This year marked my second year attending Congress as a graduate student and the first year attending as a CSSE delegate and student presenter. After I attended Congress 2017 last year in Toronto, my colleagues and professors at Western University’s Faculty of Education urged me to join CSSE in 2018 in order to present my doctoral work to both the Canadian Association for Curriculum Studies and the Language and Literacy Researchers of Canada. Based on my experiences this year at Congress 2018 in Regina, I have to say that joining this scholarly association was one of the best decisions I have made as a graduate student. CSSE allowed me to forge new relationships with other academics in my field of study, people whom I would not have otherwise met. Additionally, attending the conference with them allowed me to grow and learn from their knowledge and expertise.
Being in Regina for the entire week of Congress 2018 allowed me to experience many of the enriching events and programming offered by CSSE. What impressed me most was the level of planning and thought on behalf that went into making this year’s annual conference. At each event or session that I attended, there was a refreshing level of collegiality and openness to new ideas in the field of education, leaving me highly optimistic about the future of Canadian education research. As a graduate student, navigating academic conferences and presenting ideas to new audiences can sometimes place you outside your comfort zone. What I experienced at CSSE was a community of scholars dedicated to actively welcoming budding young academics into the conversations currently taking place in Canadian education. From the minute I stepped into the Language and Literacy Researchers of Canada pre-conference to the moment my award-winning M.A. research was celebrated by the members of CACS and LLRC, I felt part of the scholarly conversation and proud to be a member of such a positive and uplifting association.
This year’s Congress marked a new opportunity for me as a graduate student delegate because I was able to serve as a member of the CSSE knowledge mobilization team. Each day, I, and the other members of the team, kept CSSE delegates updated on specials events and programming, spreading the word about the innovative and inspiring research being presented during the conference. Knowledge mobilization is something that my home university, Western is actively engaged in on a daily basis. It felt like a natural fit for me to serve in this role at Congress 2018 in Regina. By interacting with different CSSE delegates on Twitter (@kmaccorm) throughout the entire week at Congress, I was not only able to make new connections with other academics in my field, but also had a chance to actively engage in online conversations with other members of CSSE about contemporary issues in Canadian education. Overall, based on my experiences of being part of the CSSE 2018 knowledge mobilization team and watching the conversations unfold online, knowledge mobilizing is something that CSSE collectively contributed to as a scholarly association at Congress 2018 and is something we as an association should remain committed to in Vancouver 2019.
To conclude, as I reflect on the week that I spent at CSSE in Regina this year, I have nothing but fond memories of the engaging scholarly conversations and the new relationships that I was able to forge. The ideas and perspectives that I gained have enriched my own work as a doctoral candidate and have allowed me to think about my research in new and exciting ways. Looking towards next summer, I cannot wait to attend Congress 2019 in Vancouver where we as an association will undoubtedly continue to showcase and represent the amazing work taking place in all areas of Canadian education research.