Get to Know the Fellows

We asked the fellows cohort: What motivates you to do community-engaged research? 

Sage Vanier

Department of Archaeology
Master’s student

I am heavily motivated by the social justice component of Community Engaged Research and how these methods can create tangible benefits for Indigenous communities as a means of decolonization. Additionally, I believe that collaborative approaches that include multiple voices creates well-rounded and inclusive research.

What feels important to you today?

For nearly 20 years of my life, I was taught next to nothing about my Ts'msyen heritage, or much else about Indigenous peoples. In Canada, these things are starting to finally be taught, but I believe that it is important to take this further and celebrate Indigenous culture In particular, I am interested in helping to bring forth knowledge of how Nations sustainably managed their terrestrial resources. I believe that this ethos of respect for the land, and everything that lives on it, is integral to contemporary challenges such as climate change, food security, and other issues of sustainability.

 Joseph M Ssendikaddiwa

  Faculty of Health Sciences
  Second year master's student

Academic work without a praxis-based approach would be mere verbosity of academia. Community engaged research provides a platform to understand phenomena and discourse from a community's perspective which provides for easier knowledge translation and impact.

What values and guiding principals lead your work?

Work without purpose and humility to connect to self and those impacted by the work I do would be the very definition of exploitation. Humility, service and genuine relationship guides my work.

Belen Febres-Cordero

School of Communication
PhD candidate

I want to contribute to generate positive social change with my work, and I cannot do this alone. I believe that for my research to have real impact, it must emerge from communities’ own knowledges, experiences and self-identified interests and needs. It is from a strong collaboration and a dynamic combination of strengths that new ideas can arise, and that novel solutions can be implemented. I also feel that community engaged research allows me to merge all my passions: working with different groups towards common objectives, researching and sharing diverse stories.

Who inspires you and helps you see the good in humanity?

El Churo, a communication collective and community media outlet in Ecuador with which I have collaborated since 2013. I admire their commitment to doing good work and to building long-lasting bonds with the communities they work with through the creation of meaningful and sustainable projects. Their incredible ability to generate an immense array of initiatives with few team members and limited resources greatly inspires me. They turn ideas that may seem impossible at first into successful endeavors with profound results. They truly make magic!

 Jasleen Bains

  School of Communication
  Second year master’s student

For years I’ve been interested in understanding how policy impacts communities that are often neglected; and what role the media plays in these cases. I am motivated to undertake Community Engaged Research because it allows me to follow these interests related to my community and similar communities, while unpacking perspectives and experiences that are not discussed within the mainstream. There are so many stories yet to be told and CER allows for non-hierarchical modes of communication to exist between researchers and community members. This factor in itself is inspiring.

What values and guiding principals lead your work?

The guiding principles that I strive to follow are to show respect for the communities that I work with and to create accessible material from the data collected while being aware of the power relations involved when undertaking my work. I aim to unpack equitable solutions to the complex issues that I’m researching while showing transparency through my results and actions.

Jason Proulx

Department of Psychology
PhD candidate

Researchers often aim for their work to positively impact the world. Yet, the more traditional approach to research can often neglect and even harm the people in the very communities that researchers intend to support. I am drawn to CER because I want to enrich, support, and respectfully and actively learn from all peoples in a community—from the youth to the Elderly.

What feels important to you today?

The world today seems to be increasingly divided, disconnected, and selfish, or that is the bleak image of humanity that is often portrayed in media and research, at least. What is important to me today is to highlight the other side of humanity: to show how communities are forming deep social connections across social boundaries and acting generously to support one another. At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic and current political and social affairs can further disconnect us, I think it is important to remind the world—and myself—about how connected and prosocial the world can actually be.

 Jaimy Fischer

  Faculty of Health Sciences
  PhD candidate

I have been working at the intersection of mobility and health for a few years, and through this I recognize the need to decolonize our methodologies for understanding why inequities in street safety, transportation and mobility exist. Mobility justice is a framework that has inspired me to action on this. Among other principals, it emphasizes the need to center community voices in policy and planning and recognizes that physical and structural barriers that impact how different bodies experience the freedom to move. CER is essential within this guiding framework and I am honored to hear community perspectives on mobility justice.

Who inspires you and helps you see the good in humanity?

Indigenous people and cosmologies. I am constantly inspired by the resilience, acts of resistance, land protection, language revitalization, teachings, stories, art, literature, kinship, advocacy, and more that Indigenous people uphold, and how upholding each other and community is so central to this work. I’m reconnecting with my own responsibilities as Otipemisiwak, and through these teachings I can see what is good in the world.