Student Profile: Q&A with Madelaine Desaulniers Class of 2020

June 26, 2020

By Adhil Naidu

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

In my first year of university, I was a sociology student and had no idea I would find a desire to complete a criminology degree. I did not research the difference between the two degrees before I moved to Vancouver; this sounds silly, but I figured that a degree in sociology would mirror a degree in criminology. I enrolled in a CRIM class as an elective in my first year, and I fell in love with the program and switched soon after. The forensic science specialization in criminology at SFU allowed me to explore how science relates to the law. I became passionate about biological explanations of crime and eventually completed an honours thesis on the topic.   

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

Professor Gail Anderson was an absolute delight and her forensic science classes were the highlight of my academic career at SFU. Her intelligence is intimidating, but her wit and passion for novel scientific forms of evidence, specifically entomology, is what inspired me to study hard and succeed in her classes. Anderson was professional, and it was evident she cared deeply about her students. I think it is a real honour for the School of Criminology at SFU to have an educator such as Professor Gail Anderson.

Sheri Fabian is another lecturer that stood out to me at SFU. Fabian extends her busy schedule for her students to help them grow and succeed. In addition, she brought a refreshing and impressionable sense of humour to each of her classes. She tirelessly helped students work on their writing styles and provided students with the necessary tools to tackle difficult assignments.

Barry Cartwright was my first Criminology professor at SFU; his extensive knowledge in criminological theories, school violence, and cyber research was astounding. While I only had the privilege to enroll in only a couple of his classes, I read many of his textbooks. Dr. Garth Davies is a brilliant professor While Dr. Davies may be the bluntest professor you may encounter, his classes and research on terrorism are a must. Dr. Richard Frank offers various classes on cybercrime and has leading research on the topic, which contributes to the uniqueness of the CRIM program at SFU. There are many noteworthy professors at SFU; however, these are a handful that stood out to me over my academic career.

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

An aspiration of mine is to become a strong ambassador for my Métis community. I hope to become involved with policy decisions that regard the quality of life for Indigenous persons. A joint legal degree from the University of Victoria will provide me with the necessary tools to continue to be an active member of my Métis community. I further hope to become involved in policy decisions that regard incarceration; I feel Canadian penitentiaries could evolve to incorporate restorative justice practices rather than punitive measures. Lastly, I hope to be either a criminal or medical lawyer after completing my law degree at the university of Victoria. 

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?

The best advice I could give any first-year student is, while yes, it is essential to have fun and build social networks, do not take your first year for granted as that creates the foundation for your academic career and CGPA. Second, do not be afraid to ask questions, see what programs/bursaries you may be eligible for. Whether you do not understand an assignment, ask for clarification, your grades will benefit tremendously by having open communication.



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