Since its inception, the Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies has been a vibrant space for all UFV students to be a part of. Our students have been involved with the CICS through their volunteering, research assistanships, work study positions, internships and practicums. Because of their immense hard work and efforts, many of our students have been involved in some innovative research projects, with some of them eventually earning them the annual Undergraduate Research Excellence (URE) award awarded by the Research and Graduate Studies Office.

For the CICS Research Advisory Council (RAC) Detailed Summary of the 2015 student hires and their work, please click on:  RAC Student Summary
 
 
 
Rishma Johal
 
Position: Research Assistant
 
Year: Winter 2015
 
Rishma Johal, a 2014 SFU MA Graduate and currently a Visual Arts student at UFV, engaged in an extensive research project and literature review titled: A Space for Female Agency: Giddha Dancers in the Diaspora. This study will adopt a South Asian Canadian feminist lens to examine perceptions of giddha as a strictly female dance form among Punjabi-Canadian women in the diaspora and their opinions about culture and female agency through its performance. This paper will adopt a qualitative feminist methodological framework to examine women’s written or spoken words and observable experiences. Qualitative feminist methodology recognizes women’s experiences as fundamental to develop an understanding of women’s lives. In this study, qualitatative feminist methodology gives women’s voices precedence through in-depth interviews and focus groups. Feminists embrace subjectivity and the adoption of this framework provides a space for women’s voices to be heard on their terms as subjects.
 
 
 
 
Alisha Soni
 
Position: Research Assistant
 
Year: Winter 2015
 
Alisha, a Bachelor of Science Major at UFV has played a pivotal role in the Race and Anti-Racism (ufv.ca/ran) Postcards from the Margin campaign that looked at the occurrences of race-related incidents or experiences on campus. Alisha designed and disseminated the postcards and also collated all the data. The data produced will be used proactively to look for solutions on campus and will also be published by the CICS. The impetus for this campaign is to raise awareness about racial discrimination and provide a confidential, anonymous avenue for these stories/opinions/experiences to be heard and shared. RAN’s goal is to understand incidents of discrimination based on race that occur on campus with an objective to have these issues emerge in the postcards. These postcards are being conceived as a form of record for the often silenced/silent issues of racial discrimination on UFV’s campuses.
 
 
 
 
Anecia Gill
 
Position: Research Assistant
 
Year: Winter 2015
 
Anecia, a Sociology Major at UFV has been working on creating the Komagata Maru Play Study Guide based on the CICS commissioned play that was performed on November, 2014. Anecia’s project is interdisciplinary in nature as she works with archival materials and ephemera, historical data, personal narratives, the script of a play, a video of the actual play to develop an interactive study guide for grade 8 students. The project will provide a useful and user-friendly (age appropriate) study guide about an important topic in Canadian history that has been omitted or barely studied in Social Studies in BC. The study guide is made up of four lesson plans/units that include in them accurately placed/culturally appropriate historical data, student led exercises, video-graphed vignettes from the play that speak to historical moments/law/discrimination and cultural bias, foundational text, ephemera, photographs, teacher’s notes, websites and resources. Anecia has produced a document that we will be approaching the Ministry of Education with for introduction into the school curriculum. Anecia also presented her work at the UFV Wide Professional Development Day on April 27, 2015.
 
 
 
 
 
 Anish Bahri
 
Position: Communications Practicum Student
 
Year: Winter 2015
 
Anish is in his final year of studies in the Department of Communications at UFV and completed his final practicum at the CICS. During his four month practicum, Anish assisted with two events: the launch of the Sikh Heritage Museum’s seventh exhibition, Canadian Sikhs in WWI: The Forgotten Story and the Ehsaas South Asian Readers and Writers Festival featuring Shauna Singh Baldwin. 
 
 
 Sukhi Brar


Position: Research Assistant (RBCM Early Sikh Migrant Mill Workers Project)

Year: Winter 2015

Sukhi is a student in the Bachelor of Kinesiology program (Exercise Science major, Extended Psychology minor) at UFV and also a member on the UFV Board of Governors. Sukhi also worked on the Sikh Ethnic Food History Project: A Join Project by Royal British Columbia Museum (RBCM) and the Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies (CICS) . The work involved interviewing, transcribing and narrating the stories of South Asian men who worked in the mill and wood working industry in the early, mid, and later 20th century, BC. The RBCM will then be taking the research collated to produce a future exhibition. Sukhi presented her work and experience of interviewing South Asian millworkers at this year’s student micro-lecture series hosted by UFV’s Research, Engagement, and Graduate Studies Department: http://blogs.ufv.ca/indocanadianstudies/2015/04/21/showcasing-ufvs-undergraduate-researchers/.

