‘I am pursuing my research to fill the knowledge gaps about the lived experiences of Black Haitian women in STEM’
The focus of Anick Jasmin’s MSc research is Black Haitian women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). A student in the Individualized (INDI) program, Jasmin is using storytelling to analyse the obstacles faced by Black Haitian women in STEM fields.
What are some of the obstacles to success experienced by Black Haitian women in STEM?
Black women face challenges due to both sexism and racism in academia and even more so in STEM as it is a historically white, male dominated area of study. In the context of Montreal, Haitians constitute one of the largest non-European ethnic groups in this city and women make up most[AF1] of this community. But they are underrepresented in STEM. This issue leads to social isolation, a lack of role models, mentors and academic support networks throughout the studies and careers of those who choose STEM.
Going deeper than these general factors, I believe that Haitian women in Montreal have distinct sociocultural experiences. These define their views of society and their views of STEM, and I am curious to understand their pathways, the obstacles they’ve had to face and overcome to achieve success. I am pursuing my research to fill the knowledge gaps about the lived experiences of Black Haitian women in STEM.
What are a few strategies that have helped you break through barriers in your journey?
Raised in Haiti where all problems are faced together, in community, I found it hard to face certain academic and social challenges alone in a foreign place. It took me a while to understand that I was struggling in the first place, but I have become more proactive and determined to rebuild a sense of community in this new space.
My Haitian community in Montreal has been my biggest support system throughout this journey. I was also able to expand my community to people living in Montreal with backgrounds very different from mine. From professors, teaching assistants, research colleagues, to coffee shop baristas, artist friends and many more, I was able to rebuild a network. This network has been invaluable in my successes and has carried me through my failures. Through connections I was able to find the tools to break through barriers.
What does the BPO research fellowship mean for you and your work?
The BPO research fellowship means a reinforcement and expansion of my network and community. I now feel more connected and supported by Concordia than ever because I have confirmation that my research matters to my academic community. More concretely, the fellowship lessens the pressure of tuition payment. In short, the fellowship is simultaneously a confidence boost and a financial one that furthers my progress and exposure as a researcher.