May 14, 2020 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

Nicole Szklarczyk, ’19, Honors BA in English Language & Literature and History, and Emma Wood, 4th Year Honors specialization in English Language and Literature, and Western Thought & Civilization, have been awarded Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Canada Graduate Scholarships, both in the amount of $17,500.

Szklarczyk will be pursuing her MA in English in the Queen's University English Graduate Program in September and studying in a directed reading course under the supervision of Dr. Glenn Willmott. Szklarczyk says that after completing her Master’s Degree, she has a long range plans that include completing a PhD or working for a Comics publishing house.

“I truly valued my time at King's. The English Department faculty are unmatched in the ways they support and celebrate their students. They always went above and beyond to provide the resources and encouragement necessary to achieve our goals,” says Szklarczyk.

She says Dr. Coby Dowdell, Associate Professor of English, and Dr. Brian Patton, Associate Professor of English, played significant roles in her undergraduate education.

“Dr. Coby Dowdell encouraged me to pursue an English degree and continued to support me throughout my studies. Dr. Brian Patton introduced me to the area of study, autobiographical comics, that I am now further pursuing in my graduate studies. Both were also helpful in providing advice and feedback for the early drafts of my applications,” says Szklarczyk.

Wood will pursue her Masters in English at McMaster University. Her future research will examine 20th century queer-feminist Canadian literature and, specifically, how sexuality, gender, and race intersect in the settler Canadian landscape.

“This wonderful opportunity will assist me in furthering my academic research and exploration and provide me with a solid foundation to continue my academic journey to the PhD level. I am honoured and excited at the opportunity to contribute to the already flourishing research in modern, diverse English literature and to continue my personal academic studies, learnings, and teachings,” says Wood.

Wood says the King’s community inspired her to continue her own research and to appreciate and learn from her “brilliant peers and knowledgeable professors.” She relates, in her first year of the Western Thought and Civilization program, Dr. Claudia Clausius, Associate Professor of English and Assistant Coordinator King's Scholar and Foundations Year and Dr. Graham Broad, Associate Professor of History, encouraged her and her peers to discover scholarly strengths and their academic voice. In her final year at King’s, Dr. Ian Rae, Associate Professor of English, introduced her to “the brilliancy and diversity of Canadian literature, which soon would be the hopeful basis for my future research.”

Dr. Krista Lysack, Chair of English, French, and Writing, and Associate Professor says the department is delighted by the news of two graduates receiving the prestigious SSHRC grants. “The faculty, staff, and students in our department are immensely proud of Nicole’s and Emma’s achievements. We are also so grateful to those professors who mentored them,” she says.

“The English Program is a hallmark of King’s. We think intellectual curiosity and academic excellence are for everyone, including first generation students. Similar can be said of the King’s Scholar program which is also housed in our department. Every year students from our department go on to graduate and professional schools, which have included top-ranked ones like McGill, Toronto, and Queen’s. The Humanities—literature, philosophy, theology, history—are at the heart of King’s. Our students can tell you that this kind of study is more urgent, relevant, and exciting than ever,” she adds.

Lysack points to a number of SHHRC- and Ontario Graduate Scholarship-winning students, including Sarah Menzies in 2019, and research essays by students in these programs that have achieved Highly Commended status at the annual Global Undergraduate Awards, including one by Szklarczyk in 2019.

To learn more about English at King’s, please visit