June Mills is passionate about using education as a means to foster global development. Pursuing an honours degree in international development, she has become deeply interested in global educational policies, and her desire to help and educate others has driven her to engage in many activities both on campus and internationally.
As the recipient of the Davies Family Arts International Internship Award, Mills pursued an opportunity offered by McGill’s Arts Internship Office to work with the Association for India’s Development (AID) this summer. She was able to intern in their education department, The Eureka Child Foundation, and visit rural areas while examining their primary education programs. From this, Mills compiled a report about the most effective teaching practices in classrooms, and was able to draw conclusions to help the organization better understand which teaching methods were best-suited to improving students’ scores. During her time abroad Mills also travelled around India, to places like New Delhi and Agra.
“I chose to go to India for two reasons: First, I have always wanted to travel [to] India and learn about a new culture, language, and history,” Mills said. “Secondly, I was very interested in the work with education that AID India does.”
Mills’ passion for global development also led her to get involved with the Dream Corps chapter at McGill. Dream Corps is an organization that works with local governments, schools, and educators in rural China to set up libraries, provide books, and run reading activities for children.
“I got involved with Dream Corps because I was born in China and was adopted at a young age,” Mills said. “I have been fortunate to grow up in Canada […] and this is a way for me to give back.” Throughout the year, Mills plans to hold fundraisers and information sessions in order to raise money towards sending books to libraries in China.
In addition to being a member of the Dream Corps chapter, Mills is an executive member of Best Buddies. Best Buddies is an international organization that fosters the inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in the community through friendship programs with student buddies. Mills has been a part of this program since she was in high school and is now the co-event director of the McGill chapter.
“I learned about Best Buddies in grade 10 at a leadership conference […] my friend and I loved the program so much we opened a chapter at our high school,” Mills explained.
On top of planning events like glee concerts and the Annual Art Auction, Mills maintains a positive relationship with her buddy of three years, Jonathan, through playing guitar and attending glee club rehearsals—her favourite activities to do together.
While education is important for Mills as a pillar for international development, she also places deep importance on her own education and is the recipient of the Duncan McCaskill Scholarship at McGill. Combining her desire to help others and enrich her own knowledge, she is currently a research assistant for Political Science assistant professor Megan Bradley. Mills decided to take on this position after taking and thoroughly enjoying Dr. Bradley’s course, POLI 359, on refugee politics.
Mills is excited to start the next chapter of her life, and she is shocked by how quickly her three years at McGill have flown by. She reminisces that one of her favourite memories at McGill was meeting people from all over the world during first year.
“I was in New Rez which was huge, but I was still able to meet many people,” Mills said. “I made closer friends here than I ever have, and going through all the ups and downs with those friends was fun and a bonding experience.”
Mills also cites immersing herself in the McGill community as one of the most valuable aspects of her time in university, and advises other students to do the same to get the most out their McGill experience.
“Don’t worry too much about your work,” Mills said. “Readings are definitely important, but it is also important to take advantage of every opportunity you get because you are only here for a couple years, and there are a lot of cool things that happen at McGill […] Take advantage of all your resources.”
Mills hopes to use the insight gained through her research assistant position, as well as her various other community service endeavours, as she looks into post-graduate paths such as law school and graduate studies programs. This way she can continue applying her passions and academic abilities to the real world and inspire positive change around her.