School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies

Investing in yourself - Meet Korey Pasch

PhD Candidate in Political Studies

by Phil Gaudreau

Since beginning his doctoral studies at Queen’s seven years ago, Korey Pasch has desired to contribute to society while simultaneously seeking ways to go outside of his comfort zone – these attributes have served him during his tenure at Queen’s. As he prepares to complete his studies at Queen’s, he has words of wisdom for incoming graduate students.

Korey is pursuing his PhD in the Department of Political Studies, and his research focuses on catastrophic risk. Specifically, how insurance companies, governments, and other organizations are using new types of bonds to offset and address the costs of natural disasters – an increasingly important subject as the climate continues to change, causing more severe floods, fires, and other events.

However, the writing process and progression through his PhD has been extremely challenging. Korey has taken advantage of the many opportunities that the School of Graduate Studies offers to help graduate students overcome these hurdles.

“The annual Lake Shift and Dissertation on the Lake writing retreats were a huge influence on me – not only in helping me write thesis chapters, but also providing a sense of solidarity with my fellow graduate students,” he says. “Other universities don’t provide opportunities like this.”

While writing and research has kept Korey quite busy, he has found time for service to his department and colleagues. He served as his department’s representative with the Society of Graduate and Professional Students. This posting offered him the opportunity to work with peers across Queen’s to advocate on behalf of graduate students and influence university policy.

He also has high praise for his Department’s support for graduate students, noting the spotlight placed on graduate student research through an annual conference organized by students through the Political Studies Graduate Student Association. Korey served on the conference committee in 2017. He also pushed for the establishment of the graduate student speaker series in the department, so that students would have more opportunities to share and receive feedback on their work, from both peers and professors.

True to his aspirations as an academic, however, it’s his interactions with undergraduate students that have proven to be one of the most meaningful experiences for Korey. He has taught a 400-level seminar course based upon his dissertation research entitled “Disasters in the Contemporary Global Political Economy” several times.

“I appreciate having had the opportunity to teach – Queen’s undergraduates are really engaged and want to excel,” he says. “You don’t always get that opportunity to practice your pedagogy while in a PhD program and yet, if you want to be a competitive applicant, you want to show your proficiency in teaching, service to your department, and research.”

As Korey prepares to wrap up his dissertation in the coming months, he is thankful for the support of his supervisor, Dr. Susanne Soederberg, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Global Political Economy; and for the encouragement from the University’s communications team which has helped Korey bring attention to his research in the mainstream media. Korey’s work was profiled in a 2017 piece he authored in The Conversation Canada, as well as a 2018 piece that was picked up by NPR. He has also been featured in The Kingston Whig Standard, The National Post, The Weather Network, and Global News Radio. Korey recently published his first single-authored article in the Journal of Natural Resources Policy Research.

“Queen’s has a high calibre reputation and has lived up to those standards,” he says. “I go to conferences, and I tend to find Queen’s University carries weight and people take you a bit more seriously. I have enjoyed the recognition of where I study and where I call my academic home.”

To learn more about Korey, visit the Queen’s Department of Political Studies’ website or check out his interview on the Grad Chat Podcast (October 3 & 10, 2017). You can also learn more about graduate programs with the Queen’s Department of Political Studies on their website.