Who: Samaah Jaffer
Department: World Literature and International Studies joint major, minor in Middle Eastern and Islamic History
Co-op positions: Past: Public Affairs Intern, US Consulate. Current: Community Engagement Specialist, SFU's Vancity Office of Community Engagement
Samaah Jaffer's connections to SFU Vancouver go all the way back to her pre-undergraduate days. The now-3rd year student, who is pursuing a joint major in World Literature and International Studies, attended an SFU International Studies event at SFU's Segal Graduate School of Business in 2011. After leafing through a brochure for the school left on her seat, she knew she was already in the right place.
Fast-forward three years later, and Jaffer has got to know all three campuses very well.
She was previously the associate news editor and is currently a contributing writer for the news section of The Peak (SFU’s student newspaper), has acted as the managing editor of the Lyre Magazine (the World Literature program's student magazine), and has held a co-op position with the US Consulate in downtown Vancouver, working in public affairs.
"I really like that I can work and take classes in downtown." Jaffer notes.
"It's convenient. I did co-op at the US Consulate, and when it was extended I would work there in the morning and then take classes at SFU Vancouver in the afternoon."
Jaffer's current co-op term is just a few blocks east of her first position, at SFU's Vancity Office of Community Engagement, located at SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts at the Woodward's complex. As a Community Engagement Specialist, Jaffer works to support all things "engagement" at the small but very busy office. (Last year alone, the office supported over 200 community-based events.)
"My position supports both the communications and event programming specialists. I help out with social media, as well as outreach work and event support—it’s a lot of being present and helping out!"
"I'm learning a lot about Vancouver, and the DTES. You're always hearing about different things going on, but it’s different to see what's happening on the ground. I'm really interested in learning more and interacting with the greater community," Jaffer describes.
And there's never a shortage of opportunities to do just that, working in an office that hosts sometimes up to two events per day. Jaffer notes that she's particularly looking forward to the upcoming Community Journalism 101 course in partnership with Megaphone Magazine, as well as the Heart of the City Festival, which this year will feature a DTES women's “Beauty Within Fashion Show.”
We also were sure to ask Jaffer more about her unique degree.
"What I've really enjoyed about my degree and the interdisciplinary majors that I've selected, is that although they are very different—in terms of style, and the method of critical writing that is applied to each—they have all really developed my critical thinking and writing skills and my ability to critically look and approach the world around me."
So what does she recommend to students interested in these programs?
Top four classes (so far):
IS 415: Islamist Trend in Middle Eastern Politics
WL 204: Human Rights Literature
HIST 249: Classical Islamic Civilization
WL 304: Exiles and Emigres