Sample Student Questions & Program Map
Class of 2011
Click here for full list of Student Questions.
How it works: At the end of their Foundation Program, Quest undergraduates working with a faculty advisor submit a statement of their "Question": a two-page proposal describing a topic of special interest to them. The Question guides students' attention in a sustained and rigorous intellectual inquiry during the final 16 blocks. The proposal may take the form of a statement or a question or even a set of related questions. For example, one student might be interested in the broad thematic question, "What is honour?" Another might choose a specific policy topic like, "How does politics influence the treatment of global epidemics such as malaria, SARS or AIDS?"
It's your education: Students consequently have the opportunity - and the obligation - to shape their own education. As Quest University Canada sees its first classes move through the program, our graduates will generate a "bank" of topics that can serve as examples and inspirations to the classes that follow. For the first years, the faculty can provide a set of sample Questions to guide students' choices. Some examples of Individual Concentration Programs are given below.
The Role of Academic Advising: All Quest students are assigned academic advisors during their foundation years, but in preparation for the proposal, they may seek out a faculty mentor who is particularly suited to their project. The upper level advisor helps students develop their Individual Concentration Program, and works with them in an ongoing conversation about it over the next four terms. Close work one-on-one between a student and his or her mentor is often the most demanding and rewarding aspect of an undergraduate education. It is an integral part of the Quest experience.
Kanaan Bausler - Alaska, United States
In exploring the atmospheric relationship between oceans and mountains, I drew from a wide range of disciplines including but not limited to physical sciences, philosophy and education. My Concentration courses included Great Bear Rainforest, Winter Hazards, Exploring the Ecological Self, Calculus I, Chemistry I, and Physics I. I also chose seminal readings on alternative expressions of knowledge, the limits of western science, the natural philosophy of perception, and meteorological systems. For experiential learning blocks I interned with the Juneau Weather Service, worked as a weather forecaster, created an avalanche forecast information-sharing network for Southeast Alaska, and developed and ran my capstone project; creating and assisting in the teaching of a Quest course called "Exploring the Hydrological Cycle."
Allison Black - British Columbia, Canada
I chose a Question that would allow me to focus on my interest in social epidemiology. Over the course of my education, I further narrowed this interest to viral disease in tropical medicine. This undergraduate focus has prepared me for graduate studies on viral genetics of New World arenaviruses. Concentration courses included Evolution, Epidemiology, Biochemistry I, Microbiology I, Statistics II, and Research Methods in the Social Sciences. Because of my interest in pursuing epidemiology in Latin America, I also chose to study Spanish. For experiential learning, I assisted a PhD student at UBC studying tick prevalence, disease ecology, and risk perception for tick-borne disease in the Okanagan valley. My seminal readings focused on epidemiology and for my capstone, I wrote an undergraduate thesis on the mechanisms of spread for a disease of particular interest.
Celeta Marie Cook - Ontario, Canada
I chose my Question as a way to investigate the sources of empathy, compassion, sympathy and altruism. I set out to explore how such qualities can be fostered to effectively address large-scale world issues, and focused on psychology, economics, and anthropology. Concentration courses included Evolution, Cognitive Development, Behavioral Economics, Anthropology, Cognitive Psychology, and Developmental Economics. My seminal readings were focused around evolutionary psychology and the roots of human empathy. For my experiential learning, I volunteered at an orphanage for physically and mentally disabled children in Cambodia.
Bjorn Munte – Germany
I developed my Question after recognizing that the global economy is becoming increasingly interdependent, and that there has been a shift in the global GDP towards developing countries. I chose to explore these changes and their consequences through economics, politics, and mathematics, ultimately developing an interest in finance. My Concentration courses included Statistics, Comparative Political Institutions, Microeconomics, Calculus II, Macroeconomics, and Ecological Economics. I also spent time at one of Quest’s partner institutions, the University of Hong Kong. I chose seminal works on psychology and finance, and for my experiential learning I explored the business of private equity funds through an internship with Fortress Partners Fund. As a result, I chose to focus my capstone project on finance.
Damalie Nabalongo - Uganda
I chose to explore development policy by focusing on the African continent and approach my Question through economics and international relations. During my studies, I developed an interest in the importance of trade and foreign investment in African economies and I’m interested in continuing to investigate the relationship between trade and development. Concentration courses included Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Development Economics, International Political Economy, Ecological Economics, International Development, and Anthropology. I also studied at a Quest partner institution, Malmo University in Sweden, where I was enrolled in the International Relations program. My seminal readings focused on economics and international aid. For experiential learning, I interned at the National Budget Office of the Parliament of the Republic of Uganda, transcribing and translating portions of the national budget for the public.
Caleb Tomlinson - British Columbia, Canada
For my Question, I examined natural resource policy by investigating the balance and interaction between environmental conservation and resource extraction. My study focused on the concepts of ecosystem valuation and wildfire management and included both interdisciplinary and quantitative coursework. Concentration courses included Communities and Conservation, Conservation in Borneo, Geographic Information Systems for Natural Resources and Conservation, Ecological Economics, and Research Methods. Seminal readings focused on natural resource management and economics. For experiential learning, I interned as a research assistant for Earth Economics, a non-governmental consulting organization specializing in ecosystem service valuation. My capstone consisted of a research paper, "Challenges and barriers to restoring the historic wildfire regime in the southern interior of British Columbia."
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