Archival Research Experience: Meet Ainsley Pelley

The Community-Student Research Connections Program (CSRCP) sees Cape Breton University students working alongside organizations to address the business’ project needs. Ainsley Pelley, a Bachelor of Arts student with an Honours in Psychology is one of the CBU Students taking part in the program.

Ainsley has been paired up with the Chestico Museum and Historical Society for the summer, and despite having only course-related research experience previously, has greatly enjoyed her time with the museum thus far. She is currently working from home, and says her experience on the project has been pleasant.

Ainsley, who will be starting her third year at CBU this September, was informed about CSRCP by her Research Methods in Psychology professor Dr. Erin Robertson. “My project involves doing archival research regarding the connections between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations living in and around the Port Hood area throughout history,” Ainsley explains. “The goal is to find any relevant documents, recordings or images that will provide insight into the relationships between these groups of people, and I will provide the information I find to the Chestico Museum and Historical Society in an informal literature review once my research is complete.”

A resident of Sydney, Ainsley chose CBU because it’s close to home and says that her university experience has had its highs and lows. “From being completely online for my first year and switching my program from a Bachelor of Science to a BA, to finally taking classes on campus and meeting professors and classmates in person, it’s been quite a journey,” she shares. “But I have to say I’m very happy with where I am now.” In the long run, Ainsley aims to complete a master’s degree and have a career as a Clinical Psychologist with her own private practice.

At CBU, students are encouraged to partake in activities that are not restricted to academics, and for Ainsley, participating and volunteering in societies and campus events has been thoroughly enjoyable. “The thing I enjoy most about being a student at CBU is being part of the Psychology Society,” says Ainsley. “Through the society I’ve become a Psychology Ambassador and Student Liaison of the Psychology Society Executive, and through these positions I’ve been able to take part in some amazing events. One such event was the PLL4 (Psychology of Language Learning) conference held at CBU this past June. Volunteering at this conference allowed me to meet psycholinguists from all over the world while representing CBU and Cape Breton, and I’m very grateful for that experience.”

Ainsley encourages others to follow suit and get involved. “Join a CBU society, go to campus events, volunteer with different CBU organizations, find jobs on campus, try anything that’ll make being on campus feel more worthwhile if you find that classes alone aren’t enough,” she recommends.

She advocates for CSRCP and advises other students to take up similar opportunities. “It’s a great way to build your resume and make some money during the summer, and specifically with the CSRCP, students only have to work 100 hours, meaning there’s plenty of time to pursue other opportunities and enjoy the summer simultaneously,” she says.