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Congratulations Matthew!

Matthew McGravey

Matthew McGarvey with his academic supervisor, Dr. Jia Li, Dean, Dr. Robin Kay and Graduate Program Director, Dr. Ann LeSage.

Matthew McGravey completed his master’s study for the project, Challenges and opportunities for K-12 senior administrators in Canada’s Northern Indigenous communities. This project is under the umbrella of a larger project funded by a SSHRC Insight Development grant awarded to Dr. Jia Li, Principal Investigator and Dr. Esther Geva (the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto: OISE/UT), Co-Investigator.

It was a great challenge during the Covid-19 pandemic for Matthew working on this research project involving participants in a remote, Indigenous community. Restrictions on visiting the remote community resulted in data being collected via video conferencing software and phone interviews. Despite the physical distance, Matthew and our team were able to engage and build relationships with teachers and school principal participants serving the Indigenous school throughout the project as they dealt with the impact of the pandemic in the school community.

Our participants faced daily complications in providing a “continuance of education.” Despite this, they still found time to meet virtually or by phone to discuss pertinent issues facing Indigenous education through their unique perspective as educational leaders. The steadfast dedication to the betterment of education in their community was clear in Matt’s interviews. The stories within the work highlight a community facing their own needs to adapt and meet the demands of the pandemic for education with often limited technological skills and access to devices or stable, high-speed internet for students.

As graduation has come and gone, reflecting on this project for Matthew is finally possible in the rearview mirror. For him, more than anything, the completion of his master’s project represents that despite numerous challenges in this project, there exists people with stories to tell detailing human experiences, resilience and struggles. It is well said by Matthew “although the road to finishing this work was long and full of unexpected challenges, the skills and experiences gained during this time will no doubt be remembered throughout the rest of my academic career and in my personal life.”