About Me: I’ve always been intrigued by the Victorian era, particularly the way middle-class homes were ornately decorated with blue and white porcelain, antimacassars, bird cages, lambrequins, and so much more. Every object in these ostentatious rooms had meaning and projected an idea of the family’s position in society. My PhD research involves reading Victorian domestic advice manuals (primarily written by women) that dictated the proper ways one should decorate their home in order to show good taste and refinement, and comparing these descriptions to paintings and photographs of homes in both London, England and Montreal, as well as looking at diary and letter descriptions from those who inhabited these spaces. Most of these spaces no longer exist as they were in the 1800’s, so my project is about uncovering the reality of these homes when we’re only left idealized representations.
Why I chose Queen’s: I decided to study at Queen’s for a number of reasons from my supervisor, to the strategic location of Kingston between Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal so I’d be close to the cities I need to access for research.
What I’m here to blog about: I’ve spent the last three years getting to know the best coffee shops in Kingston to work at (there’s got to be that perfect combo of free wifi, inexpensive coffee, the feeling that you’re allowed to loiter a couple of hours without worrying that you’re taking up seating, general ambiance, etc.), the best libraries to study in (Stauffer can get so grey sometimes and mixing it up is much needed), the best things to do in your spare time around Kingston to keep active when you’re studying all day (climbing at the Boiler Room!). I’d like to share those type of tips to grad students as well as more practical things that tend to come up regularly during my shifts working at the SGPS.
Name: Umair Majid
Program: Professional Master of Education, Year 2
About Me: I am a research methodologist and an aspiring policy scholar. I completed my BSc in Life Sciences and MSc in Health Research Methodology, both from McMaster University. I have diverse experiences and expertise in clinical research, including qualitative research, statistics, systematic reviews, medical education and policy research. I also bring unique training in appraising, framing, and editing manuscripts, governmental reports, abstracts, presentations, research protocols, course outlines, project management plans, risk analysis plans, news articles, and business and financial plans. More specifically, I have expertise in the quality assessment of qualitative research in evidence syntheses for health technology assessment. I have served as a Research Associate on projects for provincial and national government agencies where I have provided evidence from the patient perspective and experience to health policy deliberations.
Though research methods is my area of expertise, I have a unique interest in program and curriculum design, which brought me to study at Queen’s University. I have appointments at McMaster University as an instructor, curriculum design and program developer working on various projects ranging from introducing entrepreneurship to undergraduate science programs to enhancing the peer mentorship programming at McMaster University using the learnings from the Japanese Senpai-Kohai system. I am at Queen’s to enhance my ability to better serve institutional and governmental programs around the world in their development, evaluation, and enhancement.
Why I chose Queen’s: In addition to the beautiful campus and the facilities available to the students, I chose Queen’s because of its Department of Education. I have always wanted to pursue further education in education. What better place to pursue than Queen’s University which has a long history of education? I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the Queen’s vibrant community!
What I’m here to blog about: I believe in establishing a common platform for graduate student communities to voice their concerns about campus life, mental health, stress, acquiring research skills, the struggle of theses defence, and more! In many circles, graduate studies equates to independence and isolation because we are so fixed in our personal scholarly endeavours. However true this may be, Gradifying provides the opportunity to converse with each other in an honest, open, and comfortable environment. I hope I can facilitate this process in the Queen’s graduate student community.
Name: Eruani Zainuddin
Program: PhD in Management Information Systems, Year 7
About Me: I completed my undergraduate degree in Information & Decision Systems and my Master in Information Systems Management at Carnegie Mellon University, USA. After working for a while, I went to the University of British Columbia for an MSc in Business Administration. I came to Queen’s for my PhD in Management Information Systems a few years ago.
I started my research with the overall objective of how to develop and implement software applications in organizations. I investigated application development and implementation under different contexts – outsourcing, offshoring, and the service business model. My research has branched out to examine software end users and the context in which they utilize the implemented applications. My PhD research focuses on examining end users under different professional, market, and religious contexts. Specifically, how different combinations of professional, market, and religious contexts influence end users to comply with standards and procedures set by software developers and organizations. My work’s ultimate goal is to help organizations maximize the value they receive from software applications.
