Meet Alex, OAC Student
About Alex Robinson
Meet Alex Robinson, a master's student who has a passion for the environment, animals and agriculture. Alex started at Guelph for her undergraduate degree and decided to stick around for her masters. Read below to find out why Alex loves the University of Guelph and the city of Guelph so much.
Program: Masters of Science – School of Environmental Science
Year of Study: First year of graduate program
Hometown: Cambridge, Ontario
Where did you study before starting your Masters? What made continue into graduate studies?
I did my undergraduate degree at Guelph as well, in Animal Biology. I am interested in the connection between agriculture and environmental conservation. Many people believe that agriculture has a negative impact on the environment, when actually it can also have a very positive impact. Doing my undergraduate degree at Guelph definitely helped expand my knowledge of both environmental and agricultural issues due to the courses that are available for students to take. Research has always interested me and I knew when I finished my undergraduate degree that I wasn’t done with school just yet! Pursuing this area of research will be a great stepping-stone for me to figure out what I want to do in the future.
Why did you decide to come to the OAC/Guelph for both programs?
I decided to come to Guelph initially for my undergraduate degree because Guelph is so well known for its agriculture and animal science programs, which is what I was interested in. Once I arrived at Guelph, I soon fell in love with the campus and the city with its friendly and welcoming atmosphere and beautiful surroundings. It was a no-brainer, once I was thinking of pursuing a Master’s degree, to continue my schooling at Guelph since this university is such an impactful force in research and agriculture.
What do you like best about your current program?
I just started two months ago, however I really enjoy the wide variety of research I have come across already in the environmental sciences. I have met people doing research in soil science, water conservation, and wildlife management and so on. Having these interesting and diverse areas of research all in one program definitely makes things fascinating and provides a great conduit for collaboration.
What is your favourite course?
My favourite course in my undergraduate degree was Agricultural Animal Physiology. The course was packed with information that made us all have to study like mad, however I found studying wasn’t a chore. I was interested in what I was studying, which makes a big difference. Gregoy Bedecarrats is an excellent professor; he always gave great examples and analogies to help us understand the concepts, which was a huge help. The lab component of the course was very hands-on, which allowed us to piece together all of the information and diagrams we studied and apply it to the real-life animal. I learned a lot and have applied the information to many other courses.
Do you have a favourite professor at Guelph?
I actually do not have one favourite professor! There are a lot of professors that I look up to and appreciate as people as well as teachers, but to pick out a favourite would not be fair! They have all helped me along my way, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.
What career do you hope to have after graduation?
I hope to eventually have a career in something to do with wildlife, agriculture and environmental conservation. Preferably involving all three! However, where that career may lie and what that career would involve, I have no idea. I may even take time off and just travel the world for a while.
What are your favourite events and activities on campus?
I have many favourite events! I enjoy College Royal and all it has to offer (Super Thursday, milkshakes, and College Royal Ball to name a few). I enjoy intramural sports, especially inner-tube water polo (my team was the 2013 champions of course). I also greatly enjoy trivia nights at The Brass Taps, and my friends and I are regulars at trivia.
How do you get involved on campus or in Guelph?
I am the type of person who likes to be involved with some group or another. Currently, I am a part of Wild Ontario, the Student Federation of the Ontario Agricultural College (SFOAC), and the Ontario Agricultural College Graduate Student Council (OAC GSC). Wild Ontario is a University of Guelph outreach educational program where we utilize our ten non-releasable birds of prey in educational presentations and displays across Ontario, to teach the public about the importance of conservation, ecology and biological knowledge in general. I am the Graduate Student Representative on SFOAC, which is a student-run group that makes decisions and events for and about the students of the college as a whole. OAC GSC is also a student-run council that runs social events and other outlets for graduate students to meet new people and have a fun time; making graduate school more than just about the research. I am a liaison between the two groups, which gives me a great opportunity to communicate new ideas and keep things on track.
What is your favourite way to procrastinate from studying?
One of my favourite ways to procrastinate is to go for a walk pretending that I am going out for a reason: “Oh, I really NEED another coffee” or “Oh, I just NEED to go see what the other side of campus looks like right now”.
Where is your favourite spot to hang out on campus?
My favourite spot to hang out AND to eat on campus is The Bullring. It’s student-run, has superb food, great music, an excellent atmosphere and very comfy couches.
Do you have favourite spots in Guelph (restaurants, parks, shops, etc.)?
I have a lot of favourite spots in Guelph and many of them I have discovered more recently when I moved to the downtown area this past year. One of my main spots to hang out is by the Speed River and The Boathouse. The covered bridge there is a beautiful landmark and renting canoes with friends at The Boathouse or going for a run on the trails is always lovely. As for restaurants, a few of my favourites include Baker Street Station, The Woolwich Arrow (“the Wooly”) and The Works. The downtown area of Guelph is a great place to hang out and every time I go down there I seem to find something new to fall in love with; be it a new coffee shop, a new trail in the woods or new friends!