Graduate Fellows

Merlin ChatwinMerlin Chatwin, Senior Graduate Fellow

Merlin Chatwin is currently pursuing his PhD at the University of Western Ontario in the Geography Department. His research area is urban policy and local governance with a specific focus on the civic exclusion of marginalized groups in diverse geographies. He was previously the Co-Founder and Director of Amplify Governance International Inc. and has over 10 years of domestic and international community development. With an MA in Organizational Development and Leadership, he has a keen interest in the development of individuals to reach their full potential. He has significant experience in developing strategic alliances in governance, education and food security sectors. Merlin has expertise in project management and in leading cross-sectoral groups through strategic planning and collaborative processes. Further, he has led multiple monitoring and evaluation projects across diverse sectors and geographic and cultural contexts.


elmond-image.jpgElmond Bandauko, Graduate Fellow

Elmond Bandauko is currently a PhD student in the Department of Geography and Environment at the University of Western Ontario His Doctoral research focuses on urban governance and the spatial politics of street traders in Harare, Zimbabwe. Elmond’s research interest also spans areas such as urban policy and governance, citizen participation in policy development, urban transformation in Global South cities (gated communities and new cities), urban informality, urban marginality, and gender responsive urban development among others. He holds a Master of Public Administration (Local Government) from the University of Western Ontario, where he studied as an African Leaders of Tomorrow Scholar and a BSc (Hons) in Rural and Urban Planning from the University of Zimbabwe, where he graduated as the best overall student. His research has been published in Urban Research and Practice, Journal of Housing and the Built Environment, International Development Planning Review, among other journals. Elmond is also a co-editor of the book Peri-urban developments and processes in Africa, with special reference to Zimbabwe (Springer, 2016). Prior to starting his PhD, Elmond worked with Development Governance Institute (DEGI) in Harare, Zimbabwe where he supported municipalities, civil society organizations and development organizations on policy development, strategic planning, program development and evaluation.


Gabriel BarbosaGabriel Barbosa, Graduate Fellow

Gabriel Barbosa is a Ph.D. student at the Western University in the Political Science Department. With an academic background in Geography and Urban and Regional Planning from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil, Gabriel has worked as a Research Assistant at the Institute of Applied Economic Research (IPEA) on the Board of Study and State Policies, Institutions and Democracy (DIEST) developing studies on Federalism and Interlocal cooperation in Latin America. His research interests include regional governance, intergovernmental relations, institutions, and public policy. Currently, Gabriel has been working on a comparative analysis of the political economy of natural resources exploration, focusing on Latin America and Canada. Gabriel has expertise in Brazilian inter-municipal consortiums, publishing papers and one book in the Portuguese language. One of his primary motivations is to build a methodology to improve comparative studies linking Latin and North America.


Charlotte KursCharlotte Kurs, Graduate Fellow and 2020 Summer Research Intern

Charlotte Kurs is an MA student in Political Science at Western University and will enter the PhD program in Political Science in 2022. Her research interest is local government, with a specific interest in local public policy and how local governments interact with other actors such as social movements. She received a Canada Graduate Scholarship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council to support this work during her MA. As a Western Undergraduate Summer Research Intern during the summer of 2020, Charlotte contributed to a range of Centre research projects, including the Municipal Profiles Project and the Ranked Ballots Implementation Project. 


Tyler RomualdiTyler Romualdi, Graduate Fellow

Tyler Romualdi is a doctoral student in the Department of Political Science at Western University. He has a keen interest in studying Canadian, local government and urban politics, and public policy. Tyler holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Windsor, with the latter supported by an Ontario Graduate Scholarship. Before studying at Western, Tyler worked as a researcher at the Fraser Institute in Vancouver, British Columbia.


Jesse SuttonJesse Sutton, Graduate Fellow

Jesse Sutton is currently a PhD Student in the Department of Geography and Environment at Western University. His research interests include regional economic resilience, global economic integration, and public policy. Jesse has a Master’s in Public Policy from Simon Fraser University and has a keen interest in regional and local economic development policies. He is currently working on several papers that focus on resilience policies and the resilience of Canadian regions to the 2008 financial crisis.


Shanaya VanhoorenShanaya Vanhooren, Graduate Fellow

Shanaya Vanhooren is a PhD candidate in the department of political science at the Western University. Her research interests include Canadian politics, urban and local politics, and public policy. She also has a keen interest in studying discourse using quantitative and qualitative text methods. Her dissertation project titled “The Partisan Construction of Policy Agendas: Party competition and policy attention in English Canadian provinces 1945-2020” is supported by a SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship. Shanaya has co-authored peer-reviewed articles on topics related to local and urban public policy. She has published an article that examines the rules for local campaign finance in Canadian municipalities and an article that traces the evolution of the governance of stormwater management policy and practice.