GRADventure blog

If you are interested in blogging for us, review our blog guidelines and email Sarah Howard ( with your ideas.

Getting on board: Building leadership skills in graduate school

Beth Timmers at the Grad House

A great way to get leadership experience as a grad student is to join a board of directors. In this post, I’ll share my experience as a director with the University of Waterloo’s Graduate Student Association (GSA).

Merging academia and professional experiences: Skills and lessons learned

Two business professionals working

I had many reservations upon entering grad school. One thing I feared most was becoming completely disconnected from the professional world outside of academia. ... That’s why I jumped on the opportunity to work as a research assistant on a SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council) funded community initiative centered on the effectiveness and transparency of Ontario’s Police Complaints System (PCS).

Saying "Yes!" to the 3MT

Andria Bianchi presents at the 2017 3MT University Finals

In early 2017, a colleague encouraged me to sign up for the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) at the University of Waterloo. I was told that the 3MT is a competition where graduate students present a memorized script about their research in three minutes or less to a non-specialist audience.

From student to facilitator: My experience with the Student Leadership Program

student talking in a group

I started the Student Leadership Program, a series of twelve workshops led by the Student Success Office, during my undergraduate years with the motivation to improve my leadership skills and add an extra line on my resume. However, before finishing the program, I became a workshop facilitator. 

Teaching my first class: Putting the Certificate of University Teaching into use

students around a table

Interacting with students and sharing a topic that you’re passionate about is a great academic and professional development experience. The Centre for Teaching Excellence’s Certificate in University Teaching (CUT) program gave me the skills and confidence to teach with great success, receiving excellent course evaluations at the end of semester.

Experiencing GRADtalks through a kindred spirit’s eyes

Kaylen Pfisterer and Samantha Biglieri at the September 2017 GRADtalks event

We are Kaylen Pfisterer and Samantha Biglieri, PhD students at the University of Waterloo. While we come from different disciplines – Systems Design Engineering and Planning – and are interested in different system boundaries – the food plate and the city – what brought us together is our passion and dedication to supporting health, aging and wellbeing through creative approaches.

Learning personal effectiveness in grad school: Choosing to connect and practice mindfulness

student behind pile of books

Last year, I started grad school. After taking four years away from academics, starting a master’s program was a big transition. Between the mountain of readings, assignments, duties as a teaching assistant, and taking advantage of opportunities for professional development, I began to feel overwhelmed.

Professional Skills Communications and Events Specialist profile: Sarah Howard

Sarah Howard

I am a recent graduate of the University of Waterloo, having just completed my MA in Political Science. My master’s research focused on policy change initiated by coroner’s inquests following deaths in custody. I am excited to be remaining part of the UWaterloo community as the Professional Skills Communications and Events Specialist in Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs.

GRADventure Specialist profile: Nyasha Gondora

Nyasha Gondora

I am a PhD candidate at the School of Pharmacy and co-supervised in the School of Public Health and Health Systems. Broadly, my research is in the field of neuropharmacology. Specifically, I am investigating Receptor Tyrosine Kinase (RTK) signaling in neurons, as well as investigating the impact of early life adversity on the expression of key brain receptors.

GRADventure Specialist profile: Paige Stirling

Paige Stirling

I am a PhD Candidate in the Faculty of Arts Department of Psychology. I am in the Industrial/Organizational Psychology division. My research focuses on the development of competencies through experience. In addition to my role as a PhD candidate, I have also worked as a teaching assistant and have lead a project for the Waterloo Organizational Research Consulting group.