Nearing the end of Fall semester

Hi everyone,

The end of the Fall semester is almost upon us.  I am sure that you are all busily working on papers, final assignments, in your labs, and preparing for the holiday break.

In this month’s post, I will give a recap of the GSA Wine & Cheese event, promote an upcoming GSA event, and also include information on booking graduation pictures and/or professional headshots.

Recap on the GSA Wine & Cheese

On Tuesday, November 27 almost 100 people came out to the GSA Wine and Cheese event, held in the Schurman Market Square (McDougall Hall).  The room was decorated with festive lights, music was playing in the background, and the drinks were flowing at the bar.  I would be remiss not to thank the Student Union for their support of this event, and to those who donated items for the silent auction, and those who put in hours of work planning and preparing for this night.  A huge thank you to Louise Vessey, from Light & Vision Photography for capturing some pictures.

The GSA raised $903.00 through our silent auction and draw for a Cineplex giftcard.  We will be putting funds into the Colleen MacDougall Travel Award and using the rest for event planning on campus!  Congratulations are in order for two prize winners: Enoo Sudlovenick for winning the $500.00 tuition prize, and Emerald Naylor for winning the gift card.  Congratulations to Colleen Gallant, School of Graduate Studies, for winning the GSA Staff Award, and to Dr. Russ Kerr for winning the GSA Faculty Award.

GSA Town Hall

The UPEI Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) is putting forward a Town Hall Meeting–“Let’s talk about grad studies.” Time: 12-2pm, Dec 6, 2017; Location: Faculty Lounge, Main Building.

How to participate: Write your questions/suggestions in a piece of paper and drop in the box at the entrance anonymously. We will discuss with other grad students and bring the feedback to the School of Graduate Studies. Or, you can just come, chill and hear what other people say. Topic examples: Thesis, stress, equality, student fees, GSA events, travel funds, international student related questions etc.

Pizza lunch provided (with gluten free option), 5 Christmas present draws! All UPEI grad students are welcome.

Grad Pictures and Professional Headshots

For some of you, graduation is just around the corner.  Louise Vessey at Light and Vision Photography offers competitive rates for graduation pictures in a cosy, welcoming environment.  While you are there, you can also get professional headshots taken (at a special rate).  For those of you who are not graduating, but would like to inquire about headshots, please contact Louise for more information!

Upcoming GSA Events!

Hey graduate students! Let me just say that November is a rockin’ month for graduate student events. Here is a list of upcoming events!

1. GSA Semi-Annual General Meeting, Tuesday Nov 7, 12-1 pm in Memorial Hall 308. A light lunch will be served. All are welcome.

2. GSA Board Meeting, Tuesday Nov 7, 7-9 pm in Main Building 409. All are welcome to attend.

3. Research on Tap, Thursday November 16, 6:30-7:30 pm at The Wave (WA Murphy Student Centre). Logan MacIntyre will present his research!
Logan Final

4. GSA Members to attend Canadian Federation of Students’ conference in Gatineau, QC. Mary MacPhee, Laura Young, Dawne Knockwood, Kimberly Wishart Chu Foon, Rachel Kays, Ashley McKibbon, and Brittany Jakubiec will be reppin’ UPEI graduate students at this national meeting!

5. GSA Board Meeting, November 27, 1-3 pm in HSB 206.  All are welcome!

6. GSA Wine and Cheese social with silent auction and faculty and staff awards, November 28, 6-9 pm in Schurman Market Square (McDougall Hall).  All graduate students, faculty, and staff are welcome to attend our biggest event of the year.  We will announce the winners of the faculty and staff awards, you can bid on amazing silent auction items, and all graduate students who attend have a chance to win $500 toward your tuition!  Thank you to the Office of the President for this prize.

Wine and Cheese Nov 28 2017 (poster)

The awards are a way for graduate students to recognize and highlight outstanding staff and faculty that have played a monumental role in supporting graduate student life and research at UPEI.

All staff and faculty are eligible to be nominated as long as they have not won the award in the past three years. Winners are listed below.

