UFV Student Research Awards 2021 – Celebrating Arts students winners!

The 2021 Student Research Day featured 54 research projects created by 80 students from all areas of study at UFV. In addition, eight exemplary posters have been recognized with awards in honour of their scholarship. Among the awarded students, Arts students Regan Thompson (Psychology) and Michelle Grafton (Sociology) were awarded the President Award and the Dean, College of Arts Award.

Regan’s project named “Death Anxiety and Spiritually across the lifespan: Factors and relationships amidst COVID-19” was supervised by the Psychology Associate Professor Dr. Lesley Jessiman and counted 308 participants, from young adults (aged 19-40) to older adults (aged +60). It presented a new perspective about the correlations between death, anxiety, spirituality, age, depression, and loneliness.

In response to the circumstances created by COVID-19, Michelle Grafton’s project named “Enforcing the rules versus ‘doing what’s right’: lived experiences of labour and delivery nurses in the context of COVID-19” introduced a new sociological standpoint of how COVID-19 affected healthcare workers, and specifically labour and delivery nurses whose work demands an extra-level of mental, emotional, and physical support essential for the birthing process.

In the light of such brilliant projects, the College of Arts is proud to acknowledge the high quality of research work produced by Arts students and their faculty supervisors. Each research project is one step forward to making a global difference and creating new perspectives and opportunities for everyday challenges.

Click here to view Regan’s and Michelle’s full project.

2021 Arts Worx Internship Professionalism Awards – Recognizing and celebrating the outstanding work of College of Arts students during their internships.

From left to right: Maaria Zafar, Holly Janzen, Jaimee Fournier, Arsalan Sadiq and Harla Sidhu.
From left to right: Maaria Zafar, Holly Janzen, Jaimee Fournier, Arsalan Sadiq and Harla Sidhu.

Our success as an institution depends not only on our ability to deliver high-quality instruction for students but also on creating opportunities to connect their learning beyond the classroom and align it to their future post-university goals.

In recognition of promoting professionalism within our community and demonstrating integrity, openness, and dedication, we are thrilled to announce the winners of the 2021 Arts Worx Internship Professionalism Awards:

  • Lorisa Williams (no photo) – History Major, Indigenous Studies Minor
  • Arsalan Sadiq – Media Arts
  • Holly Janzen- GDS major
  • Jaimee Fournier – English Major, History Minor
  • Harlajvanti Sidhu– Criminology Major, Communications Minor
  • Maaria Zafar – Criminology Major, Communications Minor

Congratulations to these amazing students. On behalf of the College of Arts and our community partners, we would like to thank you for all your hard work and dedication during your internship.  Keep rising and remember—the sky is (not) the limit!  You got this!

Voicing Social Justice through Visual Arts – A story about Faria Firoz: BFA grad student and the recipient of the 2021 Lieutenant Governor’s Medal

Faria Firoz holding the award certificate and the 2021 Lieutenant Governor’s Medal
Faria Firoz holding the award certificate and the 2021 Lieutenant Governor’s Medal.

Faria Firoz is a BFA graduate student who has been living in Canada since she left her homeland of Bangladesh in 2016.

She has always been fascinated by art and studied art during her high school back in Bangladesh—but she wanted more. Faria combined her high-level skill set and passion for arts and social justice to raise awareness about important ongoing social, cultural, and political issues.

One of her most recent works was generated within the Black Lives Matter creative social justice art project, where according to Shelley Stefan, Visual Arts Associate Professor and Art Mentor for this project:

Faria’s participation in the Black Lives Matter creative social justice art project displays her commitment to the essential collaboration and unifying efforts needed to bring people together through creativity to support inclusion, diversity, reparation, poetic justice, and civic engagement. Her role in this project, alongside other Black, Indigenous, Mixed Race, and People of Colour, is a prime example of the type of bravery and leadership artists can embody toward the advancement of human rights in our communities.”

In recognition of her extraordinary work, Faria was the recipient of the 2021 Lieutenant Governor’s Medal: an award granted for standout students whose work promotes and integrates diversity, inclusion, and reconciliation. As stated by Faria: “It is a very unexpected honour. To be recognized and appreciated at such a high level is something I never would have imagined. I am so grateful.”

