Who are you and what do you do?
I am a PhD Candidate in the Faculty of Environment’s School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability. I’m part of the Faculty’s Global Food Politics Group. My doctoral research looks at Jamaica’s domestic food system as part of a larger research program on food security across seven low- and middle- income countries: the Hungry Cities Partnership.
What do you want to do following graduate school?
After graduation, I want to return to work in applied research on food and agriculture in low- and middle income countries. Before starting my PhD, I worked for four years with two research and development institutions – the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research and the International Development Research Centre. I’d love to work with a similar organization in a management capacity, using my expertise in applied agricultural research and intercultural communication.
Describe the kinds of professional development activities you’ve taken part in (e.g. volunteering, professional skills workshops, student association, GSA)
I see volunteering as a great way to be involved in activities that I’m passionate about, but aren’t directly related to my academic work. I volunteer with Kitchener-Waterloo’s Sexual Assault Support Centre (SASC) and sit on the Board of Directors for Femme International, a Canadian NGO focused on menstrual health education in East Africa. On campus, I’m a board member for the Graduate Students’ Endowment Fund (GSEF) and a mentor with my Faculty’s Student Teaching Excellence Committee. I attended some useful workshops with the Centre for Career Action: one on building networking skills and one on personality assessments.
Describe the value of these professional development experiences.
My volunteer experiences are incredibly valuable for getting involved in my local and global community and building leadership skills. SASC is an amazing local organization devoted to social justice; part of being a volunteer includes unforgettable anti-oppression training. Sitting on the board of Femme International and GSEF has significantly improved my leadership and governing skills. Volunteering as a mentor with STEC lets me pay forward some of the wonderful mentorship I’ve had in the past. Lastly, professional development skill-building workshops on campus are a great way to meet other grad students and learn new skills with a low time commitment!