Convocation, Gender, Sexuality & Womens Studies, First Nations Studies

Convocation Profile: Micaela Evans, Gender, Sexuality and Womens Studies and First Nations Studies

June 13, 2018

By Christine Lyons

Micaela Evans initially came to SFU thinking she would major in Communications. An elective course in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies (GSWS) changed the path of her degree and she graduates this June with a double major in GSWS and a minor in First Nations Studies.

Evans took many courses with Dr. Lucas Crawford, poet, scholar and former Ruth Wynn Woodward Chair. Dr. Crawford's research specialties include queer theory, transgender studies, theories of feeling, and food and fat—all topics which greatly influenced Evans' academic and personal growth. She says taking courses with professors like Crawford, along with Dr. Jen Marchbank and Dr. Rebecca Yoshizawa, pushed her outside of her previous comfort zones and allowed her to question the status quos she previously believed to be unwavering. “Both GSWS and First Nations Studies taught me to question the histories we’ve all been taught, and question whose voices are given space and, more importantly, whose voices are missing.”

In addition to writing for The Peak while she was at SFU, Evans was the chair of the GSWS student union, and a collective member of the SFU Women’s Centre. Her volunteer experiences included serving as the director of events for TEDxSFU and an advisory committee member of West Coast Legal Education and Action Fund.

Evans says seeking out opportunities to refine her interests and passions was key to deciding where to dedicate her time and energy. “It felt very natural once I got to SFU to push myself out of my comfort zone and try many ways of being involved. In my first two years I was involved in a lot of different clubs, and from that I started better understanding the types of spaces I wanted to dedicate my time to. I mainly work and volunteer now in spaces that focus on supporting marginalized women and disabled people, and on education and prevention of sexual violence.”

Recently, Evans published an op-ed in Teen Vogue, “Disabled People Can Have Eating Disorders Too,” where she writes powerfully and personally about her experiences as a disabled woman with an eating disorder. In the article, Evans, who was born with a genetic, progressive condition called spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and has been using an electric wheelchair since the age of 2, detailed the way medical professionals dismissed her symptoms as connected to her disability rather than as an eating disorder and how she overcame and advocated for herself during the road to recovery.

Today, Evans uses her education and experience to advocate for others. She is currently working as a communications and events coordinator for Spinal Cord Injury BC and she says her education in GSWS has given her “a better understanding of the multiplicities that contribute to one’s identity and marginalization within different communities I wish to support in my present and future work.”