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Emma Traynor Shares Her CAGS Experience

Graduate Studies


Emma Traynor

Last month, our graduate student ambassador and Bioscience graduate student, Emma Traynor, attended the 58th Annual Canadian Association for Graduate Studies (CAGS) Conference. Recently, Emma shared her experience with Gradstudies, highlighting several of her favourite parts of the conference. 

How was your experience at the CAGS conference? How many sessions did you attend?

I ended up attending a few sessions. One was a round table on living within Earth's carrying capacity. The session brought together students and posed this question last year and this year they just went over the answers and thoughts on the matter. People agreed that the carrying capacity is more about the "we" and not "me" issue. Thus, one person being very ecologically conscience isn't going to save the planet instead it will take a large community/national approach.

I also attended a session on faculty attitudes to Ph.D. outcomes: bystanders, dinosaurs, and allies (Dr. Loleen Berdahl, Lisa young, Jonathan Malloy). This one talked about how in 2020-2021 many Ph.D. students are getting jobs outside of academia. With this shift in where Ph.D. students are getting their jobs what do supervisors think of this/ are the supervisors providing enough support for their Ph.D. students to be flexible enough to work outside of academia. The conclusion was that supervisors would like to help their students but just do not know-how, therefore, creating a large pool of bystanders.

The next major session I went to was called degrees of success: Exploring the challenges and lived experience of students and recent graduates and their entry into the workforce (Elizabeth Cannon, Eric Meslin). This was by far the largest session with over 300 people in attendance. This session is also based on a recent report that showed that the number of tenure positions at universities is decreasing but the number of Ph.D. students are increasing. Additionally, that there are some major wage disparities between men and women who get jobs after their Ph.D.s with women earning quite a bit less than men. In the future, the report would also like to look more towards diversity within universities.

I also attended a few other sessions and socials but those were the major ones I attended. I think one of the major takeaways for me from this conference is that there is so much amazing research going on outside of just the normal biology conferences I attend. It was definitely eye-opening and an excellent reminder to branch out from my day-to-day research field to see what others are doing!

Thank you for sharing your time at the CAGS conference with us!

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