Then & Now: Megan Odd, BA Criminal Justice (’20), MA Sociology (’22)
Megan Odd graduated from Nipissing University with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice in 2020 and a Master of Arts in Sociology (MA Sociology) in 2022. During her time at Nipissing, Megan was actively engaged in her research and community as both an undergraduate and graduate student.
Born and raised in Powassan, Ontario, Megan is a self-described homebody with an affinity for the social sciences. As an undergraduate student, Megan found her passion for research while enrolled in Dr. Amir Erfani’s Quantitative Research Methods course, where she discovered that she could make a career of pursuing research and statistics in the social sciences.
In 2021, Megan was selected to present her undergraduate honours thesis research, Implementing the Eight-Lamp Amber-Red Warning Light System on School Buses in Ontario, to Ontario’s Legislative Assembly in support of Bill 246, the Safer School Buses Act. This experience along with her growing interest in research, led her to pursue the MA Sociology program.
While completing her master’s degree, Megan worked as a Housing and Homelessness Planner and Analyst at the District of Nipissing Social Services Administration Board (DNSSAB). She was responsible for coordinating the most recent point-in-time count of homelessness in the Nipissing region, submitting provincial shelter reports, and co-developing the District’s first Coordinated Access service system (Coordinated Access Nipissing). It was in this role that Megan honed in on her master’s thesis topic.
Entitled, “Locked Down by No Where to Go: Analysing Homelessness in the District of Nipissing, Ontario, Canada Before, At the Onset, and During the COVID-10 Pandemic (2018-2021)”, Megan’s thesis investigated the structural and individual-level barriers and factors that are associated with becoming homeless or remaining homeless, along with trends and sociodemographic variations in the reasons for homelessness, barriers to housing, and episodic and chronic homelessness. She successfully defended her thesis in 2022.
As a graduate student, Megan was the recipient of numerous awards and scholarships including two Ontario Graduate Scholarships. Her research also received funding through her supervisor’s SSHRC Insight Grant.
Megan continues her research on homelessness to this day. Together with her former thesis supervisor, Dr. Erfani, Megan is currently in the process of publishing a two manuscripts related to her thesis topic. She has also been selected to present at the 2023 Canadian Population Society Conference in Toronto.
Megan’s advice to up and coming researchers is to: “Always choose a topic you are interested in. If you are not interested in the topic, you will not enjoy the experience. Its important to also remember that you may not get the results you are looking for, which is okay. I have always lived by the philosophy that there is always room for improvement. Sometimes obtaining unintended results opens the door for something better.”
Following graduation, Megan transitioned from her role as Research Officer at Canadore College to Full-Time Professor at Canadore College in January 2023.
“The most rewarding aspect of being a professor is the ability to teach young minds about the topics I am so passionate about,” she said.
As a Nipissing alumnus, Megan enjoys sharing her experiences with the younger cohort while also maintaining connections with professors and students she’s met along the way.
“Attending Nipissing has impacted my life journey greatly,” she said. “I can hopefully be a symbol of the opportunities to come as a result of attending Nipissing University.”