Featured Student

Grace Kapustianyk

When and where did you complete your practicum?

I completed my practicum at SickKid’s Centre for Global Child Health (CGCH) in Summer 2018.

What are your academic/research interests?

My academic and research interests are primarily focused on mental health, and sexual and reproductive health. I am particularly interested in mental health and SRH in child and adolescent populations.

What were your primary responsibilities at your agency?

As a graduate research student, my primary responsibilities were to develop content for an online open-access course on Global Child Health, to assist with data mapping and literature searches for a systematic review on childhood stunting, and to analyze factors affecting childhood stunting in Peru using DHS survey data.

What types of projects did you participate in and what deliverables were you expected to produce?

There were two main projects that I participated in, the first was a content development for an online course and the second was a data analysis on childhood stunting factors in Peru. For the online course, I was expected to develop the content for two sections of the course – Introduction to School-Age Children (SAG) and Adolescent Health, and Global Morbity and Mortality Burden for SAG and Adolescents. The deliverable was a template that included all content, an end-of-section test, and all the user-interactions (i.e. scroll over this picture and extra information appears, defining glossary terms, etc.). For the data analysis, the main expectation was to produce a hierarchial model and analysis using Peru’s DHS 2012 data. The primary deliverable here was a presentation at the CGCH rounds and the R code for the analysis.

What was most rewarding about your practicum experience?

The opportunity to work with incredible researchers was one of the most rewarding aspects of my experience. As well, I really enjoyed working on the online course because it was an excellent experience in capacity building and synthesising important information that could be accessible to everyone. I also really enjoyed presenting at rounds because it was an incredible presentation experience and I received great feedback on both the content and my public speaking skills. I was able to present my work and take pride in the complex analyses I conducted.

What advice would you offer a prospective student who is considering an opportunity at your practicum site?

Learning opportunities come in many forms and it is important to take the initiative to seek out those opportunities and experiences that you want during your practicum. While you may have deliverables for both the practicum site and DLSPH, take the time to conceptualize the learning experiences YOU want as well – go to presentations, workshops, collaborate with other students and researchers, attend professional development seminars or just reach out to individuals working in the research areas that interest you most! In addition to the analyses, reviews, or presentations you may be contributing to, these extra learning opportunities are what will truly define your experience.

What was the most valuable lesson you learned during your practicum experience?

Most likely, your practicum experience will include some unexpected challenges and opportunities. Make sure to ask questions – don’t be afraid to ask to sit in on a meeting, for extra work, or for any guidance you may need! As well, other students are valuable resources for help and support – you are in it together!