Student Stories

The Looking Glass: Growing as I Go

"What do you do when you give so much of yourself to one label or identity that you forget about all the others?"

While working her way through academia, Katie Pothier unintentionally learned more about herself than she ever expected. Katie discusses her experience of having a false idea of her identity, losing it all, and eventually discovering her true self through the pursuit of a master's degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice Policy.

Olivia Dobson headshot

Olivia Dobson Spotlight: Autism, Needles and Managing Pain

Olivia Dobson is a master’s student in the Department of Psychology’s Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology (CCAP)program. Olivia’s research, under her supervisor Dr. Meghan McMurtry examines needle pain management strategies that assist those with autism.

Olivia recently received the 2021 Autism Scholars Award – an $18,000 prize – for her “leading edge scholarship into autism."

Justine is standing by a lake and wearing a toque and scarf

The Looking Glass: Reconciliation is Not a Metaphor

Justine Townsend is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics. Her research interrogates the possibilities for reconciliation in the Canadian conservation sector, particularly by supporting the current surge in Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas.

Joanne Garcia-Moores sits in her home office with books on the bookshelf behind her

The Looking Glass: Making a Choice

What we choose to learn and who we choose to learn from shapes how we think and the futures we build. From my perspective as a grad student working under pandemic conditions, certain types of learning opportunities vanished, but there was more choice in online formal and informal learning than ever before. In fact, the abundance of webinars, online courses and conferences was overwhelming at times. So how to tune out the noise and tune in to real learning? For me real learning is when my ideas about what’s possible expand or shift.

Sophia is rolling out some dough in her kitchen

The Looking Glass: Traditions to Remember

Sophia Hou is an undergraduate student in the Applied Human Nutrition program in the Department of Family Relations and Human Nutrition at the University of Guelph. Sophia keeps a nutrition and health blog titled In her latest blog post, she shared with us her mission to celebrate and preserve her Chinese heritage and her reasons for doing so.

The Looking Glass: The Great Balancing Act

My PhD journey began in September 2016. My start was probably a bit different from the average student’s. I pulled up to MacDonald Institute reminiscing about my graduate school days that I had finished a few years before. I thought about the classes I took and the friends I made during my MSc program in Family Relations and Human Development. This time I was not arriving to Student Orientation with one of my best friends (who happened to be in the same program as me during my master’s), but I was arriving with my parents and my four-month-old son.

The Looking Glass: Where's the Village?

Emily Smit is a PhD student in the Department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics at the University of Guelph. She is also the mother of three small children. Emily shared her experience over the last year with us in her recent blog post published on

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