Why did you choose Sociology at Ryerson?
I switched to a major in Sociology by the end of my first year because I found myself engaged and invested in my Sociology courses: they focused on critically examining personal and political social structures. Sociology is a program which is always growing with its students, and a discipline which has been used to empower many communities.
What are your academic interests? How have you been able to explore them at Ryerson?
My academic interests are, broadly speaking, investigating and analysing the ways in which social (and, thereby, political and economic) structures are established and maintained. I enjoy examining the intersectionality of marginalized identities within these power structures, especially LGBTQ identities, and exploring possibilities for solidarity and liberation. I have found at Ryerson I have been able to study these topics and share my knowledge in creative and interactive ways.
What are your non-academic interests?
Outside of academia, I work as a visual artist and facilitator for LGBTQ community groups (including local campus group, RyePRIDE, where I am presently the coordinator). In addition to this work, I am a visual artist, and have recently produced my first film, Mosaic. This film is a performative ethnography (a documentary film), researched over the course of two months, in which I traveled across North American with members of the transgender community. I consider this film to be not only a documentary, but an opportunity for inter-community dialogue. Ryerson provided financial support for this film and its launch, and it is now available as an educational tool and a form of empowerment for transgender individuals seeking to engage in a critical examination on the topics of gender, community, and survival.
What do you enjoy most about our program?
One of the best aspects of Ryerson has been the personal connection I have found with my professors. I often stop by the Sociology department to chat with my instructors about what I’m learning inside and outside class. This helps me feel more in touch with what I’m learning, why, and how to apply the material outside in and outside of school.
What advice do you have for students thinking about our program, or early on in their academic careers?
Consider how your personal experiences intersect with the material: making a personal connection to the material helped me become more engaged and invested in my educational experience. Also, get to know your professors; they can be an excellent resource and are happy to spend their office hours with eager students. Finally, I would recommend that new students to Sociology to consider ways in which they can connect and develop their skills with their program. I have found that this approach has made me passionate about the material I am studying.
You can learn more about Markus’ film Mosaic at www.mosaicdocumentary.com.