Sydney Brown is ready to devote herself to creating change within the Canadian justice system as a lawyer after emerging from a winding road of new experiences.


Kicking the comfort zone: How a trip overseas helped Sydney Brown reach her goals

July 08, 2020

By Poonam Kant

What recent Simon Fraser University (SFU) criminology honours graduate, Sydney Brown, first saw as a linear path to success, eventually emerged into a winding road of new experiences – some that would take her across oceans.

Brown came to SFU with the plan that she would attend law school to fulfil her passion for learning about law’s effects on society. 

Taking classes at SFU reinforced her interests by providing further insight into the inner workings of the Canadian justice system.

She spotted a volunteer opportunity as a Youth Forensic Psychiatric Services with the local Burnaby Youth Custody Centre and jumped on the chance to get real-world experience as a research assistant.

Brown was able to directly interact with the youth at the centre and experience first-hand, the kind of work and research that had originally piqued her interest in her classes.

But when the possibility of travelling overseas came up as a member of SFU’s Golden Key Honour Society, she snapped up the opportunity to do an international internship at an environmental law firm in Madrid, Spain, 2017.

Living in another country and experiencing a new culture was stimulating, and Brown caught a glimpse into her potential future as a lawyer. But, she says she couldn’t help feeling that something was missing. 

Brown says that she could not get her mind off of the injustices that she saw within the Canadian justice system, and realized that she wanted to devote herself to creating change within the system as a lawyer closer to home.  

With a reinvigorated interest for the law’s impact on the most vulnerable populations in Canada, Brown has narrowed in her aspirations from becoming a lawyer. She has enrolled in MA in Criminology.

Combined with her professional experiences, Brown feels confident to focus her research on Socio-Legal Studies and the Politicization of Law.

“The SFU community gave me the ability to volunteer in ways I would never have been able to elsewhere,” she says. “Being outside of my comfort zone forced me to take chances, and now I can now take a totally new approach to research and legal problems because of my experience at SFU.” 



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