Our Graduates

Some Graduates of Individualized Studies

IS grads go in very interesting directions. They study further, and they often serve society. As these examples show, IS sets prepares a student well for flexible, engrossing, very varied work.


Vered Rose Benchetrit, who has worked in businesses that teach dance to children, based her thesis on a sociological survey of the attitudes of Toronto's observant Orthodox Jews to dancing by their community's young girls.

Veronica Hendrick Lockyer wrote her thesis on the prospect of reducing child poverty in Canada by teaching children their rights in accordance with the United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child. She then went on to do graduate work in Anthropology, at York University, and to work in the field of children's rights.


James Gomez, a dancer with an interest in technology and communications, did a study for Professor Patrick Alcedo, of the Dance Department, on instructional systems for teaching traditional Filipino dance to amateurs. He aims for a career on the communications side of business.

Mina Kelada (al-Romani) worked with Professor Zulfikar Hirji of Anthropology to explore the urban conditions for the flourishing of genius. His essay compared ancient Athens, medieval Baghdad, and Renaissance Florence.

Devon MacPherson has an assistance dog named Barkley. She worked with Professor Cheryl VanDaalen-Smith, of Nursing and Humanities, to study the benefits of assistance dogs for veterans with PTSD, and her thesis also pondered the legal and social barriers to assistance animals. When Devon graduated, Barkley padded across the stage with her, in canine cap and gown, and everybody cheered. Devon went on to York’s graduate program in Disability Studies.

Jessie Zsolt, herself a dancer, did her thesis with the Dance professor, Mary Fogarty. Working in the studio, she studied the value of break dance for the self-image and self-esteem of adolescent girls. She then moved on to study traditional Chinese medicine, with an eye to whispering to horses.


Alison Magpayo is a social activist interested in migration and labour. For Professor Philip Kelly, a geographer at the Centre for Asian Research, she wrote a thesis that took her to Israel, where she interviewed Filipino guest-workers and then turned those interviews into sociological fiction, for a website she designed. She then came back to York for a Master’s with Professor Kelly and continued her research, with an activist eye.

Christian di Staulo was a dramatist who wanted to explore acting as a device for teaching secondary school. His undergraduate thesis, for Professor Ross Stuart of the Theatre Department, was a play he wrote, directed, and produced. Right after graduation, Chris made films, and in 2014 took a production, “Somnolence” to, among other places, Las Vegas and Cannes, winning awards for that and other movies. For details of his flourishing career, see his website.


Leigh Sanger did her thesis on social entrepreneurship and early education. She went on to teach cardio-fitness in the Peel school board and in the fall of 2015 was very pleased to have a new baby.


Lucy de Costa did her thesis on “Psychiatric Survivors, Mental Health, and the Law.” After graduating, she went to Osgoode Hall and become very interested in the legal status and social welfare of mental health patients, She is now very involved in collaborating and developing the emergent field of Mad Studies with colleagues locally and internationally.  She does this while working full time at the Empowerment Council an organization representing the rights of clients at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. She is also co-editor on an anthology entitled, “Madness, Violence and Power:  a Radical Anthology” forthcoming in summer 2016. You can find her work at YorkU Academia website.


Kate Sheese wrote her thesis on seasonal agricultural labour, and went on to do a York Master’s on the ways in which the structure of Canada's Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program fostered violence against women. She then began a doctorate in Psychology at CUNY in New York and, in the fall of 2015, went on research to Berlin, to study the psychological impact of migration, just as the great wave of Syrian refugees arrived.


Prof. Avron Kulak wrote his BA on the thought of Soren Kierkegaard, and went on to take a York doctorate in Social and Political Thought. He is now a fine teacher and well-known expert on Kierkegaard and on modern European thought. He teaches at York, in Humanities, and, until two years ago, he himself ran Individualized Studies. He loved the job and put it aside very reluctantly when Humanities put him in charge of advising their whole major.