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Steering Committee

Our accomplished Steering Committee brings together interdisciplinary perspectives in Criminology, Communication, Education, Political Economy, and Psychology to further scholarship and praxis around hate, bias and extremism. Members of the Steering Committee have a history of collaboration in both scholarship and service initiatives around inclusivity and social justice.


Dr. Tanner Mirrlees

Faculty of Social Science and Humanities

Dr. Mirrlees conducts research on the convergence of right-wing extremism and social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. He interrogates the ways that right-wing extremist organizations use social media platforms, the technological affordances of these platforms to extremists, and the threat that platforms of hate pose to the values of a multicultural, democratic and socially just world. 

Dr. Kimberley Clow

Faculty of Social Science and Humanities

Dr. Clow's research examines how victims of wrongful conviction experience incidences of hate, stigmatization, and blatant discrimination. She focuses on negative public attitudes toward exonerees and investigates means of reducing the stigma that exonerees experience. Another line of her research explores the discrimination and stereotypes men and women encounter in occupational fields dominated by a particular gender.

Dr. Jennifer Laffier

Faculty of Education

Dr. Laffier's research and work are focused on addressing issues of bullying; specifically, she works to support victims of bullying with therapeutic approaches and to build and implement programs in schools across Canada that address and counter the social problem of bullying.

Dr. Scott Aquanno

Faculty of Social Science and Humanities

Dr. Aquanno's research focuses on the economics of social exclusion with emphasis on the political and institutional impact of neoliberal globalization. His recent work looks at the organizational, participatory and programmatic foundations of inclusive, anti-oppressive community development policy.

Dr. Kanika Samuels Wortley

Faculty of Criminology and Justice

Kanika Samuels-Wortley is an Associate Professor in the Department of Criminology and Justice at Ontario Tech University. Her research explores the intersection of race, racism and the criminal justice system by centring Black and racialized peoples experiences with victimization and crime. Dr. Samuels-Wortley research has been published in numerous prestigious national and international academic journals. She has co-authored several provincial and federal reports for the Ministry of Children, Community, and Social Services, and the Privy Council Office and has presented her research on systemic racism in policing in both provincial and federal inquiries including the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, and the Mass Casualty Commission. Furthermore, her research has been featured as well as quoted in numerous national news reports, podcasts, blogposts, and literary journals.

Dr. Sanaa Alwidian

Department of Electrical, Computer, and Software Engineering

Sanaa Alwidian is an Assistant Professor of Software Engineering at the Department of Electrical, Computer, and Software Engineering at Ontario Tech University. Her research interests are in the areas of Human-centric Software and Requirements Engineering, where she focuses on humanrelated aspects while planning and designing software systems to avoid intentional and nonintentional bias and discrimination against users. She is also interested in Software Evolution and Analysis, AI-enabled Model-based System Engineering, Mobile Ad hoc Networks, and Natural Language Processing. Her work has been published in top peer-reviewed journals and conferences. Prior to joining Ontario Tech University, Sanaa worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the GEODES Software Engineering Research Lab at the Université de Montréal. From 2015 to 2020, she worked as a research and a teaching assistant at the University of Ottawa, and as a researcher with the CyberJustice lab at the Université de Montréal. Sanaa holds a Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from the University of Ottawa (2020), an M.Sc. degree in Computer Science and a B.Sc. degree in Computer Information Systems from Jordan University of Science and Technology. From 2014-2019, Sanaa had been a recipient of the prestigious Ontario Trillium Scholarship (OTS), awarded to the best international doctoral students from around the world (with a first-class average and excellent academic record) to study in Ontarian universities. She had also received the International Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS), the University of Ottawa Excellence Scholarship, the International Doctoral Scholarship, the BMO Financial Group Scholarship, and the Scientific Research Scholarship/Jordan.

Dr. Karla Dhungana Sainju

Faculty of Social Science and Humanities

Dr. Karla Dhungana Sainju is an Associate Professor of Criminology and Justice at Ontario Tech University. She is currently serving as the chair for the Women in Research Council to develop and implement initiatives to invest in gender equity at Ontario Tech. Her research focuses on corrections and community corrections, including the use of electronic monitoring for pretrial and post-conviction supervision, alternatives to incarceration, women in the criminal justice system, and justice-involved veterans. She also engages in research on traditional and cyberbullying, which includes macro and micro-level influences on bullying, bullying roles, xenophobic and race-based bullying, and big data and social media. Prior to joining Ontario Tech University, she was a Senior Research Associate for the Public Safety Performance Project at the Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington, D.C. She conducted research on state criminal justice policy and was responsible for the project’s adult corrections and sentencing research portfolio. She has completed a Congressional Fellowship on Women and Public Policy in the United States House of Representatives, where she handled a legislative issue portfolio covering judiciary, women’s issues, and child exploitation interdiction. While earning her Ph.D. she also worked as a researcher at the Florida State University Center for Criminology and Public Policy Research.