After Emily Charron completed her undergraduate degree in Global Studies, she found herself drawn to local issues. She went on to work for Compass Refugee Centre, a local non-profit organization that supports refugee claimants in the Waterloo Region. It was there that she was inspired to pursue graduate studies and soon learned of the Master of Peace and Conflict Studies program at Conrad Grebel University College.
Emily shares that her first term of study was challenging as she adjusted to the demands of graduate study. However, she appreciated the support that she received from her professors and soon found solid footing. Her experience in the non-profit sector helped her appreciate the value of what she was learning in the MPACS program.
“I joined the program for an academic purpose,” said Emily, “but I foremost wanted to improve my capacity to serve others. The MPACS program gave me the tools to do that.”
One of Emily’s favourite classes was Professor Jennifer Ball’s course titled PACS 605 Conflict Transformation, which, in Emily’s opinion, helped her grow as a practitioner. Emily noted that “There’s a personal side to peace and conflict studies that challenges you to undergo important inner work in order to sustainably help others.”
While enrolled in her degree, Emily volunteered with Sanctuary Refugee Health Centre. She also completed an internship placement at the Centre for Community Based Research. Emily valued the opportunity to be involved in community-based research that continued to make meaningful contributions in the local community despite challenges caused by the pandemic.
Since graduating in 2020, Emily worked with House of Friendship, and more recently joined the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement as Coordinator. She aims to be involved in the peace field going forward, working towards community transformation through programming, policy, and research.
Reflecting on her experience, she encouraged new students to “Take every opportunity to learn from your peers and professors. There’s much more to learning than just the work you do in the classroom!”