Glen is an Advocate
My name is Glen Pyle and I am a professor at the University of Guelph. My research program is interested in heart failure, including determining the molecular basis of heart failure and developing new therapies to treat heart failure.
I am originally from St. Catharines, Ontario, a city in southern Ontario that is just a short drive from the United States. Growing up my career ambitions shifted many times but one constant was an expectation that I would attend university. This expectation wasn’t one that was forced on me: no one in my family had gone beyond high school and even among my extended family and friends there were very few people who had gone to university. So, while getting a university degree was a lifelong ambition, the lack of information about how to achieve this goal was an obstacle.
I attended the University of Guelph for my undergraduate degree in Human Kinetics and planned on a career in athletic therapy or physiotherapy. But as I learned more about universities, research, and careers in academia I began to consider graduate school. Again, a lack of contact with people who had gone down this path before presented some difficulties. Fortunately for me a few of my professors were more than willing to share their experiences and help guide me through the process of applying to graduate schools. Once I decided to apply the process went extremely fast: within days of submitting my complete application to the University of Tennessee I received an invite to fly down for an interview the following week, and a few days after that an offer of admission arrived. Since then I have never looked back. After completing my doctorate at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center I did a 3 year American Heart Association fellowship at the University of Illinois in Chicago, and then returned to Canada for my first faculty appointment.
The development of the internet has certainly increased people’s exposure to post-secondary education and, in theory, enhanced accessibility. However, in my experience dealing with students the process of applying to undergraduate and graduate schools remains daunting when prospective students have no one to answer questions. They feel embarrassed to ask or assume that acceptance to post-secondary education is not a real possibility. It is my hope that by participating in this project we will be able to demonstrate by example that university education is not an opportunity open to a select few. Many students are capable of succeeding in university at both the undergraduate and graduate levels and that what they need is someone to answer their questions and show them that post-secondary education is an obtainable goal.
Dr. Glen Pyle