Alumni Profiles

Niyosha Keyzad

Niyosha received an Honours Bachelor of Science with Distinction from UTSC, with a double major in Evolutionary Anthropology and English. She holds a Masters of Arts in English in the fields of American and Postcolonial Literatures from McGill University. During her time at McGill, Niyosha also taught a number of creative writing classes and was the Contributing Editorial Assistant of theMcGill News Alumni Magazine, for which she was recognized as a Canadian Online Publishing Awards (COPA) 2014 Finalist for Best Article in an Association Magazine. She worked as an English language instructor in France, at Lycée du Golfe de Saint Tropez and Collège Victor Hugo, before returning to UofT to pursue her PhD at the Department of English and the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies. Her research interests include: memoirs of the North American Iranian diaspora, literatures of exile and displacement, theories of space and identity, post-revolutionary Iranian cinema, and Iranian food history. She is the founding chair of the University of Toronto Graduate Students' Union Race and Ethnicity Caucus, and has also served as Co-Chair of the Diversity Committee at Massey College, where she is a Junior Fellow and the 2017 recipient of the Morris Wayman Prize. She has previously served as the Editorial Assistant of the Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry. Niyosha currently teaches at the Department of English at UTSC.

 
 

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 

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 the position of Home Editor, in charge of producing and writing the home decor content for the print issue and website. She also hosts and produces a video series for the magazine, and makes monthly appearances on Cityline. 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. 

 

 

Anna Sullivan

Anna graduated from UTSC with a double major in English & Philosophy. She then pursued a Master's degree in English at York University, where she focused on Victorian gothic literature and wrote a major research paper on the emergence of urban gothic literature in 1850s London. Her love of gothic literature began with an amazing UTSC professor, Sonja Nikkila. During her degrees she studied a wide variety of textual material, including film and theatre, and she presented research papers at the UTSC Humanities Conferences as well as the Sigma Tau Delta Convention in Albuquerque, NM. 

    After completing her academic work, Anna discovered the book publishing industry with the help of professors Maria Assif and Andrew Westoll. After completing an intensive publishing program at Ryerson University she landed two internships at Penguin Random House Canada in publicity and digital advertising. During her time at PRHC she got to work with Donna Morrisey, Zadie Smith and Margaret Atwood, among many other authors, and she did extensive research on podcast and social media influencer advertising. 

    She recently secured a permanent position at Harlequin as the marketing coordinator of digital publishing and she couldn't be happier. Her success is largely due to the fantastic mentorship she received from the English professors at UTSC. 

    "My advice to undergrads - get to know your professors and help them get to know you. If you share your passions with them they can help you figure out your direction after university. Try and stay focused on what drives you and the right career will present itself."

Natasha Ramoutar 

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 MagazineThe VarsityGoose 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 in 2016, 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.

Upon graduation, Natasha worked full-time at the University of Toronto Scarborough as a Program Coordinator for an academic first-year orientation. She is currently at Ryerson University pursuing a Master of Professional Communication. Her research interests include popular culture, diaspora, martial arts, and new media storytelling.

 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@live.com
Kevin Connery received an Honours BA with High Distinction from UTSC in 2015. Since then he has gone on to complete at MFA in Writing from Columbia University (2017). Shortly after finishing graduate school Kevin attended his first residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, and currently he is working on his first book.
While at UTSC Kevin first gained experience as a writer taking classes with Daniel Scott Tysdal and Andrew Westoll, and through working on Scarborough Fair Magazine, and 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. That project would become his first book, Rouge, forthcoming with Mawenzi House (2018). 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.