Honours Students Profiles



Rory Anness

Hello! My name is Rory Anness, and I am a double major in Politics and History. While originally from Victoria, British Columbia, I decided to venture away from home for university – in fact, I ended up just about as far as one can go without leaving the country. Although I began my studies at Acadia University as a total stranger to Nova Scotia, the connections that I have made during my time here will make it very difficult to leave. I came to Acadia seeking out a small campus and a close-knit community and my expectations have been far exceeded.

The purpose of my thesis is to explore the differences in media framing between French and English newspapers in their coverage of the October Crisis of 1970. In practice, this involves reading an absurd number of old newspapers and experiencing indescribable amounts of aggravation with the microfilm reader, though it all stems from a place of love. The politics and history surrounding Quebec’s unique position within Canada has been of interest to me for many years and I am excited for the opportunity to research some of these peculiarities in greater depth.
When not working on my thesis, I can be found running Acadia’s Model United Nations Association, volunteering at the ASU Food Cupboard, or working behind the front desk at the Vaughan Memorial Library. In my free time… well, who am I kidding? I don’t have much of that these days, but I love my work as a student and am incredibly grateful for the numerous opportunities that have been offered to me.


Nick Mason


Hello there! My name is Nick Mason, and I’m from Halifax NS. I was well acquainted with Acadia before I even graduated high school, as both my Mom and Grandfather graduated from Acadia. On road trips to the valley, they would always make a point to pass by Acadia and tell me it was “my future university”. While they were just joking, I knew that coming here would be the right decision, and so far, I haven’t been proven wrong. Acadia has been an excellent experience for me, and I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunities I’ve had during my degree. Aside from my honours work, I am also the Vice Present of the Acadia Games Club and help run its bi-weekly events.

My major is in Politics, but my minor is in History. If completing these has taught me one thing, it’s that, more often than not, history is just past politics, and politics is just current history. As such, its no surprise that my thesis is taking a look at a more historical political case. Specifically, I’ve been researching the reign of Fidel Castro in Cuba, and looking to answer the question of how he and his regime survived through to the 21st century. Being so close to the fanatical anti-communist United States and experiencing the colapse of their Soviet benefactor, you would think a communist dictatorship like Castro’s would fall apart like a sandcastle at high tide. Despite the odds, however, the government he created still rules to the modern day, though Castro himself did step down nearly two decades ago. To explain this surprising resilience, my research has turned to examining one aspect of his rule in particular: migration policy. Castro had a fascinating habit of throwing open his country’s borders and letting anyone go who wished to leave. This thesis will examine what role this migration policy played in stabilising Fidel Castro’s regime over time, what unique benefits it brought his regime that helped it survive, and to what extent it can be credited for keeping him in power until his willing retirement.

Understanding how and why governments stay or fall is an incredibly multifaceted endeavour, and I can only hope that my research helps illuminate even one single piece of the overall puzzle. A project like this is unlike anything I’ve undertaken before, but I know I can rise to the demand!


Bobbeth Colebrook

Hi, my name is Bobbeth Colebrook and I am a double-major in Politics and Philosophy with Co-op. I am from Nassau, Bahamas where there is only one season – summer. Out of my curiosity to experience the other 3 seasons, I came here to Nova Scotia. By far, my experiences here at Acadia have been worthwhile. With the politics department’s passport program, I had the chance to attend events, partake in activities and meet new people that I never thought I would have before. It is through these experiences that my interests in my thesis topic became known to me.

The thesis that I plan to submit in 2020 is about a topic that I find very provoking and important for our world to understand. It explores how colonialism has found its way into present-day society through modern industries. How does globalisation play a part in the erasure of diversity in world cultures? My thesis will explore how the tourism industry in the Bahamas has been a product of neocolonialism. The thesis will explore how the Bahamas is becoming more and more like the United States to the point where Bahamian culture is being marginalized. Who knows the ghastly implications of this marginalization of Bahamian culture in the Bahamas? Will this marginalization ever end, or will it continue until there will be no such thing as Bahamian culture?

