Category Archives: Biographies

Borrowing Research Knowledge from Your Personal Librarian

by Viel
MEd, Adult Education & Community Development

“Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one.”

― Neil Gaiman

There’s an app for that. Just Google it. Did you look on Wikipedia already?

Here are some of the common suggestions when you ask about something—people always tend to lead you towards the internet. These are probably some of things you do on a regular basis and it’s something that I do on the daily. Our reliance on technology doesn’t always allow us to get the right answers though. In fact, if you were to think about when our parents or grandparents were writing their university papers, they probably had to manually look things up in the library system or look something up alphabetically in an encyclopedia. Nowadays, accessing information is quite simple…all you need to do is just Google it.

So, what do you do when your professors ask you for a credible source? What if they ask you about empirical evidence for your theses and not just giving away facts? Where do you need to go to get this help?

Have no fear—Desmond is here! Desmond is part of OISE’s library and not only that, he’s also my personal librarian. Sounds pretty special, right?  But don’t worry, it’s not just for me! This program is available to you too, once you become an OISE student.

Desmond, OISE Librarian

The University of Toronto piloted the Personal Librarian Program (PLP) 6 years ago. All the universities’ colleges have the ability to voluntarily run this program within their libraries, depending on the resources available to them. In fact, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences has made the Personal Librarian Program available to all their first year students.

OISE signed up for the PLP 4 years ago to help support grad students. This program is only available to first year grad students, who may be new to the area of research and writing papers, but you can certainly keep in touch with them afterwards. OISE’s librarians all come from different backgrounds —Desmond’s primary research is in both Social Justice Education and Indigenous Studies. The PLP usually matches you with a specific librarian who can help you in a general field of study. They try to check in with you at certain points in the year, such as the beginning of the year and when it usually starts to get busy with assignments. You can basically book an appointment with them or talk to them via email so that they can help you with your research, citations, creating bibliographies, the Dos and Don’ts of Wikipedia and Google Scholar, as well as knowing how to access the various databases found on our library system.

Believe it or not, UofT belongs to the top 10 largest library systems in North America, while OISE is the largest Education Library! Just think about your access to all these resources—the books, digital media, databases, journals, curricula—it’s boundless! And the best thing is that your Personal Librarian can help you find the resources that are tailored to your research interests!

Still not convinced about the wonders of University of Toronto libraries? Here are some interesting facts about the libraries you may not know about:

  1. UofT has 44 libraries in total and Robarts, our main library, houses about 8, including the Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library.
  2. Bored? Maybe rent out a board game or an old PlayStation console and some old-school video games from Media Commons found in the Robarts Library and play it during your free time!
  3. Our library system isn’t just home to books and journals—they offer digital archives, old films, DVDs, and CDs!
  4. The UofT Library is home to the Internet Archive Canada Headquarters—an amazing collection of old websites, videos, which is in itself, like a digital library!
  5. You can borrow anything from all the libraries—except teaching material (only for Master of Teaching Students) and some items from other colleges that might be restricted, but in general, your access is unlimited.

Overall, I think that your time at OISE and at UofT in general is valuable—especially in terms of your research goals and your research interests! Only looking to Google Scholar or Wikipedia, discredits the hard work of our librarians in collecting and researching resources for all the students! I would highly recommend you pop by and say hello once you are at OISE! Getting to know your librarian not only enhances your OISE experience, but it also gives you access to things you may not know about if you didn’t ask. You can also meet the OISE librarians in your classes, when they hold research workshops that your professor organizes!

My advice: Don’t take your library for granted—they are so knowledgeable in what they do and are great resources to help you cultivate those researching skills. So, get to know your librarians and make the library your go-to place for all your research needs!

*Special Thanks* to Desmond from OISE’s library for taking the time out of his busy schedule to enlighten me about UofT’s extensive library system and services, as well as allowing me to learn about the Personal Librarian Program!

Questions? Email me


All About Me



Post by: Viel
Master of Education,
Adult Education & Community Development


Hello, my name is Viel (pronounced VL)!

I am in my first year of the Master of Education Program in Adult Education and Community Development (AECD). I am really looking forward to be able to share my experiences at OISE and hearing from you all!

Why did you choose OISE 

In 2014, I graduated from OISE with a Bachelor of Education, back when it was offered as a one year consecutive program. I was in the Junior/Intermediate stream with English as my teachable. During my year at OISE, I had met so many people both within my cohort (kind of like a homeroom) and outside of my cohort. I really felt like I was in a big community that year! That’s why when I first decided to pursue my Master’s degree, OISE was at the top of my list.

The AECD Program at OISE is part of the Department of Leadership, Adult, and Higher Education (LHAE). I chose Adult Education and Community Development in particular, because I had always enjoyed working with adults, particularly newcomers. Throughout my undergrad and my year in the Bachelor of Education program, I have always been keen on community development—collaborating with various community agencies through work or volunteering! It was clear from the beginning that this program was a perfect fit for me!

