Anna-Liisa Aunio

Study program:
Sociology Professor, Dawson College

Sociology Professor, Dawson College

Becoming a Trudeau scholar has been one of the most fortunate experiences of my academic career. The financial support provided by this scholarship allowed me to travel extensively for my research, present papers at significant conferences, and focus exclusively on my data analysis and writing when it was most needed. As a consequence, my data is far richer than it would have been otherwise and my project is correspondingly more comprehensive. In addition, the support provided by foundation staff has proven to be a vital part of my doctoral success. Over the years, they have offered much needed advice on my progress and facilitated my integration into the Trudeau community. I would have been unable to accomplish such extensive research or complete my degree with such facility without the foundation’s aid and guidance. 

I have also been enriched, both personally and professionally, by participating in the Trudeau community. At foundation events, I have had the opportunity to meet and discuss my work and ideas with fellows, mentors, and other scholars; their feedback has proven foundational to my current scholarly and community work. From the fellows, I gained intellectual depth and perspective. They challenged me to ask new questions and look at my work from different points of view. From both of my mentors, I gained an understanding of the link between research and practice. This was of particular import, as I have always been committed to the political and policy relevance and ramifications of my work. They were essential in helping me to make that connection and kept me inspired when the doctoral path seemed difficult. Finally, with the scholars, I benefited tremendously by participating in a dynamic intellectual community of young researchers. With a wealth of experience and knowledge, the scholars brought new perspectives, innovative ideas, and effective critiques to the table. As we progressed through our different fields of research, the necessity of communicating ideas across disciplinary boundaries helped me sharpen my ideas and reconsider many of my assumptions. I have changed, learned, and grown over my four years as a scholar; I am sure that these experiences will continue to shape my work and life in the years to come.