York champions research mobilization through graduate experiential education program

York welcomed 22 graduate students and their respective community partners on Monday, September 19 to celebrate the launch of an exciting new award opportunity at the University.

participants discuss the program while sitting around the table

Graduate students, community partners and university staff gather for the kick-off meeting for the VPRI–FGS KMb internship program.

The Office of the Vice-President of Research & Innovation (VPRI) and the Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) were awarded $100,000 of funding from York for a university–wide graduate student paid internship experiential education program. The Academic Innovation Fund was established to support initiatives that advance York’s strategic priorities in relation to teaching, learning and the student experience.

“Congratulations to those 22 interns who were awarded funding for their innovative projects. We look forward to seeing them shape the future of teaching, learning and the student experience at York University,” said Dr. Robert Haché, Vice-President Research & Innovation. “The ever-intensifying research enterprise at York provides an ideal environment to foster scholarship, creativity and innovation for young minds. These interns will benefit from, and become integral contributors to, this vibrant intellectual community.”

Facilitated through the Knowledge Mobilization Unit (KMb) and FGS, the program connects York graduate student researchers with organizations from the broader community who are pursuing research questions of interest to the students.

photo of David Phipps

David Phipps

David Phipps, Executive Director of Research & Innovation Services, said he was very pleased to see that the 22 interns represented seven of York’s Faculties “which makes this a pan–university initiative.”

Students have forged partnerships locally and internationally, with partners hailing from Brazil, Jamaica and Australia and spanning the spectrum from non–profit organizations, governments and the private sector. “At York, we’ve got a rich tradition of knowledge mobilization supporting research,” he said.

Recent Conference Board of Canada statistics show that only 18.6% of PhD graduates are employed as full-time university professors. This increases the urgency to prepare graduate students for other careers through skill-building, career development and experiential education opportunities. Providing graduate students with enhanced opportunities for integrated work and learning and skills acquisition is crucial to enhancing both the student experience and post–degree outcomes.

Mike Zryd, Associate Dean in FGS, noted “There’s a strong connection between what you’re doing as students and researchers and the needs of community organizations. One of the things we’re finding is graduate students often don’t realize the professional skills they’re learning as part of their studies.”

One internship was awarded to Mylini Saposan, a Master's student in the Graduate Program in Health. Under the supervision of Dr. Emma Richardson, Mylini's internship is with external partner St Michael's Hospital's Centre for Ethical, Social and Cultural Risk.

The opportunity at St. Michael’s Hospital will encourage Mylini to take a critical perspective in analyzing real and current issues affecting health quality both globally and locally. She will assist her team in developing a model for community engagement to be used as a resource for global health researchers to enable them to better adapt their research to local international contexts and facilitate greater community support.

Graduate students can apply for a 12-month part–time internship, an eight–month part–time internship, or a four–month full–time internship. Further application details can be found at: gradstudies.yorku.ca/current-students/student-finances/funding-awards/kmb-internships/.

The ultimate aim of the initiative is to place York at the forefront for cutting-edge experiential educational opportunities for students at all levels of study—from undergraduate to doctoral, in support of their learning and goals.