A Conference for Students with Family Responsibilities

Join us on Friday, May 14th for a conference created to help students navigate the challenges of balancing family responsibilities with education. We hope that the conference will help students explore resources and supports available to them, and give them an opportunity to get together and network.


8:45 a.m. — 9:15 a.m. Refreshments & Registration
9:15 a.m. — 9:45 a.m. Welcome & Keynote Address: Karlene Nation (CTV)
9:45 a.m. — 10:45 a.m. 1. Presenting Yourself and Your Case Effectively to University Staff and Faculty
10:45 a.m. — 11:00 a.m. Break
11:00 a.m. — 12:30 p.m. 2. Time and Stress Management for Students with Family Responsibilities
12:30 p.m. — 1:30 p.m. Lunch Break
1:30 p.m. — 2:30 p.m. 3A. Optimal Brain Nutrition for Busy Parents and Caregivers 3B. Mindfulness in Your Daily Life
2:30 p.m. — 2:45 p.m. Afternoon Break
2:45 p.m. — 4:15 p.m. 4A. Finding “Family Friendly” Work 4B. Parenting Without Anger

Conference Details

Keynote Speaker: Karlene Nation, Diversity Producer/ Reporter, CTV News Toronto.
Karlene Nation is a well-known reporter and producer for CTV News Toronto and an African Canadian Achievement Award winner. Karlene is a political science graduate from the University of Toronto and has also completed a two-year journalism program at Humber College. While at school, she juggled the demands of work and parenthood, something that many of U of T students with family responsibilities are very familiar with. In her current position as CTV’S Diversity Producer – Karlene is responsible for helping to increase the presence of diverse groups in mainstream stories in CTV’s local and national news programs. A popular motivational speaker – Karlene encourages young people to dream big dreams and to pursue their goals with a passion.

1. Presenting Yourself and Your Case Effectively to University Staff and Faculty

Students with family responsibilities have a lot on their plate! When a problem arises — be it academic, family related, or professional — advocating for oneself and one’s family can feel like a daunting task, particularly if the stakes are high! Traditionally defined as the “art of persuasion”, rhetoric is a powerful tool that students with family responsibilities can utilize to better communicate with University Staff and Faculty through the written word. What is the best way to present one’s case? How can emotions be conveyed strategically and diplomatically? When writing a letter, what should come first – the presentation of the problem or the suggested solution? This workshop will touch upon these questions by focusing on the strategic use of rhetoric in writing.

Facilitator: Dr. Viktoria Jovanovic-Krstic, Writing & Rhetoric, Innis College. Dr. Jovanovic-Krstic brings with her years of experience in English stylistics and grammar, as well as business and technical communications from various academic institutions across Canada and Europe. Her main areas of research and interest are the rhetoric of war, spinning and framing tactics in the press, grammar, persuasive writing and business communication. Perhaps more importantly, Viktoria is also a mom of two young children who is no stranger to the life of a student with family responsibilities!

Co-Facilitator: Karolina Szymanski, Assistant Programming Officer, School of Graduate Studies.

2. Time and Stress Management for Students with Family Responsibilities

Is time and time management making you stressed? And stress messing with your time management? In this workshop, designed for students with family responsibilities, we will examine the relationship between time and stress, identify strategies to improve time and stress management and practice some basic skills.

Facilitator: Andrea Graham, Learning Skills Counsellor, Academic Success Centre, U of T.

3A. Optimal Brain Nutrition for Busy Parents and Caregivers

In this session, we will discuss key nutrients needed to support brain function and mood enhancement, where to get these nutrients from food and how to incorporate them into your diet.

Facilitator: Jane Sloan, a Registered Nutritional Consulting Practitioner and a Registered Holistic Allergist, Healing Rituals.

3B. Mindfulness in Your Daily Life

A lot of stress comes from either worrying about the past or planning for the future, and we forget to be where we are — doing the best we can in this moment. In this workshop you will learn how to bring Mindfulness into your daily activities and foster qualities of awareness in mind and body to decrease stress.

Facilitator: Cheryl Champagne, Health and Wellness at St. George campus, U of T.

4A. Finding “Family Friendly” Work

Learn and plan how to find work that will fit into your life and your family responsibilities. This hands-on session will provide an exchange of career information, ideas and strategies that will help you with all aspects of the career development process such as resume writing and identifying family-friendly employers.

Facilitator: Elena Pizzamiglio, Career Counsellor, Career Centre, University of Toronto.

4B. Parenting Without Anger

All parents get angry, but if you feel that anger is having a negative impact on your family, this workshop is for you. In it you will learn: How to recognize and cope with anger triggers, the positive and negative aspects of anger, why you get angry, the impact of anger on your children, and how to change the cycle of anger through the learning and development of essential parenting skills.

Facilitator: Karen Skinulis, co-author of three books for parents and teachers, a Certified Montessori Director, Parent Talk.