Cultivating a Culture of Inclusivity & Belonging
Graduate Inclusivity Fellows (GIFs) promote a culture of belonging at Queen’s for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. Working with the School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs, GIFs advise on programs and practices that prioritise diversity, equity, inclusivity and Indigeneity within our graduate and postdoctoral community from admission to graduation. GIFs are instrumental in facilitating our aim of an inclusive graduate learning experience, leveraging and applying their skills to support graduate students and postdoctoral fellows at Queen’s.
Meet our GIFs!
Jacob DesRochers is a third-year doctoral student in the Faculty of Education. Supervised by Dr. Lee Airton, Jacob’s work examines culturally sustaining approaches to sexuality education both within K-12 schools, but also as an educational practice that occurs within communities of care. Jacob completed a Master’s in Education in 2019, and a Master’s in Religious Studies in 2017. An active member in the Queen’s community, Jacob is currently a part of the Universities Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Task Force, the Faculty of Education’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee, and the Education Research Ethic’s Board. He is passionate about teaching and learning, and presently can be found providing remote support for instructors in the Faculty of Arts and Science or delivering workshops during the Centre for Teaching and Learning’s professional development day.
Sabrina Masud is an international Ph.D. candidate at the Department of English specializing in Environmental Humanities and Ecocriticism. She has an M.A. in African American Studies from Temple University as a Fulbright Scholar. Her research in minority rights, equity, and diversity has led her to assume the role of the International Commissioner with the Society of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS). She is also involved in the Social Justice Committee with PSAC. Due to her work as a creative writer, she has also joined the team at The Lamp graduate literary journal as an incoming Co-Editor-In-Chief.
Suyin Olguin is a doctoral candidate in English Language & Literature at Queen’s University, Canada. Her research is funded by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Doctoral Fellowship. She studies food, nutritional science, and masculinity in Victorian and children’s literature. Suyin is also a co-founder, co-treasurer, and co-executive of Scholars of Colour at Watson Hall, a group that provides support, information and resources for BIPOC graduate students across disciplines at Queen’s University. Throughout her doctoral program, Suyin has assisted the School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs with the running of recruitment events, professionalization workshops, writing camps, and other related events for graduate students. One of her favourite tasks is to help with the audio editing and re-recording mixing for Grad Chat, a weekly radio and podcast program that showcases graduate student research at Queen's.
Nishana Ramsawak is an International PhD candidate in the department of Civil Engineering at Queens University, Kingston, Canada, under the supervision of Dr. Sarah Jane Payne and Dr Yves Filion. She is currently working with a large municipality in Western Canada investigating Biofilms in water distribution systems and premise plumbing. She previously taught Mathematics for Scientists at the St Augustine campus of the University of the West Indies; she was also a Quality Control Supervisor at the Water and Sewerage Authority of Trinidad and Tobago, as well as a Water Specialist Research Consultant with the Caribbean Policy Development Centre in Barbados. She holds a Master of Science degree in Occupational and Environmental Safety and Health as well as a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry and Management, both from the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago. She also obtained a certificate in International Water Law from the University of Geneva. In her spare time, Nishana teaches Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) for the “Black Youth in STEM”, an outreach program with the Aboriginal Access and Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science at Queens. She also volunteers at several charitable organisations here in Kingston and even hosted the “Helping Handbags, Kingston” Christmas charity drive in December 2020. She is an advocate for education for children and sponsors a Scholarship at her Alma Mater as well as a Creative Writing competition, both in her home country of Trinidad and Tobago.
I am a PhD student supervised by Dr. Yuxiang Wang and Dr. Stephen Lougheed in the Department of Biology at Queen’s University. My current research involves developing a novel UAV and environmental DNA toolkit to assess the biodiversity status of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. Our project will give us a powerful yet low cost and non-invasive toolkit for monitoring aquatic ecosystems from a multi-taxon, diversity-of-life approach. In addition to my research, I am interested in material sciences, maker culture, 3D design and printing, photography, and community science. I am the chair of the Biology Graduate Research Symposium committee, the Biology Graduate Ambassador for the Faculty of Arts and Science, responsible for promoting internal recruitment, and I produce drone photography and footage for Queen’s in my spare time.
Priorities and Section Process
GIFs are selected through an open call application process on a yearly basis facilitated through the School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs. GIFs serve a two-year term. The application process is currently closed. Stay tuned for more information on our next call.
Priority Area 1: Funding Awareness for Graduate Students
- to make funding processes clearer for graduate students
- to update funding profiles for graduate students
- to provide accessible information about funding bursaries and supports for graduate students
Priority Area 2: Cultivating a Sense of Belonging from Day 1
- to develop a central welcome resource package for incoming students inclusive of pre-program activities and training modules
- to develop profiles of graduate students and how they have established a sense of community while at Queen’s
- to demonstrate the various groups and structures available to support diverse students