      Nominations should include:

(a)  The individual’s name

(b)  Position, department/faculty

(c)   Brief description (max. 300 words) on why they should receive the award

Graduate students have until Wednesday, November 15 at midnight to nominate individuals. Once the nominations have been compiled an email will be distributed to all graduate students detailing online voting procedures. The awards will be distributed at the Wine & Cheese Social. All nominations should be emailed to by midnight on November 15.

Upcoming GSA events!

Hi everyone,

Welcome to or welcome back to graduate studies at UPEI.  The Graduate Students’ Association has many events this month for you to take part in and meet new people!

Sunday Sept 17: Apple picking at Arlington Orchards.  We are meeting at UPEI (by the student centre bus stop) and carpooling to the orchards.  Meeting time is 12:45 pm and leaving at 1:00 pm.  We will leave the orchards at 4:00 pm, getting back to UPEI around 5:00 pm.  We need more drivers to sign up!  We have enough people for at least two more vehicles to attend, so if you drive and want to meet new grad students, please add yourself as a driver on the Google Doc linked above.

Tuesday Sept 19: Orientation will take place in the Faculty Lounge (SDU Main Building) from 12-2 pm.  There will also be a bake sale at the orientation event.  If you want to donate a baked good, please email Leon at  There will be a free pizza lunch!  That evening, come out to Upstreet Brewery for a Faculty and Student Mixer.

GSA Faculty and Staff Mixer

Wednesday Sept 20: Bake sale in the Library from 11-1 pm.  If you want to donate a baked good, please email Leon at  There will be a BBQ lunch in the quad (outside SDU Main Building) for graduate students.  That evening, sign up for Trivia at The Wave by emailing to be added to the graduate student team.

Thursday Sept 21: Research on Tap at the Wave at 6:30 pm.  The presenter is Adam Fenech and his talk will be on climate change.

The thesis journey: A perspective from an International student

By: Mahdi N. M. Albishi

I write this article to offer suggestions for UPEI graduate students, who are interested in completing a thesis-route master’s degree.  Based on my experience as a Saudi Arabian student obtaining a Master of Education at UPEI, herein, I describe what I believe are inspirational words of wisdom to ensure success toward finishing a graduate degree.

Supervisor’s Time is Valuable. During student’s thesis journey, he/she works with a supervisor who guides the research.  However, that student needs to remember that each supervisor has a host of additional responsibilities such as: supervising other graduate students, a large teaching load, research projects, publishing demands, commitments to committees, and writing proposals for grants and conferences, to name a few.  Because the supervisor’s time is so valuable, during each meeting, the students need to be disciplined, open-minded, keen to learn, and appreciative of the supervisor’s time. Students need to be well-prepared for every meeting and appreciate the supervisor’s time.  During the meeting, have your own thoughts in order with regard to your research interests, skills, knowledge, struggles, and perspectives.  When you have your ideas and questions prepared before a meeting, your supervisor is more empowered to help and guide you in a timely fashion.

Supervisor’s Feedback is Valuable. Based on my experience, when you start writing the chapters, you submit each chapter to your supervisor as draft and get feedback.  I cannot stress how valuable this feedback is both for improving the chapter and for the overall enhancement of future writing.  I suggest that you get a binder and save these drafts marked with feedback.  Doing so, you can review the feedback while writing future chapters, a process that can reduce your mistakes in the next submitted draft chapter.  Do not take your professor’s comments as a personal attack; in the end, you will realize that your supervisor’s comments were very helpful.  I know that you have read a lot of articles and books before you start writing each draft, but be aware that your supervisor has more knowledge than you think, so take the feedback seriously.

Tips for Writing Organization. As a graduate student, the importance of organization cannot be underemphasized.  For example, use RefWorks to organize and save your academic references.  To do so, visit the Robertson Library website, and open an account at RefWorks.  There are many advantages of RefWorks such as the ability to instantly add citations and references to Word documents and the automatic formatting of citations and reference lists.  Another suggestion for staying organized is to use Google Docs throughout the writing process.  I recommend Google Docs for graduate students, because it helps students to easily share their work with their supervisors.  Moreover, Google Docs helps you securely store multiple drafts of your work.  For instance, in case your computer is damaged or suddenly shut downs, if you used Google Docs, you will not lose your work or revisions.  Also, you could use Google Docs on your smartphone, so you can access your work anytime of the day.  Another aspect of organization is always keep up-to-date with your references.  When you write a chapter, ensure you have fully documented all references used in that chapter.  Do not leave all references until you finish writing all chapters of your thesis.

