Carleton PhD student wins prestigious 2021 Vanier scholarship


Andréanne Veillette, a new PhD student in Ethics and Public Affairs (EPAF), says she found it hard to believe when she learned she had won a Vanier Graduate Scholarship. This prestigious scholarship is awarded to Canadian doctoral students who conduct outstanding research. It is valued at $ 50,000 per year for three years during a student’s doctoral studies. She is one of two Carleton University students to win the award this year.

“I had to reread the offer letter several times before I realized that I had won,” says Veillette. “I looked up to tell my boyfriend, but he already knew it from my expression. Then I called my parents who have always been incredibly supportive to share the amazing news I had won.

Veillette’s research will explore conspiracy theorists and theories.

The doctoral student explains: “Conspiracy theorists, as the stereotype says, are paranoid, delusional, stupid or mentally ill members of disgruntled marginal groups. As this image continues to be peddled by politicians and the media, philosophers and sociologists have revealed that reality is more complicated than that. More recently, it has become evident that belief in conspiracy theories is not a marginal phenomenon and that maintaining these types of stereotypical beliefs has many harmful consequences.

Veillette notes that a lot of work remains to be done to better understand the formation of beliefs in conspiracy theories and their impact on public policies.

“There are a lot of questions I would like to help answer. For example, I want to study whether the political left and the political right are also subject to beliefs in pseudoscience and whether such beliefs impact on how both groups construct and justify their beliefs in conspiracy theories. I also want to study whether an increase in socio-economic inequality leads to an increase in adherence to conspiracy theories.

Veillette says she hopes that by the end of her doctorate, she will be able to come up with innovative solutions that take into account these aspects of belief formation in conspiracy theories so that policymakers can use them in their treatment of problems. posed by conspiracy theories.

The doctoral student, whose previous training was in philosophy, says she decided to pursue an EPAF degree mainly because the program is interdisciplinary. “The EPAF program is exactly what I was looking for – a place where I would not only be free to explore discoveries outside of philosophy proper, but where I would be encouraged to do so in order to further my research.”

When she graduates, she hopes to become a professor of philosophy at CEGEP in Quebec. “Many young adults develop their intellectual curiosity for the first time during their CEGEP years, so this is the perfect time to have a positive impact on their development by providing them with the tools they need to be good critical and empathetic thinkers. .

Another of his dreams is to become a published author of fiction books. “It is much easier to learn and integrate knowledge when it is transmitted in the form of a story. I want to capitalize on the functioning of our brain and make the philosophical and psychological concepts usually reserved for an academic audience widely accessible through novels.

To learn more about Carleton’s second student to win a Vanier Award this year, click here.

Andréanne Veillette

Thursday 15 July 2021 in Awards, Distinction award, Research of graduate students, News
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