McMaster University will continue to host undergraduate academic activities remotely for the Spring/Summer/Intersession term with only a few exceptions for courses that need student access to specialized equipment.

Watch and Share the Faculty of Science's EDI Webinars

Monique Pipkin left and Amelia Juliette DemeryA recording of the March 2 Safe Fieldwork Strategies webinar is now available online. The strategies for students, supervisors and institutions were presented by Cornell University graduate students Monique Pipkin (left) and Amelia-Juliette Demery.

Last November's 10 Simple Rules for Running an Antiracist Lab webinar is also posted online. The webinar featured Bala Chaudhary from DePaul University and Asmeret Asefaw Berhe from the University of California.

The equity, diversity and inclusion webinars are presented by the Faculty of Science, the McMaster Science Society and the Science Graduate Students Association. Student leaders Nicole Wong and Rhea Desai joined Acting Associate Dean of Research Juliet Daniel and Dean Maureen MacDonald in interviewing the webinar presenters.

Zooming in on Lab Work for Students

Jennifer Williams Jennifer Williams is a Ph.D. candidate in the Vascular Dynamics Lab with the Department of Kinesiology. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Jennifer switched from her previous human research to begin running experiments in a cell model, working with Gianni Parise and his students Michael Kamal and Mai Wageh.

"With the pandemic restricting access to labs for our undergraduate students, I’ve been hosting virtual sessions to show students lab procedures and also how research happens – all the excitement of new results and the challenges of running experiments.

"I started using my computer to Zoom students into the lab back in January. But I wasn't able to bring the students with me as I conducted experiments. My supervisor, Dr. Maureen MacDonald, suggested that I set up a harness to take the students with me through the lab.

"Students now get to join me on Zoom through a smartphone I wear in a harness. I also wear a Bluetooth headset so they can ask and answer questions while I'm working. We run sessions almost daily as I go through various cell culture procedures, including growing up the cells, treating them with various hormone conditions, running Western blots for protein analysis, and probing with immunofluorescent probes to look at intracellular metabolites. I also record the sessions for students who couldn’t join in and to develop training videos.

"I initially ran the sessions for undergraduate students in my lab but the opportunity has now grown to include students from other programs who are interested in seeing what research looks like. The virtual medium makes it very accessible for students to drop in and everyone gets an unobstructed view. Students who would have never otherwise had an opportunity this term to see the inner workings of a research lab now have a chance to see and be a part of this experience. Hopefully, these sessions are getting students excited and prepared for going into a lab and doing hands-on research in the near future."

Student Receives Bank of Canada Scholarship

The Mathematics & Statistics student will receive a $10,000 scholarship and will work as a Summer Research Assistant in the Bank of Canada's Currency Department.

"I have been interested in working at the Bank of Canada for a while and was browsing their careers section when I came across the scholarship application," says Katrina. "It seemed perfectly aligned with my interests and goals, so I just went for it."

Katrina is one of 13 university students receiving scholarships from the Bank of Canada. The scholarships are designed to encourage Canadians from diverse backgrounds to further their education and consider employment in fields related to the work of the Bank of Canada.

"This award is a huge honour," says Katrina. "It truly is a result of the experiences and support I have had from McMaster and elsewhere. It means a lot to receive an award that recognizes the importance of diversity in the workplace and encourages women to be ambitious. I am more motivated than ever to continue pursuing my academic and professional goals."

Science Student Turns Cardiac Cycle Into a Parody Song

Leila Somani DavisScience Students Have (Musical) Talent: There are some songs that get stuck in your head. That's what second-year student Leila Somani-Davis was hoping for as prepared for her Biology mid-term on the same day she'd write her Organic Chemistry mid-term. To remember the key concepts behind the cardiac cycle, Leila picked up her guitar and recorded a parody song. "I wrote a ton of song parodies back in high school as my creative component for various assignments so the cardiac cycle parody didn't take long to write. And then it was just a matter of figuring out the chords for the song and recording myself singing and playing guitar." Give a listen to Leila's Biology 2A03 midterm hit single.
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