Read Faria’s full story at UFV Today.

Where can a BA degree lead you? Our inspiring convo with Dr. Corman

Dr. Michael Corman is an Assistant Professor of Sociology in the Department of Social, Cultural and Media Studies at the University of the Fraser Valley. Dr. Corman’s research and teaching interests include a variety of topics that intersect with the sociological study of health, illness, and society.

As students embark on their academic journey, it’s not always clear where their degree may lead them or what opportunities they’ll encounter along the way. To learn more about what a Bachelor of Arts degree can offer students, we spoke with Dr. Michael Corman, Assistant Professor of Sociology at UFV, about his intriguing career path.

Watch the full, unedited interview:


What do you like the best about your work?

I love teaching. I love being in the classroom. I love seeing my student’s faces. I also love learning from my students. We have an extremely diverse student body here at UFV which is such a huge asset both as fellow students but also as academics and as professors.

I also love research. What I do for a living in terms of research is that I listen to people and I observe people. How cool is that?

What surprises you about your career?

One of the things, I guess is surprising is how diverse my job is. I teach, I work with medical doctors in Ireland, I publish and do research with nurses, I have students who are so interesting and come from different places and I can learn from their lived experiences. So the ever-changing-ness of what I do for a living.

I’ve taught Introduction to Sociology for almost thirteen years now and it’s never the same. I’m never ever bored.

What are the major factors that contributed to your career choice in sociology?

Social change and social justice

How have your personal values impacted your work?

I have been raised to think about social justice, to challenge inequalities and, of course, this is the underpinnings of sociology . . . to make change, to challenge social inequalities, to challenge power relations that benefit the few and the powerful. So, part of my own values made me align with what I do for a living right now, which is to teach sociology.

What is your preferred learning style and why?

I love to be able to put knowledge into practice. So experiential learning. I love listening to profs and reading content but also to be able to apply it.

In terms of my own teaching, putting content into practice is the major “so what” of what I try to do. Trying to teach my students “why does this matter to you.”

I try to engage both as a learner and as a teacher. I try to create an environment in my classroom that is less hierarchical and more conducive to collaboration and discussion so we can learn together.

What makes you feel successful in your work as a sociologist?

Once in a while, I’ll get emails from my students that say, “Mike, it’s your class that encouraged me to do a sociology degree or go on to my Masters or PhD.” And that brings one of the biggest joys to my life.

When did you know that you were good at what you do?

Generally, I think if you like or love what you do, sometimes you can be thought of being good at what you do. But getting feedback from my colleagues and my students to me was that moment where I was like, “I think I’m okay at this.”

So what are you reading right now?

Upstream Medicine. It’s geared towards making change beyond the clinic to making change in society.

Describe a place that impacted you and what was impactful about it?

Doha, Qatar. My first professorship. Being exposed to such diversity and difference. It really hit me in the face and really made me a better sociologist.

When you think of the future, what do you dream of?

I dream of a more equitable society. A society that challenges inequality, challenges racism, classism, sexism and ageism and all these different axes of inequalities that really we’re seeing today but have been underlying and present historically as well.

To me, what I do for a living is ever more important. I see and I hope for a more equitable world based on principles of social justice. A more generous way of organizing society.

Guest Blog – Virtual internship with CIFOR

Students' workspace

Students' workspaceGuest blog by Taelyr Keeley and Abbey Lin

It has officially been six months since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. The global pandemic has and will change many aspects of our daily lives. Covid-19 is not only affecting the health of millions, it also has adverse effects on our global economy; specifically, development funding. In the global development sector, funding is extremely important as it allows organizations to do the work that they do; which is vital to our survival. The donor landscape for the development sector is changing rapidly as Covid-19 continues to spread throughout the globe. Many governments are cutting back the amount of funding they issue each year, with the US cutting their development funding the most. Cutting back millions of dollars of development assistance affects the livelihoods of those living throughout the global south. Many rely on the development programs that are created to provide basic services like, food, shelter and healthcare; without these programs people are left behind.

