Past bloggers

Past GradLife Team

Past Instagrammers

Stephan Pigeon  Stephan Pigeon

I am a PhD candidate in History studying the history of the book and culture of the printed word in the nineteenth century Anglo-American world. While a native of Kingsville, Ontario—Canada’s southernmost town—I have lived in Montreal for the past three years. My research at McGill asks questions about the circulation of ideas and information in the Victorian periodical press, the development of international copyright agreements, and the role of specialized editors who regularly borrowed, modified, and re-deployed old texts as ‘new’ in the periodical marketplace.

As a GradLife Instagramer, my posts will highlight my enthusiasm for all things ‘book history’. I am also passionate about good food and drink shared with friends and look for any excuse to explore a new enchanting location. For the 2016-2017 academic calendar, I am taking a research year abroad in the United Kingdom. Stationed primarily at Mecklenburg Square in London, look for my posts capturing time spent inside and outside the archive!

Follow my Tweets and Instagram posts @digitalpigeons!


Past Bloggers



Alexandra Blair

Program: MSc. Psychiatry

Home town: Chelsea, QC

Research Interests:  Psychiatric epidemiology, biostatistics, and the social and economic determinants of mental and physical health.

Career focus:  I hope to build a career that bridges the fields of public health, urban design and development, community empowerment, and disease prevention.

About me:  I am interested in how people are affected by the spaces in which they live, and how social and economic power imbalances affect people’s well-being. This translates into my work outside of school. I am a dedicated advocate for prisoner justice and penal reform, and volunteer my time working with prisoners serving life sentences at a federal penitentiary in Laval. Though politics and social justice are extremely important for me, I also have some more frivolous pastimes. I have an incorrigible fascination with pop culture and bad action movies. As a not-so closeted jock, I love watching and playing sports. Outside of school you’ll find me gardening, eating diner breakfasts every weekend, playing music with friends, and crafting up a storm.

Emilio Dirlikov

Research Interests: My doctoral project looks at how global health plays out in the control of tuberculosis (TB) in China, by examining the creation of national policy, the implementation of policy in central China, and the historical developments that have led to current methods of control.

Hometown: Southeastern Michigan

About Me: I have been a graduate student at McGill since Fall 2005, first for my Masters in Medical Anthropology, and presently for my doctoral degree in Anthropology. Over the last seven years, I’ve been to some seemingly far removed places, such as the cobble-stoned streets of Norway, the private meeting rooms of the Chinese Ministry of Health, rural villages along the ancient Silk Road, a 1,000 year-old Thule Inuit site in the Canadian High Arctic, and of course, various seminar halls scattered throughout the downtown campus. The experiences I had in each of these places was made possible through the opportunities afforded to me as a McGill graduate student.

Over the next year, I will be finishing my field research in China, transitioning back to life in Montreal, and (hopefully) getting a good chunk of my dissertation out of the way. Besides life directly related to my academic work, I will blog about my experience as a grad student in China, and my various interests back home, namely, sports (triathlon training specifically), films, and gastronomy.

Guillaume Viger


Program: It says MEng. Electrical Engineering on the tin, but it’s really “MEng. Online Networks Engineering” inside.

Research Interests: Network science, machine learning, large-scale data analysis, group dynamics

Hometown: Montreal

About me: I am a human being (despite my Software Engineering bachelor’s degree) with emphasis on human as in humanist. I think we humans are (mostly) pretty awesome and when we collaborate we can achieve neat things. And in fact, this is what I research (with an engineering twist!): what are the dynamics at play when online groups coalesce to achieve something?

And how does popularity diffuse    and groups form in the context of open-source software projects? Although I might dabble into my research occasionally on this blog, I am much more likely  to be caught sharing my thoughts on living the “graduate” life from a (quirky) Montrealer’s perspective. You should expect my contributions to this blog to be about events in Montreal, books I read, food I cook, places I visit and people I meet with the occasional commentary on current events.

Je parle aussi français (mon nom est un dead giveaway) et je vais donc contribuer au blogue occasionellement dans la langue de Molière. De toute façon, vous avez toujours voulu apprendre le Français, non?

