Social Science Week 2019
Social Science Week 2019 (February 8-12) brought together various disciplines, profiles and groups in a stimulating and informative collaboration. Presentations were organized by the Peace Centre, First Peoples’ Initiative, SPACE, Model UN, Student Services, Environmental Seminar, Psychology Profile and many others.
Topics ranged from Bay Street legal practice, to youth homelessness, the prevention of radicalization, the international refugee crisis, domestic violence and Holocaust survivors, to name just a few. For many students, the week offered an opportunity to explore topics and issues they may not otherwise have encountered. This year’s line-up resonated strongly with students, as the allotted time for questions was often not enough.
This year, for the first time, Social Science Week included four sessions for Continuing Education students. Organized by the First People’s Initiative and Cinema Politica, these events were a great success with all sessions full or nearly full. Students and teachers appreciated the opportunity to participate in these learning activities and to engage with prominent speakers such as Alanis Obomsawin.
One of the highlights of Social Science Week 2019 — and one of the events organized to mark Dawson’s 50th anniversary — was a visit by Dawson alumnus, Harvard professor and best-selling author, Dr. Steven Pinker. As he shared some of his most influential research findings, Dr. Pinker humorously reminisced about his time at Dawson and the impact of the college’s interdisciplinary focus, which sparked his interest in human nature.
Following his presentation, Dr. Pinker informally met with a group of approximately twenty Dawson students. For some of these students, it was like meeting an academic rock star. Student Fernanda Gomes wrote:
One of the things he said that I really liked was that with psychology the possibilities are endless, you can go in multiple directions and never know where you will end up. His talk was more than inspirational and it definitely motivated every single student in that room to work hard, because he is a clear example that if you work hard, you can be successful. He ended his talk by saying, “Maybe in 46 years from now one of you or more than just one could be standing up here.” That is something I’m for sure going to hold on to.
Paola Ngoma, General Social Science student
Informing and inspiring students is exactly what Social Science Week aspires to do. A big “thank you” to the many members of the Dawson Community who helped make this year’s version a resounding success!