Getting involved on campus opened unexpected academic doors for recent Political Studies graduate, Ashley Fearnall. What began as a political movement on campus quickly evolved into a research practicum and now a co-authored paper with associate professor and current chair of the Political Studies department, Dr. Nadine Changfoot.
Ms. Fearnall, outgoing president of the Trent University Politics Society (TUPS), spearheaded Trent Votes 2015 with the Trent Central Student Association (TCSA). The campagin aimed to eliminate barriers to voting for students and worked to connect federal candidates with youth voters, a demographic often marginalized during campaigning.
Upon completion of the Trent Votes in 2015, Professor Changfoot encouraged Ms. Fearnall to prepare a research paper on Trent Votes for a research practicum. From this research paper, they went on to advance and co-author the paper for successful peer review and acceptance of the paper at the Canadian Political Science Association meetings in Toronto.
The paper, Changing the Game of Youth Engagement at Election Time: How the Trent Votes Campaign 2015 Shifted Power, was well received, and was selected by the Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) for its media outreach program.
“The ability to work on a project I loved and incorporate that into my education and experience at Trent University was a highlight of my final year at Trent University,” explained Ms. Fearnall. “It opened a creative space to learn about our approach to electoral politics in Canada, reflect on what worked with the Trent Votes project itself, and build upon existing relationships with my faculty. I am very grateful for the skills I built through this project — and my final year at Trent University — every day in the workplace.”
Ms. Fearnall graduated this June from Trent and is currently working with the Minister of the Status of Women.