Sam Stiegler

 
Investigating the Educational Experiences of Trans and Gender Non-Conforming School Leavers
 

Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

I decided to pursue a doctoral degree because I firmly believe in the importance of theory, scholarship, and critical thinking and realized that academic work was the career about which I was most passionate and excited. 

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

UBC offered top-notch faculty in my area of study and the ability to study at a place with many others working in and around my areas of interest. 

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

Vancouver has provided me with such a high quality of life that allows me to both immerse myself in my studies and my research, while also being able to take part in many wonders that Vancouver has to offer.

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

I enjoy the camaraderie of fellow students who are similarly engaging with difficult questions and perplexing academic quandaries and having the space to talk to, learn from, and grow with one another.

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

My biggest challenge is ensuring that my work stays relevant and current. Given that my concern for the educational experiences of queer and trans youth is one shared by many (and one that is currently receiving a great deal of academic and media attention) there is an ever growing array of literature and information for me to consume, analyze, and reflect upon with my research to keep my work timely and up to date. 

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

My program is preparing me to be a critical and thorough reader, thinker, and teacher. Through my coursework, support from my supervisor and research committee, as well as my network of peers, I am strengthening my commitments to use my scholarship and my teaching to provoke and push commonplace notions and commonsense assumptions to ensure thinking and knowing are never “stuck” concepts, but ones that are always in flux and shifting. 

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

My experience as a teacher and youth worker have taught me to always be prepared for the unexpected and to not be afraid to tackle concepts and ideas that scare you—both of which are proving very useful in my graduate studies. 

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

My advice is to allow your self to ask questions. Take the time during your studies to pause and linger and contemplate on the most difficult and challenging questions. Graduate work is your time to let go of all your previous conceptions and really examine how (and why) you think you know what you know.