Staci Mitchell Photo _ Kate Portrait-16.

Kate Paterson (she/they) holds a PhD in Educational Studies from the University of British Columbia. Her previous research focused on children’s literature (traditional fairytales and anti-oppressive children’s picture books) in the elementary school classroom as a forum to open up discussions of gender and sexuality with young children. Her doctoral work explored how elementary educators in Alberta, Canada make sense of and engage with queer, trans, and gender non-conforming diversity in elementary education, with a focus on Alberta's political conservatism and school policies for queer and trans children and youth. Kate received their B.A. (Hons) in Sociology at Mount Allison University and MA in Social Justice & Equity Studies at Brock University. 

Kate is committed to helping schools, educators, professionals, local businesses, and practitioners become more affirming of queer, trans, and gender diverse identities and expressions. She envisions a queer future where all bodies, identities, and expressions are valued as they are. Her aim is not for equality, but for liberation. Kate is currently based in Calgary, Alberta and is available for workshops, lectures, lesson plan facilitation in K-6 classrooms, and private consultation for elementary educators, businesses, and service providers. 

Kate is a queer, white settler, intersectional feminist and empathic virgo. They live in Calgary with their spouse, dog, and many plants. You can often find them stitching a quirky embroidery about diet culture or breaking the gender binary.

ACADEMIC BACKGROUND

PHD, EDUCATIONAL STUDIES, THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA

September 2015 - May 2021

 

 

 

Recipient of Four Year Doctoral Fellowship and CGS Doctoral Scholarship

I completed my doctoral coursework in theory, methodology, educational policy, and critical approaches to children and youth. My comprehensive exams explored the history of gender and heteronormative socialization and queer, trans, and gender diversity in the Canadian public schooling system. My doctoral dissertation explored how elementary educators in Alberta, Canada make sense of and engage with queer, trans, and gender non-conforming diversity in elementary education, and how those understandings inform their pedagogy and practices. By focusing on discursive practices, this research explored why current government and school district policies, professional development, administrative interventions, and classroom strategies for queer and trans “inclusion” are insufficient. Findings underscore the limitations of an individualized, reactive, “accommodation approach” to change in schools that does little to confront larger, systemic issues in Canada’s public education system.

MA, SOCIAL JUSTICE AND EQUITY STUDIES, BROCK UNIVERSITY

September 2013 - June 2015

Highest overall average & academic achievement in graduating class

My Masters thesis explored the use of anti-oppressive children's literature in elementary school classrooms as a forum to discuss gender and sexuality with young children. Working alongside an elementary school teacher, I conducted ethnographic observations and reading groups with twenty students to explore how children engage with these stories. Findings from my study suggest how dominant discourses of gender and sexuality are produced and reinforced in elementary education, and aids in asking where we may find opportunities for change and reform within the education system.

BA, HONOURS SOCIOLOGY, MOUNT ALLISON UNIVERSITY

September 2009 - June 2013

Dean’s list, first class honours with distinction

I completed coursework spanning across the Sociology of Education, Knowledge, Power, Gender, and Sexuality. Special coursework included Political Sociology, Gender, Race & Class in Media, and Community Based Research Methods. My undergraduate thesis consisted of a multi-method ethnography. Using reading groups and participant observations in an elementary school classroom, my research explored how children actively engage with gendered messages in fairytales—specifically examining children’s adherence to, and negotiation of, gender boundaries as demonstrated through their performances of gender within daily classroom discussions and activities. My research illustrated the diverse ways in which children engage with text and how they apply these messages to their own lives, work within its confines, and explore alternatives. Findings demonstrate the potential for educators to create an environment through which children are afforded the freedom to navigate gendered messages and discourses.

SELECTED WORKSHOPS & PRESENTATIONS

WORKSHOP

Alberta GSA Conference

2019

Beyond tolerance: LGBTQ2SA+ & gender inclusive classrooms and GSAs in elementary education. Workshop facilitator; Eighth Annual Alberta GSA Conference, Calgary, AB

CONFERENCE PRESENTATION

The Congress of Social Sciences and Humanities Conference

2019

Creating queer(ed) classrooms: Alberta educators on LGBTQ2SA+ & gender “inclusion” in elementary education. CSSE/CASWE, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB.