Quality Academic Sources and Writing Assistant. Choosing high quality academic sources supports and enriches your research.  I recommend you read and use peer-reviewed articles, chapters in books, and books.  Limit your reliance on Internet blogs, and do not overuse heavily personalized writing, which is sometimes seen in newspapers and magazines.  In terms of writing, regardless of whether you are a local or an international graduate student, every student can improve his/her writing.  I suggest you visit the UPEI Writing Centre.  Also, open an account with Grammarly in Robertson Library website in order to help correct grammar and spelling mistakes.  If you can, find someone who can read and edit your writing before you submit it to your supervisor.

Conferences, Seminars, and Facebook. I recommend graduate students participate in conferences and seminars related to their research interest.  Ask your supervisor to help you to choose the educational conferences and seminars that might be the best fit for you.  For example, my supervisor helped me to present at two local seminars and attend one conference during my thesis journey.  Also, subscribe to UPEI’s Faculty of Education International Students Association Facebook page.  In addition to communication about local seminars and conferences, this Facebook page provides information about local events, new books, and graduate student thoughts, experiences, and successes.

A Variety of Helpful Hints. I end by supplying additional ideas outside the university.  If you come to Canada with your family, make sure that you balance study and family.  For me, I viewed my graduate status as my fulltime job.  In general, I spent Monday through Friday working at the university and tried to give evenings to my family.  When you rent a house, make sure that snow removal is included.  Although time is tight, try to spend some time with a hobby or a social club that is not related to university.  As a non-local student, you might need specialized assistance for such things as renewing your study permit, finding a tutor, and looking for homestay.  For these and other challenging issues seek guidance from the PEI Association for Newcomers to Canada and UPEI International office.

Crossing the Finish Line. Finally, remember that you are already the best that you can be.  Use this self-confidence and do not give up.  You will cross the finish line.  I end by quoting phrase written on the wall of Harvard’s Library. “The pain of studying is only temporary.  But the pain of not knowing—ignorance—is forever.”  I believe the value of a master’s degree is life changing.  Therefore, keep going and good luck!

Gender and Grad Studies at UPEI

Gender Gap at UPEI

CBC wrote an article about an interview with Dr. Kathy Gottschall-Pass, acting dean of science at UPEI, where Dr. Gottschall-Pass revealed that 38% of UPEI’s full-time academic staff are women.  She also noted that if you look closely and more deeply at the age of full-time academic staff, you see a male to female ratio of 1:1 for those under the age of 50, and a male to female ratio of 2:1 for those over 50.  She stated, quite optimistically, that UPEI will mend the gender gap within the next 15 years or so.

With that said, academics and researchers are curious about what is happening for women between graduation (from graduate programs) and career–is it parenthood (and the work that comes with it)? marginalization? bias? pay gap? (e.g., Baker, 2012; Dryfhour & Estes, 2010; Jakubiec, 2015; Rhoads & Rhoads, 2012; Sanders, Willemsen, & Miller, 2009; Ward & Wolf-Wendel, 2012).  Since 1993/1994, the percentage of women enrolling in doctoral programs and earning doctorates has been steadily increasing (Statistics Canada, 2011).

Gender and Graduate Studies at UPEI

At UPEI, we have 537 graduate students.

Screen Shot 2017-05-09 at 1.30.05 PM

Of these 537 graduate students, 167 are men and a whopping 370 are women. MF Breakdown, Grad Studies UPEI May 2017

Broken down even further, among master’s students, 135 are men and 332 are women.  Among phds, 32 are men and 38 are women. meta-chart-1

Okay, okay, I am curious now.  What is our break-down among disciplines? meta-chart (1)-1

I am not entirely surprised.  In 2011, among the degree holders in Canada (aged 25-64), 47% of doctorates and 58% of master’s degrees were awarded to women.  Even in the US, women are earning the majority of doctoral degrees.

