Congratulations to Emilie Hill-Smith, who is graduating this year from the Child Studies program and who was invited to deliver a paper on her research at the 2018 National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) in Oklahoma City in the US.
Emilie Goes to Oklahoma: Child Studies Student Presents Research on History of Palliative Care
When Emilie Hill-Smith arrived in Ottawa to study Child Studies four years ago, RogerNeilsonHouse looked like the best place to volunteer in her spare time. And what started as community work ended up changing the course of her studies. The small, recent, research-based place of care, which belongs to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), was fully in tune with what mattered to her and her Carleton University-based program. Children and youth with chronic illness who went there to spend the last days their life, or to give respite to their families for a few days, participated in the running of the institution as much as was possible. So did their families. Emilie chose to work on the “Family Support/Play and Learn Volunteer” side of the program. She enrolled in 60 hours of Pediatric Palliative Training before she starting, using the experience of older hospices. Since then she has spent four hours, one day a week, with one child at a time, to help make their stay and their life better. She played at their rhythm, using the ways of communicating they, their families, and the social workers of Rogers’ House have found to be the best.
For her Honours’ Thesis, Emilie analyzed her experience to find which kind of knowledge and which kind of history informed the practices of the House. She investigated the archives of CHEO. Her project includes passages based on her own experience, a genealogy of the influences on the founders and workers, a reflection on the rights of children at the end of their lives, and a list of small suggestions.
The seriousness and the importance of Emilie’s project earned her a place at the National Conference of Undergraduate Research at the beginning of April 2018. During this conference, along with 4,000 other undergraduate students, she was able to present her work in front of other interested students. Earlier this Spring, she presented her findings to a smaller audience at the 2018 Inquiry@Queen’s Undergraduate Research Conference.
Emile worked on her thesis for 18 months, supervised by historians of childhood Monica Patterson and Dominique Marshall. To help her better understand her volunteer work, she enrolled in courses in medical anthropology. This will be the discipline of the Master’s program she will start at Carleton next September.