Caroline Marful is a passionate thinker about the future of the public sector and is committed to promoting innovative solutions to societal inequities. During her undergraduate degree in Political Studies, she co-founded the Queen’s Female Leadership in Politics Conference (QFLIP), the first Canadian university conference launched to inspire and equip young women with skills and guidance to pursue leadership roles in politics. She also served as the director of the Queen’s Model United Nations team through QIAA and held student leadership positions in the AMS and ASUS. After her undergraduate degree, Caroline spent a year working within the Ontario Public Service then pursued a Master of Science in Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her Master’s dissertation focused on how economic and social history inform Black voter behaviour in North America. She co-hosted the Women’s Forum on the Economy and Society’s global meeting in 2018 and is an alumna of the G(irls)20 Girls on Boards program. She served as a director on the board of SKETCH Working Arts, has participated in roundtables about reimagining non-profit governance and economic engagement within the G7, and sits on the FemWorks collective. She is the recipient of the 2018 Harry Jerome Award for Excellence in Leadership.
Why did you choose Political Studies as a discipline?
I chose to study Political Studies because I’m a believer in the classic phrase that “everything is political!” Politics is inextricably linked to culture and society at large and so to study politics is to study the structure of society and how it manages competing interests. I believed and found that to be an incredible foundation and framework through which to understand the world. I aspire to spend my career examining the norms that are accepted in society and working towards how they can be shifted to further equity and account for the rights and experiences of marginalized groups – so a degree in politics made perfect sense. It allowed me to dip my toes into the study of philosophy, sociology, communications, economics, and history and, of course, improve my writing skills!
Why did you choose Queen’s for both your BA and JD?
I chose Queen’s because of its unique combination of academic rigor and vibrant extracurricular life. My experiences inside and outside of the classroom were both integral in shaping my mind and getting me to where I am today. Within the classroom, I was inspired by the faculty who were passionate, leaders in their fields, approachable, and sincere. Outside the classroom, my vision of opportunity was expanded. I grew through opportunities to use my voice in representing the student body, contribute to teams, and accomplish incredible goals! I chose Queen’s Law for my JD because of its reputation for academic rigor, its streams that align with my goals, and, of course, after seeing how much I gained from my undergraduate degree here!
How did your education in Political Studies inform your choice of graduate degrees and any other positions you’ve held or projects you’ve subsequently been involved with?
Political Studies has allowed me to understand the structures within society and inspired me to strive to change things because I recognize it’s possible. There is a common thread of pursuing change within institutional frameworks within all initiatives I have been involved with since graduation. This has included my interest in non-profit governance and women in leadership. My work for the government and pursuit of further studies in politics and law is the result of me continuing to ask questions about subjects that first intrigued me during my undergraduate studies.
How have you stayed connected to Political Studies?
I have stayed connected to Political Studies through the generosity of some of my professors, including Dr. Goodyear-Grant and Dr. Rose, who have supported my academic journey since my undergrad. I thoroughly enjoy staying in touch with current students who reach out as they’re considering their next steps and more formally through QFLIP by moderating events and judging case challenges! As I have three more years at Queen’s, I hope to reconnect with the department more deeply by taking part in the Colloquium in Legal and Political Philosophy and in any way that the department will have me!
What advice would you give to students who have recently completed an undergraduate degree?
My advice would be that you’ll never know the value of your degree until you put it to the test. Apply to your dream job or your dream graduate program – you will be pleasantly surprised at how far your Queen’s Politics degree takes you.
What are your best memories from your time as an undergraduate student at Queen’s?
My best memories from my time during my undergraduate days at Queen’s are embedded in the magic of community. Heading to QP with friends after an exam or traveling to Model UN competitions on small buses fostered a special kind of bonding that I have never found anywhere else! My best friends, most trusted advisors, and cheerleaders came from my years at Queen’s, and I cherish the memory of realizing I found life-long friends and a community!