How can we reduce barriers for those with less social, economic, or civic power? Who do we have in mind when we are planning for the future of our city?

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Student Profile: Steve Kim

August 06, 2020
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Urban Studies master's student in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

I have a keen interest in cities and how they are planned, particularly around housing development. My most recent research assistantship was held in partnership with the Township of Langley to produce a report on the municipality's development application review process. I also place a high importance on urban equity: who has access to what resources in the city? How can we reduce barriers for those with less social, economic, or civic power? Who do we have in mind when we are planning for the future of our city?

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?

The Department of Urban Studies is situated in the Harbour Centre downtown location, which is appropriately located for the facilitation of immersive learning. I was also impressed with SFU's reputation as an institution that practices ethical and thoughtful research with the more vulnerable communities in our city. It was evident that SFU puts intentional effort into engaging research with the public.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR RESEARCH AND/OR PROGRAM.

My research pertains to the Korean-Canadian community in Metro Vancouver, particularly in Coquitlam. My research question is: Due to COVID-19, how have Korean church leadership and churchgoers in Coquitlam adapted to the “new normal” regarding social activities both internally (e.g. small groups) and externally (e.g. volunteering in the community)?

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

My professors and supervisors have been incredibly supportive, both academically and professionally. Due to the nature of my program, my peers come from diverse backgrounds in terms of age, profession, and culture - they are all a pleasure to spend class time with, and I learn from them regularly.

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

I have received the 2020 CGS-M award from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council, the 2020 Lambda Alpha International Vancouver Annual Graduate Award, the 2019 Paul Tai Yip Ng Memorial Award for best graduate student paper, the 2019 Urban Studies Graduate Fellowship, and the 2019 LGMA Grant Anderson Commemorative Award. All of these awards have reduced the financial burden of my studies, and have allowed me to be more flexible when looking for employment while completing my degree.

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

Urban Studies is a program designed to equip students with a critical lens to all things urban, such as housing policy, ethics, transportation, environmentalism, and more. The program can be done as a Master's or Diploma, with the former requiring the completion of a thesis. 

Contact Steve: ska213@sfu.ca