If you ever want to chat about my research or something else that’s related, you might find me at the librar- who am I kidding? I’m usually at home writing creative pieces. You may see me around campus hanging out in the SUB or out to musical theatre shows though. I love theatre!

Sebastian Farkas

Hey Everyone, my name is Sebastian Farkas and I am from the beautiful city of Calgary, Alberta. I came to Acadia seeking something different, and Acadia has surely not disappointed. I wasn’t sure what to expect as I had never been to the province before, let alone visited the campus, but Acadia has provided much more than I could have ever imagined.

My thesis concerns the Alberta oil sands, and the effects Canada’s policy towards the environment and climate change is having on the future prosperity of a region Canada has relied upon for decades. By focusing on securitization theory, my project will investigate how a securitizing policy towards the environment and climate change is devastating an area relied on by so many Canadians. I will examine how the federal government’s securitizing policy is communicated, and subsequently implemented at a provincial level. By utilizing a comparative study of Alberta and British Columbia, my thesis will demonstrate the variance in response to this policy by both provinces, and how that response is drastically altering the relationship between the two provinces. Historically, the oil sands was an area both provinces came together to benefit from, but now the relationship has turned hostile and its having drastic effects on the viability of the oil sands going forward.

When I’m not grinding on my thesis, you can find me hitting the links. If I am not at the course, I will either be helping the Acadia Pre-Law Society or practicing my public speaking at Toast Masters.

I am excited for the journey that comes with writing a thesis, and the opportunity to share my findings with the Acadia community!

Rachel Legg

Hi everyone! My name is Rachel Legg, I am a Nova Scotia girl born and raised. Staying in this beautiful province for my post-secondary education was a no-brainer for me, and since coming to Acadia I have felt more at home than ever. The tight knit community and small class numbers have given me a chance to make meaningful relationships all over Wolfville, and create connections which will last a lifetime. In addition to my Politics Honours thesis I am also working on a double major with Psychology, because why leave yourself any free time am I right? When I'm not on campus you can probably find me at Joe's Food Emporium where I work as a server (gotta pay those bills).

My Honours thesis has a gendered focus, analyzing the trends in Canada's legal field. My goal is to better understand female representation in law firms as well as the disparity between the number of women who attend law school vs those who go on to actually practice law. I think that this thesis topic is very important for woman who want to enter into a legal career (or really any field which is presently dominated by men). My project is focused on the province of Nova Scotia, it will include qualitative information, gathered from semi-structured interviews with lawyers in the province, as well as quantitative analyses of gender breakdowns in law schools, law firms, and from provincial barrister societies. This topic seemed like an important choice for me as a female with hopes of one day practicing law. It also has some important political implications when considering that the legal field in Canada is a stepping stone for judges in this country.

Aside from academics at Acadia I am also an executive on the Pre-Law Society here. Connecting with individuals who have similar aspirations to myself has been very comforting and motivating. I am very eager to engage with this subject and to develop a thesis on a topic so important to myself, and many other women across the country.



Alex McKaigue

Hi there! My name is Alex McKaigue, and I am from Bradford, Ontario – YES, to confirm your overwhelming excitement, it is the carrot capital of Canada. No need to Google, thanks. I was lucky enough to have relatives and family friends as alumni in my life and the endearment towards Acadia which they all shared was reason enough for me to consider the school. I was seeking a small tight knit community and Acadia has surpassed all and even my best expectations. I am an English double major, and it was in my first year I took a Politics elective, and I quickly became hooked and half converted to the dark side to become a POLS major as well.

The general focus of my research will be on some of the implications which music sampling has contributed the arts community. It is a technique which has left many uncomfortable with its existence, dubbing the medium as “stealing”, and I would like to explore the concepts of ownership, authenticity, and its effect on genres and traditions within mass media. I would like to see what agency and message the medium of sampling holds over producers and consumers alike. I also foresee I will be thanking Beyoncé in there in some form or another, for sure, don’t you worry.

