Vanier Scholar studies the effect of migration and family separation on youth

Vanier Scholar Jennifer Shaw, a PhD student in anthropology at Simon Fraser University, is studying the ways in which families are reconfigured through migration and specifically how it affects the sense of kinship and belonging among youth.

Jennifer set her sights on getting a youth perspective after observing that, while many researchers have studied migration and labour in Canada as it pertains to adults, little work has focused on the experience of youth. Using ethnographic life story interviews, Jennifer is exploring the family life of young people living in the Vancouver area who have experienced long-term separation from one or both parents. As part of her project, she will incorporate visuals produced by the study participants such as photographs or videos. This arts-based component will make the research accessible to a broader audience with the goal to inspire change in local communities.

Jennifer hopes her project will lead to a better understanding of the challenges youth face in moving to another country. This knowledge may be used to create programs to help youth settle in to their new communities. "It is really important to me that my research addresses concerns of the community and prospective participants, and helps generate the kinds of impacts they would like to see," she says.

"Having a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship is truly an honour. It has allowed me the time and resources I need to build my connections to organizations and people, to ensure my research is relevant to the needs of the community."
-Vanier Scholar Jennifer Shaw, Simon Fraser University

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