The Faculty of Graduate Studies is shining a spotlight on one of our very own Master’s students, Laura Kovac.
After graduating from her undergraduate degree in Recreation and Leisure studies at Brock in 2013, Laura moved to China to teach English and study Mandarin Chinese. Working with youth gave Laura a first-hand perspective on some of the cultural differences between China and her native Canada. Something that stood out to Laura was how the children she was teaching, both boys and girls, were eager to participate in feminine activities such as dance. Having taken dance throughout her life, Laura wanted to see the same appreciation for aesthetic sports here in Canada. Laura’s experience now frames her research as Master of Arts in Social Justice and Equity Studies student under the supervision of Dr. Dawn Trussell.
Through her research, Laura is studying the experiences of girls age 12-15 in the aesthetic sports of dance, cheerleading, figure skating and gymnastics.
“My interest in doing this research stems from my belief that femininity and feminine sport are under-appreciated,” says Laura. “My research aims to look at aesthetic sports from a feminist perspective that values feminine traits and female agency.”
Laura hopes that her research will advocate for a diversity of gender expression. “If boys and girls want to present in feminine ways, I want them to feel proud, confident, and comfortable to do so.”
While completing her research, Laura was also a research assistant for the Team Family Pride project with Dr. Trussell. She used this project to enter in the SSHRC Storytellers Competition where she placed in the top 35 of Canada and received honourable mention, a first for a student from Brock University.