 

 

Meena Bolla


Position: Practicum (School of Social Work and Human Services) and Research Assistant (RBCM Early Sikh Migrant Mill Workers Project)

Year: Winter 2014 and Winter 2015

When I first began, my major task was to assist with the launch of the exhibition “Challenge and Denial: Komagata Maru 100 Years Later” and to create a touring program. For the first 150 hours, I worked at the centre and did a variety of things for the exhibition. I created a brochure, promotional video and panels for the site at the Gur Sikh Temple. We started a Tour and Try program for students to explore the exhibition as a field trip and I worked on everything from creating student booklets to coming up with creative activities. I was given the freedom to construct the Komagata Tour however I liked for students ranging from grades 1-10 and I seized the opportunity to get as creative as I could. I created a passport activity for students and many trivia questions in their booklet to challenge them. 

 
 
Faisal Alhumaidi
 
Position: Communications Practicum
 
Year: Fall, 2014

Faisal was a practicum student in the Summer 2014 (from the Communications program) and assisted with our management of the Canadian Sikh Heritage website (www.canadiansikhheritage.ca) and helped upload the new pioneer stories to the website. Faisal also helped design posters and materials for CICS related events during the time of his practicum.

 
 
 
Suhail 
 Suhail Shaikh

Position: Research Assistant

Year: Summer 2014

Suhail has been working on a number of projects for the CICS including beginning his work as a volunteer and helping with the 100 Year Pioneer Project and the online publishing of South Asian pioneers and their stories in the Fraser Valley. In addition, Suhail has also been helping to prepare the Canadian Sikhs in WWI exhibition which will be launched in January 2015. 

 
 
 
Bharat 2014

Bharat Nayyar

Position: Research Assistant

Year: Winter 2014 and Summer 2014

Hi my name is Bharat Nayyar. I’m a 3rd year Business student and recently transferred to Canada in fall 2013. I’m doing my major in Finance. Coming to Canada is one of the best things that has happened to me. This has given me a chance to explore what exists beyond my home country “India.” I had never thought of studying abroad but UFV Chandigarh provided me and other students a chance to be here. My job at the CICS has been helping me to gain knowledge about the South Asian community living in Canada. I learn something new whenever I listen to an interview of a pioneer who has so much to share about his/her experience on coming here, settling in this country and working with Canadians. 

 
 
Lovepreet Vehniwal
 
Position: Internship
 
Year: Spring, 2013
 
Lovepreet Vehniwal has been working under the guidance and supervision of CICS Director, Satwinder Kaur Bains. Lovepreet is an MSW student and will be defending his dissertation in the next month. His topic was on health related problems of senior Punjabi immigrants and other problems faced by them inside the house and outside in the society.
 
 
 
 
 
Karan Vohar
 

Karan Vohra

Position: Research Assistant

Year: Fall 2013

I am a 3rd Year Business student. This is my first time in Canada and I am really looking forward to a very enriching experience here. Debating, playing basketball and driving are my favourite stress busters. Far away from home, this is now a new challenge for me. Hope I do well and meet a lot of interesting people like you all. Kudos!

 ‌

 

John Park

Position: Practicum (Minor in Communication)

Year: Winter 2013

Work for Centre of Indo Canadian Studies (CICS) about 80 hours during semester such as CICS's development, maintenance, and strengthening of linkages that lead to diverse experiences for students, faculty, and community.

Work Outcomes are use research skills as well as design skills, transferring knowledge in information technology & media, and advertise CICS through Facebook and CICS blog.

