Alumni Profiles

Niyosha  Keyzad

Niyosha graduated with distinction from UTSC in 2010 with a double major Honours degree in Physical Anthropology and English. She went on to receive a Masters of Arts in English from McGill University, where she focused particularly on the fields of American and Postcolonial Literature. She also taught a number of creative writing courses and worked as the Editorial Assistant for the McGill News Alumni Magazine. She then spent a year teaching  English in France at Lycée du Golfe de Saint Tropez and Collège Victor Hugo before returning to the University of Toronto as a Ph.D. student in the Department of English. 

Her doctoral research focuses on memoirs of the North American-Iranian diaspora. She is specifically interested in tracing the diaspora’s negotiation, narrativization, and performance of memory and identity with respect to public spaces. She is the founding Chair of the University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union Race & Ethnicity Caucus, and also serves as Co-Chair of the Diversity Committee at Massey College, where she is also a Junior Fellow. Niyosha currently works as the Editorial Assistant of the Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry.  

Zahra Khosroshahi

A specialist degree in English Literature unleashed many possibilities for me. It’s taken me from the study of literature to cinema, and led me from Toronto to the UK. Importantly, it invited me to think seriously about the life path and journey I want to embark on. After graduating, I applied for a Master’s Degree in English Literary Studies at the University of York in the UK where I focused on Renaissance Literature and Drama. During the gap year in between undergrad and graduate school, I completed a postgraduate certificate in Public Relations and Corporate Communications. That experience made me start thinking differently about the role of media and invited me to explore different writing styles; skills I continue to use towards my freelance writing today.  

I’ve long been interested in power dynamics, issues of race and gender politics. A literature degree can really take you anywhere. For me, it was my first Shakespeare course at UTSC where the enduring influence of the playwright’s works made me realize the importance of contemporary art forms and the power of literature to make an impact. Today, I am pursuing my PhD at the University of East Anglia in the UK where I am focusing my research on the representation of women in Iranian cinema. I am particularly interested to explore how cinema actively shapes the dialogue for resistance. The need to diversify our stories and representations of the ‘other’ has never been so urgent. Stories have the ability to humanize, build bridges and create connections. So as part of my engagement, I am working with local cinemas in my city to encourage a more diverse program. The only way to counter the current negative representation of women and minority groups is to offer an alternative narrative and I think films have the power to do that.

Christine Tran

As an undergraduate at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC), Christine Tran double-majored in English and Media Studies with a minor in Economics. She also served as President for the UTSC chapter of Sigma Tau Delta. Christine is completing her MA in English at York University courtesy of a SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS Master's Scholarship. She locates her research interests in post-structuralist theory, digital humanities, and post-colonial women’s engagements with literature as a material object.

 

 Alexandra Gater 

alexandragater@gmail.com

Alexandra Gater graduated on Dean’s List with High Distinction for an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree specializing in Journalism and minoring in Studio Arts in 2015. She was in the joint program with Centennial College and almost all of her electives were taken in English Literature, with a focus on creative writing.

Alexandra was hired on a full-time position with Canada’s iconic women’s lifestyle magazine Chatelaine before she graduated from UTSC. She currently holds an assistant editor position where she plans, produces and writes lifestyle content for the print issue and website. During her time at UTSC, she frequently wrote for creative writing publications and spent her final semester working on a novel for an independent study.

The blend of time spent between lectures at UTSC and hands-on learning at Centennial College played an integral part in her success of breaking into the magazine industry, as she gained a plethora of versatile and valuable skills that are needed to survive in this rapidly changing industry.

 

Anna Sullivan

Anna graduated from UTSC with a double major in English and Philosophy and then pursued a Master’s degree in English Literature. During her Master’s degree at York University, she focused on Victorian gothic literature and wrote a major research paper on the emergence of urban gothic literature amidst sanitary and social concerns of 1850s England. During her two degrees she studied a wide variety of texts and presented her work at the UTSC Humanities Conference as well as the Sigma Tau Delta Convention in Albuquerque, NM.

After completing her academic work, Anna consulted with two of her UTSC professors Andrew Westoll and Maria Assif to figure out her next steps, when they suggested that she explore the publishing industry. Her research led her to the Book Publishing certificate from Ryerson University where she quickly discovered an industry where her passion for literature could be used in a creative and fulfilling way. Shortly after completing the intensive publishing program at Ryerson, she secured an internship in the publicity department at Penguin Random House Canada in the fall of 2016 where she got to work with Donna Morrissey, Zadie Smith and Margaret Atwood, as well as many other authors. She is currently interning once again in the Digital Advertising department at Penguin Random House and constantly working on finding new and innovative ways to promote some of the top books in Canada.

“My advice to undergrads – get to know your professors. Sit down with them, talk to them, and share your passions with them. When you need guidance they will be there to help you find your direction. Stay focused on what drives you and the right career will present itself.”

Natasha Ramoutar 

natashadramoutar@gmail.com

Natasha graduated with High Distinction in 2016 with a double major in English and French. Blending her passion for creative writing and research, she was widely involved within the English department. She was published both at Scarborough campus and St. George campus in Scarborough Fair Magazine, The Varsity, Goose Fiction, and The Spectatorial. Furthermore, she presented her creative writing 3 years in a row at the Undergraduate Humanities Conferences, presented her research at the 2016 Interdisciplinary Research & Discovery Symposium, and read at the Miriam Toews: In Conversation event in 2014.

