March 3, 2022

Congratulations to Keren Harrison!

Winner of the 2021–22 Mark Grosjean Memorial Award for Conference Travel!
Mountains with pink sky

Mark Grosjean Memorial Award for Conference Travel recognizes excellence in Political Science and the importance of conference participation to the career of undergraduate Political Science (Honours) students.

Established by Grosjean Family & Friends in memory of Mark Grosjean, University of Calgary Honours Student and 2017 Silver Medallion winner for Political Science.


Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I am in my fourth year of a dual degree in Political Science and International Relations, with minors in History and Global Development Studies. My favourite academic topics are international development, public administration, and migration studies. When I took the Politics of Immigration in my second year, I realized that globalization, immigration, and forced migration were intimately connected. This understanding led me to my honours project, which focuses on social barriers to refugee Integration in Canada. This Fall, I will begin a Master’s of Global Studies and International Development at the University of Ottawa.

Harrison Headshot

What conference did you attend, and what was the paper you presented?

I attended the Philosophy, History, and Politics Conference at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops. There, I presented the first chapter of my honours thesis, entitled “Who’s Really Welcome Here?: A study of how securitization affects public opinion.” This paper investigates the different methods news media agencies use to (implicitly or explicitly) securitize refugees. I hypothesize that the media’s securitization of refugees encourages the public to view them negatively. The study aims to confirm the sociological model of securitization, which asserts that groups are framed as security threats through discourse. To measure this relationship, I am performing a comparative qualitative analysis that looks at front-page newspaper articles about refugees in 2015 and 2019. I expect to find that refugees are securitized through discursive methods like slant, tone, word choice, and sentiment. I am grateful for my supervisor Dr. Maureen Hiebert, who has been extremely supportive throughout the process!

What did you get out of the conference experience and any tips for others thinking about their first conference?

I really enjoyed my experience! I would highly recommend getting involved with different conferences during your undergrad. The PHP conference was an especially great start because although it was small, it provided opportunities for article publication, public speaking, and academic networking. Additionally, it forced me to simplify my research, which allowed people from different fields to understand it. If you are considering presenting at a conference, my biggest tip is to talk to your favourite professors! They are true masterminds when it comes to academia, and their expertise will help you hone your research and presentation skills.


Congratulations to Keren Harrison on your 2021–22 Mark Grosjean Memorial Award for Conference Travel!

To find out more about our paper prizes and past prize winners, please visit the Political Science website.