First year Master’s student Melinda Phuong’s research interests lie in the realm of post-secondary education, particularly Canadian universities. Melinda is interested in looking at how political-economic factors influence policy in post-secondary education and its effects on access, affordability and employment for students in Canada. She’s also interested in post-secondary institutional governance and its implications on autonomy and student success.
Now that she’s completed her first year in the program, Melinda comments that she has taken advantage of the interdisciplinary nature of the program and the flexibility that it allows. “My passions are in Political Science and Education, so I like that there are courses offered which cater to both of these passions,” she says. “My Graduate Assistant position is helping me gain practical skills in research, communication, and to a certain extent, project management in developing a peer mentoring program for students in the Faculty of Education. As the Master’s Representative on the York Graduate Students in Education (YGSE), Graduate Executive Committee and Graduate Council, I have been able interact regularly with colleagues and faculty to find ways to make this program even better for students. These experiences have allowed me to expand my understanding of the intricacies of how the university functions, aligning well with my research interests.”
Her advice to students who are interested in the program is to ‘come prepared to unlearn’. “Matters you thought you already knew about will be challenged here. It sounds cliché but I’m finding it to be very true. If you come to class with an open mind, you will get a lot out of this program.”
In the future, Melinda sees herself working in government or at a university to help develop policies and programs that will contribute to moving post-secondary education forward in Canada. “I would like to see that future students have as many venues to succeed as possible and that educators, administration, and governments will continue working together to maximize human potential in the advancement of Canadian society,” she says. “I think that the Graduate Program in Education here at York University has been, and will continue to be instrumental in providing me with the academic, social, and practical skills and knowledge to pursue a career in this area.”