Meet Alexe, our new Practicum Student!

Tell us a bit about yourself!

Although I’ve done a bit of international travelling, I always find myself drawn to Calgary where my family and friends are. Calgary has been home to me for basically my whole life (my family moved here from London, Ontario when I was a baby), and I feel so deeply connected to this city. I have been in school for what feels like many years, and am currently working towards my Masters in Social Work at the University of Calgary! Outside of academia, I like to spend as much time outdoors as possible. In the winter, I’m usually skiing (downhill…not cross country) or snowshoeing. In the summer, I can usually be found playing in the dirt in my community garden plot, hiking in the mountains, or walking around and eating ice cream. I also have a scruffy little rescue dog named Ellie who keeps me pretty busy all year long.

What is your personal definition of feminism?

Feminism for me is constantly evolving, so it’s difficult for me to concretely define it.  At first, it started as a general understanding of privilege and oppression, and the quest for true gender equality. It then became political, where I started to see and understand inequality in the values that inform various policies. Now I interpret feminism as being the general belief that everybody should be able to be the truest, realest versions of themselves without facing discrimination. This transcends far beyond gender equality – feminism is the notion that all people deserve equal rights and opportunity,  regardless of gender, sex, race, class, ability, and/or any other factors that may marginalize them.

What brought you to the Women’s Centre of Calgary?

I have always been interested in the feminist work being done in Calgary, so the Women’s Centre has been on my radar for a little while. The majority of my previous work experience has been in the areas of domestic violence and women’s homelessness. Understanding the life-long and intersectional nature of women’s issues, however, I was interested in experiencing an environment that promotes preventative solutions instead of primary interventions. As the Women’s Centre addresses social issues at the systemic level, as well as has a strong mandate for social justice, I figured that it would be a good fit!

What’s one thing you hope to learn at the Women’s Centre?

I love the peer-support model at the Women’s Centre, and I am excited to see how it functions in practice. All of my previous experience has been within an expert-client model, so the peer-support model is new to me. The idea that women are the experts in their own lives is pretty cool, and I appreciate the dedication that the Women’s Centre has taken to this philosophy.

Describe a woman who you admire or who has influenced your life.

Reflecting back, I grew up surrounded by a group of head-strong women and for that, I will be forever grateful. I can’t narrow it down to one, so I’m going to write about four! My mèmè and my nanny (my two grandmothers) were the only grandparents that I’ve had, so I feel like I was kind of raised in a matriarchal family structure. The influence that these two women have had on my extended family as a whole is remarkable, and I have always been inspired by their strength and leadership. I look up to my mother for being able to speak her mind and for her continuous resiliency. She has taught me a lot about taking risks, the importance of self-care, and about unconditional love. Lastly, my little sister throughout her life has demonstrated what it looks like to be truly unapologetic for being yourself – and I admire her greatly for that.

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