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 liliang@upei.ca.  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 liliang@upei.ca.  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 gsa@upei.ca 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 (bjakubiec@upei.ca)

Dylan Michaud, Executive VP (dmichaud@upei.ca)

Leon Liang, VP Finance (liliang@upei.ca)

Rosemarie Dale, Science Rep (rdale@upei.ca)

Zhengyu (Cherry) Liu, Education Rep (zhengliu@upei.ca)

Logan MacIntyre, AVC Co-Rep (lwmacintyre@upei.ca)

Jamye Rouette, AVC Co-Rep (jrouette@upei.ca)

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 http://upeisu.ca/services/ and by clicking on funding.  You can also contact the UPEI SU VP Finance, William McGuigan at vpfinance@upeisu.ca.

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 (gsa@upei.ca), or by stoping by our graduate student lounge in Duffy 403.

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

Upcoming Elections for the GSA

Notice to Graduate Students!

It’s election season!  Below you will find a list of candidates for several positions on the GSA Executive and Board.

The GSA By-Law on Elections (3.1) does not specify the procedure to follow when there is only one candidate nominated for a position in the spring election.  Therefore, as Chief Returning Officer (CRO), I have elected to follow the procedure for fall elections and forego any voting for those positions.

As there is only one contended position, that of President, it will be the only one that will appear on a ballot.

Below you will find a list of all candidates, by position. Each candidate has provided a short biography for your information.

The candidates for President will have a three week campaign period, beginning Monday, April 3, 2017. All campaigning must cease by midnight Sunday, April 23, 2017.

The election will take place Monday, April 24 and Tuesday, April 25, 2017 via campus login.

If you have any concerns or questions about these procedures, please do not hesitate to contact me. I can be reached via email vcampbell@upei.ca or cell 902-313-0059.

Valerie Campbell, PhD Candidate (Educational Studies)

Chief Returning Officer 2017




Brittany Jakubiec: I am a second-year student in the PhD in Educational Studies program at UPEI.  For my dissertation research, I will be investigating how young women in Atlantic Canada theorize gender identity.  Outside of UPEI, I am the mother to a funny and loving 6-year-old boy named Kaden.  I volunteer at his school for the breakfast program and for the local Canadian Parents for French (PEI) chapter.  I have a lot of experience volunteering with various organizations, and believe that due to this experience, I have learned how to work with others, how to plan and execute events, and to communicate with the organization’s membership.  In the case of the UPEI Graduate Students’ Association, I feel as though my past leadership experience will be of great help if I were to be elected president for the 2017–18 academic year.  I am passionate about the graduate student experience at UPEI and would be very happy to serve in the volunteer position of President of the GSA.

I want the GSA to be regarded as valuable and to be invited to take part in important discussions regarding university affairs.  I also believe in the power of the GSA to advocate on behalf of students when issues arise.  I would like to see more social events and activities for graduate students, so that we can get to know one another, share experiences, and provide support.  However, the GSA is what the membership wants it to be.  In my role as president, I will work collaboratively with my executive team and the board to ensure that your concerns are being heard and addressed, and that the direction of the GSA is set forth by you all.


Zhengyu Liu:  I enrolled in UPEI in September, 2016. My major is Master of Education in Leadership in Learning. I received my bachelor degree in Food Science & Engineering from Northwest University in China. Currently, I am a research assistant of inquiry studies in UPEI.

I participated in many academic activities, such as Edcamp Conference, a graduate student’ thesis defense. I am also a member of Global Pathway Committee and UPEI Graduate Students’ Association. Recently, I received an International Continuing Excellence Award from UPEI.

I attended the National Lobby Week from February 6 to February 8 in Ottawa, invited by Canadian Federation of Students. I had meetings with four MPs and one Senator. I talked about issues facing post-secondary students with them, particularly in high tuitions, and lay out our recommendations when it comes to federal policy. As an international student, I held the opinion that high international student fees do not benefit domestic students: Schools need to survive, and each school can only accept a certain amount of students depending on their facilities, staff, and area. If they do not have enough funding from the government, school leaders may prefer to accept more international students rather than domestic students. When the offer letter based on funding rather than students’ learning ability, it would lower the universities’ academic achievement in total. As a graduate student, I talked to MPs of the poor research funding and limited job prospects for our young researchers. After attended the meetings, I decided running for President position because I want to solve the issues facing graduate students and make graduate students’ voice stronger.

I also did many volunteer works. I participated in a “Train the Trainer Workshop” at PEI Association for Newcomers to Canada. As a volunteer, my work is to spread out the knowledge of “911, Policing, Highway Safety, Fire, and EMS on PEI” for newcomers. I also volunteered in after school program at St. Felix Centre and Yong Hui Chinese School.

Executive Vice-President

Dylan Michaud: I have been nominated for the position of Executive Vice-President within the Graduate Students’ Association (GSA). I am a second year Masters of Science student at the Atlantic Veterinary College researching the genetics, and more specifically the sex differences of a marine parasite.

