"Do not let the dreaded 'imposter syndrome' overwhelm you. Be confident, pursue the inquiries and ideas that interest you. Speak up and be engaged."

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Student Profile: Connor Cullen

Master of Arts Graduate from the Department of EnglishFaculty of Arts and Social Sciences

November 13, 2019
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  • Born in Brampton, Ontario but raised on Vancouver Island
  • B.A. in English Literature at the University of Victoria
  • Currently work for the Vancouver Public Library and as a TA at SFU
  • Passionate about literature and literacy (of course), film, sports, and music of all sorts
  • Dream of being a university- or college-level instructor
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?

I chose SFU for the breadth of experience and expertise shared across the English department spectrum, as well as SFU's reputation for supporting their students with funding and research opportunities.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR RESEARCH.

It was research concentrated mainly on children's and young adult literatures and readerships and on where they specifically intersect with various fields of study, such as Gothic literature and ecocriticism. It was where children's literature is dark, spooky, and ecologically aware to the perils and consequences of climate change.

WHAT DID YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOY ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?

Most notably the support from both fellow graduate students and faculty members. The academic resources at our disposal as SFU students were extremely valuable. Also, the picturesque mountain setting certainly did not hurt.

HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR-FUNDED AWARDS? IF SO, PLEASE TELL US WHICH ONES AND HOW THE AWARDS HAVE IMPACTED YOUR STUDIES AND/OR RESEARCH.

In addition to a graduate fellowship, I was awarded the Dr. M. Sheila O'Connell Graduate Scholarship in Children's Literature and an SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship (Master's degree). These awards not only allowed me to work less at my job outside the institution and therefore focus more on my studies, they also demonstrated that my work was valuable and gave me the confidence to pursue it.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PROGRAM TO SOMEONE STILL SEARCHING FOR A PROGRAM?

It was a welcoming and flexible program that was well-suited to accommodate most students' research interests. The faculty and staff were invaluable resources and the program was structured in a way as to foster a creative, engaging, and inclusive environment.

DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR PROSPECTIVE GRADUATE STUDENTS?

Do not let the dreaded 'imposter syndrome' overwhelm you. Be confident, pursue the inquiries and ideas that interest you. Speak up and be engaged. Lastly, make as many connections (friends, faculty contacts, etc.) as possible.

Contact Connor: cullen@sfu.ca