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Student Profile: Livia Poljak
Languages, Cultures and Literacies doctoral student in the Faculty of Education
I am a PhD candidate studying identity and accent among British Columbia French immersion students. I am born in former Yugoslavia, and as an immigrant to Canada, I have a complex and developed linguistic and social identity that has influenced my studies and research. I am in my 5th year of studies, and I am currently working on data analysis while I am writing my thesis. Since starting my PhD in the the Languages Cultures and Literacies program, I have completed data collection, presented at 7 conferences and have published two articles. I have also been working as a TA and Sessional lecturer at SFU's and UBC's French Departments. I have an interest in social/group identities, second language education, multilingualism and second language identity.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?
I have done my undergraduate, and MA work at SFU, and it was natural for me to continue here since my research tied in to the interests of the Faculty of Education. I am very proud of this university, and I wished to continue, studying, working, and representing the values of SFU.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RESEARCH OR YOUR PROGRAM TO A FAMILY MEMBER?
I am studying the development of identity among French immersion students in British Columbia by looking at how these students' language and accent intersects with their classroom group affiliations, and Francophone community affiliations.
WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?
I have enjoyed working with a team of incredibly knowledgeable professors who, through the courses we took, have us the building blocks to construct our own research, and now, I am working with one of the best mentors I have had. Probably the most interesting part of my doctoral studies has been the construction, development and collection of data. Having so many schools and students participate in this study, and have their voices be heard while seeing their interest in the study has been very encouraging for me.
HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR-FUNDED AWARDS? IF SO, PLEASE TELL US WHICH ONES AND A LITTLE ABOUT HOW THE AWARDS HAVE IMPACTED YOUR STUDIES AND/OR RESEARCH.
I have received a number of awards since starting my doctoral program, from Graduate Fellowships, to external donor awards, the most recent of which (the GPS Graduate Fellowship, and the Rotary Club of Vancouver) have helped me take time off from teaching to focus on writing and completing my thesis.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PROGRAM/POSTDOC POSITION TO SOMEONE STILL SEARCHING FOR A PROGRAM OR POSTDOC POSITION?
The languages, cultures and literacies program is a diverse program that has a very wide scope. There are students writing about, for example, language learning in the more traditional school-based institutions, but there are those working with indigenous populations and indigenizing education, with refugees, ethnic minority groups and LGBTQ+ members with culture and literacy, and even language learning as tool for the development and understanding of the lives and experiences of populations and communities from a wide variety of social, economic and religions backgrounds. The focus is mostly on qualitative research, but quantitative approaches and mixed-methods research is also encouraged.
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