When Alex Kuhne heard that the biennial University of the Arctic (UArctic) Rectors’ Forum was being held at Trent, she got involved, becoming a leader of the student delegation with members from Canada, Japan, and China.
A graduate student in the Environmental & Life Sciences program, Ms. Kuhne wanted to expand her knowledge of Arctic studies, and the UArctic Forum was a valuable opportunity to do so as she was able to work alongside experts from around the world to advance education and research in the Arctic.
“This forum acts as the start of an ongoing conversation and a call to action,” Ms. Kuhne says. “It provided me a vital opportunity to understand, reflect and change the culture of thought surrounding educational and research policies within the Northern communities.”
The theme of the conference was “Made in the Arctic,” and its goal was to look at ways to establish an education policy aimed at empowering northern youth. Participating in the forum meant Ms. Kuhne had the opportunity to lead a roundtable discussion on the UArctic’s mission statement, and help write and present a declaration to the leaders at the forum that represents a united student voice on Northern education and research.
Attending the forum also helped Ms. Kuhne make what she calls “meaningful connections” with the cooperative network of education and research institutes involved in the UArctic; connections she believes will enhance her own education moving into the future.
“Going outside of the usual academic daily life by participating in a forum like the UArctic gave me the chance to taste test a different culture of thought, focus, and research field,” says Ms. Kuhne. “I was able to learn from experts in more diverse fields, and explore outside of my tailored academic path.”
There is no shortage of opportunities for Trent students to enhance academic life by getting outside of the classroom, and the benefits of this kind of experiential learning are something students can only learn firsthand.