Alumni Profiles

Alix Freiler 

Alix became interested in urban poverty and policy while studying politics at Queens. She thought the interdisciplinary faculty and approach of the SFU Urban Studies Program would help her “expand my theoretical lens,” and be a good place to pursue those research interests, which she did through completing a thesis on the regulation of public space in the City of Vancouver (2009). She has since gone on to pursue a Phd in social policy at Ryerson University, where she is examining the Province of Ontario’s poverty reduction strategy while also working as research manager for the Centre for Urban Health Solutions at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital.

“The type of work I now do revolves around general policy and because I had a background from the Urban Studies Program in policy and in urban poverty, it aligns very well with my work at St. Michael’s,” Alix said.

Alix noted that with no formal background in health, there was some serendipity involved in her move into that sector, which began with her first contract job after she completed her master’s. “At times, it has been a steep learning curve,” she said. “I work a lot with scientists, with epidemiologists. I enjoy it – it was a logical step because of my interest in the social determinants of health.”

Along with the interdisciplinary approach she adopted through her master’s work, Alix said the other thing that has helped her in her career and academic pursuits was the support she got from Urban Studies faculty after finishing the program. “The benefit of the smaller program is you really do get to know the faculty and the students and so you can cultivate those long-lasting relationships.”