Congratulations to our graduate students who are celebrating their convocation this Fall 2023.

We wish you all the best in your future endeavours.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Josephine Taiye Bolaji

Thesis title: Single Fit Bespoke Bra for Individuals with Atypical Breast Shape/Size: Fabric Testing, Fitting Tool, and Wear Trial

Josephine’s research was aimed at improving the fit, support, and comfort of bras for individuals with voluminous and asymmetric breasts either naturally or due to breast surgeries. In addition, her study highlighted the challenges that these individuals experience with mass-manufactured bras and proposed the need for customized bras to improve their overall satisfaction. Josephine’s thesis included the development of knowledge towards the fabric selection for the bra, the design of a tool needed for the fitting process, and the trial of the fitting process and bra performance by human participants. Her findings indicated that fabric properties, if selected right will improve the quality of the bra, consumers prefer to be the models of their bra, and that customized bras rather than mass-manufactured ones will improve overall satisfaction for individuals with atypical breast shape/size.

During her PhD program, Josephine enjoyed the opportunities to learn and share knowledge. She also valued the support of her supervisor and those of her team members.

Josephine will continue to pursue her passion in textile science research as part of her future plans.




Shanika Donalds

Thesis title:  Family Life Courses of Older Caribbean Migrants Living in Canada

Shanika's research explored older Caribbean migrants' perspectives of their family relationships across the life course. Her qualitative descriptive study provides insights into how family relationships, composition and ideas of who is family change over time.

Over the course of her graduate program, Shanika was afforded many opportunities to work on interdisciplinary projects that RAPP was involved with. The experiences from these projects have provided her with invaluable insights into the opportunities of these teams and how bringing different voices and perspectives to the table can enrich knowledge and learning.

Currently, Shanika is the Director of Housing and Client Services at GEF Seniors Housing. Shanika is excited to bring the skills she has garnered during her doctoral research to this role.

Master of Arts - Material Culture


Malcolm Stielow

Thesis Title: Playing in the Pursuit of Reflexivity

Malcolm's work centres around the use of reflexivity in material culture, design practice, and education, and how it can be applied to those areas and more through making, play, and frivolity. His favourite example of this is probably the first peer-reviewed paper he published "Pillow Forts: Teaching Design Through Play and Making" which was developed to teach design principles and spark reflexive thinking, through remote delivery in a playful way. It won best student paper in its conference track at AHFE 2023 and is a piece that he feels he'll always be proud of. His thesis expands upon the same themes as "Pillow Forts" and attempts to ground his reflexive practice in a broad academic context, while still trying to keep the frivolous spirit in it.

When asked about his most valuable experience during grad school, Malcolm said it was working as a TA during the COVID-19 outbreak and helping rework courses to meet online delivery needs. The “Pillow Forts” exercise was developed during this time, and he says he has since overheard the exercise being discussed positively around campus, in places he certainly didn’t expect.

Future plans for Malcolm involve him likely carrying on in academia to some extent, hopefully working toward a PhD at some point. First, he wants to spend some time to complete a few personal projects that got put aside, and maybe do some independent writing and design work, and get his student loans under control. In the future, he would like to expand the work he's started in reflexivity into more applied forms by expanding on exercises like “Pillow Forts” and designing new games, exercises, and tools in that area.


Click here to view past graduands.