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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
December 6, 2016
Canadian Excellence

Headlines (News Releases)

Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

Laurier social work student wins inaugural Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship

Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing

May 7/09| For Immediate Release


Dr. Lesley Cooper, Dean of Social Work
519-884-1970 ext. 5252 or


Kevin Crowley, Associate Director
News and Editorial Services
519-884-0710 ext. 3070 or

WATERLOO – Bharati Sethi, a PhD student in Wilfrid Laurier University’s Faculty of Social Work, has received a prestigious Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship from the Government of Canada. The doctoral award is valued at $50,000 per year for up to three years.

“This award means financial stability for the first time in the 14 years that I’ve been in Canada,” said Sethi, who came to Canada from India in 1994 as a 19-year-old student. “But more than that, winning the Vanier has helped make my lifelong dream of getting a PhD come true.”

The scholarship will support Sethi’s research into the mental health and well-being of South Asian immigrant women who come in Canada under the Family Class Sponsorship Policy. Under the policy, newcomers — often well-educated and skilled professionals —  are dependent on their sponsor for financial, social and heath-care needs for three years after settling. Through her study, Sethi will investigate the health impact of sponsor-imposed programs on South Asian women, and the barriers they face when accessing health services in rural and mid-size communities.

This is not the first time Sethi’s commitment to mental health issues has been recognized. In 2008, while completing her master’s degree at Laurier, Sethi was one of two Ontario graduate social work students to receive the provincial government’s Hilary M. Weston Scholarship. 

“Bharati is a remarkable and talented student,” said Dr. Lesley Cooper, dean of Social Work. “Academically she is outstanding. She is totally committed to social justice issues in the faculty and in her local community. This commitment to social justice drives her research interests.”

The inaugural Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships were awarded to 166 recipients studying at universities across Canada. Nominees were evaluated by multi-disciplinary peer review committees and selected by a panel of world-renowned Canadian and international experts.

“Wilfrid Laurier University is known for a commitment to academic excellence and community engagement, the qualities the Vanier committee was looking for in a winner of this most prestigious award,” said Dr. Joan Norris, dean of Graduate Studies. “We are delighted that Bharati will hold the first Vanier scholarship awarded to Laurier.”

The scholarship program was launched by the Government of Canada with an initial $25-million investment, and is administered by Canada’s three federal research granting agencies — the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. It aims to attract and retain world-class doctoral students by supporting those who demonstrate a high standard of scholarly achievement and exemplary leadership skills.


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