School of Criminology creates unexpected research opportunities for Kenzie Hanson

February 03, 2020

By Poonam Kant

Figuring out your academic journey is never easy. Just ask criminology honours student Kenzie Hanson.

She wanted to be a lawyer—until she took her first criminal law class. She studied criminology on Vancouver Island, switched to English, then, still interested in the social aspect of legal issues, she realized that criminology had something to offer. Hanson enrolled in Simon Fraser University’s (SFU) School of Criminology.

“Within a week I completely changed my whole life plan, moving from humanities to social sciences,” Hanson says. “I was living in Victoria at the time and completed half of my degree online at SFU while working full time to save up to live and experience my last year in Vancouver.”

It took Hanson two years to save enough money to attend SFU, but she knew that she would encounter opportunities at the School of Criminology she might not find elsewhere.

“During my first criminology class, I remember hearing stories of the research done at SFU, but not giving them much credence at the time,” she says. “Years later, when I did want to pursue criminology, the first school that came to mind was Simon Fraser University. There was no other option. It was SFU or nothing.”

No stranger to hard work, she acknowledges that it will take significant effort to achieve her dream of working with victims and perpetrators for the World Health Organization. Fortunately, she has a strong family support system.

“Whenever I’m overwhelmed, my parents—whom I talk to probably everyday—remind me why I work so hard and that the short-term pain is for long-term gain,” she says.

Hanson is working as a research assistant, a role in which she frequently uses the skill she’s gained at SFU: collaboration.

“Learning from different areas of research only makes your work stronger,” says Hanson. “All of the social sciences are so interconnected so if you neglect one, you neglect a whole part of your field.”

Her research looks at the news media’s reporting of male victims of domestic violence, an area she intends to continue exploring as an MA student, hopefully at SFU.

“SFU has allowed me to fight for what I believe in,” she says. “The criminology program is no joke, but when you do well it is so thrilling! I feel like I could potentially make a difference in people’s lives with the research I’m aiding.”


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