Convocation 2023: Meet Catherine Kyakuhaire
“My university experience has been one of the best things that has happened in my life."
Coming to U of T
Catherine was already volunteering at the University of Toronto with the U of T African Alumni Association (UTAAA) when she decided to pursue her studies at U of T. Her academic journey began in the Transitional Year Programme, where she met a group of friends, who became each other’s support system. Catherine recalls that TYP was a great pillar for her education. She says, “It was intense, but it shaped me into the person I am today and prepared me so well for my degree.”
When she started her Bachelor of Arts degree, she double majored in Women and Gender Studies and Equity Studies. It was a natural fit, as she was interested in learning more about the social and political systems we live in. She was already passionate about women’s issues, single motherhood, and was also an advocate for mental health in her community. A highlight of her studies was participating in a seminar course, WGS460, where she completed a research project on single motherhood living in public housing.
Outside of the Classroom
Catherine is a strong proponent of community and enjoys participating in volunteer activities that allow her to de-stress, give back and support others. Throughout her degree, she stayed involved with the UTAAA, assisting with events such as their mental health seminars, mentorship programs, Refugee Awareness Week and The Gown Ceremony.
She also volunteers with Women Empowering Positive Women (WEPW), helping women make and sell crafts.
The Next Chapter
Upon reflecting on her degree, Catherine is feeling accomplished and proud. Being a mature student and a single mother, it wasn’t always easy juggling everything. She is grateful for her strong support system and friends. Especially those who she met while at TYP - Amal Mohamoud, Alisha McDonald, Matin Osarieme Ogbeiwi, Cecilia Flanders and Floria Kangootu.
“My university experience has been one of the best things that has happened in my life. I took advantage of the Writing Centre at Woodsworth, connected with professors, found my support system, and enjoyed the libraries and the U of T campus. I tried to make the most of it and exhausted all opportunities.”
She is also grateful for the scholarships and bursaries she received through Woodsworth College, one of those being the Brookfield Peter F. Bronfman Scholarships: “I do not know how to express how grateful I am. It is unbelievable how fortunate I have been. Not only did the scholarships make a difference my life, but they made a difference in my kids’ lives too.”
As for the future, Catherine is passionate about single motherhood issues, mental health and alleviating homelessness and may potentially pursue graduate studies in these fields.
Alumni Opportunity: Get Involved in Governing Council
Are you an alumni member committed to the mission of Canada’s leading institution of learning, discovery, and knowledge creation? Are you looking for a way to make a significant volunteer contribution to the University of Toronto? Read about two distinguished volunteer opportunities available with the U of T Governing Council.
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