(photo credit: Kelvin Man Lok Chan)

Kelvin Man Lok Chan


Program: MA in Music Education, Schulich School of Music

Research interests: Piano pedagogy, piano technique, 20th century piano performance practice, globalization and music education

Hometown: Hong Kong

About me: Art to me is a way of living: it is an attitude towards life, a world outlook. Unfortunately it is also something that is extremely misunderstood and neglected in contemporary education. I aspire to not just be an educator, but also an educator’s educator–fundamentally improving the quality of arts education for all is my lifelong goal. I was born and raised in Hong Kong, where business and money overshadows every other aspect of life, including and especially art. Through many years of hard work and constant moving, I now have the privilege to live in Montreal, a culturally and artistically extremely rich city, and a place where I can really take advantage of the countless opportunities around me to grow as a scholar and educator. Eventually, I’ll become a professor of music, and be at a position where I can give back to society by training better teachers–and therefore, students.

Kristina Kasparian

Program: PhD in Communication Sciences and Disorders

Research interests: I am interested in language development, bilingualism and the changes that occur in the brain when we learn a new language . My PhD project looks at the language abilities and brain activation patterns of individuals who “lose” their proficiency in their mother-tongue and become stronger in a second language they learned later in life (e.g. due to immigration). Does their brain still process their mother-tongue in the same way as native speakers’ brains do? Or is their predominantly used second language processed more like a mother-tongue than the language they acquired since birth?

Hometown(s): I was born and raised in Montreal, but lived abroad in Europe for a while and returned here for my PhD.

About me: I am a person who loves to laugh, to make meaningful and long-lasting connections with people, who travels as much as possible to discover new places and cultures, and new facets of herself. I’m from Montreal, but with a multicultural and multilinguistic upbringing, and with multiple anchors left in different places, and multiple places to call Home. I am a hard-working grad student whose perfectionism is both her best and worst trait. I am a scientific soul and a creative soul bottled into one. I find it important to be inspired and to feel alive, no matter what life throws at you. I am a coffee addict; five or six cups a day should keep me on my toes. I love my camera, my to-do lists and beautiful vintage things. I don’t like margins, impossibility or goodbyes. My three favorite pastimes are writing, travelling and photography, and I am happiest when I can do all three simultaneously! I also enjoy learning languages, cooking and spending time with family and friends, whether they are here in town or scattered across the globe. 

Lorenzo Daieff


Program: MA Political Science, Development Studies Option.

Research interests: the political economy of developing areas, with a focus on contemporary Latin America. Thesis topic TBD…

Hometown: Born and raised in Munich, Germany, but without an inkling of German genes. Italian name, Franco-Swiss-Bulgarian origins… still trying to figure out that identity thing. Does that count as a thesis topic?

About me: It all started with a single, lone leaflet on a library shelf somewhere over in England. Red-white-red and something about “study in Canada”.  After three enjoyable years pondering Philosophy, Politics and Economics in the UK, it seemed reasonable enough to trade rain for snow, and sure enough I now reside on the other side of the Atlantic. Here, I divide my time between studying for a challenging and rewarding degree, enjoying my work as a Teaching Assistant, and pursuing a number of seemingly unrelated activities, such as fencing for the McGill competitive team, sitting on the council of the graduate students’ association, and trying to find the best vegetarian ‘Poutine’ in buzzing Montréal. My hopes for the future? Writing interesting and engaging posts about life as a graduate at McGill, incorporating the philosophy of my all-time hero Ludwig Wittgenstein into my research, and the ever-so-elusive aim of “making a difference”, all to the tune of Grayson Matthews’ “Toast this life”!

p.s.: à l’occasion, j’essayerai de bloguer quelques billets en français, histoire de varier les plaisirs!

(photo credit: Kelvin Man Lok Chan)

Maryna Lesoway


Program: PhD Biology, Neotropical Environmental Option (NEO, a collaboration between McGill and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute)

Research Interests: How do you get from a single cell to a complex multicellular organism? Why do marine invertebrates have so many ways of doing just that? How do transitions between these different types of development happen? How does development change over evolutionary time? What role does the environment play in development? What do invertebrate larvae do while they are swimming around in the ocean? How do organisms use so many of the same developmental “tools” to make so many different forms?

Hometown: Originally from Calgary, Alberta; I’ve also called Victoria, British Columbia and Kamikawa-cho, Hokkaido, Japan home. I now split my time between Trois-Rivières and Montréal, Québec, and Panama City, Panama.

