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Tell us a bit about yourself, where you come from, your interest in CMNS?
I grew up on Vancouver Island and entered SFU straight out of high school. I immediately loved the momentum of university life and learning, even if it was difficult to keep up with at first! Now in my fourth year as a Communications major, I’ve completed a publishing minor, had the amazing ability to work as an editor at The PEAK, and I continue to host a radio show each week at our campus station, CJSF.
All of these opportunities are in part accredited to the knowledge and confidence I’ve gained from my Communications degree. I was always fascinated by behind-the-scenes information about the production of information, and how that effects everything from environmental action to our faith in democracy. Through Communications, I understand more about how my world comes together and the agency I have to shape it.
Why are you interested in this subject (your presentation)?
My project, Unloading the gun, is about the potential consequences a male birth control pill would have in Canada. I learned that a male birth control pill was entering development again this past summer, the same time that anti-abortion legislation and restrictions on women’s sexual health were rapidly advancing across the USA. The first situation was captivating, while the second was terrifying, but it wasn’t until I had to write a final paper in a Communications course on women and technology that I had the chance to articulate what the intersection of a male birth control pill and women’s reproductive rights could mean. Once I discovered no previous research had been done on a subject that would greatly impact my life and the lives of all my friends, I was driven to write the speculative paper on it myself.
Can you give us a sneak peek about your presentations?
“… there is no way for women to gain the benefits of the pill without being the one to be responsible for taking it, while men reap the benefits and have to do none of the work, or take on any of the medical risk. Male birth control would split the responsibility of pregnancy prevention as well as offer women a real choice of whether they wish to take it or not.”
What was the process like to prepare for your presentation?
Preparing for the presentation would not have been the same without the support of my friends and other students who are also presenting their work at the FCAT undergraduate conference. Although I’ve always enjoyed giving in-class presentations, presenting my own work in a conference setting initially felt as daunting as it was exciting. Thankfully, I was able to workshop my presentation ideas with others in the conference, which also gave me a great opportunity to help others design their speeches and slides as well. Transitioning from the academic paper format of explaining information into an engaging speech was a unique experience of reflecting on almost every line of my paper to understand how to convey what I’d written to the audience.
What is your experience in CMNS and SFU so far?
When I tell people that I study Communications, often their first comment is asking how I run social media accounts. The reply feels comical to me now, as one of my favourite aspects of CMNS is how wide the area of study is; I’ve been able to take courses on analyzing the construction of advertisements, as well as focus on environmental communication. I’ve had life changing opportunities that have allowed me to use the theoretical foundation of communications in practical ways at SFU. These skills have resulted in changes that will positively impact the SFU community for years to come, such as working with my radio board on campus to secure space in the new Student Union Building, ensuring that SFU students have a place to shape and create their own media for the future.
What would you tell students who might be interested in CMNS or to get more involved in presenting research?
Before I started at SFU, even the issues I was most passionate about, like fighting against climate change, or for women’s reproductive rights, felt so immense at times it seemed that nothing I could do would make a difference. Since studying Communications, I’ve been empowered by how much agency we do have to alter our paths. How we communicate changes the world. If you want to make a positive impact on the world, there’s no better place to start then Communications.
If you’re in CMNS and are enticed by the idea of presenting but are unsure if you could, know that your ideas are worth sharing. The FCAT conference has been one of my favourite university experiences so far. Since you’ve already written the paper, why not tell people about it?