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A fork in the road

KMb (Knowledge Mobilization)

I spoke with my  husband about how happy I am to have finally found a professional identity that seems to fit with my life experience, skills and interests – being a Digital Researcher, specifically studying knowledge mobilization (KMb) in social media.  Better late than never – as they say!

My 46-year path in life (thus far) has been rather varied – to say the least. In my early 20s I began a career as a broadcast journalist, but (either divinely-inspired or suffering from delusions) I left the newsroom and spent 6 years studying philosophy and theology to be ordained a Roman Catholic priest. I finally decided to leave for three reasons: the lack of equality in not ordaining women; the denial of basic human sexuality through forced celibacy; and the church’s views on same-sex sexuality.

After leaving the church, I became a flight attendant by fluke! I was sent back “into the world” looking for a job.

I got hired as an F/A, planned to do it only for a few months until I could find another broadcast journalist job, but the Internet revolution of the 90s had taken hold. The newsroom was now a changed and foreign place for me and I’d have to bring myself up to speed. In the meantime, flying around the world wasn’t such a bad thing. Now 20 years later, I’m a senior flight attendant and have plenty of downtime to do research between flights – thanks to the power of a portable laptop and web 2.0 technology.

Seven years ago, I decided to return to university to study something closely connected to my interests as a broadcast journalist – observing human behaviour – this time, in Psychology.  As a student, I was given a great opportunity to volunteer as a research assistant in a Health Psychology Lab run by Dr. Trevor Hart, where I was able to hone my research skills and put my statistics studies to practical use.  I graduated from York University‘s Department of Psychology in 2008.

It was through personal conversations with my husband about knowledge mobilization that sparked my own interests in the variety of methods in which research and knowledge is exchanged, co-produced and practically applied between researchers and research-users. In fact, before graduating, one of my own research projects focused on the extent to which York University’s Department of Psychology embodied KMb. From that, I began to provide volunteer support for Knowledge Mobilization at York since 2007 around key areas of data analysis for various ResearchImpact projects.

I’ve experienced a few “forks in the road” and travelled down a path that has lead me to KMb as a Digital Researcher. The years of varied experience down all the different roads has had one thing in common; my interest in asking why? I think I’ve finally found a fork in the road where I can do that with a more fulfilling purpose.  Perhaps I took the road more travelled instead!

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