About Me: After taking an undergraduate field course in invertebrate biology on the west coast, I decided that what I really wanted to do with my life was to play in a tide pool. After a foray into teaching English to students of all ages in both Japan and Québec, I’ve returned to research. Now I am asking questions about the evolution of development and living the lab life. I’m happiest turning over rocks and looking at critters, but I also enjoy sharing good food and good drink with good friends, which is the best way to discuss science and practice a new language!

Sarah Konefal


Program: PhD Neuroscience

Research Interests: I care about how brain cells communicate with each other, and how connections between brain cells are modified by experience (or drugs!) I’m also interested in how the immune system can modulate these connections, and how they become dysregulated in disorders such as schizophrenia.

Hometown: Vancouver, B.C.

About me: Once upon a time (about five years ago), on a rainy, foggy hill near Vancouver (Simon Fraser University), I was looking through a fancy microscope to examine live brain cells. They were lit up with different fluorescent colors like fireworks and I was amazed! This amazement (and curiosity) has lead to my current situation where I am studying the molecular and cellular mechanisms of drug addiction. At this point however, my future career plans are a bit foggy, rather like the hill with a fancy microscope. Perhaps several contemplative blog posts will help me figure these plans out.

My major addiction outside of the laboratory, is mountain biking; especially the genre that involves going downhill. This involves weighty bikes, chair lifts, full-face helmets, and high speeds over technical terrain with jumps, and is something my grandpa would say is “not recommended.” I play basketball, pretend to play the harmonica and have a habit of jumping into cold water (lakes, ocean, etc.) And I am a big fan of chocolate, cake and anything with plenty of sugar in it (including coffee)!

(photo credit: Kelvin Man Lok Chan)

Sarah Sabboobeh


Research Interests: I am a Masters candidate in the department of Biochemistry, specializing in the area of structural biology. My research uses biophysical experimental techniques to obtain the three dimensional structure of proteins and find their potential interactions with other components in the cell to helps us understand the under workings of disease and thus unveil potential therapeutic opportunities. Currently, I am also interested in applying computational and mathematical methods to model structures and interactions of proteins.

Hometown: Amman, Jordan

About me: I strongly identify with the saying, “Write what you’d like to read about” and I’ve always made it my goal to do exactly that.  I seek to highlight experiences and reflections that readers can easily relate to, with a sense of humour and light-heartedness. I enjoy writing fun fairy tales for adults, preferring to dispel dystopic and negative ideas in favour of more positive and optimistic notions.

When I’m not experimenting at the lab, you can find me experimenting in my kitchen. My Middle Eastern/Mediterranean background seems to have me predisposed to combining odd mixes of ingredients for savoury dishes. I enjoy experimenting with Italian recipes and my favorite dish will always remain my mother’s delicious tomato sauce with perfectly cooked spaghetti and chocolate milk on the side.

My music passion is jazz and perhaps accordingly, I find myself oddly attracted to the literature and lifestyle in New York and Paris during the twenties up until the late sixties. Nonetheless, I’m very thankful that my path brought me to study here in this beautiful and artistic city of Montreal, which also happens to be the home of the annual international Jazz festival.


Archi Rastogi
Andrew Harrington
Brian Beckett
Brocke Addison
Brock Rutter
Crystal Ernst
David K. Chen
Denis Hinz
Diana Kwon
Diego Mastroianni
Erik Delaquis
Gwilym Eades
Helgi Skuli Skulason
Jason Polak
Jennifer Campbell
Kate Glover
Kate Turner
Luan Tran
Marie-Eve Coutard Menard
Mark Ellis Gough
Manjari Murthy
Mike George
Neerusha Baurhoo
Nicole D’Souza
Nika Naimi
Rebecca Woodmass
Ria Ghai
Ryan Weist
Tracey Regimbal
Skye Barbic
Valerie Vinette
Vasanth Ramamurthy
Yasmine Ghorayeb
Zsofia Zambo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Blog authors are solely responsible for the content of the blogs listed in the directory. Neither the content of these blogs, nor the links to other web sites, are screened, approved, reviewed or endorsed by McGill University. The text and other material on these blogs are the opinion of the specific author and are not statements of advice, opinion, or information of McGill.