Olubiyi (Mark) Ariba | Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies

Olubiyi (Mark) Ariba

Portrait of graduate student Olubiyi Mark Ariba (MA, Political Science) at the University of Guelph

2022 MA Political Science

Advice for Prospective Grad Students...

Always ask for help. When in doubt, ask; When not in doubt, ask. Enrolment in graduate courses can be very small, and grad life can sometimes feel isolating; so, try to form great bonds with other grad students. You have a lot in common! Try to take some time off to have fun, and when you inevitably encounter students pulling a tractor in September, do the opposite of what I did; and be cool! If you can, participate in the 3-minute thesis competition (3MT); it's a lot of fun!


Political Science

Why I chose Guelph?

I chose to complete my graduate studies in Political science at the University of Guelph because of the strength of the department in public policy research, the generous funding I was afforded, and because of the University's reputation for creating and encouraging collegial spaces where Interdisciplinary work can flourish.

A bit about my path... 

I originally began my academic journey in STEM, and I discovered that I enjoyed my social science courses far more than my physics courses. From the process of applying to the University of Guelph, and to this very moment, I am the physical embodiment of the sentiment that "it takes a village". I have received incredible mentorship, advice and support from the most amazing people that make up the faculty at the University of Guelph. Dr. Candace Johnson, Dr. Paras, Dr. Simmons, Dr. Briggs, Dr. Small, Dr. Koning, Dr. Lee and so many others. I am here because I always asked for help, took their critiques to heart and listened to my colleagues. T.S. Eliot writes in Little Gidding that "We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started, and know the place for the first time.” This is graduate studies in a nutshell, and the University of Guelph engenders this sentiment more than anywhere else I have been.

How my research Improves Life...

My research focused on descriptive representation (DR) in the creation of public policy. I began to study DR because I realized that certain limitations and dangers of DR were undertheorized. I spoke to Professor Johnson about my research, she agreed to be my supervisor and she gave me advice on how to narrow the scope of my research.

My research hopes to demonstrate the ways that contrary to the intuitive expectations about descriptive representation, it can sometimes end up limiting the policy horizon and reducing public policy prescriptions. I have also had the opportunity to join the GET lab run by Dr. Monique Deveaux and Dr. Candace Johnson, where we are encouraged to think about (and show) how theory becomes praxis.

About my advisor...

I had an amazing (amazing!) relationship with my advisor (Dr. Candace Johnson). I spoke with her every week, and I cannot overstate the impact she had on my pedagogical process and my academic research.

My plans after graduation...

I have been fortunate enough to be accepted to some PhD programs in political science, and I plan to begin my doctorate. I can honestly and confidently say that my time at the University of Guelph is the biggest reason I am proceeding onto a doctorate program. From the rigorous advice on how to apply for funding; to the professors I met here who taught me to recognize how good research should be done, the University of Guelph has been an invaluable asset.