Ruby I. Larson Biological Research Aptitude Scholarship recipient Dani Nadeau

Tell us about the opportunities you have had for experiential learning in biological sciences at the University of Lethbridge.

Most of the experiential learning in Biological Sciences I have had at University of Lethbridge have been through the labs of classes I have taken. Thanks to our smaller class sizes and new science facility, I have had lots of hands-on-learning in a variety of fields within biology, from ecology, to biochemistry, to genetics. I have also had the opportunity to work in an accomplished ecology research lab at the U of L with Dr. Flanagan, which has given me experience in the entire research process, from data collection to publication.

What opportunities for research within biological sciences have you had, and how have these impacted you?

At the University of Lethbridge, we have several undergraduate research programs, from the Chinook and NSERC grants in the summer, to the iGEM program that operates year-round, to the many opportunities for independent studies with professors. I was very lucky to find a job with Dr Flanagan, who encouraged me to apply for the summer grants and do my own research over the summer, as well as continue my research into an independent study in the fall. By securing a grant and being able to do my own research as an undergraduate, I built my confidence academically and was exposed to concepts and learning that many students do not receive until a master’s degree. By finding a job within the academic field and being exposed to the day-to-day reality of working in and on research, it put me on a new career path and inspired me to want to continue my education after my undergraduate degree.

What have you enjoyed the most about your biological sciences program at the University of Lethbridge?

It’s a cliché answer, but I have definitely enjoyed the people that I have met along the way the most. This program is small, very time intensive and can be really academically challenging, but the students, professors, and graduate students have been the highlight. I have really enjoyed the small class sizes and intimate aspect of upper-level biology courses and the connections I have been able to make with both students and professors.

What experience at the University of Lethbridge has had the most impact on you?

The experience of being a student-athlete and being a part of two such diverse communities on campus. I have really enjoyed the close-knit community of athletics that I have been so lucky to be a part of, as well as the Biological Sciences department that I have been lucky enough to work in and learn from.

What are your plans for the future?

I plan on taking a master’s degree and playing out all my years of eligibility for basketball, and then pursuing a career in conservation biology and ecology! I am especially interested in both birds and wetlands and would like to get more experience with organizations that work on the ground before pursuing further education.

What advice would you give a new biological sciences student?

You will survive Bio 1010. It gets way better after that. Also, don’t be afraid to ask your professors about their research (they love to talk about it), and make sure you are always asking about job or research opportunities in labs that interest you!

Ruby I. Larson Biological Research Aptitude Scholarship

Third- or fourth-year students with a major in Biological Sciences. Must have demonstrated academic achievement (minimum fall/spring GPA of 3.00) and the greatest potential for biological science research. Nominated by the Department of Biology. Payable upon confirmation of full-time enrolment in classes at the UofL in the Fall and Spring semesters immediately following the granting of the award.