WORKSHOP

Alberta GSA Conference

2018

Beyond tolerance: LGBTQ2SA+ inclusion and diversity in elementary education. Workshop facilitator; Seventh Annual Alberta GSA Conference, Edmonton, AB

INVITED PRESENTATION

University of British Columbia

2017

Opening hearts and minds: How elementary educators can create SOGI [Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity] understanding. Panelist; Teacher Education for All (TEFA)

WORKSHOP

BC Teachers of English Language Arts, Provincial Conference

2016

Creating LGBTQ & gender inclusive elementary school classrooms through story. Workshop facilitator for K-7 teachers

INVITED PRESENTATION

Brock University

2016

“They’re trying to trick us!”: Making sense of anti-oppressive children’s literature in the elementary school classroom. Drama in Education & Applied Theatre Symposium

GUEST LECTURE

Simon Fraser University

2016

"Just because they’re princesses doesn’t mean they can’t be heroes and use swords and stuff": Using children's literature to discuss negotiated understandings of gender & sexuality in the elementary school classroom. Guest Lecture for Undergraduate Sociology course, Sociology of Children and Society

CONFERENCE PRESENTATION

The Congress of Social Sciences and Humanities Conference

2016

“My voice shook”: Being a queer researcher discussing non-normative gender and sexuality in the elementary school classroom. CSSE/CASWE, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB.

CONFERENCE PRESENTATION

Many Worlds to Walk in: UBC Biennial Children’s Literature Graduate Research Conference

2016

“It’s, like, not normal to have two moms”: Using children’s literature to discuss LGBTQ issues in the elementary school classroom. University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC.

CONFERENCE PRESENTATION

CONFERENCE PRESENTATION

The Qualitatives Conference

2014

CONFERENCE PRESENTATION

“They’re trying to trick us”: How children make sense of anti-oppressive children’s literature in the classroom. CSSE/CASWE, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON.

CONFERENCE PRESENTATION

The Congress of Social Sciences and Humanities Conference

2015

The Qualitatives Conference

2014

“Sometimes the girl can be the hero”: Using fairytales in the classroom to explore children’s negotiation of gender boundaries. Brescia College, London, ON.

CONFERENCE PRESENTATION

The Congress of Social Sciences and Humanities Conference

2014

“It’s harder to catch a boy because they’re tougher”: Using fairytales in the classroom to explore children’s understandings of gender. CSSE/CASWE, Brock University, St. Catharines, ON.

AWARDS & SCHOLARSHIPS

FOUR YEAR DOCTORAL FELLOWSHIP

University of British Columbia
2016 - 2020

JOSEPH-ARMAND BOMBARDIER CGS DOCTORAL SCHOLARSHIP (SSHRC)


2016 - 2019

FACULTY OF EDUCATION GRADUATE AWARD

University of British Columbia
2015

MASTERS THESIS AWARD FOR "BEST THESIS" IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCES

Brock University
2015

DISTINGUISHED GRADUATE STUDENT AWARD

Brock University
2015

JOSEPH ARMAND BOMBARDIER CGS MASTER’S SCHOLARSHIP (SSHRC)


2014 - 2015

DEAN OF GRADUATE STUDIES EXCELLENCE SCHOLARSHIP

Brock University
2014

ONTARIO GRADUATE SCHOLARSHIP (DECLINED)

2014

YOUTH UNIVERSITY PAPSE RESEARCH PRIZE FOR "OUTSTANDING ORAL RESEARCH PRESENTATION"

Brock University
2014

DEAN OF GRADUATE STUDIES ENTRANCE SCHOLARSHIP

Brock University
2013

BERKELEY FLEMING AWARD FOR ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT AND EXCELLENCE IN AN HONOURS THESIS

Mount Allison University
2013

MOUNT ALLISON ENTRANCE SCHOLARSHIP

Mount Allison University
2009