Our internship with the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) has been very rewarding yet challenging. We were able to attend conferences, lectures and meetings that discussed food security, climate change, the changing development landscape, and the donor landscape. All of these topics also paid special attention to how they would be affected by Covid-19. Put simply, without funding from donors, programs cannot happen. When programs cannot happen, this adversely affects the citizens that require these programs.There are scientists all throughout the world working on critical projects. These projects are saving lives and providing livelihoods for millions. An example is the “Governing Multifunctional Landscapes in Sub-Saharan Africa” project led by CIFOR. This project focuses on addressing sustainability in income, food and energy in the rural communities of Kenya which heavily rely on the forests around them. As our world economy is beginning to fail, there is less funding available for government safeguards against Covid-19 let alone funding for development projects. Funding is being redirected because of the global pandemic and it may be hard to predict where the money will go. It is crucial in how we approach donors and let them know how important these projects are.  Throughout our internship, we have had the pleasure of working with different contacts within CIFOR to learn the ins and outs of the donor landscape. We have been able to learn that development programs are equally as important as government safeguards for Covid-19. Climate change is an emergency that needs to be addressed at least the same as Covid-19 or higher; if we do not there will be no planet for us to live on.

Scientists that are currently working for CIFOR are providing necessary research to adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change; specifically, in the regions where climate change has the greatest impact. Without this research, millions of people are left vulnerable to these impacts. For a large population in the global south, the impacts are food insecurity, migration, lack of income, etc. Everyone deserves the opportunity to have food on their table, clothes to wear and a roof over their head. The risks of losing development funding on a large scale are immense. Scientists are doing the work that is necessary to improve the lives of millions and lift them out of extreme poverty.

Covid-19 has provided the world with the opportunity to observe how a lower human footprint changes the environment. In Italy, the Venice canals cleared up and ocean-life began to return to the area. In India, you could see the Himalayas for the first time in decades. In China, the smog cleared so much that you could actually see major urban centers again. Covid-19 has shown that the climate can change and adapt. It is our presence that is having the greatest impact. If we can make changes to the way our society behaves post-covid-19 then we can truly mitigate climate change. It is the time that climate change needs to be taken seriously as we have tangible evidence as to the impacts of the human presence.

As we reflect over the last three months that have flown by working with CIFOR; we can’t help but think that we would’ve been writing this from our office in Nairobi, Kenya. Instead, we are writing this from home in Abbotsford, Canada. We are disheartened that the opportunity to live and work abroad was lost but, we appreciate staying home more. This may come across as a weird answer to our readers, but it just makes sense as we end our internship. Yes, we had to stay home and miss out on opportunities of a lifetime, but we got to create an experience of lifetime in a different way. We were able to connect with scientists and colleagues from around the world. Create country profiles and learn from the scientists working in those countries. We got to skype late hours into the night early morning due to time changes; this was very hard for us, don’t be fooled. We also were able to save our carbon footprint of travelling from Canada to Kenya. Though we weren’t able to receive funding for our internship, we were able to allow that funding to be used for future interns. We need to remember that we are doing these things for the bigger picture and that we are contributing to a greater mission; not for our own personal enjoyment to experience travel internationally. Yes, don’t get us wrong, Covid-19 has been extremely difficult in more ways than one. We acknowledge its impact and mourn the countless lives lost.

We have discussed the positives of our internship, it’s time we addressed the negatives. As we were not able to travel to Nairobi, we had to adapt our internship to an online format. This meant meetings, conferences and work was conducted at random times to fit the time zone with whom we were dealing with. An online format also involved the now famous Zoom meetings, we were thankful for the times our camera didn’t have to be on as we were usually in bed.

Working in different time zones is not an easy feat to accomplish; we often were receiving emails days later or at times we were not working. This was difficult as we weren’t able to receive feedback at desired times. We all know how emails work, right? Well, we also had emails get lost in the thirty-email thread or were forgotten by our colleagues. It canbe hard sometimes when you work with very busy people who are more than willing to help but must also deal with schedules, piles of work, and different time zones. Incentives to check in were not as frequent since there is no longer the requirement to be physically present.

