2024 Student Paper Award Winners

At our 2024 Regional Meeting, we announced the winners of our Student Paper Award competitions

Audrey Miatello from the University of Toronto won our Undergraduate Student Paper Award for her paper titled "Reconnecting to Nature in the 21st Century: Considering Laudato Si’ as a Guide".

Codey Lecchino from McMaster University won our Graduate Student Paper Award for his paper titled "Quebec’s Situationship: How Catholic Aesthetics Entered French Secular Consciousness".

Please join us in congratulating our two winners, and thank you to all of the students who submitted fantastic papers this year!


To read the full abstracts of these paper, see below!

Audrey Miatello (University of Toronto) Reconnecting to Nature in the 21st Century: Considering Laudato Si’ as a Guide

This paper aims to explore a severe (but often overlooked) consequence of the ecological crisis — humanity’s disconnection from nature. The first section of this essay considers some possible roots of this issue, such as urbanization and technology, as well as the harmful implications of this disconnection upon human health and happiness.

In the second section, I propose that we look for a solution outside of science and technology. Following in the footsteps of Lynn White Jr., a historian who once famously said, “the remedy [to the climate crisis] must … be essentially religious, whether we call it that or not,” this essay explores the possibility of such a religious remedy. Specifically, I consider how we might use Pope Francis’ 2015 papal encyclical, Laudato Si', as the basis for our reconnection to nature.

This paper does not just endeavor to explore the human-nature relationship with words, though, as nature is rarely captured fully and comprehensively in this way. As such, two photo essays are integrated into this paper. The first aims to capture how the disconnected individual relates to the world around them. The second, which concludes this essay, expresses the enchantment and wonder that a newly reconnected individual will find in nature.


Codey Lecchino (McMaster University) Quebec’s Situationship: How Catholic Aesthetics Entered French Secular Consciousness

Lecchino’s work delves into Quebec's transformative Quiet Revolution of the 1960s, exploring its complicated relationship with Catholicism and the consequent reshaping of the province's identity. The essay examines the interplay between religious, cultural, and political forces, drawing on Michael Gauvreau’s The Catholic Origins of Quebec’s Quiet Revolution, 1931-1970 and Geneviève Zubrzycki’s “Aesthetic Revolt and the Remaking of National Identity in Quebec, 1960-1969”. The tension between the Catholic Church's historical influence and the reformist movement's push towards secularization. Lecchino discusses how the Quiet Revolution led to a re-evaluation of traditional norms, starting form within the familial unit and marital conventions to the wider changes that came about from paradigm shifts like that of the second Vatican. The essay explores symbolic acts of iconoclasm, such as the beheading of a statue of St. John the Baptist during a public celebration, as pivotal moments in Quebec's journey towards secularization. Through historical analysis and sociological perspectives, Lecchino argues that while Quebec aimed to distance itself from its Catholic past, the process was fraught with complexities and contradictions, ultimately resulting in an aesthetic secularism that struggled to accommodate diverse religious expressions. Lecchino concludes by consolidating that the socio-cultural spheres of Quebec’s Catholicism would stand in for Quebec’s lack of material culture or artistic movements, becoming a homogenous entity within Quebec’s self image; exempt from the scrutiny of secular modernity.