 

 

‌ Donna Gomes

Donna Gomes

Position: Research Assistant

Year: Summer 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014

Donna has a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and English Literature and is currently enrolled as a Library and Information Technology student. She has worked for the Center for Indo-Canadian studies as a research student over the summer and fall of 2013 working with historical primary documents. During the summer she created subject and key word headings and abstracts for two hundred and fifty newspaper articles from 1906 to 1915 donated to the center by Dr. Norman Buchignani and designed an online database to make them widely accessible. The newspaper articles offer incredible insight into the many hurdles the first South Asian immigrants to B.C. faced and the discriminatory immigration laws that placed an embargo on further immigration. A historical events covered in the newspaper articles include the building of the first Sikh temple in B.C., the amendment to the voting act that disenfranchised South Asian immigrants, and the Komagata Maru incident. The database is now accessible through the CICS website and is available to students and the public for research purposes. During the fall she will be working with a collection of documents donated to the center that belonged to Dr. D. P. Pandia, an Indian lawyer who came to B.C. in the 1930s and 1940s. Dr. Pandia was instrumental in winning the fight to get the franchise reinstated for South Asian immigrants in Canada. He also assisted many South Asian immigrants to fight deportation proceedings and to successfully apply to bring their families to Canada. Over the fall semester she will be creating an index of the documents, subject and key word headings, abstracts, and creating an online database to make them widely available for research. "Working for the Center for Indo-Canadian Studies has been an amazing experience. The environment is welcoming and stimulating. Everyone is passionate about their work and the research projects I've worked on have been fascinating and both professionally and personally rewarding."

 

 

Ankita Garg 

Ankita Garg

Position: Work Study

Year: Fall 2013

I am a fourth year Business student at UFV with marketing majors. I just took transfer from Chandigarh to the Canadian campus. My main reason of coming and studying overseas is to explore and grab as many opportunities as I can. I have always aspired working under Ms. Satwinder Bains and being a part of CICS as it would give me great working experience. I hope to learn and help the organization with full determination and best of my efforts.

 

 Divya Sharma

Divya Sharma

Position: Work Study

Year: Fall 2013

I am a student from the Chandigarh campus of this university and I have completed my three years of education in Chandigarh and this year I took a transfer to the Canadian campus. Now, here I am in Canada trying to start a new life far away from home. I am a very cheerful person I like to meet new people make new friends.

 

 

Parveer Ghuman

Position: Intern

Year: Summer 2013

 

 

 

Stacy Thoreson

Position: Intern

Year: Fall 2012

In Fall 2012 I went to Chandigarh, India as an intern on a scholarship funded through CIDA and AUCC, organized by the Global Development Studies program and the Centre for Indo Canadian Studies. I worked with a local NGO in a settlement just outside of the city and at a local school for underprivileged children. Our goal was to provide education to the families in the settlement and the children at the school about gardening, healthy food and nutrition. In the settlement we implemented a roof top gardening project which provided supplies and education to families in need in order to grow their own vegetables. Our project helped to develop community involvement and to create an awareness about how easy and cost effective it is to grow your own food. At the school we planted class gardens and were able to work hands on with the kids outside which was really a lot of fun.

Overall my time in India was the best practical and educational experience I could have hoped for, along with the added benefits of a wonderful cultural experience. Even after being home for a few months I find I'm still learning about myself from the experiences I had in India. The relationships I've built through the success of the project have left me with a feeling of longing to go back. I love the people, the food, the clothes and the kindness that exudes from within each and every person I met.

 

 Abdul

Abdulelah Alyami

Position: Practicum for his minor in communication

Year: Fall 2012

He spent about 80 hours to make the centre more popular in the community by: Introducing the centre to the social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flicker, Google+, etc), helping make a short video about the centre, and helping update the centre’s website. He has had a very good experience and had fun working with everyone at the centre.

 

 

Deepi Dolla

 Deepi Dolla

Position: CICS Special Events Assistant, Volunteer

Year: September 2010-2012

Over the past few years I have worked and volunteered with CICS to help plan and set up several different events including: Virasat Pioneer Gala and Conference, Diwali and Holi celebrations, International Women's Day and Chai Times, amongst many others. My experience with the Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies has always been a memorable and enjoyable one. I have had the opportunity to meet many different people and learn so much in the process.

 

 

Rasleen Uppal

Position: Work-Study Research Assistant

Year: Winter 2013

As a research assistant she worked on several projects. Some of them included researching and creating a database of different Canadian businesses who are working with India , editing a bibliography, gathering and editing information on the Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies website, and organizing articles related to the Komagata Maru. The part which she really enjoyed and learnt a lot from was the research portion as it taught her how to use different databases and what the future relationship between Canada and India’s businesses may look like.

