The English and Film Studies Department at Wilfrid Laurier University supports their graduate students and encourages them to produce the highest quality research. I strongly believe my dissertation benefitted from the broad range of knowledge possessed by faculty in the department. Furthermore, university scholarships enabled me to conduct fieldwork in England and South Africa and present my research at conferences in the USA. The passion held by professors and the unyielding support from graduate students made completing my PhD an enjoyable and fulfilling experience.
During my graduate studies in the Department of English and Film Studies, I had the opportunity to work with outstanding scholars who mentored me with compassion and care. In the coursework component of my doctoral degree, I was introduced to new ideas and methodologies by leading scholars in their fields. This was a fantastic learning experience that let me achieve both breadth and depth in the discipline. Throughout the program, I was granted the autonomy and given the encouragement I needed to pursue my own research, and develop as a scholar in my own right. I found connection and community with faculty and fellow graduate students throughout my time at Laurier, something that was critical is helping me stay on track and complete my degree.
The English and Film Studies department at WLU provided me with the support and opportunities necessary to develop as a film historian and scholar. The small size of the program meant that my advisors and other faculty members worked closely with me to develop my research areas and teaching experience. During my time in the PhD program I taught a handful of courses, lived abroad while working on archival research, and attended multiple conferences, specialized research seminars, and film festivals. All of these experiences enriched my overall engagement with the field of film studies and helped to define my scholarly work. Without the support and help of many of the WLU English and Film Studies faculty, these opportunities would not have been possible. In addition, the interdisciplinary nature of the department helped to shape my research not just as a film historian, but as a scholar of intermedial connections between film, popular fiction, theatre, and television. I will be starting a tenure-track position at University of New Brunswick in 2016, as an assistant professor of Media Studies.
My PhD was my third degree in film studies, the culmination of my fascination with the cinema. But it was also about more than the films and stories that had held me captive for so long. It offered a means of deepening a set of skills gained in my earlier degrees, skills which I saw not only as central to academic work, but to my ability to invest myself in my social surroundings. Writing a dissertation, even one focused on a small moment in film history, was to me a chance to develop as fully as possible my abilities to think critically, to interpret, and to communicate. Coming to Laurier, I found these same skills vigorously pursued by this department. Indeed, through its commitment to them I received one of the most valued parts of my education, and one that continues to serve me well, both inside the classroom and out. Partnered first with a mentor, and then with my dissertation supervisor, I was supported in this department by scholars who valued these skills as I did, and by faculty who worked closely with me, year after year, in an indefatigable effort to improve not only my research and writing, but my approach to inquiry itself. In doing so, the department and my supervisors provided me a level of encouragement and guidance that not only helped me to realize my dissertation, but that allowed me to adopt the engaged and critical perspective I sought through this degree.
I completed both my MA and PhD in the English and Film Studies Department. My doctoral work focused on Asian North American literature, which is one of the subjects I teach as a professor at the University of Winnipeg. My undergraduate and graduate students at UW benefit greatly from the education and mentorship I received at Laurier. One of the greatest attributes of the PhD program was faculty encouragement to pursue academic experiences beyond the institution; amongst the undertakings I was encouraged to pursue during my time as a PhD student were research and study abroad, participation in summer institutes at other universities, and teaching as an adjunct instructor in another institution. It was a challenging program, but one that prepared me for the academic job market and a career in higher Ed. I completed my studies in 2012 and am happy to have earned tenure and promotion to associate professor of English at University of Winnipeg in 2016. I'm especially excited to have a new colleague who is also a WLU alumni join the faculty in this year. We look forward to donning our Laurier regalia at convocation in the years to come!
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