Robyn Peers

 
Neoliberalism and fatphobic discourse in North American health documentaries
Faculty of Arts
Judy Segal
Calgary
Canada
 
I chose to study at UBC because of the incredible diversity and strength of its researchers and teachers. While my focus at the time of applying was on the excellence of the English department, since then I have discovered fascinating opportunities beyond my discipline.
Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

I have always been interested in how the language and images we choose to frame certain topics can have substantive consequences for different populations. Having the opportunity to dedicate my time and energy to studying and trying to unravel some of the harmful discourses that operate in our society is a privilege, particularly when I am able to do so under the guidance of UBC's world-class faculty.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

I chose to study at UBC because of the incredible diversity and strength of its researchers and teachers. While my focus at the time of applying was on the excellence of the English department, since then I have discovered fascinating opportunities beyond my discipline. Having the opportunity to attend symposiums and to join the Science and Technology Studies specialization has generated new insights and opportunities for my research.

What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?

Our program has given me the opportunity to work with Dr. Judy Segal, a leading researcher in the field of the Rhetoric of Health and Medicine, as well as countless other scholars within and outside the department working on topics related to health and society. On top of this, being able to have a research emphasis in Science and Technology Studies has greatly benefitted my research and exposed me to viewpoints outside of my direct field.

What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?

The best surprise so far has been how wonderful the graduate community is, particularly given the size of the university. I've had opportunities to connect with students from a variety of faculties and disciplines, and I've learned a lot from their different perspectives. I've also made strong friendships and met many people who have helped me navigate life as a PhD student, which has made moving to Vancouver an easy adjustment.

What aspect of your graduate program do you enjoy the most or are looking forward to with the greatest curiosity?

I've always loved teaching in any capacity, so I'm looking forward to the chance to interact with students!

What do you see as your biggest challenge(s) in your future career?

As someone with an academic parent, I've seen how demanding academic life can be. Learning to balance work and recreation or other demands on your time in any field is difficult, but when your work is truly a passion project as it is for many academics it can be particularly challenging.

How do you feel your program is preparing you for those challenges?

Our program has, from the beginning, reminded us to take things slowly and ask for help when we need it. We also have an amazing graduate caucus that helps to coordinate social events and address our concerns, so feeling connected to a community who can both sympathize and suggest ways to find the balance is something for which I'm very grateful.

What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?

Because my undergraduate and master's degrees were completed at a university in a smaller city, I had more opportunities to get to interact with faculty and other graduate students outside of the classroom. These connections brought with them opportunities for mentorship and professional development, so my expectations were realistic ahead of time, and I made connections that are still helping me with my research.

What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?

My other passion that I didn't end up pursuing is Games Studies, so in my spare time, I'm usually either gaming or exploring the various coffee shops and craft breweries Vancouver has to offer!

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

My biggest advice is to always follow your passions. The people you meet in graduate school are incredibly smart, and luckily also incredibly different. Comparing yourself and your work to others ignores that you have a unique and important perspective.

 
 
 

Learn about our faculties, research, and more than 300 programs in our 2021 Graduate Viewbook!