Being published in an international recognized journal is a tremendous honour, regardless of academic stature. For undergraduate student Kerri Mozessohn (Otonabee College), this honour came early through a written review of Nina Lykke’s Vibrant Death: A Posthuman Phenomenology of Mourning in the Journal of Lesbian Studies.
Kerri, a Bachelor of Science Honors Psychology student entering her final year of studies this fall, explains that the opportunity was both exhilarating and surprising. “I never thought I would be published during my undergrad!”
The review, written by Kerri and co-authored with Dr. Rhea Ashley Hoskin (Peter Gzowski College, '05), an AMTD Global Talent Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Waterloo, delves into Lykke’s exploration of loss in an LGBTQIA2S+ relationship.
“This book is important to read right now because it is helping to break down the dominant oppressive worldviews and paradigms that have only served a select few,” says Kerri. “Especially when it comes to death and mourning, it is important to remove the stigma, pathologizing, and exclusivity that mainstream views place on how one should mourn the loss of a loved one.”
The opportunity to be published
The opportunity to write for the Journal of Lesbian Studies came when Dr. Karen Blair, the director of the Trent Social Relations, Attitudes and Diversity Lab in the Psychology Department, asked her third-year psychology students to write a review of a book that addresses LGBTQIA2S+ mental health and addiction.
Professor Blair connected Kerri with Dr. Hoskin, a leader in femme theory, and the connection, as Kerri explains, “opened the door to this really amazing opportunity to not only write my first book review, but to also collaborate with another scholar at another institution.”
“Not only have I gained experience collaborating with another scholar at a different institution, but I have also been given the opportunity to get an early glimpse into how the research and peer-review process works, something that I am pretty sure most students would have to wait until grad school to experience.”
Creating space for students to excel in academia early
A recipient of Trent University’s Early Career Researcher Award herself, Prof. Blair hopes that experiences like Kerri’s will inspire students to reach for greatness in academic settings and push beyond the confines of the classroom as soon as possible. Prof. Blair helps to achieve this by providing students with a dynamic working environment that includes scholars at all levels from across the country and beyond. In Kerri’s case, she worked very closely with Dr. Hoskin to apply Femme Theory to the reading of Vibrant Death.
“Sometimes the awards we receive in academia make it seem like research and scholarship are solitary and individual activities. In reality, it is always a team sport, and our success is always dependent upon countless others,” says Prof. Blair. “One of the best things I can do as a professor is to model approaches to collaborative work and to provide opportunities for my students to connect with other scholars as early as possible within their educational experience. In this case, it resulted in Kerri’s first publication!”
Kerri says that throughout their time under Prof. Blair’s oversight, she has witnessed her regularly opening doors for LGBTQIA2S+ research and inclusivity. “As a trailblazer in the field of LGBTQIA2S+ psychology, Dr. Blair is showing students that not only can they be themselves, but they can also effect change. I am very grateful for Dr. Blair's mentorship and it has directly influenced not only how I feel about myself and my identity, but also the research I conduct.”
“Prior to working on this review, Prof. Blair worked with me to co-author and publish two articles on her Psychology Today Inclusive Insights blog, an opportunity she offers to all her students,” says Kerri. “By going through the process of edits and understanding what it takes to develop a final draft for publication, Prof. Blair worked with me one-on-one, an opportunity most students do not get at bigger schools.”
What’s next for Kerri?
With her first journal by-line firmly establish, Kerri says the experience has inspired her to continue pursuing publication.
“The recognition from not only Dr. Blair and Dr. Hoskin, but also from the editors of the journal, is extremely rewarding. It is also pretty cool timing to be published in the Journal of Lesbian Studies during Pride Month! I never thought that would happen! It feels like such a gift. I hope this is the beginning of many more publications!”
Kerri plans to complete her Bachelor of Science Honors in Psychology at Trent next year. This coming fall she plans to apply to a variety of Masters and PhD clinical psychology programs throughout Canada.
“My hope is to become a clinical psychologist who specializes in LGBTQIA2S+ mental health.”