Kaitlin Wynia, PhD Student
MA Family Studies and Gerontology
Throughout my MA in Family Studies at MSVU, I was continually encouraged to examine alternative ways of viewing a phenomenon and to question anything that at first seems self-evident. Identifying knowledge or service gaps and interrogating dominant discourses and attitudes is at the heart of what I am doing now in my PhD studies. I am currently in my third year of a PhD in Health and Society at McMaster University. My dissertation explores the relationship between public art and public dialogues on social issues. I have also had the privilege of being immersed in a Canadian and Australian-wide research study on public library programs and services for older adults.
I came to my MA fresh out of an undergraduate degree in sociology. The two years that I spent at MSVU were significant in regards to not only honing academic skills and acquiring knowledge, but also in deciphering how I can leverage my education meaningfully in a career. This is largely due to the culture that has been fostered within the department, where critical discussion is nurtured and where both students and faculty know and are eager to support one another. The courses and thesis portion of the degree provided me with the flexibility to strategically explore a variety of knowledge fields and to practice applying a variety of theoretical perspectives intrinsic to family studies. Faculty also readily make available teaching and research assistantship opportunities for students. I was a teaching assistant for my two years and a research assistant for a short stint in my second year. These opportunities were particularly helpful in determining how the skill sets, knowledge, and experiences that I was gaining via my thesis and course work can be valuable for people outside of academia. Likewise, from these experiences, I was able to glean the skills necessary to hit the ground running when it has come to research and teaching work at McMaster.