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Profiles of the Writers


Name: Victoria Seta Cosby (Editor)

Program: PhD History, Year 5

About Me: I am very interested in studying people in the past whose voices have been overlooked by traditional historical research. I specialize in Women, Gender, Sexuality and Queer history. For my PhD I am utilizing the personal correspondence of one particular woman, Harriet Dobbs Cartwright, to examine the world from her perspective. In my spare time I also try to engage in equity and diversity related topics, and l am very passionate about contributing positively to the Queen’s and Kingston community. I am also a cat mom to three spoiled cats, who have been central to helping me survive the uncertainty of the pandemic.

Why I chose Queen’s: I was originally born in Kingston, at KGH, when both of my parents were graduate students at the university. We moved away when I was young, but Kingston has always held a special place in my heart. When I was researching where I wanted to do my PhD, I was hesitant to apply to Queen’s because I was daunted by the university’s reputation – but my family encouraged me to apply. I am so glad that I applied, because I have a wonderful supervisor and so many amazing colleagues in my department.

What I’m here to blog about: My specific interests centre around mental health in graduate school and dealing with the extra struggles that the pandemic presents. By being open about my own struggles, I hope to encourage other people to share, and to not feel alone in their experiences. I am also interested in equity and diversity on campus and highlighting the variety of experiences and perspectives that we have on campus.

Name: Daphne Brouwer

Program: PhD in Cultural Studies, Year 4

About Me: I am an international student from the Netherlands, who is very straightforward and sometimes a bit too honest. Together with my service dog Jay, I have completed my master’s degree in Cultural Studies, and am now working on my PhD dissertation in the same department. My research looks at the stigmatization of liminal animals and how to create a society in which humans and animals can co-exist.

When procrastinating from academic work, I will be outside as much as I can, preferably in a beaver pond or on a hiking trail. I am also a big advocate for talking about mental and physical health and enjoy a good boardgame night to get rid of some pent-up emotions

Why I chose Queen’s: The main reason for me to choose Queen’s for my PhD was (and is) my supervisor and the opportunity it gave me to stay in Kingston. My initial arrival at Queen’s was as an exchange student during my undergraduate degree, and I really enjoyed both the city and the university. Being able to come back to complete my master’s and PhD degree here has been a wonderful chance to grow academically and personally.

What I’m here to blog about: As an international student, I am mainly focusing on multi- and inter-cultural experiences in my blogs, talking about how to file taxes in another country (Canada), how to deal with cultural differences, how to get a job – and what comes with that – and what has helped me when I get homesick. I will also write about mental and physical health issues, navigating the medical world while doing graduate work, and just where to go when you need to forget about everything for a bit.

Name: Emma Fingler

Program: PhD Political Studies, Year 2

About Me: After a couple of years working for the United Nations in Nepal, I returned to Canada to pursue a PhD based on my experiences abroad. My PhD research is at the intersection of disaster response, gender, humanitarian aid and security, and looks at experiences of aid distribution following major disasters in Southeast Asia. I’ve lived in five different cities in Canada (three provinces) and multiple countries abroad, but – when I’m not in Kingston – currently call Saint-Sauveur, Quebec home. Outside of Queen’s you can find me reading and writing fiction, hiking with my husband and our 7-year-old adopted poodle, and planning dream travel adventures.

Why I Chose Queen’s: The Department of Political Studies’ excellent reputation and opportunities for advancement pulled me to Queen’s, and I chose it specifically to work with my supervisor. Knowing that Kingston was such a liveable city, research and teaching opportunities available and generous funding support made it even more appealing.  

What I’m here to blog about: As someone who briefly left academia to work abroad and came back to school six months into the Covid-19 pandemic, I – like others – struggled with the transition. I am here to write about bridging the gap between academia and practice, making the most of the resources you have, and connecting with your cohort in pandemic times and beyond. Plus, all the moments worth celebrating as you embark on the graduate school journey!

Name: Kianna Mau

Program: PhD in Education (Special Education Concentration), Year 2

About Me: I am your typical “born and raised in Kingston” prodigy. Growing up, I tried just about every sport Kingston had to offer, sticking with hockey and baseball in my adult years. Winter Saturday nights have always been reserved for Leafs games and the summer months are best spent on a lake. I go hiking with my dog, Maggie, on weekends (yes – I take weekends off in grad school!), and camping when the warmer weather arrives. I love eating, drinking, and shopping local, and spent far too much money on concert tickets pre-pandemic.

Why I Chose Queen’s: After spending seven years in Ottawa for my undergrad (Neuroscience and Mental Health, Carleton University) and Master’s (Biochemistry, University of Ottawa), I needed to reunite myself with the slower pace of this small city I’ve always called home. I missed the waterfront, the smiles from strangers on the sidewalk, the slow drivers, and most of all, my family. When I decided that I wanted to move back, I also decided I needed a shift in research paths. Reconnecting with the whole reason I began my Neuroscience studies, I had this strong need to work with people – the mice and cells weren’t cutting it for me anymore. From the first meeting with my current supervisor, I knew that I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

What I’m Here to Blog about: I have always been drawn to helping people and have recently found that I can have the greatest impact through my writing. Writing gives me a voice that differs from spoken language. It has a lasting impact. Engaging with my own mental health struggles to encourage others to find comfort and feel less alone in theirs, wellness in grad studies will be my primary focus. Though, given my academic history, I have seen how the experiences of grad students are often universal and are not tied to any one discipline or institution. I want to cultivate a sense of togetherness and share my cross-disciplinary knowledge, tips, and tricks.

I am Shangamitra Chakraborty, a MA student at Queen’s University in the department of Sociology, an adventurous individual who enjoys exploring new places and cultures. I am deeply interested in observing people and gaining insights into their behaviours and beliefs. My passion for learning new ideas and phenomena has driven my academic pursuits and made me eager to continue exploring the world around me.

Name: Ally Frid

Program: Master’s in Sociology, Year 1

About me:  I attended Queen’s University for my undergraduate degree, majoring in Sociology as well. Although I am originally from Thornhill, Ontario, I have lived in Kingston for 5 years now. I spent the last couple summers living and working in Kingston, and I enjoy spending my free time reading by the water. 

Why I chose Queen’s: I decided to extend my education at Queen’s University because I had fallen in love with the city, and I wanted to continue working with the faculty members in my department. I was inspired by one of my professors to focus my research on the Disability Studies sector of Sociology. Specifically, I would like to uncover how the pandemic impacted children with autism, who used assistive devices in the virtual classroom.

What I’m here to blog about: Within my blog posts, I will be featuring Kingston-related content, due to my experience living in the city. I will also be writing about the transition from an undergraduate to a graduate degree, within the same university. I think my personal stories will help other graduate students who may be experiencing imposter syndrome and are looking for advice from someone with a shared understanding. I am thrilled to be joining the Gradifying team!

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