Before joining the Master of Peace and Conflict Studies (MPACS) program at Conrad Grebel University College, Alley McDonald had worked as a butcher, baker, and peace educator – meaning that she brought a multitude of talents to her studies.
Alley was familiar with Grebel because she had completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Waterloo with a joint major in Peace and Conflict Studies and Sexuality, Marriage, and Family Studies and a minor in Women’s Studies, the former being based in the college. She had also completed the Conflict Management and Mediation Certificate, which is a professional development certificate at Grebel.
There were two main factors that drew Alley to the MPACS program. “A primary factor was the possibility to design the program to fit my needs: the opportunity to obtain an internship, choose elective courses, and develop a course to explore a topic of personal interest through directed readings,” Alley explained. “Another factor that drew me to this program was the close-knit supportive community that Conrad Grebel provides.”
“I have been able to further build my relationships by being a part of the MPACS Society in my role as VP of Events,” said Alley. “This position has been significant in allowing me to collaborate with others, and plan events that will allow the MPACS community to learn, network, and have fun together.” Being part of the MPACS community allowed Alley to make meaningful connections both personally and professionally. “It has been an incredible pleasure to meet and learn from all of my peers and professors, and seize opportunities to connect,” expressed Alley.
“My experience in the program so far has been gratifying,” reflected Alley. “For instance, I completed projects that have allowed me to apply my knowledge practically, such as developing a proposal for a social impact project to raise awareness around human trafficking.” After graduation, Alley hopes to receive her mediation accreditation and continue her journey learning about peace. “Ultimately, I am hoping to continue to build a life that creates peace within myself, and generates peace for others,” said Alley.