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Student Profile: Alexandra Richards
Political Science doctoral student in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
I am currently completing a PhD in Political Science at SFU. My primary research interests are generational theory, public opinion on security and defence issues, international relations, and strategic culture. Through my work as co-teacher on the NATO Field School program from 2018-2021, I have also developed an interest in pedagogy, more specifically, how simulations, experiential learning, and field study can impact and enrich student learning.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?
I chose to come to SFU, because of its strong reputation as a research school and the overall strength of its political science program.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RESEARCH OR YOUR PROGRAM TO A FAMILY MEMBER?
My research examines how different generations (Baby Boomers, Millennials, etc.) view security and defence issues and asks whether generational shifts may alter how we approach security and defence issues in the future. As well, it examines the ways in which culture (generational or strategic) can constrain and shape decisionmakers’ perceptions and decisions on security and defence issues.
WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?
I have enjoyed many things about my time at SFU. The diversity and richness of the course topics within the political science program paired with the high-quality and engaging instruction has made the completion of my coursework challenging but rewarding. I have also appreciated how my supervisor and others in the department are willing to go the extra mile to help me pursue my own research interests and goals while fulfilling program requirements.
Teaching, both as a TA and as a Co-Teacher in the NATO Field School, has also been rewarding as I view it as a way to engage with the SFU community and it has helped me learn new and creative ways to communicate complex ideas. As well, the NATO Field School has provided me with a unique opportunity to facilitate student learning through simulation, travel, and other experiential learning activities.
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