Throughout my undergraduate and graduate studies, I pursued academic excellence, participated in the intellectual community fostered by Ryerson University and York University, and looked for ways to apply my knowledge in practical settings. As a volunteer student note taker, I ensured equal access to quality education for students with learning challenges. Meanwhile, I completed significant volunteer experience with the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services as an Addictions Counsellor. I was proud to be selected as a member of the Liberal Arts & Professional Studies Academic Peer Advisory Council for the 2011-2012 academic year due to my excellent academic record. I have taught adolescents in many capacities over the past fifteen years, whether as the Youth Director of a thriving community programme, as an Instructor/Teacher's Assistant at York University, or as a university guest lecturer. In addition, I have recently presented at numerous conferences on subject pertaining to issues in education specifically employing Anti-Racism/Anti-Oppression theoretical framework.
Recognizing the need for social and academic support for youth who are underserved by, or disengaged from, formal learning institutions, I founded Ubuntu Academic Excellence Inc. a registered non-profit organization that seeks to mentor, empower, and educate marginalized and at-risk youth.
My fourth-year honour thesis, "University Aspirations of Racialized Youth: Contextualizing Afro-Caribbean Students' Reality" and my current masters thesis, "Examining the Educational Experiences of Black Males in High Performance Academic Schools, focuses on what transpires during the four years of high school that so drastically alters Afro-Caribbean students intentions for accessing university education and the implications of the underachievement of Afro-Caribbean students in the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) , and Peel District School Board (PDSB). The work that I did on my thesis led me to realize how critically Toronto needs to improve its existing educational policy framework. The educational, social and economic disparity evidenced in so many urban settings throughout Canada both frustrates and motivates me. I am interested in pursuing analytical research in the field of academic policy analysis and academic policy implementation, building on the work of my thesis supervisor, York's own Dr. Carl James. I seek to analyze the social injustice of others, most specifically, troubled and neglected youth.
My life has been shaped by witnessing Nelson Mandela's sense of humanity, and his profound understanding that one's rights are never practiced in isolation, but are rather contingent upon the rights of others. My social justice is contingent upon upholding the values of others; only through empowering others can I empower myself.
As a researcher, educator, and community worker, I view youth as a potential solution to, rather than the cause of, the challenges faced by unresponsive or outdated policy. My life work is to be a voice for social justice and I have already witnessed the positive change that can be sparked by just one articulate voice.
Veronica A. Baker-Campbell, M. Ed. (c)
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