Karin Browne

MA (coursework) student, Recreation and Leisure Studies

Karin Browne

An accomplished swimmer, Master of Arts (coursework) Recreation and Leisure Studies student Karin Browne represented her home country of Antigua and Barbuda at the London 2012 Summer Olympics. Now, Karin brings her skills and expertise as an assistant coach for the Waterloo Varsity swim team and her passion for swimming continues to inspire her during her graduate study.

Growing up on a Caribbean Island it was always interesting to Karin that - for a place surrounded by water - it was apparent to her that few people were competent swimmers. Karin’s work and research involves increasing access to aquatic programs for BIPOC populations, particularly in Antigua, and for the Caribbean and African diaspora in Canada. Her approach to swim instructing is client focused - she meets clients where they’re at. To do this, she works hard to create spaces that feel comfortable and safe, establishing trusting relationships with her clientele.

New insights into her lived experiences 

For Karin, her experience in RLS has been transformative. Learning different theoretical perspectives has opened Karin's eyes to new ways of seeing the world. Particularly, Karin's engagement with critical theory, critical race theory and feminist theories have helped her better understand people and her own lived experiences.

It has been her biggest take-home, quite literally. Karins conversations with her mother, living in Antigua, have been deep and reflective as they chat about both of their experiences and the connection between what Karin is learning and talking about in her program. These conversations have been meaningful to them both. Mom said, Im so happy you chose this school, I know that she was trying to talk to me about these things when I was younger, but you know how it is, you dont always listen to your parents as a teenager, but Im so grateful for these conversations I can have with her now. Its been really cool that I can truly say that in every single class I learned something Im able to finally name things that I have experienced. Moving forward, these insights will inform Karins work in developing, implementing, and evaluating aquatic and other recreational programs.

Its been really cool that I can truly say that in every single class I have learned something - I am able to finally name things that I have experienced.

On the genuine open-door culture with professors

A chance conversation with one of our students helped Karin solidify her decision to enrol in this program. She learned students had amazing access to faculty members, where there’s a warm and open environment.  “Not only do our faculty members have amazing connections and networks, but their ability to share their great knowledge has been inspiring. From everything I have learned I can really understand how I can implement this new knowledge to do what I really want to do.” In addition to the learning experience, the culture at the department puts people first where faculty members always place precedence on students’ well-being “here, it’s always you as a person first, then academics.”