Sylvia Kasper

SylviaKasperWhat education have you taken?

I am in my final year of study for a Bachelor of Arts degree at Brandon University. I am majoring in sociology, and minoring in gender and women’s studies. I have taken numerous spring and summer courses, as well as full time studies at Brandon University. The courses I have taken in the last four years have broadened my perspective and given me valuable tools to help me in my future graduate studies.

What accomplishments are you proud of?

I am a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society as well as the President’s Honour Society. I am also the proud recipient of the Laureate Epsilon Beta Sigma Phi Scholarship in Gender & Women’s Studies, Gary and Fanny Cristall Memorial Scholarship, G.F. Macdowell Scholarship in Sociology, as well as the Harold Vidal Memorial Scholarship in Sociology. I have been fortunate to have incredible support in my academic endeavours.

Tell me about yourself/ your background/ your history.

I went to high school in Thunder Bay and moved to Brandon in the early 2000s. I have a love for the theater and took part in community theater productions in Brandon and Shilo. I have spent many years working with Brandon Regional Health Authority in the capacity of food service at Fairview Personal Care Home and clerical support at the Brandon Regional Hospital. I am a person who cares deeply about social issues and the community in which I live.

How did you become interested in your field of study?

While taking introductory courses in Sociology I knew I had found a field of study in academia which fit with my worldview. Sociology allows for a study of society and people that accounts for constant change and multiplicity of meaning. The concepts of the social construction of reality and symbolic interactionism in particular have given me a language, method of study, and a new way of interpreting the world.

What is your philosophy in life?

I aim to be the best person I can be with the information I have available. I cultivate my critical thinking skills on a daily basis and I am deeply committed to being a lifelong learner. I aim to understand and help others. There are a great many things in this world I will never grasp but I hope to always be willing to explore and have my mind open. If I can do these things I will live a happy life.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

I hope to be starting a master’s program in the fall of 2013. After completing a master’s degree in sociology I plan to complete a doctorate. In my career I will endeavour to promote social justice and critical thinking through study. I want to further the learning experience of others to enrich their lives through education, as I have been so privileged to experience.

Nominator’s Comments
Ms. Kasper has been a student of mine since my arrival at this institution, so I have had the opportunity to witness her scholarly development over the past three and a half years: she is an outstanding student, with a very bright academic future ahead of her.

Ms. Kasper has distinguished herself in all areas of academic performance while enrolled in my courses. She is an articulate and critical thinker, mature and insightful beyond her years. She performs extremely well in all evaluations, including tests, analytical assignments and essays. She is very organized, has advanced research and mnemonic capabilities, and writes clearly and articulately. She also demonstrated outstanding leadership and public speaking skills in the group work and presentations assigned in class: with her enthusiasm and drive, she spurred her colleagues forward, while earning their good will and trust. I would rank her at the top five percentile of the students I have taught in the past years in respect of her academic skills.

I now have the pleasure of supervising Ms. Kasper in her Honours’ thesis. She has chosen to carry out a sophisticated research project, very methodologically complex, that combines quantitative and qualitative approaches, and will be studying perceptions about male contraception among students. Ms. Kasper had to pass a rigorous ethics process before embarking on her work, because her research deals with sexuality and involves human subjects. She plans on presenting her findings at this year’s Canadian Sociological Association conference in Victoria, and this speaks to her seriousness and her scholarly abilities.

She has a clear plan for her future education: she will complete a Master’s in Sociology, and proceed to pursue a doctorate degree as well, and become an academic. Her research project for her Master’s is not only very original, but an invaluable contribution to the fields of Sociology, Social Justice Studies, and Native Studies: she will study marginalization and dual-stigma, with a focus on particularly ostracized groups in Canadian society, Aboriginal and Métis gay and lesbian youth. Her goals are to examine the challenges that these individuals face within their communities and in larger Canadian society.

Over the years, Ms. Kasper has received wide recognition for her scholarly work and collected a number of awards, including being inducted into the Golden Key and the President’s Honour Society at Brandon University. She has also won two scholarships, the Gary and Fanny Cristall Memorial Scholarship, and the G.F. Macdowell Scholarship in Sociology. In addition to her full time scholarly career, she works as an imaging technician at the Brandon Regional Hospital. Clearly she is an outstanding time manager, able to juggle a demanding schedule, without compromising her studies. Her communication and her organizational skills are remarkable and I believe she would be an excellent Research or Teacher’s assistant.

I believe Sylvia is an outstanding student, a promising scholar and future colleague. She is bound to achieve remarkable success in her plan of research and I have full confidence that she will acquit herself splendidly.

Second Nominator’s Comments
Sylvia is an exceptional student, who is exceedingly interested in course materials and remarkably curious. Her curiosity fosters a learning environment in which students and professors alike are challenged and able to reconsider governing assumptions about the subject matter. Her thesis at Brandon is exciting, provocative, and will surely contribute to a growing body of knowledge on family planning, contraception, and human sexuality. Her proposed work at the graduate level negotiates the tenuous notion of identity, particularly when positioned outside of static notions of subjectivity. Her work will engage post-structructural and post-modern theories of subjectivity, as well as drawing on a growing body of scholarship attending to queer and indigenous subjectivities. Her work at Brandon has been of an exceptional quality and she is committed to the goals of a liberal art education.