Jessa McAuliffe, honours graduate of the Bachelor of Paralegal Studies Honours Degree is commencing a Ph.D. in Canadian Studies at Trent University in September 2021, after completing their M.A. in Canadian Studies & Indigenous Studies at Trent.
Jessa was awarded the Dean’s Ph.D. Scholarship and the John Wadland Scholarship in Canadian Studies to recognize their academic achievements. At Trent University, Jessa is employed as a Teaching Assistant in the Department of Sociology and a Graduate Research Assistant in the Social Change Lab, led by Canada Research Chair, Dr. Naomi Nichols.
Jessa’s Master’s research focused on the challenges for transgender Access to Civil Justice in Ontario, by examining transgender marginalization as it relates to socio-legal barriers, more broadly, and to civil law in particular. This research was informed by Jessa’s Capstone Project for Access to Justice, the Paralegal Studies capstone course. In their Capstone Project, Jessa analyzes the need for policy reform to address trans* experiences with the law.
At Humber, Jessa received a stellar program GPA of 93% while being actively involved on campus. They worked as a Lead Student Ambassador and successfully represented Humber in several mooting competitions. With their mooting partner Breanne Peacock, they placed in the top 16 at the 2019 Osgoode Cup Mooting Competition out of 112 teams. In 2018, they were a quarter-finalist at the Capital Cup Mooting Competition out of 65 teams, and a top 16 finisher at the Osgoode Cup Mooting Competition out of 109 teams. During their first year at Humber, Jessa’s co-authored work on the Crown treatment of Indigenous Peoples in Canada was published in the Humber Journal of Paralegal Access to Justice 2017. Jessa was also the Dean’s Award recipient of 2019-2020 for their outstanding commitment to academic studies, the Business School, and the Humber community.
Jessa’s experience in the Paralegal Studies honours degree program has provided a strong foundation for their graduate studies. They believe courses such as the Indigenous Legal Perspectives, Access to Justice Capstone Course, Administrative Law, and Legal Research, exceedingly prepared them for success in their paralegal licensing exam and beyond. They are extremely grateful to all faculty, support staff, and students in the Paralegal Studies honours degree program – and would like to especially acknowledge Dr. Karen Schucher and Professor Shirley Wales for their ongoing support!
Post-Ph.D., Jessa hopes to obtain a teaching position at a post-secondary institution that brings together their interests in gender and social justice. Additionally, Jessa aspires to open a non-profit organization with their partner Kira, that combines legal services, mutual aid, and arts-based liberation for queer and trans* communities.