Events, People

Two graduate students selected for conference

May 31, 2021

Two graduate students at the Faculty of Education have been selected to attend the Women and Leadership Academic Colloquium.

PhD candidate Hayley Finn and Doctor of Education candidate Merike Kolga are two of only 56 participants who’ve been chosen to participate at the three-day event. Its goal is to bring together scholars and scholar-practitioners, including doctoral students whose research aligns with the colloquium’s research areas, in a spirit of collaboration to discuss women and leadership.

Everyday there will be a seminar speaker at the conference. After each seminar, participants will work in teams to advance the group’s research together. After the conference, the research teams will be encouraged to continue collaborating with the goal of presenting and publishing their research as a group.

“Learning from and engaging with scholars and practitioners from all over the world in a team setting provides the opportunity to diversify my knowledge and understanding of women and leadership scholarship,” said Finn. “I also hope to take away new connections and relationships through this process.”  

Making connections are also important for Kolga because she wants to stay engaged with the academic community after she graduates. Currently, she is exploring collaborative opportunities to pursue following the completion of her EdD program.

“For me, the colloquium represents a unique opportunity through which I can begin to expand my network, partner with a dedicated research group and begin to actively contribute to the community," said Kolga.

Finn has also been a student member of the International Leadership Association – which is the umbrella organization for the colloquium – for four years.  She applied to attend the conference because the ILA provided her with valuable support and education experiences and she liked the conference’s team concept.

“I’ve found that completing a PhD can often be a lonely, isolating process, especially now in the current times of COVID. The colloquium provides the opportunity to engage with researchers from diverse backgrounds through collective inquiry,” said Finn.

The team aspect is also important for Kolga because teammates will bring their own unique perspectives to their group’s project.   

“As a member of the  'Impact on Outcomes, Problem Solving and Results' working group, I look forward to the sharing of diverse perspectives and innovative potential this represents as we are guided in writing journal articles, white papers and/or books together," said Kolga.

Finn will be part of the critical feminism team, which aligns her research on underrepresentation of women coaches in Canadian university sport while Kolga’s research focuses on complexity leadership theory and systems thinking in support of leadership development in organizations.

Western and Brescia will be well represented at the colloquium. Professors Marlene Janzen Le Ber (Brescia) and Rita Gardiner (Western) are the research colloquium’s co-chairs while Special Advisor to the Provost (Indigenous Initiatives), and Dr. Candace Brunette-Debassige, is one of the four guest speakers at this international event.