My Grandma from the Island, My Mother from the Farm

  • Patricia Roussel Durham University
Keywords: first-generation college, higher education, family, female role models, ancestral histories


“My Grandma from the Island, My Mother from the Farm” is a reflective piece meant to give credit where credit is due in the first-generation university story of Patricia Roussel. From a small town in northern Ontario, Canada, Roussel has had an unconventional degree path at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, beginning her studies during the COVID lockdown and studying abroad at Durham University, England. Drawing from the shared experiences of her grandmother and mother, Roussel pays tribute to the lives of these incredible women and their unfaltering independence, family devotion, and abounding love. For Roussel, her grandmother and mother exemplify what it is to be a strong woman, supporting her university experience.