The University of Toronto is a place where you have so much access to different services, such as the various gym facilities found all across campus, the study spaces, and the library (the 4th largest library system in North America)! The University of Toronto has so much to offer and there are a plethora of resources to take advantage of. It is perfectly-situated in a vibrant and bustling hub of Toronto, surrounded by Queen’s Park, the Bata Shoe Museum, and the Royal Ontario Museum. The best thing about our campus is that most of it is accessible by transit!

What is your academic background? 

I graduated from University of Toronto Mississauga where I studied an English major and French and History minors. As mentioned, I also studied at OISE in the Consecutive Teacher Education Program. I have always felt the need to continue my learning and I am always looking for ways to challenge my way of thinking and to build on my own set of skills and experiences.

What do you like to do outside of school?  

Outside of school, I enjoy playing the ukulele, going to concerts, and spending a lot of time with my friends and my family. I also love to volunteer! I’ve been a volunteer at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Halton for 11 years–I always make sure that I find the time in my schedule to volunteer with them. I am currently a Girls Linking Our World facilitator, encouraging adolescent girls to take on leadership skills and building confidence, all while promoting diverse ways of healthy active living. It is really important for me to find the balance between academics, work, volunteering, friends, family, and “me time”. Finding that balance is all about trial and error! You just need to find ways that work for you. It took me quite some time to adjust my schedule. Having some down time for socialization and other things is all part of being a student, so just make sure you find it!

If you are currently reading a really good book or if you are currently enjoying listening to a particular indie artist/band–let me know in the comments below! I would love to hear from you.

Questions? Email me at and I will do my best to help you!

About Me

by Susan
Master of Teaching



My name is Susan and I am a first year Master of Teaching student in the Intermediate and Senior stream. My teachables are Science-General and Science-Biology. I am a busy bee interested in STEM education and methods to teach practical skills in science. Join me in my blog and follow my journey at OISE and at UofT.

Why did you choose OISE and the Master of Teaching program?

I chose OISE because of its reputation in teacher education, the partnerships it has with school boards in the GTA and its active research with faculties across UofT. My research interests involve bridging academic gaps between secondary and post-secondary schools as well as how STEM subjects in secondary school can better inform students about professional schools and career prospects. The MT program is unique in that it will allow me to see the inside of a science classroom and carry out a research project.

What is your academic background? 

I completed my H.B.Sc in Biology at McMaster University. I had the opportunity to TA courses in Cell and Molecular Biology, Research Methodologies in Life Sciences and Introductory Macroeconomics. My interest in curriculum design and pedagogy peaked when I had the opportunity to contribute to the creation of a novel course and along with other courses in the biology department and made recommendations for future implementation of those courses as part of my senior thesis.

 Interesting things about you?

I find Ancient Egypt fascinating and it is my favorite topic to watch as a documentary. I add milk and sugar to my coffee but not my tea. Sometimes I prefer instrumental covers of pop songs rather than the original. In my free time, I enjoy recreational ballet classes, browsing pet shops and catching up on my favorite TV shows.

Comment below if you would like to know anything else about me!

All About Anne

Sheldon Zian
by Zian Zhang(Anne)
Master of Education student

1)      Why did you choose OISE? And, why did you choose the Masters of Education program?

Through my consulting and research, OISE is the ideal place that offers the advanced education and training that I am seeking. I will be exposed to the instructions of world famous scholars and experts whose academic ideas will significantly broaden my academic horizon. Equally important is that I can enjoy an inexhaustible variety of advanced teaching resources.

I chose the program of Curriculum Studies & Teacher Development Program (M.Ed.) because this program would be very helpful in achieving my dream. What appeals to me about this program is the broad range of options available including topics that cover policy and curriculum development.

2)      What is your academic and/or personal background?

From September 2010 to June 2014, I studied Teaching Chinese as a Second Language at Zhejiang University of Media and Communications, in China. It focused on cultivating students’ special abilities on bilingual teaching, solid professional knowledge and background of Chinese and English languages, more comprehensive understanding of Chinese culture and literature and foreign cultural exchanges

3)      Future aspirations

I want to become a teacher first after I finish my postgraduate program. When I get enough teaching experience, I plan to open an educational organization and become an excellent manager.

I also want to help children who cannot go to school to receive education as fairly as others. In other words, I want every child in my country to have a chance to study. In my childhood, I could see on television that many children like me had no chance to sit in a classroom and receive even the most basic education. Later, as I grew up, I also found that the education in China could not bring much happiness for students. Instead, many students are under great pressure. I very much hope to change this situation. Though I know that it is not an easy problem to solve, I simply want to make my own contribution.

4)      Best study spot on campus
University of Toronto has more than 40 libraries on campus. My favourite library is Sigmund Samuel Library which is located at Gerstein Science Information Centre, King’s College Circle Toronto, Ontario M5S 1A5. My favourite study spot overlooks the park, many trees and cute squirrels. It is great to look outside and see a beautiful view while studying.

