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Boubacar Ouane - ARIA Behind-the-Scenes Storybook

We asked the recipients of the 2022 ARIA internships to document their research journeys.

Undertaking the ARIA project was an invaluable experience as it allowed me to learn a lot about my research capabilities and expand them as well. The ARIA project will shape my future education path because it has expanded my interest in research and writing, as it allowed me to discover my passion for conducting research. I was interested in participating in this project as I believed it could heavily improve my research skills and allow me to further my understanding surrounding preparing an article to be submitted to a scholarly journal. I also believed working with a professor would provide great experience as I plan on pursuing a master’s degree following the completion of my bachelor’s at McGill.

Image by Boubacar Ouane.

My ARIA project was for a period of 2 months through June and July, this meant I completed my first month while still being on exchange at the University of Geneva. Through differing schedules and time zone differences Professor Beland and opted to mainly communicate through e-mail exchanges. We initially held zoom calls to exchange information about the requirements of the project and my responsibilities throughout the internship. Being on this exchange for the first part of my project required me to expand my organizational skills, as I had weekly responsibilities to fulfill for the internship, while having the requirements of completing my final exams at UNIGE. The library resources at UNIGE were very helpful, as they had a help desk which provided relevant research information to students.

Throughout this internship I looked through dozens of books, a book that particularly intrigued me through its relevancy to the project was Automatic Government: The Politics of Indexation by R. Kent Weaver. The author discusses the use of indexing through automatic adjustments for inflations within federal programs. Indexation refers to the adjustment of price and wages based on the changes of indicator prices within an economy, it seeks to alleviate the effects of inflation to the cost of living.

The concept of automatic indexation prevents legislators from voting for popular security benefits and programs within election years to garner support. The book delves into the motivation behind policymakers’ decisions regarding social security benefits, as avoiding blame for certain unpopular outcomes in order to survive in the next election becomes the priority. This has shaped whether indexing programs were implemented in addition to where they were adopted.

Image by Boubacar Ouane.

Being away from Montreal for so long was difficult as I’ve built a foundation here over the past 3 years, stepping out of my comfort zone was quite a challenging task. Therefore, coming back during the second half of my internship was great, as I was able to get back to the places, I’ve so commonly frequented throughout the past 3 years like the McGill library. I’m still not sure which floor is my favourite, right now I’d say the 3rd floor is my favourite, but it’s subject to change.

When doing certain work I find that having instrumental music in the background helps me relax and helps me complete my work more effectively. I’m a massive fan of music and I can’t go a day without it, but I find music with lyrics can often be distracting so I opted for Lo Fi beats which a lot of people use when they do work to have a soothing sound within the background. Listen to my Spotify playlist here

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