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Toby Lee holds up a test tube and looks at the clear liquid inside. He's in a lab wearing gloves and a protective gown.

Toby Le, a PhD student in the department of medical microbiology and infectious disease at the Max Rady College of Medicine, and the Health Sciences Graduate Students’ Association’s vice-president external, developed the idea for a new seminar program because he wanted to help introduce undergraduate students to the wide-ranging opportunities in the health sciences.

UM undergrads invited to explore health science opportunities

November 12, 2021 — 

A new seminar program aimed at introducing University of Manitoba undergraduate students to the health sciences is launching in the new year and the organizers are seeking participants.

The Health Sciences Graduate Students’ Association (HSGSA) and the Science Students’ Association (SSA) have come together to create the Multidisciplinary Health Research Experience (MHRE).

Starting in January, participating UM undergrads can take part in two seminars each month that will cover different disciplines and research areas in the health sciences. The one-hour seminars will be led by graduate students or learners from professional programs, such as nursing and medicine, who will share their health sciences expertise and insights with the undergrads.

The seminars will include a lecture and interactive activities. The sessions will take place virtually, but the organizers plan to offer the seminars in person eventually.  

“The overall vision of this program is to really help undergraduate students and provide them with the opportunity to explore the different fields in the health sciences,” said Toby Le, a PhD student in the department of medical microbiology and infectious disease at the Max Rady College of Medicine, and the HSGSA’s vice-president external.

“We hope to help the undergrads make informed decisions about their education and their career goals.”

Le developed the idea for the program because he felt that many undergraduate students weren’t familiar with the wide-ranging opportunities in the health sciences and the groundbreaking research going on at UM. Supported by a committee of HSGSA members, Le approached the SSA with the idea for the program.

“We thought it was a fantastic opportunity,” said Chloe McElheron, a bachelor of science student and SSA president. “This program will give undergraduate students the opportunity to learn about the different areas in the health sciences so they’ll know about them when they’re exiting their undergrad programs and thinking about their futures.”

The SSA is funding the MHRE program as a six-month pilot project to show its importance and demand.

“I would tell any undergraduate student to definitely give this program a try because they might find out they like an area of the health sciences that they didn’t know about before,” McElheron said.

The program will benefit not only the undergrads, but the grad students, Le said. The grad students will gain experience as instructors, can add it to their CVs and will receive a $100 honorarium.

“I want graduate students to embrace the significance and importance of knowledge dissemination, and of taking their knowledge and research findings and communicating that with the community,” Le said.

Registration closes on Nov. 14. Apply to the program as an undergraduate student or become a graduate or professional student instructor. Learn more about the MHRE program.

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