My take away from this?  There are many women available for hire who have graduate degrees in Canada.  I will personally be interested in how UPEI mends the gap in hiring over the next decade.

Brittany Jakubiec

May Updates from your Graduate Students’ Association


(Image Retrieved from Web)

Hello graduate students! 

We have lots of news for you in this blog post.  First, we hear from Logan MacIntyre who came in first at the UPEI 3MT competition and competed at the 3MT Regional Competition at UNB.  Second, the introduction of our new board and executives.  Third, an update on Travel Funding through the Student Union.  Last, exciting workshops coming your this fall and winter semesters!



(Pictured here are the three UPEI graduate students who placed at the 3MT competition held at the wave. From left to right, Logan MacIntyre (1st place), Rosemarie Dale (3rd place), and Travis James (2nd place).) 


(UPEI 3MT Competitors. In the picture, from left to right: Laura Carvalho, Logan MacIntyre, Rosemarie Dale, Travis James, Kate Rundle, Sarah Muthee, and Valerie Abd-El-Aziz.  Missing: Livia Li.) 

My 3MT Experience (By: Logan MacIntyre)

“I was fortunate to be able to attend the regional 3-Minute Thesis Competition in Fredericton, NB this past month. Overall, it was a fantastic experience! I had the chance to meet a number of enthusiastic and talented graduate students from Atlantic Canadian/Quebec universities, and also learn about very diverse research topics (ranging from visual arts to cancer research). The University of New Brunswick did a great job hosting the event, making us feel very welcomed and running the competition in a professional manner. I’d recommend that any graduate student who has this opportunity in the future participate (even if it means travelling) – I’d be surprised if you regret it!”

Introduction of the New GSA Board

We are happy to announce our new board for the 2017/18 year:

Brittany Jakubiec, President (

Dylan Michaud, Executive VP (

Leon Liang, VP Finance (

Rosemarie Dale, Science Rep (

Zhengyu (Cherry) Liu, Education Rep (

Logan MacIntyre, AVC Co-Rep (

Jamye Rouette, AVC Co-Rep (

Travel Funding Through the UPEI Student Union 

At this time, we would like to offer our sincerest “thank-you”s to the UPEI Student Union for taking the time to contemplate how their budget might better support graduate students.  This year, working closely with Nate Hood and Clayton Harding, the GSA communicated that we needed more travel funding support.  Brittany Jakubiec was a graduate student representative on council, and made this need known in this forum as well.  We are happy to say that the SU budget allowance for graduate travel has increased.  Previously, a total of $7,500 was allotted for travel, and was used by graduate students and AVC non-graduate students (the split was about $3,000 graduate students and $4,500 AVC non-graduate students).  For the 2017/18 academic year, graduate students will have access to $6,500 in travel funding, and non-graduate AVC students will have access to $5,000.  Meaning, we see an increase of $3,500 and non-graduate AVC students see an increase of $500.  This is VERY exciting.  We also saw an increase to the graduate programming budget, from $1,250 to $2,500.  This shows the importance of strong communication, building relationships, and listening to our membership’s needs.

You can get more information about travel funding at and by clicking on funding.  You can also contact the UPEI SU VP Finance, William McGuigan at

Forthcoming Fall 2017 & Winter 2018 Workshops 

The new executives met with Larry Hammell, Colleen Gallant, and Christina Perry (Recruitment and International Relations Office) to discuss workshops for the Fall 2017 and Winter 2018.  These workshops will have a variety of topics and be directed primarily at graduate students, but will be open to all.  Some topics discussed were writing an academic CV, writing a thesis, intellectual property and patents, data analysis and creating graphs and figures, giving a good presentation/making a good powerpoint, and more.  There will be a full schedule announced closer to Fall 2017.

Well, that’s all for now!  If you want to get in touch with your Graduate Students’ Association, you can find us on Facebook, by email (, or by stoping by our graduate student lounge in Duffy 403.

~ Brittany, Dylan, and Leon (your new GSA executives!)