Passion for social justice leads Psychology student to award
Ariane Freynet-Gagné received a 2020 3M National Student Fellowship
“Being involved, is how I find meaning and purpose,” says Ariane Freynet-Gagné, a 21-year-old psychology student who recently received a 2020 3M National Student Fellowship from the Society of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.
“I find that I am more myself when I am involved. I have been given so many opportunities. This is my way of giving back.”
This passion is why the 21 year old psychology student received a 2020 3M National Student Fellowship from the Society of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.
The award is given to Canadian post-secondary students who demonstrate outstanding leadership in their lives and at their post-secondary institution. Students like Freynet-Gagné embrace a vision of education that enhances their academic experience and beyond.
In terms of research, Freynet-Gagné is interested in languages, minority communities and intergroup relations, and hopes to link the subjects when writing her Honours thesis.
“I have always been fascinated with human beings,” says Freynet-Gagné. “It started with a passion for history, which transformed into psychology over the years. Psychology allows me to be in contact with people, and hopefully change lives. Generally, I like reflecting on complex issues.”
She is also passionate about French language and culture, an area where she has demonstrated extraordinary leadership.
When at the Université de Saint-Boniface, Freynet-Gagné co-founded the environmental club called Club Té-vert. Since September 2018 she has also been the President of the Conseil jeunesse provincial (Cjp) and is a member of the Fédération de la jeunesse canadienne française. The Cjp is the representative organization for French-speaking youth in Manitoba. Since 1974, the Cjp contributes to develop, among young Manitobans, the ability and willingness to play an active role in their Francophone community.
“Defending minority communities, trying to build bridges between communities, promoting languages and diversity is very important to me,” says Freynet-Gagné. “I think that Francophones are in a unique position to be allies with Indigenous peoples and help build bridges. In many ways but obviously not all, we have destinies that unite us.”
COVID-19 and the shutdown that followed put a kink in her studies and the research she was doing. Like many, she says she’s still figuring out the routine to get through it all but can’t wait to finish the last year of her undergraduate degree.
At UM Freynet-Gagné currently volunteers in the psychology research laboratory Intergroup Relations & Social Justice Laboratory under the supervision of Danielle Gaucher.
“Ariane is new to the lab this year and brings to us a great passion for the study of social justice issues as well as some excellent past research experience,” says Gaucher.
Currently Freynet-Gagné is investigating how factors such as age and gender can affect university student course evaluations. Gaucher says her research project is innovative in its design.
“I anticipate that it will greatly contribute to our understanding of gender bias in the academy and will be of interest to academics across diverse fields,” says Gaucher.