CLTS Students from the University of Ottawa receive grants from the University of Ottawa undergraduate program for 2020

Posted on Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Six students working with Faculty members at the Centre for Law, Technology and Society are among the grant recipients from the University of Ottawa’s Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program for 2020: Omair Jafrani, Kate Kim, Alicia Cooke, James Howe, Colby Georgson and Nadia Ackah.

The program provides undergraduate students with unique and exciting opportunities to explore cutting-edge research at the University of Ottawa while they define their professional goals.


Nadia Ackah received a grant to study Policy Innovation, under the supervision of professor Dr. Jeremy De Beer. This project will focus on identifying the different innovation labs within Canada, mapping out what they do, the projects they have worked on and the value of the innovation labs.

Nadia is a fourth year student completing her Joint Honours Bachelor of Social Science in Public Administration and Political Science. She has worked as a Junior Policy Analyst at Canadian Heritage and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.


Alicia Cooke received a grant to study the differences in online harassment received by political journalists in Canada based on gender and race under the supervision of Dr. Elizabeth Dubois. Journalists now integrate social media into their daily professional lives. In doing so they are making their ideas, content and services accessible in a new way but they open themselves up to citizen response and criticism. Are there differences in quantity and/or quality of online messages based on the perceived gender of the journalist before, during, and after the 2019 Federal election campaign? How does online harassment, abuse, hate speech, and other problematic messages directed at journalists impact their ability to fulfil their political role? The objectives of this project are to better understand this emerging phenomenon, develop a coding scheme and computer scripts for analyzing harassment, and to train students in digital social research methods.

Alicia is a third year student in the Honours Bachelor of Social Sciences program majoring in Political Science. Previously, Alicia has worked as a Parliamentary Assistant to a Member of Parliament and has served as an election observer in Ukraine.


Colby Georgson received a grant to study Consumer rights in the digital economy under the supervision of Professor Jeremy de Beer. The project focuses on conducting a comprehensive analysis of the overarching themes and issues at play during Phase II negotiations of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) consumer rights in the digital economy and aims to design an evaluation framework to assess the effectiveness of an online tool for empowering wireless consumers about their rights and problem solving pathways.

Colby is currently pursuing a Juris Doctor (JD) degree at the University of Ottawa. He graduated with distinction from the Political Science program at the University of Calgary, where he focused on comparative politics and international relations. Colby is also a representative for the International Law Students Association and serves as an editor and contributing author for Inter Alia, the Faculty of Law student newspaper.  


James Howe received a grant to study automated content analysis of legal documents under the supervision of Dr. Wolfgang Alschner. This UROP research project will apply statistical analysis to term-frequency matrices in order to summarize the content of legal documents.

James is a second year undergraduate student in the Faculty of Sciences studying Mathematics.


Omair Jafrani received a grant to study Implications for Courts due to Self-Automating Enforcement of Smart Contracts under the supervision of Dr. Florian Martin-Bariteau. Due to the massive access to justice crisis, unsophisticated parties and those with limited means have little remedy available in the court system. In many cases the costs of enforcement have been too overwhelming and time consuming for normal consumers. Smart contracts self-automating enforcement processes seemingly offers an alternative to the court system. These processes threaten the viability of remedies that the courts can offer, with the worst case scenario in making legal remedies obsolete. 

Omair is a second year JD candidate, where he has earned his Bachelor of Business Administration and Management at York University. 


Kate Kim received a grant to research How is “Dealing in Virtual Currency” Defined for the Purpose of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Regulations? under the supervision of Dr. Florian Martin Bariteau. Following the recent amendment in AML regulations mandating crypto exchanges to meet stringent reporting and recordkeeping requirements, the student’s research will aim to clarify the rationale behind the change and its impact going forward. Specifically, this research will review how “dealing in virtual currency” and a “foreign MSB” are defined, and what business activities are captured. The student has been interested in this particular topic through the broader research on blockchain and law, and wishes to further her knowledge in this area.

Kate is a second  year JD candidate, where she also earned her Honours Bachelor in Accounting and her masters in Taxation at the University of Waterloo. She has previously worked as a Anti-Money Laundering Investigator at RBC and a Compliance Administrator at Cranson Capital.


Congratulations to our students!

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