[Press Release] Future Prosperity Scholarships awarded to UPEI Island Studies students

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island (May 4, 2021) —

The Master of Arts in Island Studies (MAIS) program at the University of Prince Edward Island is pleased to announce the recipients of the Future Prosperity Scholarships. The winners for 2020 are Greg Ellison, Eliza MacLauchlan, and Alyssa Gillespie. They join Joyce Ferguson and Sarah Davison who received the awards in 2019.

The Future Prosperity Scholarships are generously funded by Dr. Regis and Mrs. Joan Duffy and the Province of Prince Edward Island’s Department of Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture. The awards were created two years ago to support students whose thesis research focuses on a topic related to the future prosperity of Prince Edward Island, ranging from entrepreneurship and tourism to renewable energy and migration.

“Congratulations to all the recipients of the Future Prosperity Scholarships,” said Minister of Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture Matthew MacKay. “Thank you for your dedication and extensive research in exploring how we can make Prince Edward Island a better place for generations to come.”

“These are exceptional researchers and scholars helping us better understand the unique challenges and opportunities of life on islands,” said Dr. Katherine Gottschall-Pass, interim vice-president academic and research at UPEI. “The Future Prosperity Scholarships are crucial to ensuring these students are able explore this knowledge, which will have far-reaching impacts on Island life and policy.”

More about the winners

Greg Ellison is interested in climate change and reducing carbon emissions in both island and non-island societies. His research will focus on the factors, particularly “islandness,” that can facilitate energy democracy and enable smoother transitions towards renewable energy systems. Through examining island societies in the North Atlantic region, Ellison is hoping to uncover factors that can lead to increased social acceptance of renewable energy expansion, with the goal of bringing these lessons back to Prince Edward Island.

Alyssa Gillespie is undertaking research on the issue of youth retention and migration in rural Prince Edward Island communities, focusing on systemic issues and the individual experiences of those who make the decision to leave. By examining factors that keep youth in their island communities and what communities and youth identify as the “pull factors” to attract new people, Gillespie hopes to provide meaningful opportunities for youth to stay within their communities and to attract new people.

Eliza MacLauchlan is looking at the experience of tenants on small islands, such as the process of gentrification and displacement, and the impact this has on tenants. Through a comparative study with islands that are similar to Prince Edward Island, she will aim to understand the experience of tenants and look at the larger implications for housing policy on Prince Edward Island and other small islands.

Sarah Davison is a rural Island resident and an entrepreneur who is interested in the stories and visual representations of entrepreneurs who work in PEI’s tourism industry, specifically within arts and culture. Her research explores how photographic images represent off-season tourism and how these might influence our local understandings of self and place. The study is relevant to the ongoing discussions of social entrepreneurship, seasonality, and concepts of “islandness” on PEI and other small islands.

Joyce Ferguson’s research interests revolve around the relationship between energy policy and community in an island setting. Ferguson has chosen to focus her thesis on the wind farm expansion controversy in eastern Kings County. Her work will highlight community acceptance/resistance to large-scale renewable energy initiatives.

Successful applicants for these awards receive up to $25,000 over two years.

There are currently 47 students registered in the Master of Arts in Island Studies program: 27 in the thesis stream and 20 in the three course/work-study streams (Island Tourism, Sustainable Island Communities, and International Relations and Island Public Policy). While many of the students come from Prince Edward Island, others are from Halifax, Ontario, the USA, England, the Bahamas, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Sweden, Vietnam, Nigeria, Ghana, Turkey, and China.

For more information on the Master of Arts Island Studies program, or to apply for the next round of Future Prosperity Scholarships, contact Dr. Laurie Brinklow at brinklow@upei.ca.

Media contact:
Bren Simmers Island Studies Press

NEWS: MAIS Thesis Student awarded national scholarship

April 28, 2021 —

Megan Lane MacDonald, a thesis student enrolled in the Master of Arts in Island Studies (MAIS) program at UPEI, was recently awarded the Canadian Federation of University Women Graduate Studies Scholarship in Arts or Education, offered to female UPEI graduates enrolled in or applying to a full-time Masters or PhD program at a Canadian university. Megan’s research is focused on the poetry of PEI Women throughout history, and analyses themes of nature, modernization, and gender roles.

Congratulations, Megan!

To learn more about the Master of Arts in Island Studies (MAIS) program, visit islandstudies.com/mais-program

MAIS News: Student Awards

March 30, 2021 —
MAIS Student wins UPEI Faculty Association Master’s Medal

Congratulations to Master of Arts in Island Studies (MAIS) student Joyce Ferguson for winning this year’s UPEI Faculty Association’s Master’s medal for her work on “Prince Edward Island and Renewable Energy: The Preconditions for a Sustainable Future.” The thesis, with co-supervisors Drs. Jean Mitchell and Udo Krautwurst, examines the relationship between energy policy and community in her home province of PEI through a case study of the wind farm expansion controversy in eastern Kings County.

Joyce Ferguson graduated from UPEI with an Honours BA in Sociology, where she was on the Dean’s Honours List, and received one the Ambrose Kwok-Yau Lee Awards for 2018-19, the Roderick Stirling MacDonald Scholarship, and the Dr. Satadal Dasgupta Memorial Award. She was awarded a Future Prosperity Scholarship when she entered the MAIS program and has since received a Canada Graduate Master’s Scholarship from SSHRC. Joyce and her family live in Rustico and she is the very proud mother of nine-year-old Leo.

MAIS Thesis Defense: Ian McIsaac

March 8, 2021 —
Master of Arts in Island Studies student Ian McIsaac recently defended his thesis, “Factors influencing change in the Prince Edward Island Lobster Fishery” via Zoom. The session was recorded and is now available to stream on the Institute of Island Studies YouTube channel.

→ Watch now: bit.ly/MAIS-mcisaac

In 2015, the PEI Marketing Council created the Lobster Fishers of Prince Edward Island (LFPEI) Commodity Board after holding a plebiscite. Ian conducted research to better understand what factors led to the decision, and to discover if any aspect of islandness may have influenced this independent group of Island business men and women who compete with each other to catch the same fish.

NEWS: Info Session – Master of Arts in Island Studies @ UPEI

MAIS Info Session: Master of Arts in Island Studies @ UPEI

March 1, 2021—

Have you ever thought of completing a Master’s degree in, among other things, island tourism, sustainability, or international relations, all while staying on the Island?
If so, please join us on March 4th, 20201, for an information session on UPEI’s Master of Arts, Island Studies programs!

Master of Arts in Island Studies Information Session
Thursday, March 4, 2021
12:00 – 1:00 pm via Zoom
Everyone is welcome! Please email Laurie Brinklow at brinklow@upei.ca to receive the Zoom link if you would like to attend.


In addition to the traditional thesis-based option, you are now able to take one of three course-and work-study-based Masters specializing in Island Tourism, Sustainable Island Communities, or International Relations & Island Public Policy. Sessions will be delivered using a combination of face-to-face classes, video link and online, starting in September. Entrance Scholarships for these and the thesis version of the program are available.

Learn more at islandstudies.com/mais-program