’s child refugees: a longitudinal study of risk and protective factors for language learning success.”

There are millions of displaced people all over the world, and over half of those are children. Thousands of displaced children reside within Canada, and upon their arrival, they are faced with numerous challenges including the language barrier they encounter that prevents them from participating fully in society.

Serena earned her Bachelor of Education from Wilfrid Laurier University in 2017 and was then hired on as an Occasional Teacher with the Waterloo Region District School Board that same year, which she continues to do even today. Through her teaching, she has encountered these students in the local school system often, and from these encounters, her research topic was born. Her research answers pressing questions such as: How are refugee children faring compared to their non-refugee peers in the Ontario school system? What does typical development look like for refugee students? and What factors are associated with more or less successful child development? [...]

Read the full article in Arts Graduate student profiles.

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