"I am a Colombian political scientist, currently pursuing my Master´s degree in International Studies at SFU."

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Student Profile: Diana Cardenas

International Studies Master's student in the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences

December 09, 2020
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I am a Colombian political scientist, currently pursuing my Master's degree in International Studies at SFU. I have two years of experience working with an international organization providing technical assistance to political parties in Latin America about political innovation, digital tools, transparency and women's participation. I enjoy using technology to find new ways in which citizens can engage in politics and democratic processes. For example, I hosted a podcast on political innovation, with episodes about transparency, citizen innovation labs and training centers for youth in political parties. I am also interested in development and poverty issues, and I have some knowledge of collective reparation for victims of the armed conflict in Colombia.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?

I chose SFU because it is a comprehensive university committed to the academic and professional development of students. It offers a wide variety of opportunities, co-op programs, educational support services, graduate health care programs. Additionally, it has a wide range of awards and funding options for academic terms and research. Besides, I also appreciate that the web page and all informatic systems are user-friendly, which is very important now that we depend on digital systems to stay connected due to the covid-19 pandemic.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR RESEARCH AND/OR PROGRAM.

I like the MA in international studies program because it has a multidisciplinary approach (gathering knowledge of economics, sociology, anthropology, political science) to understand and propose solutions to the problems of a globalized and connected world. In this sense, my main research interest is understanding how technology is changing social dynamics globally, deepening gaps and inequalities, but also opening spaces for participation and empowerment. I believe that technology can serve to open spaces to collaboratively build development projects, redistribute resources, or improve government accountability.

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

This year has been challenging for everyone. The academic experience at SFU has had to adapt to the context of the pandemic. It has been a challenge for me to start my MA entirely remotely, but I consider that SFU and the School of International Studies are doing what they can to ensure an enriching academic experience. I am enjoying the classes' topics, the methodology that encourages discussion among students, and the professional development approach to apply theoretical knowledge to my career. Likewise, I appreciate both Faculty and staff's flexibility and availability to make the experience as satisfying as possible.

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

Special Graduate Entrance Scholarship

DESCRIBE YOUR PROGRAM FOR THOSE SEARCHING.

It is a challenging program because it brings knowledge of various areas of study that you are not necessarily familiar with, but for that very reason, it is so enriching. If your interest is to understand the international dynamics between states, civil society and movements, this is the ideal program. The problems of the contemporary world are complex and require complex analysis. The IS program offers that broad perspective to understand and work within that complexity. The methodology of small-sized seminars facilitate participation and engagement from students.

Contact Diana: dlc10@sfu.ca
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/diana-cardenas-pinzon/?locale=en_US