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  • Writer's pictureMarielle Moraleja

Meeting Rose: Our Research Assistant at the Benoit Lab

Rose Zaranyika loves to immerse herself in various novel genres, strolling in vibrant markets, meeting new people, and taste-testing local cuisine. “I love exploring the world and immersing myself in different cultures. There's something so captivating about experiencing the sights, sounds, and flavours of new places, and it allows me to broaden my perspective and learn from different ways of life”.

This curiosity and fascination with the world and people inspired her to complete a Diploma in Social Service Work at Centennial College in 2022. Her passion motivated her to strengthen her practical application skills, leading her to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work with a minor in Public Administration at Toronto Metropolitan University immediately after college.

As she was preparing for the upcoming Fall semester, she came across an opportunity at the Benoit Lab on LinkedIn. As many of our projects at the Lab focus on mental health among racialized communities, Rose was intrigued and decided to apply as a research assistant.

Today, her work involves conducting studies relating to Quality-of-Life intervention research, health services, and health outcomes. She is responsible for facilitating interviews, cleaning transcripts, and conducting a thematic analysis of the findings. Rose states, “The lab is composed of a diverse group of researchers and professionals, allowing for a rich exchange of ideas and perspectives. This collaborative approach not only fosters my growth as a research assistant but also enhances my understanding of the research process and its real-world applications”.

Throughout her academic and professional journey, she found how much social, economic, and environmental factors overlapped with many of the concepts in social work. This connection, along with her understanding of public health, fostered admiration for the social determinants of health and its impact on individuals and communities. In the future, she hopes to bridge the gap between social work and public health: “…[I want to] advocate for vulnerable populations, develop, and implement evidence-based programs, and contribute to policy-making processes that address systemic issues affecting communities' well-being. Ultimately, I aspire to make a positive and lasting impact by promoting social justice, improving access to resources and support, and fostering healthier and more equitable communities”.

As she is in her final years of being an undergraduate student, she is equipped with plentiful experiences and insight for prospective students entering the field. Firstly, she suggests stepping out of your comfort zone! This is a great time to embrace new opportunities where personal and academic growth occurs. Secondly, she believes that you should never be afraid to ask questions; there are resources available on campus that are meant to support you. Finally, Rose emphasizes that prioritizing self-care is vital to maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

"Overall, it's important to remember that personal and professional growth is a continuous journey. Never stop learning, seeking new experiences, and challenging yourself to reach your fullest potential. Stay curious, stay motivated, and keep striving for success in all aspects of your life."

We are so grateful to have Rose on the team, and we are excited to see what the future holds for her once she graduates from Toronto Metropolitan University!

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