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Pursuing dreams in academia

June 27, 2011

Pursuing dreams in academia
Agnieszka Herra, PhD'12, Comparative Literature - recipient of the 2010/2011 James P. and Margaret A. Carr Ontario Graduate Scholarship

Agnieszka Herra hopes to make an educational impact on future students as a university professor. The James P. and Margaret A. Carr Ontario Graduate Scholarship has not only made studying at the graduate level possible for Agnieszka, it has also given her the opportunity to pursue her dreams in academia.

“I have met Mrs. Carr and was touched by her generosity,” says Agnieszka who grew up in Kingston, Ontario. “I am very thankful. Her award has been such a source of financial support for me this year.”

A PhD student in the Comparative Literature Program, Agnieszka is in the process of working on her dissertation about civil resistance movements and their impact on prose fiction writers. In the current political climate of “people power” movements in the Middle East and Northern Africa, she is excited that her research will trace a tradition of how peaceful protest comes about and how it inspires writers.

“The Polish Solidarity Movement is one of the resistance movements I am writing about and the Ontario Graduate Scholarship allowed me to visit Poland last summer and conduct research in various university libraries in the country,” notes Agnieszka who was born in Gydia, Poland, and later moved to Canada with her family when she was six years old. “This trip was very special to me because it also allowed me to see my family, which I am not able to do very often.”

In April, Agnieszka attended the American Comparative Literature Association Annual Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia. There she presented a paper that comes from her dissertation research on one of her favourite Polish writers, Janusz Anderman.

Agnieszka says that neither of these trips would have been possible without her scholarship.

The James P. and Margaret A. Carr Ontario Graduate Scholarship is awarded to a full-time graduate student in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the Master’s or Doctoral level, based on academic achievement and research merit.

The Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) funding ensures a 2:1 match through the Provincial Government, increasing the value of the scholarships from $5,000 to $15,000 each.

“I hope to get a faculty position at an academic institution,” says Agnieszka. “In my first day as an undergraduate, I instantly knew that I loved the atmosphere of the university campus. This love became even more apparent with my exposure to intellectual discussion and the inspirational guidance of university professors.”

Agnieszka expects to graduate in the fall of 2012 with a PhD in Comparative Literature.

This article appeared in the 2011 edition of Student Awards Recipient Report
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