People Profiles

Deanna Fasciani, MA, Latin American Development Studies

October 21, 2015

Deanna Fasciani didn’t study Latin American development because she wanted to, she did it because she had to. 

Fasciani is a research coordinator with Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Public Interest Research Group (KPIRG), a social and environmental justice organization. She completed a Master's Degree in Latin American Studies at SFU in 2014. 

In her graduate research, Fasciani examined labour and Costa Rican agricultural cooperatives, a topic closely tied to her family's own history.   

“My mother was born and raised among the peasantry in Costa Rica and my grandfather worked on sugar and cotton plantations. She was one of many women in her province who were pushed to the capital. She met my father there and they moved to Canada. I would often wonder about the connection between my life here and my family’s campesino background,” says Fasciani.

Fasciani had originally intended to pursue a career as a French public school teacher after completing a bachelor of arts in French at SFU where she received the Prix d’excellence du département de français. However, unable to ignore a growing desire to learn more about her family’s past, she gave up that plan and took a risk.

“Almost everyone would ask me what I was going to do with a Master’s Degree in Latin American Studies. I didn’t know, only that I had to do it,” she says.

The risk paid off. Not only did Fasciani gain important skills, but she found her passion: challenging social injustice and working towards a more equitable society.

“The Latin American Studies Program, along with the mentorship I received from Dr. Alec DawsonDr. Monica Escudero, the late Dr. John Brohman, gave me tools for analytical and critical thinking. I use both of these to actively shape how I live my life every day,” she says.      

In her role conducting community-based action research on social, environmental and economic issues with KPIRG, Fasciani now has the opportunity to both create the changes she wants to see and encourage others to the same. Some of the projects she has supported include the Surrey Chapter of the Pipe Up Networkthe Disability Action Movement Now and KPU’s Black History Month Confabulation.    

“I want students to be inspired, as I was fortunate to be, and to use what they learn in the classroom outside the classroom. I want them to be stirred by what students have accomplished in Chile, Quebec, and in their own backyards and do something,” says Fasciani.

 Author: Jackie Amsden

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