Congratulations to Dr. Harrison Oakes for being awarded the Governor General's Gold Medal for highest academic standing in a PhD program across all UW faculties!
Dr. Oakes teaches SDS 449R: Race and Gender Equality, an upper-year seminar course that encourages students to critically engage with theories and cultural influences on prejudice, discrimination and stereotyping across stigmaized groups. His innovative use of technology in this course allowed students a new means to reflect amongst each other and delve deeper into the course material.
Grounded in social psychology, Dr. Oakes' doctoral research investigated how social environments can influence one's perception of others. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, he successfully defended his dissertation titled "Closets Breed Suspicion: Environments that Stigmatize Concealable Identities Raise Doubts about Claims to Contrasting Non-Stigmatized Identities". His work explored how homophobic environments in schools can create implicit "closets", which influence students to behave in ways to avoid the suspicion of being within a stigimtized group.
Dr. Oakes was one of the many amazing graduates in this week's virtual convocation celebrations, and was recently profiled for his accomplishments in Waterloo Stories.