At Glendon, students and faculty work together to foster meaningful relationships that allow students to achieve a high level of academic excellence. Carli Gardner, a student in the English Department, has built relationships with her peers and professors that have allowed her to excel in her courses and jumpstart an already impressive academic career.

A proactive and engaged student, Gardner thrives at Glendon becaCarli Gardner smiling at the camera. Carli Gardner sourit à la caméra.use of the opportunities she has had to pursue her research interests. In her “Modern Literature in English” course with Dr. Lee Frew, Gardner and her fellow students’ assignment was to write an essay on a topic of their choice. Gardner speaks highly of this opportunity as it left her “both empowered and excited by the choice to explore ideas which [she continues] to be curious about outside of class discussions.” Instead of being prescriptive, the assignment’s open-ended nature allowed students like Carli to hone their skills on projects that inspire them.

Empowered and motivated, Gardner wrote a research paper analyzing the depictions of imperialism in author Joseph Conrad’s nineteenth-century novella Heart of Darkness. The paper then landed her a spot presenting at Bishop’s University’s SOULS: the Scholarship of Undergraduate Literary Studies conference in 2018, and was later published in the conference proceedings. Gardner not only gained her first academic citation for her Curriculum Vitae but also was the recipient of the IMASCO Award from York University in recognition of participating in an international peer-review research conference in the Humanities. Having joined a supportive academic community, Gardner presented again at the conference in 2019. These presentations allowed her to not only better her writing but also taught her new skills in terms of adapting her research paper for a conference presentation, thereby honing her public speaking abilities. She looks back fondly on the experiences and notes that “participating in this conference has been one of the most transformative experiences of my undergraduate career to date.”

Seeking to share her knowledge and experience with her fellow students, Gardner recently launched the Glendon English Undergraduate Students Society (GUESS) with the support of the Department of English’s faculty and staff. Gardner states that “GUESS aims to plan and implement (…) social and educational events to foster a sense of community and connection among Glendon students taking a minimum of 3.0 credits in the English department.” The group recently hosted a successful student pub night off-campus. Their next project, however, is more academic: the group is hosting a workshop to support other undergraduate students who are applying to present at an academic conference. One of the goals of the workshops is to create a rigorous peer-review process that will ensure students submit high-quality work to their chosen conference’s call for papers. Gardner’s vision also includes encouraging bright students who may be hesitant to present their academic work; she wants to emulate the support she received from her professors for her peers.  

As a passionate student, she wants to ignite that same passion for academia in others. Indeed, she remarks enthusiastically that “… the more deeply I engage with course materials and experiment with my ideas related to a text, the more enjoyment I receive from the project.” In the spirit of engaging deeply with course materials, Gardner encourages students to attend their professors’ office hours as a fantastic way to build rapport with professors and get invaluable feedback on assignments at all stages. The Research and Innovation Office looks forward to partnering on the conference workshops and supporting students in their academic careers.