Trenton Johanis

Trenton Johanis

PhD, Psychology


“Finding a work/life balance is a necessity along with remembering that you are a person first, and a student second. ”

I grew up in a small town called Orangeville, Ontario. I did my undergrad at McMaster University in Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour with a Music Cognition specialization. My original dream was to go to med school, but that dream died after I got a 30% on my first-year chemistry midterm. I became an undergrad TA in my fourth year and realized that I wanted to continue in academia to become a professor. I graduated McMaster in 2017, then took a year off to work as a salesman and after-school teacher while I prepared my grad school applications. I’m very involved in music and martial arts, which are my main passions outside of my academics. I’m currently in my PhD studying Psychology, particularly Music Perception. 

I found it interesting that many of the other grad schools I applied to compared their program to U of T. All I heard at recruitment events was, “Yes, you can do _____ at U of T, but we have something similar!” U of T has some of the best programs on the planet. It only made sense for me to choose the gold standard, rather than something that compared itself to that standard.  

I clicked with my potential supervisor immediately and knew that U of T was the right choice. Teaching and communication are my passions, so I aim to get a teaching track professor position with my PhD at whatever university I can find. My particular field of Psychology (Music Science) is not very well known, so my goal is to inspire the next generation of researchers. 

I absolutely love the city of Toronto. Coming from a small town, it’s been a dream of mine to establish myself in an urban centre, and U of T has been a perfect avenue for this. The UTSC campus is continually improving and it’s awesome to be able to work out at the Pan-Am Centre. However, don’t tell my UTSC family, but I love the St. George campus where I take my classes. I love walking through the urban centre of downtown Toronto and suddenly looking around to realizing I’m in the middle of campus. It’s like a little oasis. Everything is so accessible in the city, and being a socialite, I try to take advantage of events happening in the city as much as I can. Establishing a good work/life balance has been a lot easier than I thought; there is always something to do both in and out of school, so you can work hard and play hard!