Glendon’s small classes are a great way to make meaningful connections with faculty members. Indeed, many Glendon students are chosen by their professors to work as research assistants and gain first-hand experience in their fields. Through their work as research assistants, these students gain invaluable quantitative and qualitative research skills that serve them in their courses and their future jobs. This week, we are connecting with Neena Sethi to learn more about her experience as a student researcher and how it is shaping her career choices.
Neena Sethi is currently a Senior HR Consultant for Fair Wage with the People, Equity and Human Rights Division at the City of Toronto. Upon graduating from the London School of Economics and Political Science with MSc in International Political Economy, Sethi was selected as a Toronto Urban Fellow. This competitive fellowship program allows new Masters, LLB, JD, and PhD graduates to tackle strategic projects at the City of Toronto and was the catalyst for her career in public policy. She is currently working on a unique pilot project to address precarious work conditions and improve job quality in Toronto. The pilot project is part of the City’s Poverty Reduction Strategy.
Before her career in the Toronto Public Service, Sethi was a Glendon student and undergraduate researcher in the Department of International Studies. Sethi came to Glendon as a mature student to pivot into a career in the public sector. She worked as a research assistant to Dr. Christina Clark-Kazak, assisting with her research into age mainstreaming in forced migration contexts. Sethi’s work consisted of literature reviews, jurisdictional scans and secondary source research on age discrimination legislation across UN member states. Sethi also assisted Dr. Clark-Kazak for the Refugee Research Network Conference “Innovations in Forced Migration.”
Sethi notes that her experience as an undergraduate researcher helped her hone her critical thinking skills and pushed her to grow her knowledge of research practices in other jurisdictions. This broadened awareness of different research methods helped her develop ideas and identify challenges. Sethi also emphasizes that the exploratory approach she took in her work with Dr. Clark-Kazak fostered her curious spirit while also limiting the potential for bias in her research. “I’m naturally curious, and exploratory research assists me in leaving no stone unturned,” she says.
Sethi is grateful for the experience which allowed her to work with one of Canada’s leading researchers on migration, Dr. Clark-Kazak, and its influence on her drive to reach her goals in her field. She also looks fondly on her experience for the skills and outlook that continue to be integral to her work: “Research skills will help you in whichever career or profession you choose. You’ll challenge assumptions, seek the truth and be the change you’re seeking.” Challenging assumptions allows Sethi to design and implement innovative projects for the City of Toronto.
Sethi’s experience was formative to her identity as a researcher. “Christina always told me, as an undergraduate student, you are a researcher. Her words resonated with me, and I felt that yes, I am a researcher” she says. Indeed, Neena Sethi continues to conduct important research projects beyond Glendon and have a positive impact on the broader Toronto community!
Thank you to Neena Sethi for sharing her journey with the Research and Innovation Office.