First year part-time MEd student Rayna Slobodian’s thesis will look at how research that addresses poverty, marginalization and social exclusion can be mobilized to contribute to solutions through public engagement strategies that seek to inform, reduce stigma and produce action. A part of her research will examine the causes of stigma. She will explore psychological perspectives and then look at causes from society as a whole.
“Analyzing both the micro and macro perspectives of stigma towards the impoverished will provide my research with a more holistic educational approach,” she says. “Challenging negative beliefs is highly important. I also explore countermeasures to change this cognitive rhetoric and hopefully lesson the stereotypical thinking that pervades our society through public discourse.”
Rayna considers York’s Graduate Program in Education to be a progressive and innovative program that provides amazing opportunities for students to explore their research interests through non-traditional methods. “As a singer-songwriter, I was able to complete a project by creating a song and music video,” she says. “Additionally, I’m currently working together with members of the community on an online homeless memorial web site project to provide a digital space for grieving and remembrance. Not only can I exercise interesting ways of mobilizing my research, but learning and sharing in what my colleagues are doing has also been fascinating.”
Rayna plans to utilize her research outside of academia when she graduates by applying her newly found knowledge in a public setting. “I may create an album, write a book, or do my PhD,” she says. “Whatever the outcome is, I know that this program has prepared me to head into the future with confidence. My advice to students – if you want an Education program that is ahead of the curve, you should definitely consider York’s Graduate Program in Education.”