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Nexus Director

Isabelle Côté (she/her) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Memorial University of Newfoundland. She received her PhD in Political Science from the University of Toronto and was a postdoctoral fellow at KITLV (Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies) in Leiden, Netherlands. Prior to that, she held various guest researcher positions at Minzu University in Beijing, the Nordic Institute for Asian Studies in Copenhagen, the Indonesian Institute of Science in Jakarta, and the Peace and Conflict Studies Center at Uppsala, Sweden. 

Her work examines the role of demographic factors in general, and internal population movements in particular, on intrastate conflict and contentious politics in Asia and beyond. As such, her work crosses multiple disciplines: political science, demography, area studies, geography and peace and conflict studies. She has published in numerous journals including Ethnic and Racial Studies; PS: Political Science and Politics; Democratization; Civil Wars; Ethnopolitics; Studies in Conflict and Terrorism; and Journal of Southeast Asian Studies. She has also co-edited a volume on ‘Sons of the Soil’ conflict (Routledge, 2019), and another on population resettlement in Newfoundland and Labrador and beyond (ISER Books, 2020). 

Isabelle is also a multiple award-winning lecturer and researcher. She has received the 2020 Excellence in Teaching national award from the Canadian Political Science Association, and the 2020 HSS Dean’s award for Teaching Excellence.

Nexus Research Assistant

Reyna Ericka Padua (she/her) is a second-year student in the thesis-route of the MA in Political Science at Memorial University of Newfoundland & Labrador, Graduate Assistant at Nexus Research Centre, and the current Vice President for Public Relations of Political Science Graduate Students’ Society at MUNL . Ericka earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication, cum laude, from Angeles University Foundation in the Philippines. After graduation, she worked as a news correspondent, multimedia director, and radio host before moving to South Korea in November 2015 to work for Overseas Business Division for an automotive company. Ericka was provided the opportunity to travel to different countries to meet and transact with the company’s customers and suppliers which after some time found that she was rediscovering an interest in foreign policy, migration, and international relations.

Ericka saw firsthand how practices and procedures of each nation were different from one other as well as from the Philippines and identified the potential to adapt best practices within each to improve their citizens’ lives. It has been in part, this newly developed knowledge that has motivated Ericka to further her education.


Caighlan Smith (she/her) is a doctoral candidate and Vanier Scholar with the English Department of Memorial University of Newfoundland. Caighlan holds a B.A. (Hons.) in English from Memorial University and an MLitt (with Distinction) in Fantasy from the University of Glasgow. She has a background in creative writing and speculative fiction as an international award-winning novelist. Caighlan is currently studying the intersections of feminism, gender theory, neoliberalism, and the hero archetype in video games. Her other research interests include popular culture, the digital humanities, and ideology critique.




Past Nexus Directors

Dr. Sonja Boon (she/her), Gender Studies, 2021 - 22

Dr. John Sandlos, History, 2017 - 20

Past Nexus Graduate Assistants

Sheridan Thompson-Graham (she/her/they), Interdisciplinary, 2020 - 23

Ericka Padua-Sanchez (she/her), Political Science, 2022

Shannon Christine Fraser, Interdisciplinary, 2020 - 21

Elahe Nezhadhossein, Sociology, 2018 - 20

Meghann Livingston, Archaeology, 2018 - 19

Michelle Irving, Political Science, 2018 - 19



A connection or series of connections linking two or more things; a connected group or series; a central or focal point.
-- English Oxford Living Dictionary

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