by Shannon Ing, CFICE Volunteer

As part of our celebrations for International Women’s day, we’re featuring one of our many smart and hard-working female CFICE researchers for this month’s Humans of CFICE piece: Anna Przednowek.

Anna Przednowek, CFICE VAW RA, poses for a picture while attending a conference.Anna Przednowek is a PhD Candidate at Carleton University’s School of Social Work and CFICE’s current Violence Against Women (VAW) Research Assistant (RA). Anna first became involved with CFICE unknowingly. Because she missed being connected to her community, she decided to start volunteering with the GottaGo Campaign, one of CFICE’s community partners. Through this role she became connected to the CFICE project and was hired as an RA.

Prior to CFICE and pursuing her PhD, Anna worked with children and youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and adults and seniors with dual diagnosis of developmental disabilities and complex mental health needs. As a clinical Social Worker in a community setting, Anna provided supportive counseling and behavioural interventions to those with complex behavioural needs.

Anna has a passion for this work, and the complex problems faced by these individuals and their families. CFICE has allowed her to work on the receiving end of community and university partnerships.

Anna believes that CFICE is a great way to get to know people in academia as well as within the community. “I am a community girl, so it is really nice to foster relationships with people in the Ottawa community,” says Anna. CFICE is important to Anna because it has given her the opportunity to practice community-campus engagement (CCE). Through CCE, she is able to stay connected both with the university community and the external community.

Anna believes that collaborative relationship skills are needed to engage in effective CCE. “Facilitating relationships with community partners is really important and being transparent in the work that you are doing, not necessarily bringing what you’re going to be doing, but it is really about what they are doing and how we can work in partnership and collaboration. How we can support the mission that the community has?” Anna believes that being an RA is important during one’s PhD, as it provides experience and an appreciation of community connection within an academic setting.

Anna’s research connects with VAW through many commonalities and looks at the bigger picture: violence. Her research is based on violence within caregiver relationships and mothers who care for adult children that have intellectual disabilities who experience violence in their care relationship. Through her clinical and community work, Anna has seen the impact of violence on mothers who are responsible for their adult children with intellectual disabilities. She has seen firsthand other’s assumptions of how mothers should care for their adult children and the impact of their experience of violence.

Working with VAW has provided Anna with another perspective and has helped her build the skills needed for her research. Anna hopes her research will closely resemble and bring justice to capturing their experiences.