Honours Research: Welcoming Kentville’s New Generation with Laura Fisher
By Theodore Giesen
Theodore Giesen is a summer co-op student in the Research Office, and an undergraduate English student here at Acadia. Over the summer, Theodore has been interviewing Acadia students and faculty about their recent research activities and writing up his findings in profiles for the website. We'll be sharing profiles like this one in the coming weeks - check back for more stories of research at Acadia.
A baby’s first years are crucial to their development, which is why Honours student Laura Fisher (Community Development) is working with the community of Kentville to ensure that resources and services are in place to support new low-income families. Fisher’s research will involve interviewing mothers and various social service sector professionals who work with moms and babies in order to establish a definition of “welcome” that Kentville can strive towards fostering.
Though all kinds of families will be interviewed for Fisher’s research, the study will focus primarily on low-income families. Starting with broad questions such as, “What does ‘welcome’ mean to you?” and narrowing down topics to healthcare, food, housing, transportation, and public breastfeeding, Fisher aims to gain a deeper understanding of the community she is trying to better. Fisher may also coordinate several focus groups with mothers of newborn children. Along with speaking to individual families, Fisher will meet with non-profit organizations and other social service sector professionals to assess what changes have to be made, such as adding more change tables or signs identifying a breastfeeding-friendly and baby-friendly environment.
Fisher is driven every day to continue her work to make more children feel welcome in Nova Scotia. Having experience as a doula and as a mother of two herself, Fisher works to make a change, no matter how big or small the effects of her research are. Her hopes are that her study is used to inform government policies and impact the way social services are governed. Fisher sees many opportunities to grow her study, such as monitoring the same families over time or looking at new families after her research has been implemented, and would like to continue this area of study at a Masters or PhD level. She has been approached by doctors and nurses who are interested in her study and would like to know more about the social determinants of health. Fisher will give a public talk on her research in the Fall or Winter, and will have her thesis available to read in the Library in December 2018.