An important thing to note, however, is that Covid-19 changed the way a majority of us work. We have to work out the kinks in an online workplace to improve productivity and communication. It was quite the honour to be the guinea pigs of a virtual internship. We were thrown into ground zero of the birth of virtual internships and saw what impacts COVID-19 had made in the world of research and funding. We have been able to learn so much and provide feedback for future virtual interns. We have learned that you don’t need to live in the country where your work is based. This is a capability we never would have considered before; thank you internet! So, a little bit of advice from your summer interns is to not be afraid of a virtual internship. You can learn so much more than imagined! There is no time to wait. Some people may think that doing something virtual isn’t as meaningful or “cool”, but this is the new reality that we are in now. We are trying to find out the issues and solutions to this world and those who truly want to reach out and help will not let something virtual stop them. The show must go on; the world’s issues will not wait, so neither will we!

We’d like to give a huge thanks to CIFOR and UFV for giving us this opportunity in the midst of all these events. It has been truly a meaningful experience to work with the amazing staff of CIFOR who were more than willing to show us their work and how they are going about their work along with the pandemic. We are grateful that UFV coordinated and made this internship happen as it was all definitely worth it. Even though this time we weren’t able to physically experience working with CIFOR; with COVID-19 this is the new norm that must be accepted. Because of COVID-19 we were able to work with scientists and researchers beyond Nairobi, Kenya and got to meet more different people than we would have in person! We may have missed out on the actual physical interaction experience but this internship has set us up for possibly more opportunities to travel when this pandemic is over.

“How wonderful is it that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

– Anne Frank

Taelyr Keeley and Abbey Lin are fourth year Global Development Studies students at UFV.

Artist Q & A: Chantelle Trainor-Matties

Chantelle Trainor-Matties is a Visual Arts student at UFV

UFV Visual Arts student, Chantelle Trainor-Matties designed this year’s 2020 Student Leadership Symposium artwork, which was centered around the theme of “Empathy in Action.”

Chantelle Trainor-Matties is a mixed media artist, who is set to graduate with a Visual Arts diploma in 2020. She has created a variety of design work for small businesses and clients from around the world.

She currently works as a freelance artist (frettchanstudios.ca) for herself and also as an artist for Nations Creations. Some of her latest accomplishments include: the 2019 “Pink Shirt Day” hosted by Nations Creations and the New Student Orientation Symbol for UFV in 2019She recently became international, having her Indigenous artwork sold on merchandise across Canada and Seattle, WA.

Read Chantelle Trainor-Matties’ Q & A below to learn more about her creative process:

Read moreArtist Q & A: Chantelle Trainor-Matties

Peace Summit of Emerging Leaders

Abdul Aziz Ghafoor, Bachelor of Science student at UFV

UFV students Abdul Aziz Ghafoor, Katelyn Van Hove and Tara-Lynn Kozma-Perrin have been chosen to attend the Peace Summit of Emerging Leaders conference to be held on February 5-7, 2020. The three winners will represent both UFV and Canada in Bangkok, Thailand.

“I’m very excited to attend the conference and meet all the other young leaders from around the world to help share some of the skills I’ve learned and to learn a bunch of skills as well, which will be very useful for me and the community here,” said Ghafoor, BSc student.

Read morePeace Summit of Emerging Leaders

Ethics of Internships

On November 26, UFV held a panel discussion entitled Ethics of Internships. The event was hosted and organized by Dr. Cherie Enn’s (an Associate Geography Professor at UFV) and seven students from the Global Development Studies class (GDS 400). Dr. Enn and students worked hard during the fall term to organize the event and invite speakers. Funding support came from the Queen Elizabeth Scholars.

The panel included both UFV students and internship hosts, those of whom held a range of differing views when it came to the complexities of international and domestic internships.

“Presenting at the Ethics of Internships event was a great way to reflect on our experiences and roles as GDS students and interns. Discussing the opportunities and challenges surrounding internships through a parody encouraged us to critically reflect on why GDS students do internships and how to ‘practice development’ in a positive way,” said Gina Dhinsa, a Global Development Studies student at UFV.

Read moreEthics of Internships

Minister of Multiculturalism, Official Languages and La Francophonie for a Weekend

Raymond Kobes, BA, French Major & Business Minor, 2018 

“I went to Victoria for University Model Parliament” says Raymond Kobes. It was there in January 2018, that the UFV French alumnus and member of Universities Model Parliament was selected to be the Minister of Multiculturalism, Official Languages and La Francophonie for a weekend.

