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BHS Alumna Receives Two Significant Research Grants

Wednesday, May 19, 2021
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Ambrose University alumna in Behavioural Science Abby Landon is now a Master of Arts in Geography student at the University of Calgary. She was recently awarded two significant research scholarships to support her studies: the Faculty of Graduate Studies Master’s Research Scholarship from the University of Calgary, and the Canada Graduate Scholarship – Masters (CGSM), from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

Abby’s research is a study of local food and ethnic food and a case study of the EthniCity catering program in Calgary, Alberta. Her project aligns with several of the ideas raised at the past Fall conference at Ambrose on food.

According to Abby and her research, the current prominent food systems that put food on our grocery shelves are founded on industrialized processes that don’t account for the ‘structural integrity' of the system itself. She questions whether these systems will be able to sustain themselves, for how long, and at what cost?

The EthniCity Catering (EC) program, facilitated in Calgary, Alberta by the Centre for Newcomers, offers a promising avenue to explore this question. EC offers an ethnically diverse menu while simultaneously sourcing local ingredients wherever possible. Through interviews, document analysis, and participant observation, Abby hopes to more fully understand how EC navigates offering food that is both locally sourced and ethnically diverse. She hopes to identify what opportunities and challenges they face in demonstrating the compatibility between ethnic food and local food.

 For Abby, the scholarships mean that she can focus solely on her research and participate in presentations, collaborative events, research conferences, volunteer opportunities and self care to support her in her research and graduation on time.

Abby isn’t sure where things will take her after Grad School but trusts she’ll find her next step.

“Going back to grad school has been a big leap of faith, but I wanted to challenge my brain, open new career prospects, and learn more about a topic that I think can have a real impact on people’s lives,” said Abby. “Perhaps I’ll find a job that closely connects with my research in a non-profit organization, or maybe I’ll support in creating positive change in for-profit food companies. Despite not knowing now, I’m trusting that I’ll find the right opportunity to use my interests and skills after graduation, just like I did after my BHS degree!”

Abby credits much of her journey so far to her time as an Ambrose student.

“Although I don’t know what I want to do after grad school, I also didn’t know what I wanted to do after I completed my degree at Ambrose. Despite this, I found many fulfilling work and personal experiences after school that only opened because of the critical thinking skills, the desire to care for people, and the relationships that I had developed during my time at Ambrose,” she said.

She says in getting where she is today, she has relied heavily on the skills she learned in the courses she completed during her degree at Ambrose as well as the experience and networks she created during her practicum and volunteering opportunities.

Most importantly, she says, the support students receive from faculty has been instrumental to her success.

“Ambrose is unique in the amount of direct support that students receive from faculty. I owe a lot of my success to the direct support and encouragement of my professors. In particular, I am incredibly grateful to Joel Thiessen for his mentorship throughout my time at Ambrose, for his deliberate and engaged approach to teaching, and for his constructive feedback that has encouraged and motivated me to become the learner I am today,” she says.

For students just starting out on their journeys at Ambrose and who may be already looking ahead to the future, Abby has a few words of advice.

“Grad schools and supervisors not only look at students’ GPAs for admittance. They also look for students who are independent workers, are open to constructive feedback, have pursued sharing their research and thoughts beyond their classes, and are passionate about creating positive change in the world,” Abby says. “If you think you might want to go to grad school one day, you can build a good foundation during your degree: build time management skills and be proactive, volunteer in your community to see how theory applies in practice, pursue opportunities to share your ideas outside of class (conferences, informal publications), and answer the questions – why do I care for people and what drives me? These should build a great foundation to succeed in grad school!”

Congratulations Abby!