I have a great love for the beauty, mysteries & wonders of the natural world, and for the kindness, compassion, wisdom and courage of many people, amidst these turbulent times.

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Student Profile: Dawn Marsden

September 08, 2020
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Counselling Psychology master's student in the Faculty of Education

I have a Diploma in Env. Health, BA in Anth & Env Studies, MA in Indigenous education, PhD in Indigenous health education, Certificates in Community Based Health Research, Organic Horticulture, Scientist-Astronautics, and Nutritional Therapy, and 15 years experience as a contract researcher for Indigenous communities and agencies. I've also raised two awesome young adults as a single parent. I'm Anishinaabe and French from the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation, but have lived most of my life in the Opaskwayak, Sto:lo, Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish, Musqueam and Wsanec territories. I have a great love for the beauty, mysteries & wonders of the natural world, and for the kindness, compassion, wisdom and courage of many people, amidst these turbulent times.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?

I chose SFU because they support Indigenous knowledge (IK) explorations in the field of Counselling Psychology

TELL US ABOUT YOUR RESEARCH AND/OR PROGRAM.

Non-Indigenous communities are becoming aware of the disastrous effects of intergenerational colonization upon human wellbeing and planetary stability. Earth-based societies were sustainable for tens or hundreds of thousands of years. Elders have repeatedly called for Indigenous teachings to be passed on to the youth; studies of suicide have demonstrated the protective effects of Indigenous cultural practices. Though some say Indigenous culture should not be shared with people of other Nations who were colonized before us, I say sharing the bare bones of what worked for millennia may be the path back to a healthier world, for everyone. I am interested in studying how these bare-bone activities can help to build personal resilience, social cohesion and environmental sustainability in our diverse communities today. I'm also interested in STEAM and started studying applied astronautics to create space analogue programs for Indigenous youth. I discovered that some space scientists are trying to design more wholistic and self-sustaining systems and practices, not only for space, but for Earth. My current research goal is to explore how Indigenous-informed practices work together to build resilience, cohesion and sustainability in culturally diverse space analogue settings, while providing STEAM opportunities for Indigenous people.

WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?

I'm looking forward to learning new skills and approaches to supporting individual and community well-being, and to meeting some interesting people.

HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR FUNDED AWARDS?

I've received a partial scholarship to participate in space analogue missions with Mars-Moon Astronautics Academy & Research Science (MMAARS), and have been invited to develop my MA research in collaboration with this agency.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PROGRAM/POSTDOC POSITION TO SOMEONE STILL SEARCHING FOR A PROGRAM OR POSTDOC POSITION?

The MA in Counselling Psychology provides a good foundation for practice as a registered counsellor, for schools and communities. 

Contact Dawn: dmarsden@sfu.ca