Kathy Dobson is a PhD student and Vanier Scholarship winner in Carleton’s School of Journalism and Communication Studies. Her research focuses on the digital divide and the social construction of poverty in Canada, examining how harmful stereotypes, myths, and narratives are created and circulated about those living in poverty through mainstream news, social media and other platforms.
Her award-winning book, With a Closed Fist: Growing up in Canada’s Toughest Neighbourhood (2011, Véhicule Press), shares an insider’s view of poverty and includes a social history of one of Canada’s most militant grassroots organizations fighting for social justice in Point St. Charles, an industrial slum in Montreal.
After completing a master’s degree in communication at Wilfrid Laurier University, Dobson chose to pursue her PhD studies at Carleton because of the unique expertise of the faculty, as well as the professional and educational opportunities she knew the school offered to support graduate students.
“The Communication and Media Studies Department at Carleton is an incredibly supportive learning environment and provides opportunities for students to not only share and receive constant feedback on their work, but also offers workshops on applying for external research funding and numerous writing boot camps on everything from how to prepare a professional academic CV to writing for and submitting an academic journal article,” says Dobson. “I’ve also been able to attend both national and international conferences to present my research.”
Prior to starting graduate studies, Dobson worked as a journalist for almost two decades, including as a news stringer and documentary producer for CBC Radio. She wrote for publications including the Globe and Mail, National Post, Ottawa Citizen, Maclean’s and Chatelaine magazine.
After she graduates, Dobson hopes to teach in the field of communication studies while continuing her research. Discrimination based on socio-economic disadvantage is absent from Canada’s human rights legislation and she believes that contributes to ongoing discrimination and stigma experienced by Canadians living in poverty.