Posted on January 18, 2017 by Tia Lalani

Meet Augustana alumna Stacey Haugen (BA, ’15) on her journey from Camrose to the International Development Research Centre, with international research and travel on her horizon.

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Stacey and Dean Allen Berger at her undergraduate convocation, where she was awarded both the Social Sciences medal and Augustana medal for highest grade point average.

Although it seems almost impossible, Stacey Haugen’s path has only gotten all the more impressive since graduating from Augustana in 2015 with a bachelor of arts in political studies, both the Social Sciences medal and Augustana medal for highest grade point average, a full entrance scholarship to the Balsille School of International Affairs, a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Master’s Program Scholarship, and the prestigious Sir James Lougheed Award from the government of Alberta.

Armed now with a master of arts in Global Governance and a year-long grant contracted by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in Ottawa, Stacey is continuing her research on improving circumstances for women in conflict and post-conflict zones, and continuing to make Augustana proud.

Equipped with an easy and contagious laugh, Stacey is more than willing to share her journey, describing the ins and outs of the various complex projects she has been working on over the past year, and conversing as an old acquaintance would, rather than a stranger with a staggering list of accolades behind her, and no doubt in front of her, as well.

While at the Balsille School of International Affairs, Stacy completed courses for her MA, followed by work on a policy project in coordination with the Center for International Governance Innovation (affiliates of the University of Waterloo and Wilfred Laurier University) where she presented on humanitarian architecture to Global Affairs Canada.

She also was invested in her own research centered on the role of NGOs in terms of gender relations in war times and post-conflict zones. Her results – that the funding structure of NGOs doesn’t necessarily work for gender equity – was not surprising.

“The funding is often short term, from nine months to a year, and you can’t really expect to make progress in gender equity in a year because it’s a long term goal.” Stacy noted, also mentioning that funding often necessitates concrete and observable objectives. “It’s not like we can report back with ‘we have changed everyone’s mind about gender equality’ in nine months” Stacy laughs.

Although Stacey discusses her research lightly, it’s obvious how important the work is to her. After graduating from Balsille, Stacey received a grant through the IDRC to continue her work, but more specifically, research sexual and gender based violence in the Middle East and North African region.

Stacey’s original proposal also involved interviewing Syrian refugees and displaced women living in Canada, but with a field research component written into the funding, she may have the opportunity to travel internationally to conduct interviews as well – something that she’d love to do.

With research grants a plenty and international travel in her future, Stacey remains thankful for her time at Augustana and the opportunities it afforded. She spoke of the many research trips, editing jobs, and conference presentations that she was a part of during her undergraduate degree with a still-present air of excitement.

“I got a lot of practical skills at Augustana that I ended up being able to use for other applications. Another thing was the mentors; I met a lot of other students during my master’s that weren’t able to have mentors throughout their undergrad like I did.”

These mentors, who for Stacey were largely professors Sandra Rein, Janet Wesselius and Shauna Wilton, provided opportunities that would never have come up had she not been able to form close relationships with her professors.

At the core of the opportunities and mentors offered to Stacey was always good old fashioned hard work, something Stacey has never shied away from, and continues to rely on as her journey extends from Camrose, to Ottawa, and beyond.


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