Summary: My 44th birthday is coming up on Sept 13th and with that goal in mind I’m seeking funding to cover some of the “extras” associated with completing my dissertation this year. My hope is to finish it up by summer 2013! My PhD funds from York University don’t cover everything I need to do my research fully and the challenge of trying to spend most of the year in my study area makes it harder to serve as a teaching assistant to earn money. And while most PhDs take at least 5 years (though they’re only supposed to take 4) my amazing scholarship I had only lasted three years.
Who Is Tanya? If you’ve stumbled to this page through someone else let me tell you a little bit about myself. I’m a 43 year old woman from Canada. I identify as queer and live with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. Despite that, I returned to school in 2007 to do a Masters in Environmental Studies (which I finished early despite the strike and even co-wrote a book during my time) and then in 2009 started my PhD in the same field. While I attend York University in Toronto, I try to spend as much time as possible in New Orleans.
I’ve been volunteering since I was about 9 years old; I started by helping my dad work at our local library in Bridgenorth, ON. Even while here in the US I have continued my volunteering. I am in my 8th term on the board of the Professional Writers Association of Canada (www.pwac.ca) where I am serving as Past President. I also have been on the Steering Committee and Management Team of the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee (www.tdrc.net) until it closed earlier this summer.
While in the US I have personally volunteered with Catholic Charities, the St. Bernard Project, Resurrection After Exoneration, Defenders of the Coast and the American Red Cross. For the latter I spend time as a partnerships volunteer finding new groups and facilities to help shelter local residents in case of emergency. During a hurricane I will be the Community Partnerships Services Lead for the Southeast Louisiana chapter. I am also a Disaster Services instructor and conduct trainings on disasters and shelter operations. I serve as a member of my local Disaster Action Team. I have also
deployed twice – to Vermont in August/September 2011 to work as a Shelter Manager after Hurricane Irene and to the Lafayette area after the spring floods in March 2012 to work as a Client Caseworker.
I also created a course at Ryerson University that brought over 130 students to New Orleans over the past 4 years. They volunteered with The Green Project, Beacon of Hope, Green Light New Orleans, the New Orleans Food Coop, the St. Bernard Project, the St. Bernard Animal Shelter, the New Orleans Mission, United Saints, Habitat for Humanity and many more. Check out the August 2011 edition of Reader's Digest for an article I wrote called "A Credit to Canada" about this course.
I've also spread the word of New Orleans through my writing. I blog (sporadically) at http://love2nola.wordpress.com and http://toronto2nola.wordpress.com. Additionally, I've written stories for the Toronto Star (about oiled wildlife), Frontiers magazine (Southern Decadence), a Wiessmann Travel Guide about New Orleans, Reader's Digest (a Word Power on Extreme Weather, the Credit to Canada article and an article about whether Canada is at risk for next big oil spill), and a few articles on http://neworleans.com
What’s your research about? I am studying community resiliency and recovery after Hurricane Katrina looking at the Lower Ninth Ward and St. Bernard Parish. I also intend to look at the diaspora communities – people who have moved or
never been able to return after the storm. I believe St. Bernard Parish has been extremely overlooked and hope to write a book chronically their experience of return.
What are you looking to fund? As everyone knows, grad school is expensive. I was lucky to have received one of York’s highest scholarships – the Graduate Fellowship for Academic Distinction – for the first three years. My funds from York this year *should* cover tuition and basic living expenses (although that money is uncertain at the moment).
But it won’t cover the tools needed to do the job right. I need to subscribe to dedoose.org to do research analysis, and to surveymonkey.com to administer surveys. I need a livescribe pen and accoutrements in order to best record and transcribe my interviews (oy vey – and the cost of transcription alone!!) I also need some books – I have a PhD-related wish list
at Amazon.com under my email [email protected]. I am hoping to purchase a Kindle Fire to access cheaper book downloads, and on-the-go access to my reading.
One of my pieces of research will be a PhotoVoice project where I will give local residents cameras to take pictures of their
neighbourhoods. Some people will need a full disposable camera while others will just need film (or may have their own digital and just need batteries). If I had lots of money I would buy everyone cheap digitals so that they could capture all the images they need (for insurance, for separated family etc.). I do want to give everyone prints of the photos that they take.
I live on the Northshore of New Orleans in Abita Springs. It saves me a great deal of money to live here – While I only pay $400 including utilities versus the $750 + utilities I was paying, it is an hour’s drive so gas is more expensive. I will also need to make trips to Mississippi to the Katrina Archives, Houston Texas and Baton Rouge for interviews with the diaspora
communities. I may need to provide stipends to my interview subjects as well.
Why should I fund you? I see an investment in me as one that has great possibility for return. When I finish school I will continue to work as a freelance and writer and to consult with non-profits. But I also will be looking to share my experiences and knowledge either through teaching or by working in disaster management. No matter where I find myself, I will continue to be a volunteer and give back.