Working at a Canadian think tank, TWU alumna Jenisa Los researches societal perspectives to inform policy-makers
"I am hopeful (that my work) can lead to more informed dialogue and thoughtful engagement among national and local decision-makers in Canada.”
— Jenisa Los, BA Political Studies and Business Administration ('21)
With words by Jenisa Los
Jenisa Los is focused on helping generate new research and policy papers covering Canadian perspectives on health, work and economics, education, family, and communities. The TWU political studies graduate and alum of the Laurentian Leadership Centre program is currently a Research and Editorial Associate at Cardus, a Canadian think tank.
Given today’s political climate, Jenisa’s work is rich with complexity.
In her role, Jenisa has encountered questions like, "How can I converse with someone I completely disagree with in a manner that honours their human dignity? How can I learn to listen before I speak, or before I engage with others on social media?”
Indeed, one of Jenisa’s challenges is working within a context that is “becoming increasingly polarized,” where dealing with many issues requires wisdom and perceptiveness.
“Part of my role is exploring the nuances of complex and difficult issues that plague Canadian society and wrestling with ideas without oversimplifying them,” she says.
Working at Cardus, Jenisa has picked up skills in navigating these dynamics. “I learned from my colleagues at Cardus that maintaining these nuances can help facilitate hospitality, especially in engaging with others who hold differing viewpoints,” she reflects.
"Part of my role is exploring the nuances of complex and difficult issues that plague Canadian society and wrestling with ideas without oversimplifying them."
Education for life and career
Encouragingly, Jenisa’s education at TWU has also helped to prepare her for challenges she encounters in her field.
Even classroom discussions from her undergrad years produced valuable lessons in listening and engagement. “Many of my political studies professors fostered classroom discussions where they modelled active listening to a diverse range of opinions, beliefs and theories,” she explains.
“This exposure to healthy dialogue and critical thinking has shaped the way I approach research and increased my confidence and willingness to engage with ideas wherever they fall on the political spectrum,” she says.
“Many of my political studies professors fostered classroom discussions where they modelled active listening to a diverse range of opinions, beliefs and theories. This exposure to healthy dialogue and critical thinking has shaped the way I approach research and increased my confidence and willingness to engage with ideas wherever they fall on the political spectrum.”
‘Navigating the tension between the unknown and known’
In conducting research at Cardus, Jenisa has learned that her starting point is not to find evidence to support her own point of view. Rather, she has been taught to ask questions such as, “What does the evidence teach me? How does the data affect my presuppositions?”
Researchers like Jenisa are open to where their investigations may lead them. Intriguingly, she adds, “Part of my role (as a researcher) is navigating the tension between the unknown and known—pursuing what is not known based on what is believed to be true and correct.”
She continues, “Often, what is learned through research in this pursuit of the unknown will also help inform what is considered true.”
Current projects on faith communities and federal legislation
Jenisa’s work touches on important aspects of faith and community in Canada. One of her current projects is analyzing religious trends across the country, with the hope that this knowledge can help inform faith leaders’ engagement with their local communities.
She has also worked with her colleagues in exploring the effects of the federal MAID legislation on end-of-life care facilities.
As she considers the significance of her work, she says, “I am hopeful these projects can lead to more informed dialogue and thoughtful engagement among national and local decision-makers in Canada.”
In addition to providing knowledge and insight on topics relevant to Canadian citizens and policy makers, Jenisa and her colleagues at Cardus are also looking to develop Canada’s future leaders through a fellowship program for young Christian professionals: the NEXTGen fellowship program. Applications for the upcoming cohort are due April 12, 2022.
Cardus is a non-partisan think tank dedicated to clarifying and strengthening, through research and dialogue, the ways in which society’s institutions can work together for the common good. Cardus has released a report on removing work barriers for people with disabilities and recently published a report on how religious freedom has limits in Canada. Check out Cardus.ca to see more of their latest research and for information about the work Cardus is doing in North America.
About TWU's Laurentian Leadership Centre
The Laurentian Leadership Centre (LLC) is a live-in extension program in the heart of Ottawa. There is no other program in Canada that offers the same access to a variety of elite Ottawa internships in politics and NGOs. The program includes an internship practicum, three upper-level courses, and community living in a historic mansion. It is geared towards third- and fourth-year students or recent graduates interested in experiential learning. Learn more at the Laurentian Leadership Centre.
See also — Career and life calling: Alumna Melody Ho on working for a non-profit that empowers immigrant women and families in Canada:
About Trinity Western University
Founded in 1962, Trinity Western University is Canada’s premier global Christian liberal arts University. We are dedicated to equipping students to discover meaningful connections between career, life, and the needs of the world. Drawing upon the riches of the Christian tradition, seeking to unite faith and reason through teaching and scholarship, Trinity Western University is a degree-granting research institution offering liberal arts and sciences, as well as professional schools in business, nursing, education, human kinetics, graduate studies, and arts, media, and culture. It has four campuses and locations: Langley, Richmond-Lansdowne, Richmond-Minoru, and Ottawa. Learn more at www.twu.ca or follow us on Twitter @TrinityWestern, on Facebook and LinkedIn.
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