My first experimental psychology project focused on inequity and its affect on productivity. From this, I gained an interest in inequity, namely in the areas of gender and sexual-orientation based discrimination.
My projects pertaining to heterosexism focused on perceptions of homosexual law enforcement and the roots of homophobia. The recent trend of suicides amongst homosexual teenagers shows there is a dire need for acceptance and study in this area.
Many of my research projects focused on gender based issues and discrimination. One area I found particularly troubling and in need of special attention is mothers in prisons.
I studied social inequities during my undergraduate from the perspective of Criminology and Psychology. I finished my degree feeling that tackling social inequities requires frameworks and solutions that are more complex than current models and methods of inquiry employed by these disciplines. For example, my experience working within the often-strict quantitative rubric of Psychology has illustrated that greater flexibility is needed to understand human behaviour. Human beings are neither objective nor predictable, thus it seems relevant to consider qualitative methods as well as quantitative.
One of my final courses was The Philosophy of the Social Sciences (SA-358), which explores philosophical and methodological issues. This course showed me that understanding and evaluating ontological assumptions and using relevant research methods are critical to examining complex social issues. Through this course I found critical and feminist perspectives to be most inclusive when dealing with issues involving inequity. If admitted to the Masters program I would potentially like to concentrate on using feminist and critical perspectives to further my understanding of heterosexism and gender based discrimination in health care policy.
Several of my undergraduate degree projects focused on heterosexism and gender based discrimination, but in the domain of positivism using quantitative methods. I would like to work with faculty members who are involved in the Centre for the Study of Gender, Social Inequities and Mental Health or CARMHA, both of which embody the principles, perspectives, and research interests mentioned above.
I am excited about the diversity of research interests and approaches within Health Sciences. I feel the Faculty of Health Sciences is an environment that can help push my understandings and skills regarding inequities to another level by facilitating application of the above mentioned frameworks in a new domain. In particular, I believe I could achieve my degree goals under the mentorship of Dr. Marina Morrow or Dr. Benedikt Fischer given their research records. However, I am willing to work with other faculty members whose interests are coincidental with my undergraduate training and academic interests.