Outside of work, I have my hands full with my husband, two children, and two cats. I love to cook and bake for my family. I love to read books – ranging from classic fiction to the more recent self-improvement non-fiction. After attending the “Dissertation on the Lake” event organized by SGS the past summer, I have also discovered a liking to hiking trails. I look forward to exploring the trails in Kingston this Fall.
Why I chose Queen’s: I was looking for a combination of a strong program, a school with a good reputation, and potential supervisors with similar research interests. I was also looking forward to small-town living, with a friendly community and an easy commute. Over the years, I have come to realize that Queen’s and Kingston not only fulfill my initial requirements, but also provide a supportive environment for both my work and family.
What I’m here to blog about: I have been a Gradifying follower for a few years now. I have benefitted from previous posts. I believe I have many experiences to share that fellow graduate students can benefit from. My writing will likely cover issues related to being student-cum-parent, student-cum-partner-of-a-busy-professional, as well as maintaining motivation, balance and some semblence of sanity in a hectic schedule.
Name: G H Y Cheung
Program: PhD Art History
About Me: I am a writer, artist, and PhD candidate in the Art History program. My research considers the built environment, especially public spaces, used against or apart from their design. More specifically, I am looking at Hong Kong’s “queer space,” which I think of as a spectral, almost imperceptible layer of the city that only comes into existence, momentarily and in fragments, through instances of queer spatial practice. In a city where space is at a premium, these clandestine, creative gestures haunt places that are always already in use by someone else, for something else. I also operate a micro-press called Small Potatoes that collaborates with local artists, writers, and poets to make and distribute printed matter.
Why I chose Queen’s: I decided to study at Queen’s because a professor/mentor I trust had vouched for the quality of the program. I had reservations about Kingston because the city had elicited from the same mentor such descriptions as “nice and quiet” and “a good place to study,” all of which I understood as euphemisms. I’ve come to realize that my instinct was correct—the city can be sleepy—but only partially. Kingston has, over the years, often surprised me with what it has to offer to a restless, particular grad student like myself.
What I’m here to blog about: I look forward most to writing about the things that make Kingston liveable and the experiences that make grad school gratifying.
Name: Grace Billing
Program: MPH Year 1
About Me: I am a miracle baby! At the time of my birth, my parents lived in a small rural town in India. My mother was initially informed that she was not pregnant based on two faulty urine tests and a physical exam at the local hospital which lacked an ultrasound machine. Around the same time, she was prescribed antibiotics in order to treat a suspected uterine infection, which are contraindicated to pregnancy. Defying the odds, I was born healthy several months later. The circumstances around my birth make the healthcare challenges faced by those living in remote areas more real and personal, so I am thrilled to start my graduate studies in Public Health at Queen’s this fall. As an MPH graduate, I feel I would be well-equipped to recognize and formulate action plans which address the health inequity issues and poor health care practices that I have experienced and observed firsthand.
Why I Chose Queen’s University: Queen’s University’s Department of Public Health Sciences is at the forefront of mental health and developmental disabilities research, the two fields I am passionate about. Queen’s accelerated MPH works with my availability and has an impressive record of practicum sites that have hosted Queen’s MPH students. I found the department staff and faculty approachable, supportive and extremely patient with my extensive phone inquiries. It was also very much an intuitive decision. I visited the campus to get a feel for the city and if I could see myself settling here. I was mesmerized by the elegant victorian buildings, beautiful waterfront and greenery all around campus. It seemed like a perfect escape from the chaos of the commercialized GTA. Because of its small size, location and community culture, it seems like a place that is conducive to fostering meaningful personal and professional ties, while being close to nature.
What I’m Here to Blog About: I am here to offer my perspective as a new graduate student at Queen’s. Pursuing the field of public health, I am attuned to look at the “bigger picture”. So, through this forum I intend to provide a more holistic, broader perspective on “success” and graduate studies. I want to write about things that are essential for our overall personal and internal success, such as a balanced life, mental health, diet, mindfulness, relationships, connecting with the community and nature. I believe it is our everyday meaningful accomplishments and experiences that define our success and growth, rather than the mindless pursuit of an end goal of achieving a degree.