Rhea Desai is returning as President of the Science Graduate Students Association (SciGSA). The Association brings scientists from diverse fields together to make a difference in the graduate student experience at McMaster University.
President, McMaster Science Society (MSS)
"I’m currently in my fourth year of Honours Biochemistry. The academic work I get to do really fascinates me, especially when it pertains to microbiology and immunology. There’s lots of great work going on here at McMaster, which makes my experience even more enjoyable.
"My favourite part of the MSS and the work I get to do is interacting with, and playing a part in building, the student community. Having a community in the Faculty of Science has always been something I’ve enjoyed and taken pride in being a part of. By working in my role, and completing projects within the MSS, I’ve collaborated with students from a variety of programs to build a better community for the future, which excites me to be part of the MSS every day. Having a sense of community builds our character and identity for the student body in the Faculty of Science, and that’s going to become stronger than it ever has been.
"I’m very excited to implement the MSS Clubs department in the coming months. The MSS is looking to expand and fund student-run and science-based clubs to host events and provide resources for students in the Faculty of Science.
"Outside of the Faculty of Science and student leadership, I really enjoy photography - its been a passion of mine for years. Inside the Faculty of Science, I’ve had my fair share of experience pursuing my photography hobby, as I was the photographer for the McMaster Science Society in the 2019-2020 school year. It was a great experience and I learned how to balance my academic workload. That role really improved my technical skills and fed my creative hunger."
"I’m very excited for the SciGSA to host speakers on a diverse range of topics. We found that many students are already attending regular seminars held by their departments and schools but students in the Faculty of Science have a wide variety of interests. To speak to this we hope to invite speakers to talk about art, the community, social change and much more. Coming up on November 4th, Chief Stacey Laforme of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation will be joining us on Zoom to talk about raising consciousness in our own communities, his thoughts on the times we are living in and he will also share some of his poetry.
President, Science Graduate Students Association (SciGSA)
"I’m in the second year of my PhD in the Department of Biology. My field of research is radiation biology where my project specifically focuses on the low dose effects of ionizing radiation. I gain a greater appreciation for this field the more I dive into my research and learn about the fundamental science behind how ionizing radiation interacts with systems at the cellular level. This is super intriguing to me because of all the ways radiation plays a role in Canada’s economy. From nuclear energy to diagnostic imaging, it’s important to understand how even low doses of radiation may interact with individual systems and overall ecosystems.
"By far, my favourite part of the work I get to do with SciGSA is the people I get to meet and collaborate with. If it wasn’t for this opportunity with the SciGSA I wouldn’t have met so many other students with unique backgrounds and inspiring personal stories or faculty members who have been great influences as leaders. While this opportunity has been a whole lot of fun so far, I’m grateful I get to learn from my peers and mentors while working on such meaningful programming throughout the year.
"This might sound a bit odd for a student who should be reading every day about their field of research but I really have jumped back into reading as a hobby. Sometimes after a long day of being in the lab I felt like there was no way you could catch me reading for enjoyment but recently I’ve been exploring authors of diverse backgrounds and have found a lot of joy in reading from these perspectives. Anything from poetry to reading about social justice issues or a comedic dialogue, I find the more I read the more open minded I become which ultimately leads to better leadership.