Shaunette George is this year’s recipient of the Daniel G. Hill scholarship. Shaunette, who describes herself as a lover of learning, is pursuing a PhD in Sociology at McMaster.
The Department of Sociology created the Daniel G. Hill scholarship in 2021 to provide a financial award to an outstanding Black graduate student enrolled in the program. Named for prolific Black Canadian sociologist Daniel G. Hill, the scholarship supports Black sociologists at the start of their careers.
Shaunette graduated from McMaster’s undergraduate Sociology program in 2021 and will graduate with a Master of Arts in Sociology this fall. She also received a Certificate in Leadership and Management in the not-for-profit sector from Mohawk College in 2021.
“It surprised me when I received the award, but I was very excited,” said George.
She is also enthusiastic about her many research interests, some of which focus on issues affecting Black women in Canada. After graduation, she plans to pursue a career in social policy to bring attention to the issues facing the Black community.
“I want to focus on policy because unlike in the United States, where they collect race-based data to understand the issues affecting communities, that hasn’t been done much in Canada. I think that if they studied Black women, focusing on their lives and the roles they have within the Black community and within the larger community, the policies would be much more effective.”
Shaunette also mentions the contribution of her academic advisor, Anne-Marie Livingstone, assistant professor in the Department of Sociology, as Livingstone nominated her for the award.
“Shaunette has been a joy to have in the classroom. She’s a talented student and has clear ambitions to contribute to the empirical knowledge base about Black women in Canada.
“Though Black women continue to suffer greater inequalities than others, they are a complex and diverse group, and we know little about how they are affected by injustice but also how they surmount it. Shaunette embodies the generation of Black women who are breaking ground by entering graduate school in record numbers in Canada and I’m excited for her to be part of our PhD program,” added Livingstone.
As she prepares for the next step in her academic journey, Shaunette offers one piece of advice for other new students: make the most of the opportunities available.
“One of my best memories was taking part in a student exchange program during my undergrad. I spent seven months abroad at the University of Leeds. Although it was cut short because of the pandemic, I had many unique academic and life experiences I would not have had in Ontario, which made my university experience that much better.”