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dog being petted by woman's handA video explaining her work to identify pet-safe women’s shelters earned psychology student Kathleen Wilson a place as a finalist in the SSHRC Storytellers contest.

Psych student lauded for video on mapping pet-friendly shelters for women

Women delay leaving an abusive partner because they can’t find a safe place for a pet, says Kathleen Wilson. A video explaining her project helping to map pet-friendly women’s shelters won her a spot as one of 25 finalists in this year’s SSHRC Storytellers contest.

The competition asks Canadian post-secondary students to share their research in a three-minute presentation illustrating how social sciences and humanities research is impacting our lives, communities, and future.

Wilson, a doctoral student in the Department of Psychology, completed a research assistantship with the Animal and Interpersonal Abuse Research Group, phoning women’s shelters across Canada and the United States to collect information about their pet policies. The group then applied that data to update the “Safe Place for Pets” website.

“My research supervisor and I thought that the SSHRC Storytellers contest would be a great way for me to practise communicating research to the public,” says Wilson. “We also hoped that it would help to publicize the map website, so that more women are aware that the resource is available.”

Her video concludes that SSHRC-funded research helps to “ensure that all Canadians have a safe and secure place that feels like home.”

Watch her entry, entitled “Facilitating Safe Housing For Women and Pets Fleeing Abusive Relationships.”

Also qualifying in the national top 25 are Wilson’s fellow psychology student Renée Taylor and kinesiology graduand Sara Santarossa.

Five winners were originally to be announced at the 2020 Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences, which has been cancelled this year due to social distancing protocols. All finalists will be recognized next May at the 2021 Congress held at the University of Alberta.