By Karen Richardson
A recent graduate school conference in the department of French studies, entitled "Entre mémoire et histoire," took place on October 18 and 19 this year, and second-year French Master's student, Rachael Neill was one of many presenters. The conference was "truly a memorable experience and a great success," Neill says.
Neill spoke on the topic « Le mode opératoire des catégories de la mémoire et l'histoire dans Mobie-Diq de Marie Redonnet ». The presentation examined the ways in which, through narration and intertextuality, memory and history work to develop the work's characters into literary cyphers by generating spectator-directed representations. Her talk will soon be a published paper through Queen's.
Neill very much enjoys the French program at Queen's and especially is inspired when working on her thesis on the topic of 20th century postmodern French theory with professors Catherine Dhavernas and Agnès Conacher. "French is just something that I do because I love doing it," she says. "I really like it here - it's an excellent program. The professors are wonderful and always willing to help."
Neill's passion for French also extends to the field of policy studies, and she plans to further cement this relationship by completing a policy-based internship next year in France following the completion of her French Master's degree in the summer of 2009. "I've always been very interested in public relations and governance," she says. Neill recently applied to Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT) and hopes to complete her internship at an embassy or a consulate in the Paris region.
Neill has a varied interest and experience in other areas of study such as cultural studies, linguistics, and history. She especially enjoys the study of policy, however. "It's very people-based - I enjoy working with people and helping to support them." Following the completion of her degree and her internship in France, she is planning to undertake a Master's of Public Administration (MPA) degree at the School of Policy Studies at Queen's in the fall of 2010. "I'm really looking forward to learning about public administration and seeing how I might best be suited to work for the public service." Eventually she would like to have a career in Project Management with the federal government.
Throughout her life Neill has been involved in many teaching and mentoring programs. She has helped people learn French as a second language at the Queen's Centre Francophone, and has taught and TA-ed French courses at the university. She has also worked as a peer learning assistant and as a peer mentor for Health, Counselling and Disability Services at Queen's, and has worked on peer-lead committees and teams throughout high school. "Helping facilitate learning and promoting health and self confidence has always brought me great happiness."