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Student Profile: Reuben Jentink

February 22, 2022
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Curriculum and Instruction master's student in the Faculty of Education

I'm an avid runner (albeit now slower than I once was) and an amateur gardener—more interested in flowers than vegetables! I did my undergraduate studies at the University of British Columbia in English (Hons.) with a focus in Indigenous studies. While at UBC, I began working with Hum—or Humanities 101—a small but mighty community-based educational program under the direction of Dr. Margot Leigh Butler. Hum does tuition- and prerequisite-free university-level courses for low-income adult residents of the Downtown Eastside. For roughly seven years I was involved with Hum in a variety of volunteer and paid roles, including running a two year long weekly drop-in reading group at the nə́c̓aʔmat ct Strathcona Branch of the Vancouver Public Library, during which a dedicated group of attendees enthusiastically read aloud to one another Tolkien's _Lord of the Rings_. Before stepping away from my position in the fall of 2021, I was the coordinator of Hum's Writing program.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?

I've spent my life on the coast: I grew up in Victoria and moved to Vancouver now over a decade ago. I completed my undergraduate studies at UBC and knew that I didn't want to move away for future studies. I know that convention encourages that we move around; but in looking for graduate programs, I decided that I wanted to linger here, to stay close to all the relations that I'd already made, and close to both my and my partner's families.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RESEARCH OR YOUR PROGRAM TO A FAMILY MEMBER?

Broadly construed, my research is in critical garden studies and asks, if gardens are an educational space (they are!), then what are we learning from being in them, from spending time in them, from working in them? Since gardening is also a practice—it is something that we do, that we learn to do, and learn from doing—then what are we leaning from doing gardening? Who, in the garden, do we learn from? And in what ways? Through our senses and affective capacities, certainly, as well as through careful observation, participation, and especially through practice. With a background in English studies, I'm also interested in the ways that natural spaces like gardens and parks (whether urban or otherwise) have been narrativized, have been composed, have been written as natural spaces. What sorts of genres and genre conventions orient our relationships to these natural spaces? And what sorts of assumptions or valuations are made in those writings about our relationship to the more-than-human world?

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

In the first year of my program, I took a number of fantastic courses—both within my own department (with Dr. Kumari Beck) and outside, in Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies (with Drs. Coleman Nye and Helen Hok-Sze Leung) and the School for Contemporary Arts. Dr. Coleman Nye's "Dude, Where's My Body?" remains a standout course! My supervisor, Dr. Ann Chinnery's enthusiasm and steady patience with me as I plod along to complete my thesis work over these past few challenging years has been remarkable.

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 departmental graduate fellowships over the course of my degree.

 

Contact : rjentink@sfu.ca

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