Spotlighting newcomer scholars in Canada

By Maria Montemayor

Posted on September 13, 2021

Dani Magsumbol

Doctoral student at York University
Dani Magsumbol

Her journey to Canada

In 2009, Magsumbol moved from the Philippines to Canada, where her mother worked as a live-in caregiver. Later, she travelled back to the Philippines to complete her final semester of nursing school. In 2010, she officially moved to Canada.

Her current research

Magsumbol’s research examines the expectations placed on those with Philippine citizenship. She studies the emotional and financial connection they maintain with the Philippines even after becoming Canadian citizens.

Her research looks at the connection between Filipino migrants and their home country. Sometimes, this connection comes out in wanting to retire in the Philippines or continuing to send remittance payments after settling in Canada. She analyzes this affection between a Filipino migrant and the Philippines as a nation, looking closely at the notion of identifying as Filipino.

“In my research, I’m trying to see what is the practical difference between holding Filipino citizenship and feeling like you are a member of the nation. I am trying to see what is the political economy of emotions. How is this feeling of belonging outside of citizenship, [and] how is that being used by the state to make sure that remittances keep flowing, because remittances are such a big part of the GDP [Gross Domestic Product]. I am trying to see what is the line between citizenship and national membership,” Magsumbol said.

Her research’s impact on Canada and the world

Magsumbol’s research on labour flow and how a government dictates “belonging” is important given that Canada and the world depend on global labour flow. She has found that when a nation’s economy depends on its labour exports or remittance payments, there is a dollar amount to a citizen’s feelings of belonging to that nation.

Dani’s Twitter account:

Professor Anna Triandafyllidou

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Migration and Integration (CERC)–Chaire d’Excellence en Recherche du Canada sur les Migrations et L’Intégration at Ryerson University

Editor-in-Chief at Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies
Anna Triandafyllidou

Her journey to Canada

Triandafyllidou moved to Canada from Europe in August 2019 to work as the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Migration and Integration.

Her current research

The CERC program helps establish research programs at Canadian universities. Triandafyllidou is establishing research programs in migration and integration.

“I have always worked both on issues of migration management—what is called in Canada ‘immigration’—and on issues of migrant integration and multiculturalism and diversity, cultural or religious diversity. What I find wonderful is that, in this chair, I have the luxury of pursuing both areas.” Triandafyllidou said.

Her research’s impact on Canada and the world

Based on Triandafyllidou’s experience, she has found that the government department, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is open to engaging with researchers and listening to and reading their findings. She influences policy changes that protect migrant workers from exploitative conditions in different employment sectors. Her work also helps newcomers adjust to Canada, and figure out what is needed to prepare for emergencies that arose because of the pandemic.

Professor Anna Triandafyllidou’s website:

Professor Marlène Koffi

Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Toronto

Faculty affiliate at the Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society
Marlène Koffi

Her journey to Canada

Koffi grew up in Côte d’Ivoire, where she did her undergraduate and master’s studies. In 2014, she moved to Canada to pursue her PhD at the Université de Montréal in Economics.

Her current research

Her research interests lie in the economics of science and the economics of innovation. These branches explore the economic value and impact of science on innovation and new technologies.

She works on topics related to innovation, with a special focus on different areas of gender, racial, and other kinds of inequality. She also applies machine learning — the use of computer systems to adapt without human instructions—to study information related to public policy. She uses these techniques and tools to read patents and extract information to shape research.

“In economics, we study the effects of using those [machine learning] tools, in terms of labour market outcomes. I use those tools to answer questions,” Koffi said.

Labour market outcomes relate to the supply of workers, the number of workers that employers need to meet population demands, and the matching of skilled workers to suitable jobs.

Her research’s impact on Canada and the world

In looking at Canadian data and patent data, Koffi’s research examines how pharmaceutical innovation in Canada has evolved over time. She then uses this information to influence public policy surrounding patented medicines.

“If there was a policy implemented in the pharmaceutical sector, we want to assess this type of policy [and see] if [the sector] is also improving [in profits and productivity] or not improving. As well, because I work on topics related to inequality, I touch [on] things related to gender inequality [and] racial inequality. Worldwide, this type of research will have [many] implications,” Koffi said.

Koffi’s inequality research will help raise awareness of gender biases within scientific and economic research, as well as highlight racial disparities in the economics profession. Her research will contribute to bridging these inequality gaps worldwide, to ensure that governments and industries can make the necessary changes to support the disadvantaged and unsupported demographics.

Professor Marlène Koffi’s website:

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