Road to Success in Grad School

October 6 ] 3 - 5 pm ] Zoom ] free
Hosted by the Academic SUpport Committee

Learn how to thrive in grad school in a 2-hour online panel featuring interdisciplinary graduate students and alumni. In this panel, we will be talking about the strategies for success in grad school – what to do when writing a dissertation/thesis, how to present at a conference, and how to get published. There will be a Q&A in which you will have a chance to ask our panelists any questions about the grad school. 

Thanks to our sponsors, we have more than thirty prizes for you! Come and make sure to enter a chance to win awesome prizes!

To sign up to attend, please fill out the form. The link to the meeting will be sent to you after you register. Only those who register and attend can win prizes.

For more information, please contact 

Meet Our Panelists

Brooke Belanger is a PhD candidate in Neuroscience at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute. She works closely with neurosurgeon Dr. Alim Mitha to study the use of adult fat stem cells to improve brain aneurysm treatments. Her hope is that one day her studies will help lead to clinical trials that will help the large proportion of patients that encounter unsuccessful brain aneurysm treatment procedures. Her time is not limited to neuroscience. Brooke has a minor in visual arts and turned her love for visuals into a business for illustration and design, with a specialty in scientific and medical illustration. Her goal was to help other scientists get better publications with accurate but appealing figures. With a specialization in science illustration, Brooke developed a passion for science communication and helping others communicate their science effectively. She is currently working with Dr. Jeff Dunn to create a scicomm program for graduate students at the University of Calgary. The program is kicked off its inaugural badge about the basics of science communication this semester. Brooke’s passion for communication has also led to her leadership as the communications director of the HBITO (Hotchkiss Brain Institute Trainee Organization). Follow their social media accounts to learn more about what goes on in the Hotchkis Brain Institute. 
Learn more about Brooke and her research:
Learn more about Brooke and her business:
Learn more about Brooke’s role in the HBITO:

Maryam Lawal is a foreign trained lawyer and a graduate student at the Faculty of Law, University of Calgary. A recipient of the McDermid Graduate Scholarships in Law, she is interested in conversations around Energy, Business and Climate Change. She conducts research and works closely with Prof. Rudiger Tscherning on Green Finance and other related areas. She is an advocate of the divestment from companies in blatant disregard of the international climate change regime and a reinvestment of divested funds in climate friendly portfolios. She is currently exploring the use of Green Bonds as a financial tool in mobilizing private finance for driving energy transition endeavors particularly in emerging economies. She has done extensive research on methane reduction, explored the justifications for granting federal methane equivalency agreements as well as suitable regulatory designs and theories for achieving real methane reductions. She is a poet, a hand-lettering artist and an avid reader.

Kyle McCallum is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Faculty of Kinesiology. His research focuses on the phenomena of Risk, Risky Play, Injury and Pain, and Physical Activity in Children. The short version is he advocates for greater agency of children in the pursuits of being physically active and engaging outdoor play environments. While he has had the opportunity to engage with a number of impactful scholars throughout his graduate degrees, his two main mentors are Dr. Matthew Ventresca and Sarah Kenny. Both bring unique lenses to the sport injury research paradigm, often challenging common perceptions of injury and applying unique research methods to their academic pursuits. Kyle has received a variety of scholarships and funding opportunities throughout his graduate degrees, including a MITACS Accelerate Scholarship, AGES, Dean’s Scholarship, and leadership scholarships. Kyle has also held a variety of leadership and governance committee positions and chairs, and a strong advocate for expanding the experiences of a graduate student in their pursuit of their degree.

Merion Hodgson is an MA student in Linguistics. She is interested in various aspects of Blackfoot phonology (how the sounds of language are patterned) and syntax (sentential structure of the language). Her current research focus is on phonetics and phonology of Plains Cree and Plains Cree English consonants. In future work, Merion aims to further examine the effect of exposure on perception and language attitudes towards Indigenous language features. 

Glenn Hall

Glenn Hall is an MA student at the department of Geoscience. Glenn played in an alternative rock band for 6 years out of high school before switching careers and pursuing his undergrad degree in Geology from Simon Fraser University. Glenn has always been curious about why things happen or work the way they do and saw research as an opportunity to pursue interesting questions, while at the same time contributing something positive to the conversation about resource stewardship and climate change.

Glenn’s research focuses on monitoring a series of vegetated depressions that receive stormwater from rooftops and parking lots during storm events, and attempting to estimate the recharge characteristics of the system based on measurements of soil moisture, evaporation, and other climate variables.

Brit Paris is a 4th year PhD Candidate in Learning Sciences in the Werklund School of Education researching the role of instructional design in reducing the barriers to the uptake of written feedback in university settings under the supervision of Dr. Kim Koh. She has a passion for leadership and has served as the President of the Graduate Students’ Association (GSA)  (2017-19), the GSA’s Associate Vice President – Labour (2019-20), and as Co-Chair of The Graduate College (2019-20). Brit has won several scholarships for her dedication to research and leadership including Master’s and Doctoral SSHRC awards, a UCalgary Doctoral Recruitment Award, and a Killam Pre-Doctoral scholarship. Brit is now an Educational Developer at Capilano University where she uses her research to support teaching and learning initiatives across the institution. 

Dr. Stephanie Coward completed her PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Calgary (Department of Community Health Sciences) in 2019. Her PhD thesis focused on the forecasting the future burden of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) in Canada. During the tenure of her PhD, Stephanie completed an internship at the World Health Organization (for which she received a Transformative Talent Internship) and was awarded an Eyes High Doctoral Recruitment Scholarship and an Izaak Walton Killam Doctoral Scholarship. After her PhD, she began working for Dr. Gilaad Kaplan (University of Calgary) as his lab’s Research Manager and is also the epidemiologist for the IBD-Unit in Calgary. She is currently a collaborator on two separate CIHR funding schemes—one which focuses on COVID-19 and the immunocompromised. Her research, and passion, focuses on defining the current and future burden of IBD in Canada and ensuring that patients receive the care they need.


Meet David Sidhu, our alumni. He completed a PhD in Experimental Psychology at the University of Calgary in 2019, supervised by Dr. Penny Pexman. He is currently in a SSHRC funded postdoc at University College London. His research focuses on the psychology of language; in particular, how we connect sound and meaning. David also has an interest in embodied cognition; that is, how bodily experience impacts our cognition. If you want to learn more about David and his work, visit:


Dušan Nikolić is a PhD student in Linguistics. He completed his BA and MA in English Language and Literature at the University of Niš, Serbia. He also completed an exchange at the University of Warsaw. Currently, he is holding an MA degree in Language and Literature from the University of Belgrade, Serbia. Dušan is doing a PhD in Linguistics at the University of Calgary under the supervision of Dr. Stephen Winters. He is a recipient of the prestigious Izaak-Walton Killam Award, University of Calgary International Eyes High Award, University of Calgary Open Doctoral Award, and Dositeja Award. Dušan was also awarded with the LRC fellowship. He is a vice-president of the graduate student association, “A Higher Clause”, a member of the Phonetics Lab, and a vice-chair of the GSA’s Academic Committee

As for Dušan’s non-academic activities, he is the host of the spoken word program – Linguistically Aware – which is broadcast once monthly at a local radio station, CJSW 90.9 FM. He is passionate about web-developing. He is a a member of the Canadian Association of Slavists, the Canadian Linguistics Association, and the Linguistic Society of America. Want to find out more about Dušan, visit: