Joining the Family: My Student Placement Experience, Part 2

The Vanier Institute of the Family engages post-secondary undergraduates to post-doctoral students through academic placements, internships and projects. The Institute recently welcomed Algonquin College Professional Writing student Monique Veselovsky, who has put her skills and knowledge into practice by becoming a member of the Institute team for the duration her placement. This is the second of a two-part blog post in which Monique describes her experience, goals, objectives and achievements as a student on placement.

Monique Veselovsky

My time at the Vanier Institute of the Family is coming to a close. As I complete my final projects and prepare to say goodbye, I’ve been reflecting on all I have accomplished while on placement. The team is small, and the atmosphere is collaborative and engaging. The content I’ve written for the Vanier Institute will be published with my name on it, though I was always collaborating – all of my drafts were reviewed and revisited several times over by multiple team members. This process has enhanced my skills as a writer and brought my pieces to a level I wouldn’t have been able to achieve on my own.

While working at the Vanier Institute, I was able to take on a variety of tasks. These included two personal blog posts about my placement experience, a book review, a fact sheet and various other research and writing opportunities. I was also able to flex my copy-editing muscles, an essential skill for any writer. A unique opportunity allowed me to coordinate the production of a large publication, a collaborative effort involving over 30 organizations from across Canada. My team members have helped me understand the importance of building relationships and encouraging partnerships to facilitate knowledge-sharing.

What I have enjoyed the most over the past six weeks is that the Vanier Institute has given me the freedom to explore a topic of personal interest related to families. I have chosen to explore the impact of incarceration on families. I have previously explored incarceration on both the individual and the systemic level, and I have appreciated the opportunity to grow and expand my knowledge from a different perspective. There’s a great deal to learn about the impact of incarceration on families in Canada, and I hope my contributions will raise levels of awareness of the impact it can have on family experiences.

After many years pursuing social justice and spending time in the social services sector, I have come to appreciate the strength-based lens the Vanier Institute applies to a variety of topics related to the family. They seek understanding. As an avid truth-seeker, it has also been a positive experience for me to develop my research skills and exercise critical thinking. My biggest learning curve has been in maintaining the tone of the organization.

Writing has typically been an emotional outlet for me, and the Vanier Institute has allowed me to apply my writing skills in a professional setting. I have been able to write about things I have learned while maintaining a non-partisan, non-policy prescriptive voice. Adapting my skills to the professional setting has been a valuable learning experience, one that will surely benefit me as I continue on my journey as a professional writer.


Monique Veselovsky is a professional writer living in Ottawa. She is putting her skills and knowledge into practice during her six-week internship at the Institute.


Suggested Reading

Joining the Family: My Student Placement Experience, Part 1, by Monique Veselovsky

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