Student Profile: Q&A with Kenzie Hanson Class of 2020

June 18, 2020

By Adhil Naidu

Why did you choose to major/minor in criminology at SFU?

When I was in grade school, I was always interested in criminal justice shows and books. I originally wanted to be a police officer in NYC (thanks Law and Order), but eventually I created more realistic goals and directed my life at criminology. Simon Fraser University was my school of choice because it offers a broad range of topics in the field and it is considered one of the best schools of criminology in the country. This is also why I’ve chosen to begin my Masters of Arts in Criminology at SFU in the fall! 

What were your favorite courses or instructors during your undergraduate degree/graduate degree? What assignments or projects were highlights?

My favourite courses were CRM 315 (Restorative Justice), CRM 406 (Family Violence), and SA 340 (Social Issues/Policy Analysis). The tutorials in CRM 315 I were the most collaborative in my whole undergraduate career and I made friends that I still talk to to this day. It felt like a family rather than just a learning experience.

In CRM 406 I learned about a social, criminal, and public health issue rather is rarely recognized in criminological discourses: family violence. Assistant Professor Alexandra Lysova was such a highlight. I’ve also decided to focus my MA research on this topic. I also enjoyed SA 340 with  Dr. Lindsey Freeman, who helped me see social issues from a new lens.

What extracurricular activities or campus clubs did you participate in during your time at SFU? What event or activity are you most proud of contributing to?

The most rewarding program that I participated in outside of the classroom was the work-study program. Work study gave me an opportunity to get into the academic work in both the psychology and criminology departments. I gained experience not just in research, but also in other aspects of academia like academic reviews and collaboration. If they can, I encourage all students to try work study. They will not regret it.

What are your short or long term goals, now that you are finished your degree?

I would like to relax a little bit, although I am luckily employed as a full-time research assistant throughout the summer. In the fall, I begin my MA with a focus on intimate partner violence and homicide. Beyond schooling, I want to be able to work in either legal policy for our government or and I aspire to work with the World Health Organization in Geneva.

What has been the key to your success? Can you offer any advice or words of wisdom and encouragement to new undergraduate students in your field?

My main key to success is taking my studies seriously, even if I sometimes found them a bit dull. This can happen when reading 150 plus pages of law. I would add that even if you take your studies seriously, you still may not be perfect at a given topic. I can remember certain classes where I would study a ton, and still do poorly.

This can be frustrating but you can’t let this defeat you! I would say taking breaks and acting not-so-serious is just as important. Burn out can happen faster than you think and you deserve to have fun during your university years!!

How were you planning to celebrate your graduation had COVID crisis not happened?

My friends and I were originally planning to have a graduation party but unfortunately this could not happen. My family and I also planned on attending my graduation to celebrate. Not to despair though! I will now be celebrating at home with my family on Vancouver Island. I will also likely use technology to have a distance celebration with my friends in June. As for graduation, I will be attending the Fall or next Spring’s convocation in lieu of this one, and if not then I will always have my master’s graduation!



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