Al Cusack, of New Minas, NS, is now a published scholar.

The third-year student recently found out their paper “Rights at Retail: The Impact of Corporations on Feminism, Queer Rights, and the Movement for Gender Equity” has been published in the International Journal for Humanities and Social Sciences.

“I was blown away,” Cusack said of being published. “I didn’t think I was capable of accomplishing something like this during my undergrad.”

The paper, which was submitted for Dr. Szurlej’s Human Rights seminar, explores the influence corporations have on human rights movements, especially gender equity which includes feminism and queer rights.

“What I found from the literature was that corporations are really starting to shape movements and set their priorities,” Cusack said. “Unfortunately, the priorities they’re setting aren’t necessarily addressing the needs of the most vulnerable people in the movements.”

Cusack, who is honouring in Sociology, majoring in Human Rights, and minoring in Communications and Public Policy, never would have thought of submitting the paper for publishing if it hadn’t been for Dr. Szurlej.

“She said, ‘I want you to publish this,’ but I didn’t really take her seriously until she sent me the call for submissions for the journal.”

Although Cusack hopes the paper will impact future human rights movements, they also hope it will inspire other students to take risks and to take advantage of the opportunities St. Thomas offers.

“Because this university is so focused, I think it means you get more opportunities,” they said. “I really hope students take advantage of the fact that their professors are 100 per cent on their side and invested in their success.”

After completing their Bachelor of Arts, Cusack plans to earn a PhD and dedicate their professional life to on-the-ground activism through a non-profit organization.

In terms of finding the right fit for a graduate program, Cusack said their time at STU will be hard to beat.

“I’m very happy with my decision to attend St. Thomas. I’m starting to look at grad schools now and I’ve decided I can’t compromise on a school that just has the academic program I’m looking for, it has to have a culture and a community like STU,” they said. “This place has definitely set the bar high.”