I am truly never thought I would be able to have an opportunity to speak uninterrupted on a topic I am truly engaged in for pages and pages on end. This is a chatter box’s dream, and a win for my peers, now that I have something positive to channel my talking into. I like to write for the Athenaeum when they will have me, fantasize about what breed of dog I will adopt once I get a big girl job to support him, and I have finally self-diagnosed myself this year as a helpless pop culture freak.  Xoxo gossip girl.

Colin Mitchell

My name is Colin Mitchell and I’m from Vancouver, BC. I decided to come to Acadia because I was looking to get away from the west coast and start fresh on the other side of the continent. I’ve since fallen in love with Nova Scotia and the people that make it unique, with my passion for the province growing every day. In addition to my Honours Politics degree I’m taking a Minor in History to understand the context behind the politics of today. I hope to continue my education with a Masters in International Relations and eventually join Canada’s Foreign Service or the United Nations. 

My thesis is focusing on the role of international organizations in the development of the information and communications technologies (ICT) industry in Rwanda since the 1994 genocide. I’m taking a look at the impact of international organizations on ICT development and how these relationships and partnerships have manifested in economic, educational, and social policies that have influenced the country. My project involves in-depth qualitative interviews at the United Nations Broadband Commission in Geneva, Switzerland with secretariat members, policy analysts, and support staff within the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). 

Outside of academics I maintain an active presence on campus, having founded the Acadia Photographic Society, served as Arts Senator and Student Board of Governors Representative of the Acadia Students’ Union, taking part in Acadia Model UN, writing for Acadia’s student newspaper The Athenaeum, and as President of the Paul Tom Debate Society. I also love cooking and 80s movies, with Back to the Future forever at the top of my list. 

Aodhan Murphy

My name is Aodhan Murphy and I came to Acadia from Moncton, New Brunswick. With a small-town undergraduate experience, a well-rounded liberal arts program, and the perfect distance from home, it delivered on all of that and more. After coming in the fall of 2015, working on my Honours thesis is just the latest opportunity Acadia has come to offer.

My research uses the 2018 provincial election in Ontario to explore the effects and future of regulating third parties in the pre-writ period. It analyzes how third parties adapt to restrictions in a period previously untouched by election laws, and tracks its constitutional challenge as it moves through the Ontario courts. With a long history of legal fights over third party regulation, and as the provinces and the federal government look to implement similar regulations, my research hopes to provide insight into the factors that will determine their future.

When I’m not working on my thesis, you can find me procrastinating with my friends on the first-floor of the library, or doing the same at Just Us.

Elektra Papadogiorgaki

Hello! My name is Elektra Papadogiorgaki and my signature takes me 3x longer than average to write out. I was born on the island of Crete in Greece and my family moved to Yarmouth, NS when I was young (don’t ask me why or how, I don’t have the answers). Having an American mother and Greek father opened me up to the possibilities of studying abroad, but Acadia was already the school for me. While I started out as a music major, I quickly realized that my personality required a study more aggressive in nature to fit my personality- and then I became a Politics major.

My thesis analyzes the Green Party of Canada and uses a provisional approach to compare it to green parties of other countries using the Nordic model as a structural basis. I will be looking at environmental protection acts and policies of Nordic countries and how they compare with Canada’s. The goal of my preliminary research is to hopefully allow me to examine how Canada’s environmental ranking would change if we had a similar social/economic model implemented, and whether or not that is feasible for our country.

I’ve recently worked as a policy analyst for an independent think tank in Northern Ontario, an experience that has truly solidified my interest in policy analysis, including providing me with tools to use throughout my honours research. In my free time I enjoy distance swimming, crime documentaries, and over-estimating single portions of pasta.


