Neelofar Ahmed

Profile Neelofar

Masters of Education

Research Adviser: Dr. Snežana Ratković

Program Entry Date: Fall 2016

What is your current status in the program? I have graduated from the program.

Research Topic

Events of forced migration and globalization are making schools more diverse in host countries, with this diversity spanning students affected by war and terrorism, besides students with disabilities, students living in poverty, as well as racialized and Indigenous students. I explored the emerging role of public school leadership in supporting students affected by war and terrorism in Ontario and Pakistan. I proposed changes to Bronfenbrenner’s (1999) bioecological model and recommended that school leaders can make their schools more inclusive by adopting Shield’s (2010) transformative leadership framework. I also advocated for the establishment of cross-cultural educational partnerships through the Train-the-Trainer model.

What have you learned in your graduate education that you would share with future or current students?

I would suggest the students connect with the faculty and staff at Brock University. Reach out to them and seek their guidance. Brock offers enormous opportunities for students to grow academically and professionally. I would strongly advise students to participate in the various curricular and co-curricular activates at the campus and connect with other peers.

What are some of the challenges you have faced as a graduate student, and how did you overcome them?

I started my program in the fall of 2016. I faced a lot of difficulties in my studies besides social integration, which was one of the biggest challenges I encountered during my initial days at Brock. I overcame my social and academic challenges with the help of my professors and staff in the Faculty of Education. I am indebted to the support and encouragement extended by Drs. Snežana Ratković, Catherine Hands, Mary-Louise Vanderlee, and Denise Armstrong as I ventured through this journey.

What were the best parts of your experience at Brock? Why?

My most memorable experiences at Brock University come from experiential learning opportunities. I worked as a research assistant with Dr. Snežana Ratković on her SSHRC funded project “Supporting Refugee Students in Canada” and participated in developing and performing the play “We want to Paint on the Walls of the Cave,” also led by Dr. Ratković. I expended my research and analytical skills as I wrote my Major Research Paper “Supporting Students Affected by War and Terrorism.” In the last two years, I presented research papers at one local and four international conferences, appeared in one television interview at the Voice of America, acted in a play, and participated in three videos. I was able to accomplish this in a short span because Brock provided me opportunities to shine and represent Brock not only in Canada, but also in Spain, Pakistan, Greece, and Russia.

What are your next steps?

In my Master’s in Education program, I was inspired, supported, and prepared to pursue doctoral studies. My academic and professional experiential learning helped me to gain admission at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, the University of Toronto even before I finished my M.Ed. My research interest lies in cross-cultural partnerships, comparative education, and international collaborations through global governance.