Be patient with yourself, find others you can collaborate with, take advantage of learning opportunities, and recognize your right and ability to be here at this time.
Hi Mary, congratulations on graduating with an MA! Tell us, what was the focus of your research?
I looked at the student subject in university policies in my thesis The responsible advocate: tracing the student subject in University of Lethbridge policies. I analyzed 17 university policies directed to undergraduate students and perused Meliorist archives, discovering what actions students have taken over the years. It was fascinating seeing how students have understood the responsible student as one who works for justice.
Interesting, what did you learn exploring these policies?
I explored how students navigate, and at times subvert, the normative construct. I am also eager about the possibilities for future research avenues to contribute to the literature about invisible or marginalized demographics. I want my research to help inform policies and practices to support students who may be invisible or marginalized in various ways. I discovered that the student subject often appeared as a strong disciplinary student, expected to behave and become an exemplary student who will represent the university well - which is centered around a patriarchal family construct.
However, students reconfigure that understanding of the “responsible student” and often emerge as advocates on different issues that benefit themselves or others. My ultimate goal is to support students so they can find success and well-being in their education and in their personal lives.
Do you have a favourite part about graduate student life?
Learning, growing, and experiencing the camaraderie and support from my committee, my supervisor, teachers, and fellow grad students. It was an incredible experience all around.
The future is wide open for you now – what's next?
I want to find sustainable work and within the next couple of years pursue a PhD. I want to study mothering in my PhD and through a women and gender studies program. However, as a parent myself, and not able to move very far, I am limited to where I can go. There aren’t any women and gender study PhD programs in Alberta, and others across the country do not offer remote programs. I plan to do the Cultural, Social and Political Thought program for my PhD here, at the University of Lethbridge.
Any advice for others considering graduate school, or just starting their graduate student journey?
Be patient with yourself, find others you can collaborate with, take advantage of learning opportunities, and recognize your right and ability to be here at this time. It’s a privilege and can be an amazing experience.
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