“Basically when you go to Model Parliament, it’s as if Ottawa was postponed and you were actually in Ottawa as the official representatives and members of parliament” says Kobes. Over the course of the weekend, Kobes was responsible for three portfolios: Multiculturalism, Official Languages and the French culture.

In this role, Kobes was expected to field questions by the opposition regarding certain bills that related to his area. “It was really neat because there were so many different opinions and different world views… but when it came down to it, we were all there for a common goal of learning how to get involved in the political world and how we can best make a better Canada” he says.

To be an effective member of parliament, Kobes recommends becoming a good orator because a large part of the job will include giving speeches and asking or responding to questions from either side of the House of Commons. He also recommends becoming bilingual. “The best part about [being a Minister] was that I got to use my French in the House… and got to share with other people why those things are important” says Kobes.

Growing up in Abbotsford, Kobes was drawn to politics at an early age and dreamed of one day becoming a member of parliament. “I look forward to my future in politics, hopefully, as a member of parliament in the future and a lot of that has to do with my education here at the University of the Fraser Valley” says Kobes.

Kobes graduated this June 2018 from UFV. He is set to teach French for one year at Credo Christian High School in Langley starting September 2018, and then plans to become heavily involved in the Canadian federal election in 2019.

To watch Raymond’s short video interview, click on the link: https://bit.ly/2NloL72

To watch Raymond’s full video interview, click on the link: https://bit.ly/2mr2vx2

Eyém Sqwà:l – UFV’s Literary Café at the Harrison Festival of the Arts

Eyém Sqwà:l = Strong Words @ the Harrison Festival of the Arts

Date: Monday, July 9 at 8:30pm 2018
Location: Memorial Hall

Tickets: Adult $28.00 ($25 til June 22nd)      Student/Senior $25.00 ( $23 til June 22nd)

UFV’s Literary Café at the Harrison Festival of the Arts offers an intimate opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the West Coast’s brightest writers and poets.

This year’s theme Eyém Sqwà:l : Strong Words, celebrates the voices of two powerful Stó:lō multi-media artists and their oral, performance-based style, along with world-renowned spoken word artist, Shane Koyczan who has been called the “poet of our generation.”

KELIYA

Keliya is a poet, screenwriter, filmmaker and hip hop artist from the Stó:lō Nation. She is also a graduate from the UBC Film Studies Bachelor of Arts program and aims to tell stories about her people that are not only modern and traditional, but also from an Aboriginal perspective.

Keliya has travelled across Canada and the US performing for communities and youth. These are the people for whom she makes her art and she is passionate about spreading messages of empowerment and love in this way.

OSTWELVE

Ronnie Dean Harris aka Ostwelve is a Stó:lō /St’át’imc/Nlaka’pamux multimedia artist based in Vancouver, BC. He has worked as an actor and composer on the APTN/Showcase TV series, Moccasin Flats, toured internationally as a hip-hop performer, been a director, programmer and producer for the Vancouver Indigenous Media Arts Festival and is now the Program Director for “Reframing Relations.” This Community Arts Council of Vancouver initiative allows Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists to interface with students and youth in schools and communities around the concept of reconciliation. Check out his website @ www.ronniedeanharris.com

SHANE KOYCZAN

Shane Koyczan is an extraordinary talent who has blown the dust off the traditional designation “poet.” He is a writer and multi-media spoken word artist whose work has appeared in print, viral videos, opera and his own furiously-honest, award-winning performances. His first published collection, Visiting Hours, was the only work of poetry selected by both the Guardian and the Globe and Mail for their Best Books of the Year lists in 2005. Koyczan followed up on that success with Stickboy, a novel in verse that chronicled the dark journey of a bullied child. From these words of helpless rage, he was asked to produce the libretto for a full operatic produced by Vancouver Opera in 2014.

Our Deathbeds Will be Thirsty was released in 2012. The book features the piece, “To This Day,” a poem about bullying that went viral on Youtube, receiving over a million views in a matter of days. Most recently Koyczan embarked on a journey to discover his own origin story. One result is the documentary, Shut Up and Say Something, in which he meets his father for the first time. For more information check out: shanekoyczan.com