Graduate Student Blog

Welcome to the Population and Place Research Lab’s Graduate Student Blog! Here you will find blog entries devised and written by graduate student members of the Research Lab. From experiences in the field to conference presentations to general reflections, the Graduate Student Blog offers an opportunity for you to peek inside the exciting life of a graduate student working on research related to population and place changes and the opportunities and challenges that come with them. It also gives you a chance to get to know some of the amazing people working in the Research Lab.


  • A Taste of the Big Apple
    Rachel  Ever since I was a child, I dreamed of one day visiting New York City. I’m sure it’s a dream shared by many small-town kids – looking up at ginormous skyscrapers, seeing all the yellow cabs, and hearing the bustle of people heading to work or enjoying the city. This dream of mine became… Read more: A Taste of the Big Apple
  • Soaking up São Paulo: Fieldwork in Brazil 
    April 8, 2024 – Day One  Greetings from Brazil! What a crazy sentence that I had no idea I would ever say in my life. It is truly so cool to be here getting the opportunity to see the country through the lens of research. We arrived yesterday, giving us a bit of time to… Read more: Soaking up São Paulo: Fieldwork in Brazil 
  • Road Trip to Rochester
    Day 1 – March 20, 2024  (Marley)  Today we head to the BIG CITY… Rochester, NY for The Association of the Study of Play (TASP) annual conference. As researchers of the Pop lab’s Aging Playfully team, we were very excited to dive headfirst into the world of play and see where our research can grow.… Read more: Road Trip to Rochester
  • Victoria Takes Moncton! 
    Tuesday  Today, I embarked on my first research trip. I was headed to Moncton, New Brunswick to conduct interviews with planning practitioners and immigrant settlement organizations as part of my Master’s research. This was my first time visiting New Brunswick as well as my first time flying by myself (both very exciting!).   Ever since I… Read more: Victoria Takes Moncton! 
  • The Windy City’s Neighbour
    As I depart YYZ for ORD for the ACSP 2023 conference (ACA [academics love acronyms!]), I can’t help but be excited. I am going to Chicago to present a poster, learn about planning, and explore an interesting city! Conferences are a very cool way to expand your horizons and what better place to do it… Read more: The Windy City’s Neighbour
  • Grant Applications – Tips & Tricks 
    In November 2022, I embarked on the journey of applying for my first research major research scholarship. While I had previously applied for scholarships during my undergraduate degree, this was my first time applying for something that was research-based. After attending the School of Urban and Regional Planning’s research grant information session in October, I… Read more: Grant Applications – Tips & Tricks 
  • The Journey Within: Embracing Experiences and Growth in Canada
    Time flies, and with a sense of gratitude, I reflect upon the fact that I have already spent six months in Canada, immersed in an enriching journey. This period has provided me a brand-new experience, both academically and personally, as I travel through this foreign land, embracing its culture, and engaging with its people. My… Read more: The Journey Within: Embracing Experiences and Growth in Canada
  • From Music City to the Métropole francophone des Amériques
    The first half of 2023 has kept me very occupied. From finishing my Master of Planning thesis, to submitting articles, to preparing for my upcoming PhD studies, there hasn’t been a dull moment so far. The most memorable and exciting part of the last few months was presenting the findings of my thesis at multiple… Read more: From Music City to the Métropole francophone des Amériques
  • A Turn of the Century…Village
    Day 1 When I was two years old, I went on my first airplane: Toronto to Fort Lauderdale. I was visiting my grandparents in their brand-new condo in Century Village East (CVE), an age-restricted community in Deerfield Beach, Florida. With a suitcase filled with pencil crayons, plush toys, and Polly Pockets (the original three P’s),… Read more: A Turn of the Century…Village
  • Can OpenAI’s chat bot solve gentrification?
    On November 30, 2022, the San Francisco-based artificial intelligence (AI) research laboratory OpenAI launched the ChatGPT chatbot. ChatGPT is a software application developed to mimic human conversation based on user inputs. ChatGPT is trained using machine learning and can simulate ongoing dialog, respond to follow-up questions, admit mistakes, challenge inaccurate or incorrect statements, and reject… Read more: Can OpenAI’s chat bot solve gentrification?
  • How to Crush Your First Poster Presentation
    This past November I had the opportunity to present at the poster session at the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) Conference in Toronto. When I received the email saying that I was accepted to present, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase our research to planning researchers and professionals from all… Read more: How to Crush Your First Poster Presentation
  • Everywhere and Nowhere at the Same Time: A Summary of My Time in Toronto.
    November is always a difficult month for me. At this point in the fall season the trees have lost most of their colourful leaves, the days are much shorter, and there is usually a pile of work to do as the end of the semester approaches. For all these reasons I was feel unmotivated and… Read more: Everywhere and Nowhere at the Same Time: A Summary of My Time in Toronto.
  • Elliot Lake: The City that “Shocked” Me
    Northern Ontario is geographically huge. But for those of us who hail from there, much of it is very familiar. Elliot Lake is a small community 4 hours from my hometown of Powassan, but I’ve been hearing about it since I was a child. From the mall collapse in 2012, to stories from family about… Read more: Elliot Lake: The City that “Shocked” Me
    Although the byline states Madison Empey-Salisbury, this post is actually a collaboration (the first one on Aging Playfully!) between Madison and Rachel Barber. We are excited to tell you a bit about our experience at the OPPI (Ontario Professional Planners Institute) & OALA (Ontario Association of Landscape Architects) 2GETHER Conference back in September. Before we… Read more: 2GETHER
  • London Calling: The OPPI & OALA Conference
    I’m very happy to say that this past week, I attended (and spoke at!) my first in-person in over three years. If you read my previous post on how the AAG Annual Meeting, you will know how much I enjoy conferences. I’m pleased to share that the OPPI (Ontario Professional Planners Institute) & OALA (Ontario… Read more: London Calling: The OPPI & OALA Conference
  • The Air Tastes Better Here
    August 14, 2022: 6:00am. That is the time I see when I check my clock. As someone who does not consider themselves a morning person, 6:00am is not exactly my favourite time of day. But today is different – it is travel day (kind of). My flight actually leaves tomorrow at 6:30am but between the… Read more: The Air Tastes Better Here
  • Reaching for the Clouds – CIP Conference in Whistler, BC
    Unable to travel to far destinations since 2020, I was starting to get the itch for adventure. Working remotely as a research assistant for the summer, I knew this would be the perfect opportunity to see friends, family, and perhaps even visit communities I had never been to before. So when I found out that… Read more: Reaching for the Clouds – CIP Conference in Whistler, BC
  • On the Road Again (Fieldwork)
    Like many of you, I have not done much traveling in the past two years. I settled into the “new normal” of cancelled plans and future travel credits. The four-and-a-half-hour road trip between Ottawa and Toronto was the most action my suitcase had seen in months. After my trip to New York City to speak… Read more: On the Road Again (Fieldwork)
  • Planning is People
    Hello, my name is Madison Empey-Salisbury, and I am one of the members of the Aging Playfully research team. I am currently working towards my Master of Urban and Regional Planning from Queen’s University, with a concentration in health and social planning. Before coming to Queen’s, I completed my Bachelor of Environmental Studies in Honours… Read more: Planning is People
  • AAG or Bust!
    I love conferences. From the tote bags filled with sponsor “swag”, the excited chatter that often fills a hotel meeting space, the winding line-ups for the buffet, and the opportunity to speak and learn from other professionals in your field. Over the past seven years, I have been privileged to be a part of many… Read more: AAG or Bust!