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Arts Stories

Read inspiring stories about how Faculty of Arts students, graduates and researchers are making an impact at Ryerson and in their communities.

Christina Tachtampa

Arts and Contemporary Studies,
History Major

Community building meets global impact

Ryerson Arts and Contemporary Studies alumna Christina Tachtampa has never been comfortable staying within her comfort zone. She chose Ryerson because it offered her the opportunity to build a strong foundation on campus while expanding her learning and experiences far beyond the classroom walls.

During her studies, Christina became part of Alternative Spring Break Ryerson, a volunteer program that allowed her to travel to – and learn in – places like Vietnam, Ghana, Kenya and Uganda. It was her experiences in these locations and support from Ryerson’s SocialVentures Zone that led her to develop the White Elephant Project, which brings together global learners in an effort to increase intercultural competence. Through the White Elephant Project, Christina prepares students for their international experiences and helps them better understand different cultural perspectives.

At Ryerson, we know that our community extends far beyond our campus. We provide our students with the inspiration and opportunities they need to reach out, connect and effect real change.

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Jennifer Fischer

Environment and Urban Sustainability

Budding ideas meet community impact

Growing up in Vancouver, Jen Fischer developed a special appreciation for the relationship between cities and nature. Ryerson’s Environment and Urban Sustainability program offered her the unique focus she was looking for in her quest to help cities adapt in the face of climate change.

Studying with a mix of researchers and community and business experts – as well as having the ability to curate her courses based on her own specific interests – allowed Jen to gain the knowledge and experience she needed to co-found Microbe Hub, a student-led initiative to bring vermicomposting on campus. The process uses red wiggler worms to decompose organic material, thereby cutting down on landfill waste. In addition, access to Ryerson’s SocialVentures Zone led Jen to start the Soul Roots project, which aims to reclaim urban contaminated land to use as green spaces for community.

At Ryerson, you have the flexibility to tailor your education to meet your specific goals. We offer you the support you need to cultivate your passions and grow your ideas into reality, so that you can have a tangible impact on your community.

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Rhiannon Traill

Arts and Contemporary Studies

Experiential opportunities meet professional success

Rhiannon Traill has always had a clear vision of her future – including her dream of studying at Ryerson. She knew that pursuing her degree while being surrounded by Toronto’s vibrant arts, cultural and business communities would connect her to the type of opportunities she needed to succeed.

Taking full advantage of Ryerson’s experiential approach to learning and the interdisciplinary nature of the Arts and Contemporary Studies program, Rhiannon worked on projects that allowed her to focus on real-world issues. During her final year, Rhiannon collaborated with business leaders, politicians and city residents to tackle urban poverty – an initiative that helped her land her first job. Today, Rhiannon is the President and CEO of The Economic Club of Canada, and the President and Founder of The Jr. Economic Club of Canada.

An education in the humanities and social sciences at Ryerson gives you a solid foundation of the skills and the confidence you need in order to take on the world after graduation.

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Bluedot Team

Department of Geography and Environmental Studies

Big data meets global health

For students in Ryerson’s Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, experiential learning isn’t just about pushing boundaries. It’s about charting new frontiers – including predicting the spread of the Zika virus from Brazil. 

Ryerson students and graduates make an impact at BlueDot – a company that uses big data analytics to study how infectious diseases spread worldwide. Through a combination of geographic information systems, epidemiology spatial analysis, data visualization and computer science, the BlueDot team has helped global health organizations better understand the Zika virus outbreak. Ryerson alumni and students have the unique opportunity to work alongside academic and industry experts and put their knowledge into action. For example, Geographic Analysis undergraduate students Sonya Karamchandani and Carmen Huber are currently working part time at BlueDot to gain experience before they graduate; Spatial Analysis graduate student Anne Christian is with the firm on a practicum placement; and alumnus Adrian Nicolucci is now a full-time data engineer at BlueDot. Together, the whole team continues to work at the forefront of next-generation infectious disease research.

In Ryerson’s Faculty of Arts, learning goes far beyond the classroom walls, and out into the real world. We provide you with fascinating opportunities to work in tandem with teams of professionals who will help you make an important and lasting impact on global issues. 

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Colin Robert Phillips

Policy Studies

City issues meet the big picture at Ryerson

Driven by a desire to understand the challenges affecting Toronto’s homeless community, Policy Studies doctoral candidate Colin Robert Phillips studies the issues facing the city’s displaced population.  

Colin, who has cerebral palsy, is unable to walk and communicates using a letter board. He credits Ryerson’s collegiality and accessibility for helping him come into his own as an academic addressing Toronto’s affordable housing issue. The unique focus of his research goes beyond rental regulations to the relationship between mental health and overall well-being of the homeless population and public policy. Colin acknowledges the roles played by elements such as psychological development, social isolation, addiction and trauma. With the guidance and mentoring he’s received from his Graduate Studies Supervisory Committee, Colin is looking at not just affordable housing availability, but how experiences of trauma can impact homelessness and the ability to maintain housing.

At Ryerson, we strive to give everyone access to the resources and opportunities they need in order to see the big picture and effect real change. 

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