After hearing about the MRSc program over the years from her colleagues at Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children, MRSc 2017 graduate Ivonne Montgomery decided to enroll to further develop her evidence-based practice and research skills, with a focus on handwriting challenges in school-aged children. Frustrated with the lack of accessible tools for children with handwriting challenges, Ivonne had co-created a user-friendly, free to download, easily accessible program called Printing Like a Pro! She then used her passion for research to evaluate the effectiveness of this program through her MRSc Major Project: Applying Printing Like a Pro! in a School-based Printing Club: A Pilot Study. With advice from her supervisor Dr. Jill Zwicker, Ivonne successfully completed this study, providing the first empirical evidence supporting the effectiveness of Printing Like a Pro!. Dissemination of research findings will help to spread the word and empower therapists, educators and parents to utilize this program to help those children who struggle with handwriting.
In terms of the MRSc program itself, Ivonne feels that her workplace at Sunny Hill benefits from her enhanced evidence-based practice, research and knowledge translation skills. She values the fact that the Major Project allowed her to learn how to successfully carry out research. Ivonne expressed that she “[feels] like [she has] the research skills [after the MRSc Program]” to conduct further research and has many ideas for future research projects.
When asked what advice she would give to those considering online graduate studies, Ivonne says that one should “go for it! It is time and energy well spent; for our profession, it is beneficial. It is so personalized to your interests.” She notes the supportive aspect of the program and the various excellent networking opportunities that also arose throughout the program.