My experience as a student research assistant
By Ana Brito, Contributor
Working as a student research assistant (SRA) is one of the most stimulating jobs I’ve ever had. I’ve been working for IMPACTS since the beginning of 2019. I applied after Dr. Smith, my sociology teacher, explained a job posting that she thought would be interesting to me. I went to the Douglas College Career opportunities page on their website to check the job posting. The website has lots of great jobs available that are looking for students. After reading the posting, I realized that the job description did fit me perfectly. They were looking for someone energetic, passionate, and interested in working in meaningful studies (such as sexual assault and misconduct). A few weeks passed after I applied, and I got a phone call informing me of an interview—yay!
After meeting my prospective bosses, I got even more excited about the project. IMPACTS, led by Dr. Shaheen Shariff, is a seven-year project to address sexual assault in all of its forms on university campuses all over Canada. Working on a subject that I love and being able to do something meaningful and helpful for our society has always been a life goal for me.
Even though I knew what my tasks as an SRA would be before working, I never knew how encouraging and empowering it would feel. I get to exercise my creativity every day, my ideas are heard and analyzed by talented scholars, and I also get to work with other fantastic student research assistants that share my passion—thank you, Dr. Smith, Dr. Hotel and Dr. Audet. The team and the experiences I’ve had with them are amazing. We are connected, we encourage each other, and on top of everything, I’m learning so much about a variety of subjects. Besides learning about the project itself, I’ve learned about policy, quantitative and qualitative methods, interviewing, interpersonal relations, feminism, health studies, and much more. I’m glad that I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many talented people with such incredible minds—it encourages me to go after what I’m passionate about. I never thought that my opinions would be valuable enough to be part of such an important project.
Here’s what I’d like to say to you: if you’re ever wondering if you’re good enough to apply for a student research assistant position, or any other position, go for it! You’ll learn on the job while building your future career. My experience as a SRA has been fantastic so far, I love my job! I’m not afraid to make any mistakes either, as I know that my work environment is a positive one that encourages learning from mistakes. Take a step towards an exciting opportunity and check out Douglas College’s Career opportunities page on their website, there are lots of great opportunities waiting for you!