Mature Student Success: Keeping up with Edward Fenner-Part 2

In the second part of our interview with mature graduate student Edward Fenner, we get his take on being a mature graduate student.

You are currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Science and Technology Studies. Were you nervous about your decision to pursue a master’s degree?

Oddly, no. I really enjoyed the undergraduate experience. I did well academically and was recommended to go further by many of my professors. That boosted my confidence. My biggest issue during my MA has been my health. I pushed myself too hard as an undergrad and suffered exhaustion among other things. I’m okay now and have finished my coursework. I’m just doing my research for my MRP (Major Research Paper) now. I’m working on the personal papers of pioneering American experimental physicist and atom smasher Robert J. Van de Graaff. I’m really excited about that project.

What advice would you give to mature students who may be nervous about pursuing a graduate degree?

It is a challenging experience but that’s what makes it a great experience. I love it. Because I am studying part-time the pace is a bit slower which is nice, however, work-life balance is still key. I find that my graduate program is a lot less hectic than my undergraduate studies. Essentially, if you did well enough in your undergrad to get into a Master’s program, you should do just fine as a graduate student. If you are looking to study full-time, you might even have better opportunities at funding your research and tuition than you did as an undergrad.

You have achieved a lot during your time as a York University Students, for example you are a recipient of the Murray G. Ross Award, one of York’s highest honors for an undergraduate student! What are some of the accomplishments you are most proud of from your time at York?
I was deeply honoured to receive the Murray G. Ross Award, one of York’s highest honours for a graduating undergraduate student. A few years earlier, I won the Deborah Hobson Award for Student Leadership. Both of those awards recognized my contributions to the York University community. I am also proud that I was able to maintain high marks and earn my honours BA while giving back to the university and working full-time.


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