On Mar. 16, the SGPS hosted the Queen’s International Women’s Conference in Robert Sutherland Hall—continuing the celebration one week after International Women’s Day.
“The Queen’s International Women’s Conference is a platform to celebrate the scholarship and leadership initiatives of graduate women researchers in international graduate research at Queen’s University,” Atul Jaiswal, international students’ affairs commissioner for the SGPS, wrote in an email to The Journal.
Every year, the SGPS’s Equity & Diversity commissioner organizes an equity-related conference. However, this year they worked in conjunction with the International Students Commission to develop a conference that “celebrates the strengths of both commissions.”
Alongside the SGPS’ VP Community, Isabel Luce, the two commissions hosted the “Queen’s International Women’s Conference: Celebrating Women’s Leadership in International Graduate Research” to support the university’s greater mission of internationalization, as outlined in the Queen’s University Comprehensive International Plan (2015-2019).
“Queen’s University aspires to achieve research pre-eminence through international scholarship, contributing to the cultural and economic growth of Canada, and addressing many of the world’s greatest challenges,” Jaiswal said.
The conference featured a panel on graduate student research at Queen’s, providing four current female graduate students with the opportunity to share their scholarly accomplishments. The panelists, two PhD and two MSc students, were selected based on the relevance of their work within the theme of the conference.
The panelists discussed a range of related topics, such as the impacts of night shift work on women’s health and the reality of Canadian women living with chronic disabilities.
“We encouraged applications from graduate students working in all disciplines with research that involves, supports, highlights, or benefits the role of women’s leadership and scholarship internationally,” Jaiswal said.
While the SGPS opened applications to all graduate researchers, priority was given to students who “self-identify as women and/or as international students.”
There was an additional panel of Queen’s alumni, who spoke about their career paths and experiences post-graduation.
The conference also welcomed Dr. Jill Scott, vice-provost (teaching and learning), and interim associate vice-principal (international), as the keynote speaker for the event because of her involvement in the University’s international efforts.
Scott’s responsible for the University’s strategic direction for all aspects of Queen’s international engagement, including the “implementation of the Queen’s University Comprehensive International Plan” and the support of “strategic international relationships, institutional coordination, communication and collaboration across the university.”
Scott delivered a presentation, titled “From warp speed to Turtle slow: It’s Time to Think for a Change,” where she highlighted the impacts of internationalization on higher education across the globe. She commented on how important it is for “educationists and administrators to reflect” on what’s currently being taught and what should be included in the curriculum in the future.
The conference was attended by approximately 50 people, including Queen’s students, alumni, staff, and local Kingston community people.
“Through this conference, we hope to create a dialogue for change, and contribute to fostering an inclusive and equitable Queen’s campus for everyone.”
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