PODS Spotlight: Dexter Docherty

Hi, I’m Dexter! I just finished my undergrad at McGill, completing an Honours History degree with minors in Philosophy and Economics. While studying at McGill, I took an interest in prison history and my experience with PODS has allowed me to develop some incredibly valuable skills and apply them to projects I am passionate about.

I have been interested in and involved with human rights work throughout my time at McGill. I previously did research with Laura Madokoro into the history of asylum offers in Canada, and I’m working with Dr. Cindy Blackstock and the McGill School of Social Work looking at the links between social work and social justice as part of the School’s 100th anniversary. I was also heavily involved with SSUNS, a Model United Nations conference for approximately 1200 high school kids held in Montreal each November. I was proud to work with countless incredible McGill students who dedicated their time to introducing kids to global issues and social justice. However, until this summer I was a humanities student with a very limited amount of quantitative experience.

PODS has given me the opportunity to transition out of a purely qualitative form of analysis. I have gotten the chance to contribute concrete suggestions for the future of major industries and institutions built upon my understanding of the past. I think that has been one of the most important aspects of PODS: the program recognized the important knowledge and perspectives that each of the fellows brought to the table and has given us all powerful tools to test our theories in a rigorous way and apply what we have learned in a meaningful way.

I have been very fortunate to be placed in an internship at the Institute for Research on Public Policy where I am working on the legalization of cannabis in Canada. I have been working with data from Colorado and Washington State as well as from Stats Canada and trying to figure out how Canadian policy makers can successfully eliminate the cannabis black market without endangering public health. It has been an exhilarating experience given how rapidly the cannabis industry is evolving both in Canada and the United States. The team here at the IRPP is amazing—they have been very welcoming and have created a space for me to do valuable and engaging work. (Also, Rufus the office pupper makes sure I never get too stressed out.)

PODS has been a truly wonderful experience. Our inaugural cohort has become a tight-knit community of passionate young people interested in making the world a more equitable place. I am so grateful for what this program has given me and the people I have gotten to work with this summer!

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