Grad Caroline McQuade on the Value of Mentors 

While convocation will be a celebration of Caroline McQuade’s commitment to her academics, it’s also recognition of the supportive community she gained through her involvement at St. Michael’s. On Thursday, she will receive an Honours Bachelor of Arts with a major in sociology and a double minor in English and women and gender studies. 

Caroline McQuade

“When I came into university, I came in with the mindset that I was going to be very independent. I wanted to focus on school and do well. It was easy to become wrapped up in my grades and GPA, which was important. At St. Mike’s, I met all these amazing people who supported me and helped shape what I wanted to do that really rounded out my university experience,” says Caroline.  

Caroline met many of these amazing people through St. Michael’s Peer Mentorship Program. With classes being offered solely online in her first year, her gateway into college life was through mentorship. She describes her first-year mentor as exceptional —she helped her navigate her first year and offered guidance on possible career paths—they remain friends today.  

Due to the pandemic, Caroline didn’t step foot on campus until her second year. As a commuter student, she was sometimes on campus all day and needed a place where she could do some reading or unwind between classes. She found the COOP. 

“It was the people that really drew me to St. Mike’s. It was so easy to get lost in lecture halls that could have 1,500 people. It was nice to have somewhere to go where I knew people and people knew me,” she says.  

Wanting to give other first-year students the same experience she had, she became a Mentor in her third year and in her final year she became a Senior Mentor in charge of the events portfolio. In the later role, she organized events to help mentees and mentors bond, including a Halloween scavenger hunt, Christmas cookie decorating, and a painting event in January for Mental Wellness Month. The most popular proved to be a new event for the mentorship program, an Iftar dinner to celebrate Ramadan in March that brought together more than100 people. 

“We wanted to create events that were inclusive for everyone,” she says.  She attributes the event’s success to working across organizations. For the Ramadan event they collaborated with the Muslim Students Association (MSA), Victoria College’s Student Association (VUSAC), and St. Michael’s College Student Union (SMCSU). 

“It’s great pulling from different groups on campus because everyone brings their ideas and we were able to reach a larger pool of students,” she says. 

In September, she’ll embark on a Master’s degree in Industrial Relations and Human Resources at the University of Toronto, a decision that was formed with the help of her first-year mentor.  When Caroline was unsure what she wanted to do after graduation, her mentor, an Industrial Relations and Human Resources major, encouraged her to take a couple courses in undergrad to see if she liked it.  

“It was a mix of her exposing me to the industry, but also my own experience and realizing that I want to be the person responsible for making a workplace inclusive, positive, equal, and fair,” she says. 

More Convocation 2024:

Grad Para Babuharan on Finding His Community

Grad Vanessa Choi on Paying it Forward 

Grad Patrick Elo on Crossing the Finish Line

Grad Patrick Policicchio on Research, Connection and Belonging

Grad Anita Rajkumar on Giving Back to her Community