Natasha attributes her success in creative writing to her excellent faculty, alumni who have taken a mentorship role, peers who have always been willing to critique her work, and overall thriving community. As a student leader, she volunteered with Scarborough Fair Magazine and the Students of English Literature and Film (SELF). She also worked as a Research Assistant for Dr. Kara Gaston.

As an English co-op student, Natasha successfully obtained and completed two work terms at Ontario Power Generation in the Learning & Development division. During these work terms, she was able to apply skills gained from the classroom, such as attention to detail, critical analysis, and written communication, and learn new technical software skills. Both of her work term reports were on the transferable skills between Creative Writing and English courses and the corporate world of work.

She is currently working full-time at the University of Toronto Scarborough as a Program Coordinator for an academic first-year orientation, and plans to pursue a Master-level program in Creative Writing in the near futur

 Aakriti Kapoor

Aakriti Kapoor pursued a Double Major in English and Psychology, as well as a Minor in Studio Arts at UTSC. She graduated in 2016 with high distinction and is currently a Master of Teaching Candidate at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). At OISE she is studying to become a licensed teacher while also conducting SSHRC funded research in education technology. Aakriti's research uses the literary analysis model to create educational software that enable students to think critically in information rich digital worlds.

While at UTSC, Aakriti was one of the founding executives of both the Students of English Literature and Film (SELF) and Sigma Tau Delta. She was the President of SELF in its initial years and along with her fellow SELF team, she created the department's annual Emerging Voices Creative Writers's Conference, which allowed her to win the 2016 Gordon Cressy Leadership Award. As a UTSC student, she traveled to USA to present at the Sigma Tau Delta conference and presented her research twice in the department's Humanities Conference, where she also won the Best Critical Paper Award in 2015. Currently, Aakriti continues to travel both nationally and internationally to present her research -- after meeting students from different universities and programs, she can truly say UTSC English offered one of the best undergraduate programs both within the University of Toronto and globally. In her personal experience, her undergraduate training in English was far superior in comparison to her colleagues from other institutions and it allowed her to become a more critical and compassionate intellectual both in her academic and  personal life. The program allowed her to engage in crucial conversations about systemic inequalities, ethics, politics, and the power of art among other topics of special significance in today's day and age.

In the future, Aakriti hopes to pursue a career in education research and policy. While her professional aspirations do not directly involve the study of literature, her strong background in English studies enabled her to become the kind of thinker that can ask important questions about issues facing our world and then think creatively about how such issues can be solved. She duly attributes many of her successes today to the excellent faculty and classes she had in the UTSC English Department.

 Kevin Connery

Kevin Connery is a writer and artist living in New York City, where he is completing a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at Columbia University. In addition to completing his thesis, Kevin is a Student Affairs Fellow at Columbia where he is working with the Dean’s Office to develop educational events and programming focused on inclusivity, intersectionality, and sexual respect. 

Kevin has a B.A. (Hons.) in English from the University Of Toronto Scarborough, where he first gained experience as a writer taking classes with Daniel Scott Tysdal and Andrew Westoll, and through working on Scarborough Fair Magazine. He strongly encourages anyone interested in writing to become involved in the ever-growing arts community at UTSC, and to take full advantage of the incredible facility and the student groups on campus.

Adrian de Leon

Adrian completed an Honours BA (with Distinction) from UTSC in 2014 in the Specialist Program in English. After working in the IT profession for some time, he entered as a Direct-Entry student into the doctoral program of the Department of History at the University of Toronto. As a graduate student, he has served as Managing Editor of the Global Food History journal, and sits on the Editorial Collective of the Graduate Journal for Food Studies. In 2015, he was admitted as a Junior Fellow at Massey College, and in the following year was elected as the Don of Hall. His research on empire, industrial capitalism, and the Filipino labor diaspora is supported by SSHRC and the Fulbright Scholarship Program. In 2017-2018, he will be a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at the University of Hawai‘i and the University of Washington.

At UTSC, Adrian initially pursued student politics and campus leadership. In 2013, he was elected as VP Academics at the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union. In 2014, he co-founded and served as the first President of SELF, was among the first members (and conference delegates) of Sigma Tau Delta, all while serving on the Governing Council of UofT. Being involved on campus and getting to know faculty mentors inspired Adrian to pursue research as an undergraduate student. In 2013, he co-founded the Interdisciplinary Research and Discovery Symposium. That summer, while working with Prof. Marjorie Rubright, he received a research grant to travel to the Philippines and Hawai‘i and study Filipino diasporic literatures and labor history. The results became his ENGD98 capstone project (supervised by Profs. Neal Dolan and Maria Assif), and an essay at the UTSC Humanities Conference. For the latter paper, he won Best Paper in English. The insights and networks he gained as an undergraduate researcher continue to inform his doctoral work. 

Thanks to UTSC’s strengths in Creative Writing, Adrian’s scholarly work tends to cross-pollinate with his training as a poet. At UTSC, he worked with Prof. Daniel Tysdal while writing a poetry collection and publishing in various creative venues. He continues to write creatively and critically—distinguishing, not dividing the two. As a historian, he believes that storytelling and poetics are among the most useful skills for writing about the past, in order to speak as effectively as possible to the readers of today.