By Shannon Boklaschuk
University of Saskatchewan (USask) student Ruby Lindsay is passionate about interdisciplinary learning and pursued a degree in the Women’s and Gender Studies (WGST) Program in USask’s College of Arts and Science as a result. She is now set to receive her Bachelor of Arts (honours) degree in WGST during USask’s 2021 Spring Convocation, after winning the Interdisciplinary Award for highest-achieving student in WGST.
The College of Arts and Science asked her about her educational journey and about her plans for after graduation.
Arts and Science: You will be graduating during the 2021 Spring Convocation in June. How does it feel to reach this milestone?
Ruby Lindsay: It feels exciting! It’s been such a rewarding and enriching experience. I’m proud of all that I’ve accomplished throughout the course of my degree—all that I’ve learned and the confidence I’ve gained.
A&S: Why did you choose to study women’s and gender studies?
RL: The interdisciplinarity of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program really drew me to it. I really appreciated having the freedom and encouragement to explore different knowledge systems and disciplines. It helped me articulate and communicate my thoughts and feelings and the ways that my life experiences have influenced them, while also instigating in me a critical awareness and curiosity toward different social structures and how they shape opinions and understandings.
A&S: You presented a colloquium about the links between library science, online algorithms and police surveillance. Can you tell me more about that?
RL: Yes, sure. My honours colloquium looked into how processes of classifying and organizing information are not neutral—they can serve specific political ends and means, whether intended or not. It explored the connections between traditional methods of library and information science, contemporary algorithms, policing and surveillance. The project outlined the similarities in how these systems operate while also explaining how their connections reveal a biased history of power relations operating across these systems that disproportionately target Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) communities.
A&S: You completed part of your degree at Stockholm University in Sweden. Why did you choose to study abroad? What was the experience like?
RL: I chose to study abroad because getting out of my comfort zone and experiencing new environments facilitates my learning and growth. I knew that being in a new learning environment would challenge my perceptions of the world and expose me to new ways of living and learning. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to study in Stockholm—I absolutely loved it there. I met so many amazing people and learned so much about myself!
A&S: You have been a First Year Research Experience (FYRE) coach, a library intern and a marking assistant. Why did you want to get involved in these activities?
RL: I really value experiential learning. Each of these positions was an opportunity for me to gain more hands-on experience and I really appreciate that.
A&S: What intrigues you about interdisciplinary learning and research?
RL: I love interdisciplinary learning. I think it’s so important in cultivating compassion and empathy—at least it was for me. Trying to understand where other people or other disciplines are coming from and how they view the world is so valuable. I think it has fostered more curiosity, patience and empathy in me, and has made me understand and get excited about the importance of being a life-long learner.
A&S: What was the best part of studying at USask?
RL: I love the Murray Library. I’ve spent many hours in there studying and writing. I really enjoy the energy in that building—it’s a place where I feel focused and determined. Also, I love the WGST department and am so grateful for everyone there. The faculty created such a supportive learning environment. It was a space where I felt welcome and free to explore and share my feelings, thoughts and ideas.
A&S: Now that you are graduating, what are your future plans?
RL: In the fall, I am moving to Vancouver to pursue my Master of Library and Information Studies at the University of British Columbia.