Social justice careers on Research Café bill


Dan Gallant wonders what the future holds for him.

Gallant is completing his master’s degree in Social Justice and Equity Studies (SJES). His major research project focuses on the effect of government cutbacks in the non-profit sector.

He hopes to use his degree, as well as community volunteer experience, to find a career in the area of social policy advocacy.

“In our methodology class a couple weeks back, we had a lengthy discussion on anxieties post-grad school,” he says. “A great deal of the discussion focused on having work that was fulfilling, and stayed true to our desire for social justice.”

Gallant and Ezgi Sarioglu, who is also in the SJES program, are graduate student moderators for the Research Café “Degrees of Difference” on Tuesday, Nov. 19 from 4:30 to 6:45 p.m. in Pond Inlet. The event features five graduates from Brock’s MA program in Social Justice and Equity Studies (SJES).

Drawing from their varied education, personal and career backgrounds beyond SJES, the panel members will share perspectives about their work in social justice causes.

“I’m looking forward to hearing from the panel about their experiences in combining their academic and professional interests in a career that they find rewarding,” Gallant says. “This is the kind of information that is valuable to all students in graduate programs who hear about the difficult job market today.”

Terry Trowbridge is one of the five panelists. Trowbridge is a doctoral student in York University’s Socio-Legal Studies program and a long-time advocate for street-level sex workers

“I hope that current students will see that there are vibrant, committed community-based projects out there in the ‘real world’ that address the underlying reasons for poverty and injustice at a very concrete, local level,” Trowbridge says.

“The Social Justice and Equity Studies program connects class work directly to people who work on those projects. Current students should feel confident that the theory-based classes they take are following the experiences and the inventiveness of the communities around us. Their master’s degree is relevant and useful, and graduates of the program learn how to contribute to challenging social justice fieldwork in ethical, collaborative ways.”

Another panel member is Cheryl Athersych, project co-ordinator at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Ontario.

“I think that students should keep an open mind in their approach to their education and careers,” Athersych says. “Though we can all be thoughtful and strategic about our work and scholarship, it is sometimes the happy accidents or unexpected connections or relationships that result in new directions and opportunities.

“Don’t be shy to go after what you want, but don’t worry if you haven’t quite figured out what that is either. Some of the most interesting jobs and careers are ones you might not even know exist.”

The panel will also include:
• Kate Zavitz, ombudsman investigator, Office of the Ombudsman, City of Toronto
• Allison Burgess, sexual and gender diversity officer, University of Toronto
• Lysanne Louter, a producer/director for CBC’s the Fifth Estate, whose most recent report “Made in Bangladesh” exposed the Canadian connection to the Rana-Plaza garment factory collapse

The café is free and open to the public.

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