Ann de Ste Croix

My name is Ann de Ste Croix and I am from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. I fell in love with the Acadia campus during a visit in the Fall of 2014 and immediately knew that this is where I wanted to spend my undergrad. To this day, I do not regret that decision! My years at Acadia have given me friendships (shout out to the politics crew) and memories that I will cherish forever.

The general focus of my honours thesis is concerned with incidents of police brutality in the United States. Specifically, I am using the case of Michael Brown in 2014 to examine how the Ferguson protests and social media campaigns were able to challenge hegemonic ideas about the relationship between police officers and African Americans. Using critical discourse analysis as a tool, I am hoping to identify transitions in dominant discourse throughout traditional media sources written at the time of the incident.

When I’m not working on my thesis, you can most likely find me binge-watching The Office on Netflix or crying over animal rescue videos on Youtube. Outside of school, things that interest me are reading Dystopian novels, cuddling with my dog Rascal and listening to Drake.


Rachel McNally

My name is Rachel McNally and I am from Kentville, Nova Scotia. I decided to attend Acadia because of the diversity of opportunities here both academic and extra-curricular, plus I liked the idea of staying close to home in the beautiful Annapolis Valley. In addition to my Honours degree in Politics, I am taking a minor in Diaspora Studies exploring the cultures, histories and literatures of people on the move. I hope to continue my academic focus on refugees in the future by pursuing a Masters and maybe a PhD.

My thesis examines refugee sponsorship and integration in rural communities in Canada. Given the recent arrival of many sponsored refugee families in rural Nova Scotia, I am looking at how these families are integrating into their new home, why families are choosing to stay in or leave Nova Scotia, the opportunities and potential in rural refugee resettlement, and the problematic gaps in policy and services. My project involves in-depth qualitative interviews throughout the summer with sponsors, former refugee families, politicians, settlement workers and sponsorship agreement holder staff. Amid this broad-ranging data collection, my challenge now is to decide exactly what to include in my thesis!

Outside of school, I enjoy playing the flute, singing, canoeing, swimming, being outdoors, volunteering with refugees and international students, and serving as the President of Acadia Christian Fellowship.


Allison Smith

My name is Allison Smith and I came to Acadia from Stittsville, Ontario. Coming out of high school I was ready for a new place and a fresh perspective and Acadia has offered me that and more.

When I am not working on my thesis I am most likely hanging out around this beautiful town or organizing volunteer opportunities for students as the Coordinator of Community Outreach Acadia. I would like to thank Just Us Coffee in advance for fueling my thesis research and this write up with their coffee and camaraderie.

My interests in politics have changed incredibly over the last three years. Through supportive professors and provoking arguments with my classmates, who quickly became friends, I have found my niche in studying community engagement and political action. I am excited to explore the mechanisms of community engagement at the Wolfville Farmers Market through the lens of political philosopher Hannah Arendt. Choosing Politics at Acadia University has been the most transformative choice for me and I have never once regretted it, Acadia and Wolfville have certainly become home.


Doug Spafford

My name is Doug and I am originally from Athabasca, Alberta. I travelled out east to receive a university education, with dreams of one day becoming a lawyer. I am currently a Politics and Economics Double Major attempting to fulfill honours requirements in both subjects. Acadia was a bit of a random choice for me, but I haven’t regretted it once. Its hard to beat the level of involvement we have with our departments, especially as undergrad students, making the Acadia experience outstanding in that regard. I am involved with both of my departments, and am excited to have been elected as the president of the Acadia Economics Society for the coming year.

When I’m not cracking a fresh paperback with my honours-office mates, I can be found cracking an iced Americano with my fiancé. We like to hike and explore this beautiful province, and are proud cat-mom and cat-dad to 3 furry felines. We dabble in making our own wine, a hobby we highly recommend.

