Outstanding Graduating Student Award in Sociology and winner of the Usamah Ansari Top Student Award
My experiences as a sociology student at SFU have been invaluable in helping me navigate a political and social landscape increasingly filled with polarized attitudes and misleading information with confidence and an attitude geared towards advocating for justice, equality, and fairness.
One of my most formative educational experiences in the SFU Sociology department was when I did a directed studies course with Dr. Pamela Stern. The subject of my ethnographic project in that course was a nonprofit dedicated to empowering women’s health. Even though the female patients were not the subjects of my student, I still had to learn to be sensitive to ethical and moral boundaries, cultural differences, and power imbalances while being a participant and observer. It was an edifying experience where I got the opportunity to translate theory into practice.
I plan on working towards my teaching degree and certification. The critical thinking, writing, and self-reflection skills that I sharpened during my time here are skills I hope to help my own prospective students develop. The Sociology and Anthropology professors that I have interacted with at SFU have all left deep impressions on me with their ability to understand complicated issues from multiple perspectives, while still taking a stance backed by carefully researched evidence, theory, and critical thought. My professors encouraged us to come to our own set of conclusions using the same degree of intellectual rigour they asked of themselves. I have also observed my professors in the SFU Sociology and Anthropology department put in tremendous effort to make academic material engaging , carry themselves with the utmost professionalism, and treat their students with empathy and respect. This is a model that I hope to replicate as a teacher.
Given a political climate that seems to grow more treacherous each day, I feel some measure of fear for what our world will look like in the future. But my experience as a student in the SFU Sociology and Anthropology department has helped quell those anxieties because I have the tools, knowledge, and intellectual capacity to understand, explain, and help shape a future where understanding and dialogue (as opposed to fear) dominate our social discourse.