 

 

Suman Lally

Position: Work- study research assistant

Year: Winter 2013, Fall 2013

Suman started volunteering at the Centre for Indo- Canadian Studies while she was in high school. When she started attending UFV, she became a little more involved and was given the position of a research assistant this year. Her work consisted of going through the Punjabi pioneer interviews and comprising a narrative with pictures for each person. She found this task very interesting because of all the stories she heard and the information she learned about our history. Suman thinks it’s very neat to be a part of this process in preserving personal stories so people in the future can learn more about their history.

 

 

Priyesh Naik

Position: Student Research Assistant

Year: 2012

He has sorted, catalogued and labeled source documents and provided key words and phrase that will be used to create a keyword search for articles that are to be placed on the website. He says that the Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies is a very welcoming place to work, everyone is willing to help and they are always ready to answer any questions you have. It has been an interesting experience for him to learn about how life was for the first immigrants in British Columbia.

 

 

Shea Wind

Position: Research Assistant

Year: 2012

As a Research Assistant for the Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies he was responsible for transcribing and thoroughly proofreading approximately news articles from 1906-1915, that were published in Vancouver’s The Daily Province newspaper.  The articles cover a number of news stories that display numerous attempts of British Columbians to repel Indian migration and the efforts of many Indo-Canadians to settle here and attain the rights that should have been guaranteed to them as British subjects.  These primary sources were donated to the Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies by Dr. Norman Buchignani, co-author of a “Continuous Journey: A Social History of South Asians in Canada.”  He also engaged in researching successful online cataloguing methods and developed a work plan for the following research assistant working on this project.

 

 

Tanvir Mavi

Position: Research assistant - Komagata Maru Project

Year: 2012

It was an amazing experience to work at the CICS, during this time I learned a lot about the history of Indians in Canada. What they had to go through, how they survived, and much more. I would love to work with CICS again.

 

 

Aman Dhami

Position: Research Assistant

Year: 2009 - 2011

I came to Canada in fall 2009 to continue by BBA studies from Chandigarh, India. I met Prof. Satwinder Bains on campus, who gave me the opportunity to work with CICS. I stared volunteering with CICS.  I made new friends and met with great people while organizing chai time, holi and other events at the CICS  through which I got the chance to attend the Mehfil Magazine  Gala in 2010, which was great experience. I got the opportunity to learn more about Canadian Sikhs by visiting the reach gallery museum.  Later I got a work study position at the CICS.  One day while working on Sikh pioneer interviews at the CICS, Prof. Bains offered me to work on a project for participating in Undergraduate Research in UFV. With Prof. Bains’s and Sharanjit’s guidance I was able to complete  my project “LIONS OF THE SEA”  A timeline of one hundred years of heritage  1911-2011  which  explores the challenges South Asians faced over their 100 year history in Canada as well as their contributions. I was also honoured to receive the Undergraduate Research Excellence Award for Indo‐Canadian Studies for the project at UFV.

“Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great.”  -Orison Swett Marden

This quote always encourages me every single time I read it. 2011 was the year when Gur Sikh temple, Abbotsford marks its 100th anniversary. CICS and Reach gallery organized Centennial conference at UFV.  I was lucky to meet great people from all over the world and learn about culture and religion.  Along with other students of SAPNA organizing conference and Prof. Rajnish guidance,  I got the opportunity to participated in  a play “Once upon a time in Kneda” which demonstrated the hard life of  Sikh pioneers in Canada.  While practicing the role of Sikh pioneer I learned how hard it was in old times to find work and settle in a new country without knowing the language.  Their hard work made so easy for future generation to settle in Canada. I was a great experience.

After graduating I got chance to work as research assistant at CICS. The first day I came to UFV everyone was stranger and in few months it became my second home.  Volunteering and working at CICS was great  gift. After learning about Sikh history in Canada and the experience I gained from the CICS I feel I grew up in the country  and was never actually from India.

 

Raji Heer

Position: Research Assistant

Year: 2009

In September 2009, Raji travelled to Punjabi, India under the leadership of Ms Satwinder Bains to conduct research on the Canadian Diaspora in India.  The purpose of her research was to interview Canadian citizens who had moved to India and find out their reasons of return to their homeland. The experience was enlightening to say the least.  She experienced a new India from the previous three trips she has made.  Travelling alone throughout Panjab on locals buses was daunting at first, but it just made her more confident. She formed some great friendships at the University of Panjab.  She became more confident and was able to develop interviewing skills, as well as interpersonal communication skills, which was an important component for this study. Raji would encourage every student to take advantage of international internships, because it builds your confidence and self esteem.  You build more connections, helping you become more successful in the future.

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