While home for Christmas, I had the pleasure of spending some time with Cheryl MacDonald, an Activist, Postdoctoral Researcher and Accomplished Entrepreneur. She was gracious enough to let me interview her so that I could share with you how much of a Boss Lady this amazing woman is! Allow me to introduce to you, Dr. Cheryl MacDonald!
During my interview with Cheryl, she began her story with her childhood in Moncton, New Brunswick. She grew up speaking both French and English, and although her family was financially successful, Cheryl was only rewarded when she worked hard and maintained good behaviour.
Being self-sufficient, living for yourself and being independent were values instilled in her from a young age by her Mother. Cheryl knew that if she wanted to maintain a privileged lifestyle, she was going to have to get a good education and work hard.
That lead her to speak about the schools she attended and places she travelled to in order to attain her PhD:
- 1 Yr in Science at Mount Allison University (NB)
- Honours Degree Majoring in Sociology & Minoring in Atlantic Canadian Studies at Saint Mary’s (NS)
- Masters in Sociology at Concordia University (QC)
- PhD in Social & Cultural Analysis at Concordia University (QC)
While in University, Cheryl helped pay for her education by beginning her own Cupcake Business, called Cupcake & Kelëla. She is an extremely accomplished and talented baker, and did well selling her products at various Farmer’s Markets, as well as filling private orders.
Once she completed her education, Dr. Cheryl MacDonald received employment as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Alberta. There, she spends her time teaching and doing research, specializing in Sexual Minority Studies and Services. One of her primary areas of research pertains to sexuality & homophobia in ice hockey.
When asked what inspired her field of study, she explained that hockey has always been a passion of hers. When she was 12 years old, Cheryl met Canadian female Olympic hockey player, Stacy Wilson, who quickly became her role model. Later, in University, Cheryl and her boyfriend at the time, both played hockey. She became very interested in the behavioural differences between his boy’s team and her girl’s team.
Cheryl MacDonald on having a role model like Stacy Wilson: “Look at women you want to be like and see what they’re doing. Be unique, but also have role models. There are lots of people to look up to who are setting great examples.”
Cheryl’s research is extremely multi-faceted, but includes speaking with and interviewing former NHL Players about their attitude toward homosexuality and their experiences. She also does research on Twitter based on the public reception to homophobic slurs among NHL Players and other male hockey players.
Now, in addition to her research at the University of Alberta, she is involved in a number of fundraising and educational initiatives on the same subject across Canada:
- Cheryl volunteers for the You Can Play Project- A Non-Profit Organization which seeks to promote the inclusion of LGBT athletes in sports. Not only does she volunteer, she is actually the Co-Chair of the Western Canadian Board.
- Organizer of the You Can Play Project & Canadian Olympic Committee Contingence: Organized 3 Pride Parades across the country (Halifax, Edmonton & Calgary)
- Participated in & Organized a 5 km run in Moncton for the You Can Play Project
- Gives Educational Presentations in Moncton & Edmonton about the acceptance of LGBT people into sports
- Is a writer on the blog hockeyinsociety.com – exploring critical social issues in hockey.
“You can be in charge of changing the world.” – Cheryl MacDonald
When asked about her aim with all of her research, fundraising and presentations, she explains that she hopes “to make the hockey industry become a safer place, as it can be insular for LGBT, ethnic and racial minorities.” She wants everyone to feel safe while participating.
How is that for a Boss Lady?! Way to go, Dr. Cheryl MacDonald. Thank you for everything you do. You have certainly inspired me to begin asking important questions about gender issues in activities and being more aware.
More About Cheryl:
What are your plans for 2018?
“I have applied for a 2nd Postdoc at the Centre for Study of Sport and Health in Halifax, Nova Scotia. There, I would be studying the effectiveness of my presentations on Homophobia in Ice Hockey.” Cheryl would like to study what the hockey players got out of the presentations and what she could do better.
If she doesn’t do the 2nd Postdoc, Cheryl might look into opening an ice cream business and continuing her baking!
She is clearly ambitious, intelligent, and hard working. No doubt that Boss Lady Cheryl MacDonald will have no problem achieving everything she wants out of life. I wish her well and I thank her for sharing her wisdom and her journey thus far with me. Hopefully, she inspires you just as much as she inspires me!
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