Ontario Tech University spotlight: Emily Rowsell

Sara Stephen



Emily Rowsell is a third year student pursuing a major in Political Science and a minor in Communication and Digital Media Studies. I asked Emily what she loved about Ontario Tech University and she talked about how she took her passion for art, photography and fashion to apply to her Political Science integrating project. Here's what she had to say:
"As a newer university, Ontario Tech University offers students the opportunity to have a say in how the various programs develop and what kind of material is delivered as well as in what way. Through constant feedback, regular discourse between profs due to small class sizes and a genuine commitment from the university to create new, innovative programs, you feel as though you are not just a number at Ontario Tech University but a small, vital part of the academia community! I like that – I like the idea of a small campus where you voice in regards to what you want to learn, matters! Political Science is diverse and always changing. I’m constantly being surprised with the way in which politics can be integrated into everything we do. The professors aid in creating an environment that fosters creativity and innovation so there’s always a chance to bring your other passions into the political sphere and I really enjoy that aspect!

For example, the Integrating Project course is a mostly independent study course that you would typically take in your fourth year of Political Science. The goal is to develop a public policy project (a final paper) that is your proposal to solve a social problem and/or inequity. You bring together everything you’ve learned over the past few years include theory, policy development techniques, and research while being guided by a faculty member throughout the duration of the course.

I guess you could say I was a bit unconventional in my approach to a political science project. Before university, I had seriously considered fashion and photography for post-secondary and to this day both those things are heavy interests of mine. I wanted to figure out how I could merge these interests with my integrating project and after some heavy brainstorming I thought of something I had seen in the news – “The Paris Model Ban”. I took this to my professor Barbara Perry fully thinking I would get a strange look but she was super supportive and now I find myself researching the impact of ultra-thin models in the modeling industry on both models and women in Canadian society daily. I get to think on a practical level about what a solution to the issue of having too-thin models in the modeling industry and how to promote inclusive and healthy body types as well as offer support in the industry. It’s really cool to think that I am a political science major that’s researching the fashion industry – it’s just not something you would expect and I love the shock value of telling people that this is my integrating project.

It is possible to pull what you love into programs at Ontario Tech University. You can bring yourself into the program! I’m able to share my ‘passion for fashion’ with my academic colleagues through this research project while simultaneously putting my policy skills I’ve developed over the past few years, to work! I’ve also learned that it is okay to be unconventional – sometimes it pays off. In this case, I get to flip through magazines for qualitative support, research the ins and outs of the modeling industry, and delve into the world of fashion all while pursuing my other love of political science! Had you asked me three years ago if I thought this was possible, I surely would have told you no but Ontario Tech University promotes that kind of out-of-the-box thinking and I’m lucky to have been able to have this experience."

Photo Credit: Emily Rowsell

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