My Politics honours thesis explores the following question: Do the current Indigenous development practices supported by the Canadian government, such as Strategic Partnerships for Development, assist or hinder a reconciliation framework of development, and what can these practices learn from indigenous perspectives? This work is politically motivated by holding Prime Minister Trudeau to his 2015 promise to fully implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. Specifically, I will be analyzing contemporary Indigenous development practices and policy to establish whether they constitute a pathway to reconciliation. I will be utilizing a critical development framework of analysis, one which is more frequently applied to ‘developing’ nations in the Global South and not in the Canadian context. Importantly, this work will focus on the perspectives of the indigenous people whom are the targets of these development interventions and the scholarly literature that indigenous people have created.


Nicole Wambolt

My name is Nicole Wambolt and I am from Hammonds Plains, Nova Scotia. When it came time to choosing a university, I never thought I would stay in Nova Scotia. Instead, I dreamed of life in larger cities and huge universities. That all changed after visiting Acadia during Homecoming in the fall of 2013. After just one night, I knew that I would never find the overwhelming feeling of community and belonging at Acadia, anywhere else! I will forever be grateful for the amazing opportunities and people that have come my way throughout the journey of these past four years. 

The general focus of my thesis is concerned with the 2016 American Presidential election and the question of the white working class. Using the ideas and concepts of Stuart Hall, I am hoping to identify how this particular identity was mobilized and ultimately led to the election of Donald Trump.

When I should be working on my thesis, you can find me kicking soccer balls around for the Acadia Axewomen, researching and writing for Students Nova Scotia, hanging out at SMILE, sharing a laugh with my fellow comrades, and dancing the night away with my friends.




Katrina Kwan

My name is Katrina Kwan and I am originally from Coquitlam, British Columbia. I chose to attend Acadia University for my undergraduate degree because I figured that if I was going to move away from home to pursue my studies, I might as well go as far as possible (without leaving the country) and move to the other side of Canada. I had previously never visited the east coast, and found myself pleasantly surprised by the wonderful community and people that Wolfville had to offer. My last couple of years here have blessed me with wonderful friends, supportive professors, and interesting winter weather.

The general focus of my honours thesis (although it is currently in its preliminary stages and is always evolving) will mainly be concerned with judicial bias in Canada. The main entry point to my thesis will be using the example of Brock Turner as an initial case study. I was, like many people, confused and concerned (to put it mildly) when he was sentenced to only six months in prison.  With such an injustice, burning questions emerge: how did the judge come to this decision?  How do race, gender, and class act as factors? Would such an outcome be possible in Canada? Through this case study, I hope to draw a parallel between America's over-representation of African-American youths and Canada's over-representation of Aboriginal youth in the incarceration system.

When I'm not working on my thesis I also like to bake, take pictures of my cats, and memorize lines from Friends in my spare time.

Emma Hughes

Coming to Acadia from Rural Ontario was definitely a turning point in my life. I had initially pondered over University of Toronto, University of Ottawa and Western University. Yet somehow, a miniscule vision of the perfect life at Dalhousie translated into an application to Acadia University, and here I am.

When you don’t see me in the thesis office, my interests include reading, playing guitar, and watching terrible rom-coms from the 80’s. More recently, I have become the Opinions Editor for the Athenaeum at Acadia, and have taken to enjoying a London Fog while walking on the dykes. Authors of interest for me include: Sylvia Plath, Gloria Steinem, Peggy Orenstein, Kate Millet, and of course, Judy Blume.

My thesis will be focusing on the origins and nature of conflict in Palestine and Israel, furthermore examining how the creation of this conflict, along with its contemporary implications, has affected water distribution in the region. This thesis will focus specifically on foreign intervention from 1917-1948 and 1967-1993, with a specific examination of documents such as the Balfour Declaration, and will attempt to explain how American actors have generated one of the most volatile subsystems in the political arena. There will be an examination of water distribution before, during, and after the creation of the state of Israel. This thesis will aim to interpret and synthesize the nature of water distribution with the emergence of conflict.