5)      What can you not live without?

Relationships are important to me. I cannot live without those who love me and care for me, such as my family and friends.

All About Wook

by Wook
Master of Education student
Developmental Psychology and Education

Why did you choose OISE? And, why did you choose the Masters of Education in Developmental Psychology and Education Program?

I chose OISE because it is one of the most recognized institutions in the field of education. Since my undergraduate research project was on the effect of hypermedia learning environment on students, Developmental Psychology and Education was the perfect program for my academic and research interests.

What is your academic and/or personal background?

I recently graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Cognitive Science from McGill University. Under Dr. Roger Azevedo’s supervision, Senior Canada Research Chair in Metacognition and Advanced Learning Technologies, I worked as a research assistant in his research laboratory at McGill for over a year, and engaged in a variety of research tasks related to several funded laboratory studies in the area of self-regulated learning, emotions and intelligent multi-agent systems. For my research project, I investigated gender differences and the impact of scaffolding on learning with a multi-agent intelligent tutoring system.

Future aspirations

I love coming up with questions and investigating them. Getting that p < .05 is the best feeling in the world! I would definitely like to pursue a doctorate degree in Psychology and continue on with my academic training in research. Ultimately, I would like to become a professor/mentor at an institution with my own team of researchers. I was fortunate enough to have great research supervisors and mentors during my time at McGill. I would love to become a professor who can lead and inspire young minds in the field of research.

If you could give your 16 old self a piece of advice, what would it be?

Well 16-year-old Wook, you are going to take Spanish, French, and Chinese in high school and University. Just choose one of them and perfect it instead of trying to learn all three. If you don’t, you are going to mix up French with Chinese or Spanish with French. Yes, it happens more frequently than you would imagine.

What can you not live without?

Chocolate, cheesecake, lemon meringue pie, and other amazing desserts in the world. I can skip dinner and just eat sweets because love desserts!

All About Caitlin

by Caitlin
Master of Teaching student

Hi everyone! My name is Caitlin, but I go by Caitee. I am in the Masters of Teaching program, studying Primary/Junior Education (Which is why my biography mimics the biography everyone wrote in elementary school).

Instead of the good old fashioned tell all, I decided to do a question and answer about my story.

1. Why did you choose OISE? And, why did you choose the Masters of Teaching program?

I chose OISE because it is the only graduate program in Ontario that offers a Masters of Teaching. I heard about OISE and the Masters of Teaching program from a guest speaker in undergrad. I was instantly infatuated with the program and I knew this institution was perfect for me. From that point on, I knew that OISE would be the key to my future success

I remember in Senior Kindergarten, daydreaming what I want to be when I grew up. As I phased out of my daydream, I became aware of my learning environment. I realized how comfortable I was in this classroom, and how amazing my teacher was. And then a peer distracted me, and I went on with my day. But this realization at an early age sparked my passion for education at an early age.

2. What is your academic background?

Making the walls of a classroom come to life with hand print elephants and tigers!

I completed my undergraduate degree at Ryerson University for Early Childhood Studies (ECS). My experience in ECS helped create a foundation for my learning here at OISE. During my time at Ryerson, I completed 4 different practicums at 4 different learning centres. I have experience working at a child care centre, an early learning centre, a kindergarten class. For my final placement I helped develop an arts program in a primary school in Cape Town, South Africa.

 3. What is your favorite children’s book?

Arthur Books

Just a few of the books I read over and over again

I cannot pick a favorite children’s book as I never stopped reading as a child. My favorite children’s book series however is Arthur by Marc Brown. I was an avid lover of the books, TV shows and toys. I would imagine that my family as Arthur’s family. All we were missing was a baby sister and a dog named Pal. Unfortunately my parents discouraged both missing items and stated that our family was perfect as it was.

4. Best Cheap Eat on Campus

Although it is located 10 minutes away from OISE, I have to say that El Furniture Warehouse on Bloor and Brunswick is amazing and so cheap! Everything on their food menu is $5! I literally will have the waiter or waitress line up plates for me. It does get packed as it is a small venue, but if it does, SAVE ME A SEAT! It’s the least you could do as I just revealed my best cheap eat on campus.

5. What advice would you share to potential applicants?

Put your whole heart into your work. It doesn’t matter at what phase you are in; thinking about choosing OISE (which you should be), writing the application (which is a piece of pie) or if you are already a student enrolled into a program. Your whole heart needs to show in your work. The effort you put in will be all worth it in the end. The blessing of being at OISE is the students, professors and staff are behind your back 100%. For the MT program, everyone is in the same boat in terms of workload. We all come together to support one another and seal every class with 2 wishes and a star. (2 wishes and a star is an exit strategy to help provide constructive, positive feedback).

10 points will be awarded to your house if you read my whole bio. (Extra ten points if you are in Gryffindor.) Comment below what house you belong to, or if you have any queries to my bio.