Student Spotlight: Lily Schricker and Matthew Rainsford.

Hey PISA Community! In this week's blog post we are excited to share a spotlight on two of our amazing students, Lily Schricker (current PISA communications aide) and Matthew Rainsford (2019-2020 PISA communication aide). These two incredible students worked with BU Professor Dr. Sarah Myriam Martin-Brûlé to organize the Quebec Undergraduate Security Conference (QUSC), which took place on February 6 2021.

The following are reflections written by Matthew and Lily on their experience working on this amazing project. For more information on the QUSC visit their instagram page @Q.U.S.C. or twitter @QUSConference.

Lily Schricker, 3rd Year Honours Student in Political and International Studies:

Coordinator of the 4th edition of the Quebec Undergraduate Security Conference 2020-2021

Organizing the fourth edition of the Quebec Undergraduate Security Conference (QUSC) reinforced my career aspirations in diplomacy and international law. Particularly the fireside chat with the Honourable Ambassador Bob Rae allowed me to acquire insight into the practical world of diplomacy and the path to realizing my career ambitions. By interacting with the Honourable Bob Rae, I also had the privilege of observing first-hand the valuable (virtual) public speaking skills used by a renowned politician, which I aspire to apply when participating in the National Model United Nations Simulation at the end of this month.

Prior to the conference, I had primarily focused on researching in Indigenous-Settler Relations. While this personal project aided me in understanding the academic side of my field of study, the QUSC expanded my horizon by granting me the opportunity to grasp and apply a hands-on approach to mobilizing knowledge in international politics and security. More specifically, coordinating this conference reinforced my formal oral and written abilities, skills that I look forward to applying when pursuing a career in international law and diplomacy. Coordinating the QUSC has also complimented my degree, in both professional and academic ways. Professionally, I was able to develop and improve my time-management as well as quick adaptation, which are skills that I believe will greatly benefit me in my current and future studies and career aspirations. In terms of helping me academically, listening to the feedback provided by panelists to student-presenters amplified my awareness of the expectations and standards expected for undergraduate and postgraduate research studies. Finally, by listening and interacting with undergraduate students and high-profile scholars and practitioners, I had the chance to enlarge my network, which I believe will benefit me in my current as well as future career aspirations. Overall, organizing the QUSC was an enriching learning experience that I will be eternally grateful for and recommend to any undergraduate student in the field of politics and international studies.

Matthew Rainsford, 4th Year student in Political and International Studies:

Coordinator of the 4th edition of the Quebec Undergraduate Security Conference 2020-2021

I became a part of the organization team of the Quebec Undergraduate Security Conference after two years of presenting at the conference. conducting the interview with the Canadas permanent representative and Ambassador to the United Nations; the Honourable Bob Rae, as well as taking charge of communicating the necessary information to all participants. My continued involvement within this conference has highly impacted my academic and professional aspirations.

My first two years of involvement in the conference as a presenter were what inspired my future academic interests in international security, a field I had never considered beforehand. Prior to this experience, I had not yet begun to even contemplate continuing my studies at the graduate level. The process of preparing my work, and presenting it to an expert in their field was a testing experience which was instrumental in me being able to live up to my ambition of getting my work published for the first time, a goal that I was able to achieve this year. I absolutely loved every moment of participating in the conference, as I had the chance to present on topics that I am very passionate about. The QUSC was also an opportunity to network with peers that shared similar interests with me. As part of the organizing team, I also gained valuable skills by communicating with other undergraduate students across Quebec, organizing this conference overall expanded my networking, organization, strategic marketing, and formal writing and oral communication skills. I also had the invaluable opportunity within the organizing team to be trained to interview one of the most high-profile representatives of Canada, the Honourable Ambassador Bob Rae. My experience with the conference across the past three years clearly complimented my degree in politics and international studies because as an undergraduate student, it is extremely rare to get to have firsthand networking with renowned scholars in my field, an opportunity usually reserved for the graduate level. As an undergraduate student, having the opportunity to participate and coordinate in this conference, as well as the opportunity to conduct an interview with such a high profile representative of Canada like the Honourable Bob Rae is an experience that I will be eternally grateful for.

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