In late May, CBU student researcher Alyssa MacDougall had the opportunity to present our research with Dr. Ruby Ramji at “The Study of Religion in Atlantic Canada” conference in Halifax along with several graduate students from the Atlantic provinces. (That’s right – Alyssa was the only undergrad student presenting!)
Alyssa was kind enough to share her experience with us, as you’ll see below.
This past school year I’ve had the pleasure of working with Dr. Ruby Ramji and Lucy on a database of media articles pertaining to the ban on the burqa in public places such as in France. My work was all done in French, while Lucy organized the database and acquired a plethora of information in English. The end product is not yet available online, but I believe it will be very soon.
I’ve always been a big believer in learning through experience so when Ruby approached me with the idea of presenting this research at “The Study of Religion in Atlantic Canada: Diverse Disciplines, Theories, Methods and Contexts” conference in Halifax, I wasted no time in sending in my abstract.
Luckily I’ve never been the type to be nervous about presentations because by the time that presentation rolled around I could barely sleep! I was the only undergrad presenting research at the conference. Can you say intimidated? Regardless, I got up and went through my PowerPoint and I was shocked at how easily it came to me. Everyone was extremely interested in our research and I was pleased that they took the time to ask questions.
I had a ton of fun presenting our research, not only because I am passionate about what I do, but also because it was so successful. It is extremely satisfying when you put a significant amount of work into something and the end product intrigues and interests people. It was a great experience and now the first time is over with; I have experience for any presentations I need to do in the future and, realistically that could be a major part of my career.
I’ve always been a big believer in diving into a daunting task headfirst and that philosophy certainly didn’t fail me in this case. I would encourage everyone to take an opportunity like this should it present itself. I was so glad that I did it, despite being nervous. Also, in the process I learned a lot about the other fascinating research being done in my field throughout the Atlantic Provinces.
In her presentation, Ruby made the point that academic networking is an important part of any career stemming from a university degree and learning about the research that others are doing, as well as presenting yours, is a great way to build that network. She is totally right and opportunities like this are ideal for helping to build that network. They bring scholars together in a central location where we can meet and shake hands and talk face-to-face rather than over email or text, which is typical in an area like the Atlantic Provinces in which academics tend to be secluded from one another.
The endeavour that began with Ruby approaching me with this project in October culminated very satisfactorily with the interest mine and Lucy’s colleagues showed in our research at this conference. As I said, it’s certainly been a pleasure working with them. I am looking forward to seeing what may spawn from this project and I am certainly anticipating learning about the work they will do in the future.