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Sam Keast

Country of birth: Australia

What initially attracted you to a career in community psychology?
Community psychology stands for things, good things. It's about being political, about being non-mainstream, about justice and fairness, and that resonates with me deeply. I guess ultimately it represents an opportunity to be  apart of a group which seeks to be a different voice in the world of psychology.

Where did you first learn about community psychology?
I distinctly remember feeling like their were...well, plot holes in mainstream psychology during my undergraduate years. There was a sense that all the normative, individualised stuff left me with too many questions. So I sought out alternate ways of thinking about psychology and came across community psychology.

What led you to enrol in a higher degree in community psychology?
Ever since I began reading about community psychology in 2nd/3rd year undergrad I planned to enrol in the Master of Community Psych at VU. It just felt like this area of psychology was speaking my language.

What are the most important things you have learnt from your community psychology training thus far?
It has to be multidisciplinary. We will not find "solutions" stuck in an exclusively psychological theoretical bubble. Other disciplines have made invaluable contributions to a huge number of psychosocial issues and we need to draw widely on a variety of knowledges.

Please list your academic qualifications.
Bach Psych (Hons) - Victoria University
Grad Dip Teaching (Secondary) - Melbourne University
Bach Fine Art - Victorian College of the Arts

What experiences have you had that helped you prepare for your higher degree in community psychology?
I have drawn very much on my own educative experiences and "life" experiences. In particular I have reflected on how various institutions have impacted not only my learning but my identity and sense of belonging, and the relationship between the the two.

Please describe the community psychology placements you have completed so far.
I have done some volunteer work in non-mainstream education settings, where I assisted a teacher with a small class of young people for whom mainstream education had become unsuitable. I have also done some placement in the disability sector, specifically around sport and recreation.

Please describe the research you are conducting for your higher degree thesis.
I am going to be involved in a student engagement project which largely focusses on Sudanese youth and their families. It is a multi-level project which seeks to offer a number of avenues of education and training for them. I haven't as yet decided what the research will be, and won't until I have spent some time in and around the program.

What other research interests do you have?
My overarching interest is in the discursive practices in and around education and how they are experienced by groups and individuals who exist on the fringes of mainstream education. I am also very interested in GLBTIQ issues, specifically the educative experiences of students who may identify as GLBTIQ and also the teaching of gender and sexuality education.

What advice would you offer someone who was considering a career in community psychology?
If you feel the values of community psychology resonate with you, jump in, you won't regret it.

Where do you see yourself working when you finish your higher degree in community psychology?
I would like to be working within a flexible learning (non-mainstream schooling) environment, both in a teaching and community psychologist capacity. I'd also like to continue to teach in a tertiary setting and continue to do research...too much?