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Meet our Faculty Researcher - Rhiannon Buffett

Oct 13, 2023 | Research Centre

Rhiannon Buffett Photo

Meet Rhiannon Buffett, an esteemed faculty member of the School of Sport and Recreation who specializes in Recreation Therapy. Rhiannon's story is a tribute to her dedication to the field and her aspiration for inclusive and community-focused research. Rhiannon completed an honours degree in Kinesiology with a minor in Psychology from McMaster University. After her undergraduate studies, she pursued a postgraduate diploma in Therapeutic Recreation at Georgian College. She worked at One Kids Place Children's Medical Treatment Centre for a remarkable 15 years as a Therapeutic Recreationist, where she dedicated herself to supporting children and youth with disabilities in their recreational pursuits. Rhiannon considered her role an absolute honour.

Rhiannon gained a unique perspective from her experience at One Kids Place. She realized that communities could be considered clients and set a mission to empower community recreation providers to be more inclusive and supportive of everyone. She began her academic journey in 2009 as a teacher in the Therapeutic Recreation program at Georgian College. In 2017, she became part of the Canadore College team and later transitioned to a full-time faculty role in the School of Sport and Recreation, specializing in Recreation Therapy.

When asked about what she finds most rewarding in her position at Canadore, Rhiannon highlights the significance of connections and teamwork. She takes great pleasure in observing students thrive in their chosen professions and recognizes that their achievements demonstrate the College's wider impact. Rhiannon actively links up with community providers and organizations to support their endeavours, providing students with valuable chances for hands-on learning.

Rhiannon's research interests align with the "The Village," an initiative providing programming and support to older adults in North Bay. She envisions the initiative growing to include people of different ages and abilities. Witnessing students re-engage with programming and connect with community members upon their return to onsite learning after the pandemic filled Rhiannon with hope. She wishes to see the growth of special projects, program facilitation, and partnerships. She has also established connections with Recreation Therapists in long-term care, assisted living, and retirement facilities through her participation in Social Robots research. Her goal is to utilize the findings from this research to assist healthcare and human care service providers in their work, ultimately enhancing efficiency, holistic care, and a client-centred approach.

Although Rhiannon is relatively new to research, her passion is evident. While working at One Kids Place, she and her team successfully obtained community grants to evaluate the effects of a social recreation program on children and adolescents with disabilities and their families. Rhiannon advises her peers who are interested in research, to take note of recurring questions or themes that arise in their work. She recommends contacting the Research Center to investigate potential research prospects if these questions have not been addressed in previous research.

For students, Rhiannon emphasizes that research is more than just analyzing data and reading scientific journals. It requires them to review previous literature, connect it to their work, and communicate their discoveries and insights with others. She believes students entering any professional field can improve their skills and create innovative practices. Rhiannon encourages them not to hoard their findings but instead share them with their peers and the wider community.

Rhiannon’s path from therapeutic recreation to academia and research exemplify Canadore College's commitment to community engagement and empowerment. Her focus on inclusive research and enthusiasm for connecting students with practical experiences make her an asset to the College and a shining example of our educators' positive influence on their communities. We are excited to see her ongoing contributions to research and advocacy for inclusive and empowering communities.