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UA Alumni - Zach Matthews

Zach was a Highly Commended Entrant in the Social Science: Anthropology and Cultural Studies category in 2020.

Since the awards, Matthew has graduated with a B.A in Political Science from King’s University College, London, Ontario.

He is currently completing his M.A in Political Science.

What are you doing now and what has happened since the award?

With the pandemic, I have largely remained close to home base in London. After finishing my BA in Political Science at King’s University College at Western, I moved to the main campus for my MA in Political Science. Surrounding the topic of which I was awarded, I have continued study in that area at the Centre of Transitional Justice and Post-Conflict Studies, receiving monumental support from my peers and mentors there!

Where do your interests lie?

Outside of my main academic interests, I am very interested in History (where I focused my attention as a Minor in undergrad.)

Outside of the university, I am an amateur urbanist, cyclist, naturalist/outdoorsman, and traveller. I have been tremendously fortunate to have been able to see most of Canada, from Quebec to the Territories (I haven’t made it to the Atlantic provinces yet!)

What do you like the most about what you do?

I absolutely love the field of Transitional Justice/Conflict Studies for its interdisciplinary nature. Even as a political scientist, I tend to read, collaborate with colleagues, and study heavily into topics in law, anthropology, and sociology (to name a few!) There is no rock that is left unturned, and nothing is left off the table!

Has receiving an award for your hard work helped? How?

Receiving the award has been extremely gratifying and gave me tons of confidence moving into my graduate studies!

Choosing a sample paper for graduate applications has been made much easier! Further, it is gratifying to see what started as a ‘hunch’ turn into something that has been recognized as outstanding.

It gives you the itch to continue digging into your studies!

What are your plans/dreams for the future?

After completing my MA in Political Science, I hope to move into more specialized training in Peace and Conflict Studies. With the wide toolkit of knowledge over the years, I hope to be able to pursue fieldwork in some capacity, developing systems and processes that, hopefully, inspire peace to scarred and embattled societies.

What advice would you give current undergraduate students or recent graduates?

It all comes to pass, and sometimes, you have to realize that a job done is a job well done. Fretting over minutiae and pouring too much time on your work can be harmful and a bad use of time. Don’t sweat the small stuff, keep your stick on the ice, look up and take big swings at big ideas – sometimes it really pays off.

Why should students submit their work?

If you feel like you’ve got a topic or paper that you want people to read and learn about, submit it!

For those of you in one discipline (such as myself in Political Science) and want to try your hand at getting your work seen by others in other disciplines, give it a shot to see how well it performs! If you feel like it's novel or missing within your studies, then the perfect person to bring it up is YOU. What’s the worst that can happen?