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  • Writer's pictureMarielle Moraleja

From British Columbia to Toronto: Emily’s Undergraduate Journey

Updated: Aug 26, 2023

Emily Pullen grew up in a small mountain town in British Columbia (the traditional territory of the Ktunaxa people). Now, she is a third-year student at the University of Toronto Scarborough, taking a double major in population health and psychology. Her story of living in British Columbia and coming to Toronto was a challenging journey, but she appreciates every moment of it.

Her extroverted, adventurous, and curious personality influenced her decision to move out of her town to pursue her undergraduate degree, “I wanted to completely change where I was at and move from a super small town to the biggest city possible, Toronto”. But more than that, she loved doing research and learning more about health. She believed that going to Toronto would offer her additional opportunities to further her education and career.

Emily took HLTC48 (Special Topics in Health Studies), a class facilitated by Dr. Benoit. Her class helped her learn about contemporary health issues among Indigenous women and assisted her in conducting a literature review. Dr. Benoit’s guidance increased Emily’s passion to continue doing health research. Due to Emily’s positive experience, she took a chance to ask if Dr. Benoit had any student research opportunities available. When the opportunity arose, she was thrilled to take on the position.

Emily’s position at the Benoit Lab is an important one, where she is responsible for creating Knowledge, Translation, Exchange, and Mobilization work (KTEs). Her infographics help increase the accessibility and applicability of the research conducted at the Benoit Lab to the public and the specific groups that benefit from it. She explains, “...[KTE] is fundamental to equitable research”. Her work contributes to equitable research by providing easy-to-understand and visual descriptions of the results, summary, or main arguments of research projects that anyone can access on social media platforms. As she continues her position as a research assistant, she hopes to explore different ways to deliver and practice KTE for the Benoit Lab to “ share the awesome research that they conduct”!

Though Emily started her position a few months ago, she already has learned so much from the team:

"I really love the outlook, values, and mission of this lab, we take pride in creating and sustaining relationships with Indigenous communities, to ensure that our research is mutually beneficial and aims to uphold cultural safety."

Emily has stated that she is unsure what to do in the future, but she hopes that it will involve science, research, or a Masters’ involving a thesis component. Whatever it may be, we know that the path she chooses will be fitting for her intelligent, adventurous, and outstanding personality!

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