KatCatherine Schwartz
I graduated from the Centre for Comparative Literature’s PhD program in 2016. On the first day of school, then-director Neil ten Kortenaar said that this was a time to “learn how you think” and to explore new ideas. He was right. Being at the Centre gave me the opportunity to exchange ideas with incredible students and faculty, to teach undergraduates, to travel, and to pursue research in some wonderful archives.

The privilege to learn how I think made me realize that I did not want to become a professor. Completing the PhD for its own sake—rather than as a path toward an academic career—was exciting and challenging. After graduating, it became clear that a doctoral degree in Comparative Literature doesn’t only prepare you for academia. It fosters a wide range of unique and sought-after skills. The completion of my doctorate was instrumental in securing a role as a Proposal Specialist at a law firm in Montreal. Specifically, the PhD program trained me to express complex ideas clearly, to manage a wide range of projects simultaneously, and to form and defend arguments. My job often requires me to travel to Toronto, where I get to see old friends—many of whom I met at the Centre, and who continue to push me to explore new ideas.



irinaIrina Sadovina
After defending my PhD in 2018, I moved to the States to teach Russian language and literature at the University of Missouri. As a Visiting Assistant Professor, I get to teach both undergrads fulfilling their language requirements and graduate students pursuing their own projects. It’s fun and meaningful to witness people’s processes of figuring things out. This is something that I have become attuned to while working on my PhD at the Centre for Comparative Literature. CompLit trains you to recognize that the best academic projects are idiosyncratic for a reason. They are accounts of people feeling out for something as yet unsaid, which, when articulated, can shake up the received wisdom and accepted lingo of several academic fields. Yes, I’m optimistic about comparative thinking!




SaraiSarah O’Brien
I completed my PhD in Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto in 2012. Being a student at the Centre for Comparative Literature allowed me to pursue interdisciplinary research interests in literature and film, to develop teaching expertise in a range of courses, to live in the incredible city of Toronto, and to make lifelong friends with fellow students and faculty. After completing my degree, I was a Marion L. Brittain Postdoctoral Fellow at the Georgia Institute of Technology. I am now an assistant professor, general faculty, in the Department of English at the University of Virginia, where I teach writing courses that position human-animal difference and film, television, and other media as the grounding matter for critical inquiry. I live in Richmond, Virginia with my husband and two dogs.