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Sociology & Anthropology, Graduate
Anecia Gill is committed to understanding policies on youth gang activity in Metro Vancouver
Anecia Gill has been a budding sociologist since childhood. Now, as a second-year master’s student at Simon Fraser University (SFU), she’s tackling difficult questions on gang activity in Metro Vancouver.
“I’m interested in learning how policy makers’ views shape how law enforcement policy is made,” Gill says. “I’m looking at Indo-Canadian gang activity as a case study.”
Gill grew up in Abbotsford, B.C. and has been taking field notes and observing societal behaviour from a young age.
“I would notice power relations in my elementary and high school classrooms and how they materialized in everyday interactions,” she says. “I noticed how even within different groups, new immigrants of colour were treated exactly the same as people of colour who were second-, third- or even sixth-generation Canadians. This allowed me to see for the first time the conflation of culture and skin colour when in reality those are two different things.”
Gill is a self-professed theory nerd who credits her mother for her own aptitude for sociological inquiry.
“My mom was trained in early childhood education but also earned a degree in sociology from the University of the Fraser Valley and an MA in political science from SFU,” she says. “So, she really imparted to my younger sister and me how to think critically about power, power relations and capitalism.”
As a high school student, Gill read books on capitalism, race and gender from her family’s bookshelf. She even took sociology classes at the University of the Fraser Valley while still completing her high school diploma. During Grade 12 and throughout her undergrad, she worked as a research assistant with the Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies (now the South Asian Studies Institute). She also served two terms as a director on the Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon Electoral District Association and was a 2017 Daughters of the Vote delegate, a program that supports emerging young women leader’s participation in politics.
In addition to her work on community advisory groups, Gill is a teaching assistant for Introduction to Sociology at SFU’s Surrey campus. She says it’s heartening to help students to understand challenging concepts and terminology.
“I remember what it was like learning this material myself and how exciting it is to have that ‘ah ha!’ moment, when a theorist like Franz Fanon or Edward Said puts something you’ve experienced or observed into words,” she says. “It’s very affirming.”