"Having just completed the first term of my master’s, I am building a foundation for my research."

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Student Profile: Teresa Stolarskyj

Graduate Liberal Studies master's student in the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences

December 22, 2020
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Having just completed the first term of my master’s, I am building a foundation for my research. Central questions of interest include identity, memory and belonging; city and society; placemaking; knowledge and creative self-expression; and marketing and its intersection with culture and human behaviour.
Originally from Winnipeg, I have lived across western Canada, the UK, and New Zealand. I grew up singing in a Ukrainian Liturgical choir, and my love for the art of song, the creation of sound, and especially for finding harmonies, continues to this day. Occasionally I bash around on the guitar while I sing as well.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?

I explored many schools and programs over a number of years before choosing SFU. The Graduate Liberal Studies program is unique to the school, and allows the kind of innovative and interdisciplinary exploration of human and social interests that I was unable to find elsewhere.

More broadly, SFU is community oriented, humanistic, and flexible. Its downtown campus, where my studies would take place were it not for covid-19, is at the heart of the city and the intersection of disparate human and social realities. The school embraces dialogue and hard questions in working toward a more inclusive and just society.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR RESEARCH AND/OR PROGRAM.

Graduate Liberal Studies looks at universal questions about humanity and how those apply today. This might include questions of how society is organized and why, the relationship of humans to the natural or built environment, and the evolution of human thought and expression. As an interdisciplinary program, there is great scope to pursue enquiries of personal interest within a rigorous paradigm, and findings can be expressed in traditional or creative ways.

WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?

The expertise and encouragement of remarkable professors including their creative and humanistic approach. The brilliant cohort of intellectually curious fellow students, who reflect a myriad of professional and life experiences. The rich discussions spanning a representation of texts, written and otherwise, from historical ages, geographic locations, and both obvious and unexpected voices. The challenge of becoming a stronger writer, keener analyst, and more confident creative.

HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR FUNDED AWARDS?

As a master's student, I am the recipient of the BC Graduate Scholarship and Dean's Graduate Fellowship.

It has been validating of my accomplishments and my academic potential to receive these rewards. Offered as they were on entry to my program, it dignifies both the choice of program and the pride I take in the work I undertake as part of it.

From a practical perspective, it has also provided timely support on being laid off as a result of COVID-19, and during a time when the employment market is uncertain and scarce. Fostering my skills in critical thinking, writing, and human understanding is sure to benefit any future undertaking.

DESCRIBE YOUR PROGRAM TO THOSE WHO ARE SEARCHING.

Graduate Liberal Studies, intellectually rigorous as it is, is also a highly experiential program. It will stretch and challenge and change you: this program is not about getting a better job; it’s about developing as a better human being. You will gain classical and contemporary knowledge that will help you conceptualize yourself and society in new ways. You will sharpen your creative, analytical, and communications skills. Perhaps most importantly, you will build fulfilling relationships with an incredible and diverse cohort of peers. It is also designed to be done outside of traditional working hours, to enable employed or otherwise busy individuals to undertake it.

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE?

Taking this program has been one of my best life choices!

Contact Teresa: tas6@sfu.ca
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/teresastolarskyj/