As soon-to-be MSc GH program graduate Meghan Brockington wraps up her thesis and looks forward to a future career in global health, she reflects on the program and the “nerve-wracking” thesis defense process.
Q: What was your thesis topic?
A: My thesis explored the impact of offshore drilling on the security of traditional foods in the Canadian Arctic. I investigated this topic prospectively, mainly because I think that in research we often study issues after they have occurred. My goal was to spark debate and conversation surrounding the topic of offshore drilling and Arctic food security before Arctic expansion occurs.
Q: Can you describe your thesis defense experience?
A: My thesis committee was fantastic. They all made me feel very comfortable. While it was an extremely nerve-wracking situation, I actually enjoyed parts of it. The first round of questions critically examined my research methods, and the second round was more of a ‘big picture’ conversation.
In completing a thesis, not only do I have great feeling of personal accomplishment, but I learned how to conduct my own research, overcome obstacles, and apply to research to real-life situations.
Q: Any advice for students going through the process?
A: For anyone about to complete their defense, it’s important to remember that you’re the expert on your topic. If questions start to become too large and are outside of your scope, you can always re-direct the questioning to your scope.
It’s also important to remember that it’s not a memory test – you can always take a moment to think about the questions and refer to your thesis at any time. The committee is there to challenge you, but they also want to see you succeed.
Q: What did you hope to gain from the MSc GH program?
A: I hoped to learn how to create sustainable health programs in the global world and I hoped to improve my cross-cultural skills.
Q: Did you gain what you had hoped?
A: I gained so much more. For example, Globalization, one of my favourite courses, with Dr. Josipa Petrunic, brought my ability to think critically to a whole new level. And, after taking Global Burden of Disease and listening to some amazing guest lectures, I learned what it means to incorporate culture into programs and policies.
Most importantly, what I gained from this program is passion – to be a part of the solution, to have a career in global health, and to improve the quality of life for others.
Q: What are you planning to do post-graduation?
A: I’m leaving for Vietnam on February 15 for six to eight months to work at Tra Vinh University as a Food Security Specialist Intern where I will be developing and reviewing training packages on food security, collaborating on activities to increase the local people’s awareness of food safety, and performing gender analyses. I’m really excited!