Outstanding Sociology Graduand Award and Winner of the Usamah Ansari Top Student Award
I am honoured to receive these awards. I very much appreciate the chance I have had while studying at SFU to follow my interests, and engage deeply with such a variety of topics. I could not have done half as well as I have without the support of the fantastic students and faculty I was fortunate to work along side. Each and every one has contributed to making me proud to graduate from this department. I came to SFU with the goal of teaching in a high school, but the experience I have had here has diverted my path instead towards graduate school and the academy. A new journey I am extremely excited about. In particular I'd like to thank: Dr Scott for continual support across a wide range of topics that has helped shape my research trajectory; Dr Patton for outstanding teaching in writing and theory that has made an indelible impact on my abilities to read and write theory; and Dr Travers, along with the entire class of SA450/850, for the critical perspectives on empire, colonization, and race that have reshaped much of how I approach my work and the world.
In this particular moment, these tools have served me well to better my understanding of the protest movements surging out of the USA, and the context in which they operate. These tools, and this moment, have given me cause to pause and consider my own path into the academy, and to open questions around what it means to be a white settler scholar, vying for one of the vanishing few positions within a white-supremacist academy. Is it possible to be truly anti-racist in the academy while continuing to take up space within the limited field of knowledge production? I don't yet know how to make sense of the questions I have, but I know that my time at SFU, and the brilliant students and faculty I have learned along side, have equipped me well to engage with them to the best of my ability.
There is one thing I know I can do right now. This award comes with a generous financial contribution, from which I will donate 50% to a variety of funds supporting Black and Indigenous scholars and activists in the United States and Canada. Unfortunately I never had the opportunity to meet Usamah Ansari, but from what I've read I hope he would approve.