Erin Careless arrived on the Mount’s doorstep with a suitcase full of experience. Born in Halifax, NS, Erin tried her hand at massage therapy and travelled to waitress at a pub in England before deciding to pursue a career in education.
“Things work differently these days,” she says. “The route that used to be normal, going from high school to an undergraduate degree and onto a Masters degree just wasn’t for me.”
Erin’s journey has been one with several sources of inspiration. While a student at the Canadian College of Massage and Hydrotherapy, Erin found educational inspiration in an instructor whose approach to learning was one that led Erin to developing a passion for it herself. Erin eventually found herself enrolled in the Bachelor of Education program at the University of Maine at Presque Isle, where she met her second inspiration, Professor Harold Jones. “Professor Jones was remarkable,” she says. “He was the kind of classic professor you would see in a movie”. For Erin, these two educators demonstrated the power of teaching, and showed her that ‘schooling’ is much different than learning.
Erin was – and still is – completely hooked.
Eager to continue her educational journey, Erin chose the Mount because of its strong sense of community. Erin demonstrated academic excellence, a dedication to teaching and research, and was actively involved in both the university and broader community in her work. Erin volunteered in schools, tutors children with special needs, works as a Research Assistant on a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) funded study with her supervisor, and assists in initiatives to create stronger connections between the Mount and the general public.
Graduating with a Masters of Arts in Education in Lifelong Learning, Erin is grateful for her experiences before coming to the Mount, and believes her most notable experience at the Mount was defending her thesis: ‘Dueling Clocks: How Women Academics Balance Childcare with the Road to Tenure’.
“I thought I would be expected to jump through rings of fire. Instead, I was greeted by a panel of brilliant and supportive minds who wanted to see me succeed. Walking out of that room after putting my heart and soul into this thesis was an amazing feeling.”
Over the summer, Erin enrolled as a full-time student in the Mount’s Inter-University Doctoral Studies Program (in collaboration with St. Francis Xavier University and Acadia University). Currently, Erin is serving as a student editor with the Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education. Erin’s experiences have led her to a personal definition of learning that she will carry with her into her teaching career.
“Learning is every day, every environment, and every context,” she says. “I’ve embraced this idea of learning that is so outside of what I originally viewed it to be. It’s been an extraordinary realization.”
Erin’s real-world experience and passion for learning, paired with her continued success in the classroom and involvement in the community, made her an obvious selection for being a Class of 2011 Valedictorian.