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Jenny Francis
Liu Scholar; PhD Candidate, Geography
Born and raised in a small town in the interior of British Columbia, Jenny has always had a passion to investigate and understand the wider world. Upon graduation from high school, she left Canada for a period of eleven years, during which she traveled extensively in Africa, Europe, Australia, and Asia, and worked in nine countries. Jenny returned to Canada in 2001 to attend university and gain a deeper comprehension of all that she had seen and experienced during her travels, but not necessarily understood. Thus, she completed a Bachelor of Arts in History at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in 2006.
During her undergraduate years, Jenny was an active advocate for African Studies at UBC and actively volunteered both on campus and in the wider community. She co-founded and administered a number of non profit societies and charities and serves on several boards of directors, including the Canada Africa Partnership on AIDS (CAP AIDS) and African People’s Foundation. Additionally, Jenny has worked and volunteered for a number of local immigrant serving agencies as a program consultant, settlement worker, advocate, and fundraiser. She currently volunteers for the Elizabeth Fry Society of Greater Vancouver as a Downtown Community Court Worker and carries out research to support refugee claims for a local immigration lawyer. She has published numerous newspaper articles and taken part in radio interviews on topics related to immigration, housing and homelessness, refugee settlement and integration, and services for refugee youth. She is passionate about public engagement and the need for critical and ethical research to inform the development of effective public policy.

Jenny completed her Masters research looking at the housing experiences of African refugees in Metro Vancouver at UBC in 2009. During her MA, Jenny also undertook a research internship with two local immigrant serving agencies examining services for refugee youth in Metro Vancouver. Finally, building upon a decade of professional, academic, and personal engagement with refugee issues, Jenny began her PhD in 2011 in Geography at UBC with the aim of investigating the experiences of refugee youth in the Canadian criminal justice system. Through her experiences she has developed a commitment to dialogue and the creation of research that promotes positive social change.

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