Abby Newcombe

My name is Abby Newcombe and my “hometown” is New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. However, I was born in Kentville and all my extended family resides in the Valley so when it came time to pick a university, I applied to one school (Acadia) that would allow me to spend the next four years in the part of the province that truly felt like home. Coming to Acadia, specifically being a student in the Politics department, has given me opportunities I never thought I would receive and I have never for a second regretted my choice. My years at Acadia have given me friendships and memories I’ll cherish forever.

My honours thesis is looking at the 2015 Federal Election and if it indicates a turning point in the way that women’s representation in Canadian electoral politics is depicted in the media. I’m very excited to see where this project will take me, and am very much looking for the months ahead!

When I’m not working on my thesis, you can most likely find me spending an exuberant amount of time and money at Just Us Coffee House in downtown Wolfville, working as a Senior Resident Assistant in Seminary House, or hanging out around the campus and enjoying everything this place has to offer!

Caroline Anderson

My name is Caroline Anderson and I am quite the ‘in between’ citizen from two different Burlingtons. Originally from Burlington, Ontario, my parents decided to move the family to Burlington, Vermont, after visiting the state on their honeymoon. With beautiful mountains, a lakeside waterfront, and dangerous amounts of shopping on Church Street, my parents definitely made the right decision. I would visit Nova Scotia every summer to see my extended family, exploring Hirtle’s Beach and Lunenburg. After living here for three years, Nova Scotia is still my own special vacation spot. Following in my sister’s footsteps like any other little sister, I was determined to come to Acadia. The application process to Acadia was simply a meeting at a coffee shop in Burlington the first week of my senior year. I didn’t need to apply anywhere else; Acadia was going to be my home.

My honours thesis is looking at historical health reform efforts in the U.S. moving toward a universal health care system – reforms that have not passed. Using path dependency theory and critical junctures as tools, I am hoping to both identify these crucial moments in the universal health care debate and determine the factors/conditions in place during this narrative of rejection.

You can find me overstaying my welcome at Just Us! or Library Pub, walking on the dykes, eating potato skins with Miss Abigail Newcombe, following everything Bernie Sanders, and anticipating the next snowboard season in Vermont. 

Hunter Gillis

My name is Hunter Gillis and I am proud to call Wolfville home and Elmsdale, NS, my hometown. Coming to Acadia was not my original plan. Throughout High School I had always envisioned myself attending Dalhousie in Halifax, but on a whim I decided to go with a friend on a campus tour of Acadia. I fell in love with the university and the picturesque town of Wolfville on that visit and Acadia ended up being the right fit for me. I wouldn’t trade the last four years here at Acadia for anything in the world as I have gained invaluable friendships, knowledge and experiences that will last a lifetime.

My honours thesis is looking at how the Nova Scotia government undervalues women’s labour through its policies. Using the methodology of Structuralism and Feminist Political Economy I intend to highlight the neoliberalist framework that the Nova Scotia Liberal government is operating under in policy creation.

When I am not writing my thesis you can find me working part-time as the Social Media Intern at the Acadia University Art Gallery. Things that interest me are reading, watching sporting events, spending time with family and friends, listening to music and exploring the Valley.

Justin MacLeod

I’m not really sure how I got to this point, but I decided just to go with it. Born in the slowly dying town of Truro, Nova Scotia, the only viable option for me to go somewhere new was through university. My university career began with the discipline of history, but I soon realized that history was more of a tool for my true calling of politics. I hope to move on to do my masters degree, and maybe if all of the planets align someday complete my PHD.

If I’m not studying or reading about the latest Donald Trump soundbite, you will find me cheering on my Maple Leafs or losing more time to my Netflix addiction.

My thesis is going to look at Jodi Dean’s concept of communicative capitalism, and whether or not it is an entirely new idea. I will be looking at the work of previous theorists in communications theory to understand if Dean’s work is revolutionary, or is simply an evolution of previous understandings of capital and communications technology.