Zaynab Al-hemed

Social Work
Field of Research:
Public Affairs/Social Work
Adje Van de Sande

Zaynab Al-hemed headshot

Reason For Participating

I chose to participate in the I-CUREUS as it gave me the opportunity to work alongside one of my professors. The I-CUREUS also gave me the opportunity to begin conducting research on an area of interest and importance to me.


The problem, in a broad sense, that this research is trying to tackle relates to social work pedagogy. Specifically, the problem is about whether a method of approaching and practicing social work is one that those with lived experience of poverty would ascribe to, and would feel empowered to utilize. The goal of this research is to add to the knowledge base available to practitioners about social work practice. Ultimately, the goal is to uncover how clients respond to an approach, as well as to inform best practices for practitioners moving forward.

The research group that I work in focuses on poverty and social citizenship, both as it affects the local and global community. I am involved by aiding in the creation of critical knowledge about poverty and social citizenship which is used to inform policy, and pedagogy. As I’ve learned, the research process is one that has multiple dimensions. Thus far, I’ve been involved in investigating the current literature available about the topic, creating a literature review, and applying for ethics approval.

Relation to Studies

Most of the material taught in my classes have been applied to my research. Specifically, students are required to take a research methods/stats class, which has been instrumental in allowing me to conduct research with participants.

Furthermore, my research has allowed me to directly implement material learned in class, in a way that is relevant for practitioners currently in the field. In addition to this, my research has given me lived experience engaging with classroom theories that I can now apply and discuss with peers and other professors.

Value of Experience

To date the most valuable skill that I gained from the experience has been learning how to preform statistical analysis within the field of Public Affairs. Another valuable skill that I have gained has been learning how to more effectively discuss research, and by so doing, be able to collaborate and work with others of similar interest.

From participating in the I-CUREUS I have gained the opportunity to work on research in a way that is relevant, and interesting to me. Whereas in the classroom research is theoretical, the I-CUREUS allowed me to put my knowledge to use.

To Future Participants

I would tell people considering participating in this opportunity to talk to their professors, as well as other students (especially those in graduate programs) about their research interests. They offer incredible knowledge and can add to the experience you have with the I-CUREUS. The I-CUREUS is a great opportunity to get involved in research that you are truly passionate about.