Research Project Provides Opportunity for Student to “Shine as a Scholar”

Nicholas Jackson has been busy crunching numbers, combing through datasets, and analyzing findings.

The fourth-year Economics student has been working alongside Dr. Fariba Solati on a research project stemming from her book Women, Work and Patriarchy in the Middle East and North Africa. The pair presented their initial findings at the Atlantic Canada Economic Association conference and are working to have more research prepared in time for the Canadian Economics Association conference in Alberta.

“Our initial findings support professor Solati’s book in that women from the Middle East and North Africa are participating more in the labour force in Canada then they were back home.  Now we’re looking at why that is,” Jackson said.

Solati, Jackson, and colleague Dr. Murshed Chowdhury of the University of New Brunswick, have been working on this project—To Work or Not to Work: The Case of Middle Eastern and North African Immigrant Women in Canada—since May 2018. The group is seeking additional funding for the second portion of the research, which will focus on identifying factors affecting immigrant women’s decision in participating in the labor market in Canada.

“Nick has been the engine of this project,” Solati said. “He’s spent many hours going over vast amounts of data searching for variables that can be used in our study. Depending on the funding opportunities, I would like him to present our findings at the next conference as well.”

Jackson, who plans to pursue graduate studies after completing his honours in Economics, said the guidance he received from Solati has helped him tremendously.

“She always makes time for me and is really flexible. She’s very hands-on and there’s lots of learning as I go, and she’s been very helpful.”

For Solati, this project offered an opportunity to provide Jackson with skills and experience that will benefit him in his education and career after St. Thomas.

“As much as it’s important to teach students how to conduct research projects, it’s also important to provide them with opportunities to exercise those skills,” she said. “Collaborating with professors and presenting at conferences not only improves their CVs, it also gives them opportunities to shine as scholars.”