Zarine Ahmed, graduate program coordinator in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, was nominated for a profile in Gradschool e-news by one of the students she's helped.
Zarine Ahmed vividly remembers Convocation last fall.
Chosen as gonfalon bearer for the Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education(KPE), she had the best seat in the house from which to view the proceedings: on stage at Convocation Hall. “When I saw KPE graduate students coming up to accept their diplomas, I was so proud,” she says, adding that she knew each of them well.
Before coming to KPE, Zarine gained a wealth of experience supporting graduate students both at the Rotman School of Management and at the Faculty of Medicine. Though she took a brief hiatus from the University and contemplated a different career path, her love of working within the graduate community prompted her return.
“Graduate students are so committed, self-disciplined and open to learning,” she says, “I realized what I really wanted to do was to support graduate students through their programs. When I came back to U of T, I knew I was in the right place.”
In her role as Graduate Program Coordinator at KPE, Zarine comes to know graduate students across the full cycle of their programs; she is as actively involved in the initial recruitment and admissions stages as she is in students’ final steps towards graduation. She has also spearheaded initiatives such as an online portal for awards and TA applications, and has developed a monthly e-newsletter with upcoming events and deadlines. In collaboration with embedded service providers within KPE, she piloted a Professional Development Workshop Series that tackled topics such as conference etiquette and searching for careers within and beyond academia. Not least, Zarine has been instrumental in the launch of the Faculty’s new Master of Professional Kinesiology (MPK) program, recruiting new students as well as creating new processes and services specifically for professional graduate students.
In recognition for her work—particularly on the e-news and student handbooks projects—she received the Award of Excellence for Staff Initiative in 2017.
Zarine has clearly found her home in U of T’s graduate community. As a PhD candidate in the Department of Exercise Sciences explained to Gradschool e-news: “It’s not so much one particular question that Zarine has answered, but all of them. She handles so many of us grad students and all of our questions with friendliness, patience, speed, and accuracy […] we all think so highly of her here.”