Mary Cullinan

As a late-entry woman who began doctoral studies at 53 years old in 2010, I have been focusing my research on detailing my experiences as well as those of other  ‘late-entry women’ in academia not only here in Montreal, but across Canada as well. Some of the questions that have guided my research thus far are as follows: Are our Canadian universities truly welcoming places for older students? How do the various life experiences that older women have affect our studies? Do we feel our voices are being heard? Or is there an unspoken or tacit understanding that our presence is not valued? Are there barriers, sometimes spoken, sometimes culturally engrained in our psyche, that have prevented mature women from even contemplating a return to higher education? This research is positioned within qualitative research methods, namely, Narrative Inquiry – including photovoice, narrative writing workshop and individual interviews.  The methods are aimed at helping late-entry women articulate what is helpful to our success and acceptance in the university. Women who have completed their studies as late-entry women, as well as women who are currently studying have participated in my research.

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