The GSA is a valuable platform which advocates on behalf of the UPEI/AVC graduate student body, however in order for the GSA to be effective it requires a strong cohesive relationship with the graduate student body. Without graduate student involvement and feedback it is difficult to ensure advocacy will be effective and representative of the student body’s entirety. Therefore I believe it is vital for the GSA’s next steps be to focus on driving additional initiatives into graduate student; involvement, feedback and inclusiveness in order to ensure manageable and effective initiatives are pursued.

The GSA is a platform which can only be successful with the aid of graduate student input and involvement, so please do not hesitate to contact the GSA at gsa@upei.ca with any inquires and/or comments.

Vice President – Finance

Leon Liang: I am a second year PhD student in the Chemistry department. I first came to UPEI from China as an exchange student in 2013 for my undergraduate studies. I transferred to UPEI afterwards to finish my bachelor’s degree and now am pursuing the PhD degree. As an international student at UPEI, I can communicate well with students from different countries and various backgrounds. I have served at GSA since Sept. 2015 as an international student representative. I participated in Canadian Federation of Students Annual General Meeting in 2016 as a delegate for UPEI GSA. My goal in the GSA is to address the needs of different students by connecting them with resources and promote interaction among my fellow graduate students. I am a good listener and if you have any suggestion or concern, feel free to communicate with me. My email address is liliang@upei.ca.


AVC Representative (2 positions)

Logan MacIntyre: I am a second-year PhD student in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the AVC. I have held the position of AVC Representative for two terms and hope to be elected for a third. During my tenure of this position, I maintained a high level of involvement in the GSA and the university community at large by helping to organize events, regularly attending GSA board meetings, sitting on the AVC Graduate Studies and Research Committee, etc. I intend to build on these habits/commitments in the coming years and I believe that my current position with the GSA is the best way for me to do so. Please feel free to write to me with questions at lwmacintyre@upei.ca.


Jamye Rouette: I am from Montreal, but have lived on PEI since September 2012. I graduated from UPEI in May 2016, Bachelors in Science, Majored in Environmental Biology, minored in Environmental Studies. I am now doing my masters at AVC in the department of Health Management. My project involves looking at risk factors for injuries experienced by the racehorses on the Island.

During my undergrad I sat on the executive committees for the Biology Society (treasurer), Pre-Vet Society (treasurer), Environmental Society (Secretary), I was a New Student Orientation leader for three years, and was the Treasurer for the Grad Class Executive 2016. I really enjoy planning events and being organized. I also really love horses and birds!

Science Representative

Rosemarie Dale: I am in the first year of my master’s program in the science department, specifically the environmental science stream. My project is adjunct with Agriculture Canada. I want to run for science representative mainly to become more involved in the GSA and to help voice concerns/needs of grad students, and hopefully help put those concerns into actions to help improve graduate student life at UPEI.

Post-doc Representative

Ravinder Sappal: I am a Postdoctoral fellow in Dept of Biomedical Sciences, AVC. Originally I am a vet from India and graduated with a PhD (Dept. of Path-Micro, AVC) from UPEI. My research areas include Fish Physiology, Aquatic Toxicology and Mitochondrial Bioenergetics. I have been involved in GSA and other volunteering activities throughout my graduate program. This year I opted to be postdoc’s voice in GSA, with hope to bring some positive changes for the fellows of UPEI.

Upcoming Events

Upcoming events.

Tuesday, March 21: Soup for the soul, Chaplaincy Centre, 11:30 am.

Tuesday, March 21: VP Academic and Research Candidate Presentation, Lecture Theatre A, AVC.  Tuesday, March 21 at 2:00 pm.  Dr. Gilmour will present for 30 minutes, followed by a 1-hour dialogue with the audience.  To give feedback on the candidate, email vparsearch@upei.ca by 5 pm on Monday, March 27.

Wednesday, March 22: Biomedical Sciences & Pathology and Microbiology Seminar. Graduate students Frederic Chatigny & Laura Taylor will be presenting. 3:00-4:00 pm in AVC Lecture Theatre A.

Wednesday, March 22: Trivia at The Wave.  Join the grad student team (email gsa@upei.ca) and enjoy 50 cent wings and $7.50 doubles.

Thursday, March 23: Dream big: What should UPEI be? A campus-wide discussion for students and faculty on the theme of “Dreaming Big: What Should UPEI Be?” will be held on Thursday, March 23, 3:00-5:00, in Lecture Theatre A in the Atlantic Veterinary College. The discussion is sponsored by the Senate Committee for the Enhancement of Teaching (SCENT) and the Faculty Development Office (FDO) and is open to all students and faculty. This event is the culmination of SCENT’s year-long focus on “What is University For?” and “Whom is University For?”

Friday, March 24: Master’s Thesis – Valerie Abd-El-Aziz.  The Master’s of Nursing Program Graduate Studies Committee would like to invite the campus community to Valerie Abd-El-Aziz’ public presentation of her master’s thesis entitled “Fear of Falling, Physical Activity Volume, and Stage of Motivational Readiness to Change Physical Activity Behaviour of Adults in Late Midlife”. Valerie’s presentation will be held in HSB Rm. 103 on Friday, March 24 at 9:00 am.

*Notice of the Graduate Students’ Association Annual General Meeting*

Join the GSA on April 27, 4:30-6 pm for our Annual General Meeting.  There will be pizza & drinks.  This event is family- and child-friendly.