The Research Apprenticeship Program (RAP) is an exciting and enriching program for Glendon’s Top Scholars that allows first and, starting this year thanks to the g21 program, second-year undergraduate students to gain hands-on research experience in their field. Students are chosen based on their high marks and their records of volunteerism and community leadership in high school. These promising students are paired with Glendon’s professors where they gain essential research skills that prepare them for pursuing graduate studies at top universities and other career paths. This week, to celebrate the expansion of the program, we are connecting with Diane Hoffmann to learn more about her experience in the program and how it’s shaping her early career choices.

Diane Hoffmann is currently a graduate student in the University of Ottawa’s Master of Arts in Public and International Affairs program. A recipient of numerous awards during her tenure at York University, she now holds as a prestigious Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) for the first year of her master’s degree.

Prior to pursuing graduate studies, Hoffmann graduated from  with an Honours iBA in International Studies – and was a participant in the Research Apprenticeship Program (RAP), formerly known as the Research Mentorship Program (RMP). Hoffmann worked as an undergraduate research assistant to Dr. Mirela Cherciov, whose research focuses on written second-language acquisition skills and how to test to accurately capture this acquisition. Hoffmann was paired with Dr. Cherciov as she was formerly a Linguistics and Languages student. While Hoffmann changed majors while at Glendon, her experience as a research assistant was valuable for the transferable skills that she acquired. Indeed, Hoffmann encourages prospective student researchers to venture beyond their major to explore different or adjacent fields and give them a glimpse of a field that they may not be as familiar with!

Through the literature review she completed for Dr. Cherciov, Hoffmann learned how to evaluate relevant sources and developed key critical thinking skills. These skills served Hoffmann in her later work in the department of School of Public Policy and Administration at the Keele Campus, where she completed a Certificate in Public Policy Analysis. She also cites her research experience in first-year as helping her gain confidence in her ability to do academic research as well as thrive in a university environment throughout her undergraduate degree. Hoffman’s research experience helped her excel academically, as well as prepared her for her work as a public servant with both the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada, where she hopes to continue to work upon graduation.

Hoffmann’s drive for going above and beyond in her work is clear: “I love research: thinking about different topics, compiling information, and building my own connections.” The RAP provided Hoffmann with her first opportunity to realize her potential as a researcher – and make those meaningful connections. She also emphasizes that her work as a research assistant taught her to always ask questions and be analytical. “Curiosity and being inquisitive is how research gets done!” she says. Surely, she will continue to bring the same level of enthusiasm and intellectual rigour to the Major Research Paper she will complete as part of her MA.

Thank you to Diane Hoffmann for sharing her journey with the Research and Innovation Office.