Alumni Spotlight: Laura Wilmot

What was your program at Bishop’s?

I did a major in international studies with a minor in German!


Why did you choose your Honour, Major, and/or Minor?

After first studying in law, I was looking for a more globally oriented program that would also allow me to learn about different issues and current topics. Regarding my minor, I studied languages in CEGEP, I have always had an interest in different cultures and languages and thought that it would go hand in hand with the international studies major.


What were you involved with at Bishop’s?

During my times at Bishop’s, I had the chance to get involved in different spheres. Firstly, I was the Sustainable development student intern (SDSI) during my 3rd year and for my whole last summer at Bishop’s. I had the chance as well to be a research assistant for Dr. Jane Morrison for one summer. I participated in the Up for Debate weekend hosting Ted talks and gave a talk about ‘’Engaging Young People in Advancing Human Rights’’. I was part of the first Bishop’s delegation going to the Political science games in the negotiation event, where I learned a lot and then took on for the following years the organization of the delegation with other Bishop’s students. I was part of the Model UN delegation, of the Stephen A. Jarilowsky committee, of Enactus Bishop’s (Superkids project) and, of course, I was involved with PISA during my whole undergrad!


What are the best ways to succeed at Bishop’s?

I believe that the best way to succeed at Bishop’s is to take advantage of every opportunity you can. Also, to not hesitate to go see your teachers. For me, as I was involved in different areas during my undergrad, some of my professors got to know me better and would send me opportunities that they saw in their own networks that made them think of me, so making connections can really help.


Best ways to succeed when you’re finished your undergrad?

In the same way as the best way to succeed during your undergrad, don’t be afraid to use encounters you made during your bachelor’s degree to try new things. It’s not because you are done at Bishop’s that you must choose what you’re going to do next right away, for my part I really took the opportunity of my graduate studies to do research in different fields and explore further different topics I had interest in.


Did you complete further education, and why did you choose that specific program?

I have completed a master’s degree in Environmental law, sustainable development, and food security (LL.M) at University Laval in Quebec City. For me, choosing my master’s program was not easy, I hesitated for a long time to continue in international studies or public policy, in the end I went with the program whose courses interested me the most and seemed to open me the most doors for the future, I do not regret it at all!


How was the application process when you were applying for master’s programs?

The application process is stressful, but PISA offered information sessions, the teachers were super available for us. If I can give one piece of advice it’s to do it in advance, as I did several applications, that’s a lot of letters of recommendation to ask for and cover letters to write, by doing this in advance you can be sure to have everything in time and be less stressed.


What would you recommend students when applying to a Master’s program?

My recommendation for the application period would be to talk to your professors in advance, if for example a professor has only seen you in class occasionally and you have never talked to him or her, take time to explain your motivations, otherwise it will be difficult for him or her to give you a recommendation letter. As simple as it sounds, ask yourself, why do I want to do a master’s degree?


What are you doing currently (work)? What are your responsibilities, and what does a typical day look like?

I am currently a project manager in environmental law at the First Nation’s Quebec Labrador Sustainable Development Institute (FNQLSDI) in the consultation sector (I know that’s a very long title). My daily responsibilities and tasks vary greatly, but mainly include a lot of bill readings, policies, analysis writing, briefing notes, meetings with federal and provincial government representatives.


If you had one piece of advice for a Bishop’s student looking to pursue a career in your field, what would that be?

Environmental law and Indigenous law are fascinating and evolving fields, so I would tell anyone wanting to pursue a career in these fields that it will be fascinating. However, since Bishop’s does not offer a law program per se, my advice would be at least do law certificate first and read a lot. I have to say though that career-wise only, I have colleagues with master's degrees in other fields than environmental law, so with motivation, anything is possible.

How has your Bishop’s education in International studies helped you in your current career?

Being a French speaker, my studies have helped me enormously since English opens a lot of doors and is very useful in my work, I can be confident during my meetings in English. In addition, the different opportunities Bishop’s has given me have allowed me to be curious, rigorous and ambitious in my work.


What are you most proud of up to now? (School, work, etc.)

I am extremely proud of my work because after my studies I was afraid that I would not learn as much as finally my daily work allows me to touch a lot of different files and therefore continue learning constantly.


Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

Bishops has taught me to be open to the opportunities that come my way, so no matter where I am in five years, I hope that I will have made some small and humble contributions to the field of environmental law or First Nations rights. There is so much to do and to learn that I will certainly not be done with it in 5 years!

If students are interested in reaching out to Laura Wilmot to learn more about her career and various experiences, you can contact her directly by email: wilmtotlaura@hotmail.com





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