Connecting with: Sylvie Spraakman

While the U of T campus is closed to the public, in-person classes and non-essential lab work, an attempt is being made to connect with individuals continuing to work from home. This is part of a regular series to help bring us together as we remain apart during this public health crisis.


Sylvie Spraakman at her kitchen table work-from-home setup, with cat Jack in the window.


Sylvie Spraakman, CivE PhD candidate

Sylvie Spraakman is a civil engineering PhD candidate, working on “Mature performance of stormwater bioretention systems” under supervisor Prof. Jennifer Drake.

She shares her perspective as a graduate student now working from home.

Jack the cat taking up his position in the nice office chair.

I’m in the final stretches of my PhD, so thankfully when WFH [work from home] was required, I had already wrapped up most field and lab work, and was focusing on data analysis and writing.

I like working from home, and so I do have a good home office setup. I need to share that now with my partner, who usually works in an office, so we switch up using the office or using the kitchen table as an office.

My cat Jack is my constant office companion. He really likes that we’re both home now.

With the shorter commute time now, and the lack of other activities in the evening, I’ve had a lot of time for my hobbies and chatting with friends and family. My partner and I love board games, so we’ve been finding ways to play games with others – U of T’s pro Zoom account has been a huge help in that respect. I also like knitting, reading, watching movies, and gardening. We’ve just started a bunch of seeds that we’ll plant in containers on our balcony in late May.

An online group video chat with Sylvie Spraakman’s research group. Sylvie is at bottom right of screen.

I keep in touch with my research group and supervisor regularly about three to four times per week. I’m keenly aware of all the things I’m suddenly grateful for: my research work for keeping me occupied, to have a job that continues from at-home, and for the health of my family and friends.

By Sylvie Spraakman

The work from home setup at the kitchen table. Note the board games the laptop is stacked upon.