Maha Arshad started her higher education at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus by completing her double major in English and Political Science. While achieving her Bachelor of Arts with Honours in 2016, she was intrigued by Gayatri Spivak's seminal paper "Can the Subaltern Speak?". She wanted to further research the links between literature and power, with a focus on postcolonial studies. All the while, she grappled with the necessity of multidimensional language, having the power to communicate, to speak and be understood.
Her interests led her to continue her education at the University of Toronto St. George Campus. She completed a Master's degree in English literature, in addition to a collaborative program in South Asian studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs in 2017. In her studies of language and power, she found that she had a strong desire to make language accessible, to support others in the pursuit of the power of communication.
Thus, she returned again to her alma mater to complete her TESL certificate to learn pedagogical approaches to language at the University of Toronto Woodsworth College in 2018. She now works to teach English to newcomers in Canada and other English language learners, to help them interact with their surroundings more confidently through their construction of language, to be in control of their own story, to wrest back their voice.
In 2020, she enrolled in the University of Toronto’s Master of Teaching program at OISE (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education). She chose this program to further enhance her abilities as a teacher, and for her to use this opportunity to conduct research regarding varying literacy needs in an English classroom. Her journey with academia has always been with only one goal, which is to build knowledge, awareness of diverse thought, and professional development to make a positive difference in the lives of others.
Alongside her faith in Islam and both her dear parents Arshad and Rashida's guidance, Maha's experience in higher education has also played an invaluable part in shaping her perception of the world. She encountered inspirational and supportive faculty professors at UTSC such as Sonja Nikkila, Maria Assif, and Kara Gaston. Her professors in graduate studies like Smaro Kamboureli, who taught her the critical importance of Indigenous perspectives, and Lindsay Brooks, who has remained a brilliant mentor in language teaching over the years, have led Maha to always better herself as a professional and as a person.
Through this support and countless blessings, Maha was able to pair critical thinking with an open lens to not only learn academics, but to also discover the world in all its wondrous luminous colours.
To contact: firstname.lastname@example.org