Yesterday, I was a mentor. McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences have hosted Health Research Under the Microscope for 3 years now, and I've participated in each one. This event invites a select number of high school students from a bunch of high schools in Hamilton and surrounding cities - this year we had 28 tables with around 8 to 10 kids each. During the course of the day, the mentors (undergrad & graduate students as well as a wide variety of health care professionals - from nurses to professors to pharmacists to statisticians and many more) sit down at a few tables each, telling the students about our career in science and how we got to where we are. In the afternoon, there were some graduate student speakers and a motivational speaker.
These events have been very successful. I find it very rewarding to be able to answer the students questions, allay some of their anxieties & fears and let them know that it's ok to have no idea what direction they want to take. All three years, I've received personal positive feedback from a student - that they learned a lot and were more sure of their next step in life.
So ... speaking of health research ... I found out Wednesday evening that I won an NSERC award!!! In Canada, there are 2 types of NSERC awards - CGS-M and PGS-M (M meaning Master's). The CGS-M is more valuable but can only be held at a Canadian University - and this is the one I won! Which means I have funding for my next year of research - all too important when research money is hard to come by. Plus, it's going to look awesome on my resume! I'm still so excited - this is the first award I've won since entrance scholarships (you should have seen me: jumping up and down, squealing into the phone ... my poor mother's eardrums!)!