Five students impress with winning entries in the 2022 SSHRC Storytellers Challenge

News release

Postsecondary students tell insightful true stories about why research matters

Monday, May 16, 2022—Ottawa, Ontario—Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

Social sciences and humanities research helps us delve into what it means to be human and points the way towards a better future for all. While research can often seem abstract, stories can bridge the distances between academia and society, connecting us on a human level.

Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced the winners of the 2022 Storytellers Challenge. This announcement celebrates the top five postsecondary students who captivated and inspired Canadians with short stories about research funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). These talented students created compelling accounts of how SSHRC-funded research is shining light into unexplored corners and illuminating paths forward that will benefit all Canadians. This year’s winners are:

  • Ariana Ellis, from the University of Toronto, who shared a story about digitally reconstructing the sights and sounds of medieval Florence;
  • Zora Feren, from Simon Fraser University, who detailed curating our cities’ soundscapes to benefit their residents;
  • Arvin Jagayat, from Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University), who talked about testing social media features that could lead to “virtuous circles”;
  • Vincci Li, from York University, who explained exploring how Canadians crowdfund for their lives to cover health-care costs; and
  • Victoria Woghiren, from Wilfrid Laurier University, who described her research consulting children in care about how they would shape the child placement system.

The five winners were selected from the 25 finalists in SSHRC’s Storytellers Challenge, which calls on postsecondary students to show Canadians—in up to three minutes or 300 words—how their social sciences and humanities research is making a difference in our lives.

The Top 25 stories were chosen from a highly competitive field of about 230 submissions by students from across the country.

The ultimate Final Five stood out in the Challenge’s second round, in which finalists relied on public speaking to convey the power of their story to a distinguished panel of judges in a live, virtual presentation. Each of the 25 finalists received $3,000, and the Final Five received an additional $1,000 each in recognition of their outstanding achievements.


“These emerging researchers are blazing trails in their disciplines and showcasing the importance of communicating research. I often see the incredible advancements that Canadian researchers are accomplishing across the country, and these students are no different. They are doing an incredible job of clearly sharing the impacts this work is having with Canadians. Congratulations to all the finalists!”

—The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“Year after year, I am amazed how well postsecondary students rise to our Storytellers Challenge. These students are leading the way today by showing their incredible skill at translating cutting-edge, complex projects into stories we can all understand, appreciate and learn from. Congratulations to them and to all of this year’s finalists!”

—Ted Hewitt, President, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council 

Quick facts

  • A distinguished jury chose the Final Five:

    • Marc LePage, former President, Genome Canada;
    • Nicola Luksic, Senior Producer, CBC Radio’s Ideas;
    • Manon Tremblay, Senior Director, Indigenous Directions, Concordia University; and
    • Jacqueline Wallace, Vice-President, Marketing and Communications, Mitacs
  • This is the ninth edition of the Storytellers Challenge. The 2021 edition was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • The Storytellers Challenge is unique among postsecondary student knowledge mobilization initiatives in Canada, in that it accepts written, graphic, audio and video submissions.

Associated links


Laurie Bouchard
Senior Manager, Communications
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Media Relations
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

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