PhD Student, Department of Sociology, David Naylor Fellow
“Extremism is definitely a problem that doesn’t impact just individuals. It impacts all of us when it happens.”
Preston has been a soccer coach, food bank worker and a workplace rights activist, but the volunteer work that’s touched her most was the time she spent at a nursing home. “I would go around and talk, sometimes for hours on end, to people who were feeling a little bit lonely,” she says. “About their lives, their interests… I learned so much about the importance of older generations, the importance of community, which I take with me to this day.”
Fredericton-born Preston comes to U of T from Dalhousie University, where she completed her MA in sociology—reaching the finals of the 2019 SSHRC Storyteller competition. In her doctoral work, she plans to build on her research into how people leave right-wing extremist groups in Canada by investigating effective ways to prevent radicalization and help those who have been involved in extremism.
“Extremism is definitely a problem that doesn’t impact just individuals. It impacts all of us when it happens,” she says. “I believe deradicalization is definitely bringing people back into the community.”
“Winning the scholarship has given me a lot of peace of mind, financially,” says Preston. “But also it felt good to be recognized by Arthur and Sandra as a scholar worth investing in, and who will hopefully be able to work with partners in the Atlantic provinces to help my community there. I’m also looking forward to being part of the Naylor community, and I thank Arthur and Sandra for bringing the East Coasters in Toronto together.”
Read more about the 2020 U of T C. David Naylor Fellows on Boundless.