Jenny Edwards

Photo of Jenny Edwards
Degree Title: 
Master's in Public Issues Anthropology and International Development Studies
Graduation Date: 
2014

The experiences I had during my Master's in Public Issues Anthropology and International Development Studies were invaluable and have had such a positive impact on my professional accomplishments and pursuits. While at Guelph, I studied the strategies used by members of the nation-wide Nicaraguan organization, Movimiento Comunal Nicaraguense, to positively develop youth. This led to my own realization of the importance of providing youth with both formal and informal education, recreational opportunities, and most importantly, social support and guidance.

I have since been published in the Anthropology of Children and Youth Interest Group of the American Anthropological Association where I discussed how the positive youth development strategies employed within Movimiento Comunal Nicaraguense likely played an important role in the relatively lower levels of youth violence found in Nicaragua (when compared to neighbouring countries Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador).

Additionally, during my Master's research, I learned about the importance of community when building healthy social relationships and positively developing youth. For that reason, I was eager to participate in an 8-month internship on Community Development led by Global Youth Network, where I learned about community development in the context of local NGOs, the homeless community, the Canadian Indigenous community, and within Global Youth Network itself. I hope to continue to develop a sense of community in various aspects of my life, and to continue to develop my own concept of what community is and what it can be.

Finally, I received the position of Education Coordinator at Youth Action Network, where my job is to create an educational program that effectively engages youth with social justice issues and strengthens their critical thinking skills.  Through educating youth with interactive, engaging workshops, the goal is to empower them to become knowledgeable, conscious, confident, independent decision makers who actively participate in their own communities and engage with social justice issues.

I am grateful for the lessons I learned, the practical experience I acquired, and the relationships I developed while carrying out my thesis research. Furthermore, I am very thankful for the guidance and support of the faculty, for the skills I developed from the program's courses and the thesis writing process, and for the well-rounded perspective offered by my program.