University College, the founding college of the University of Toronto, celebrated the graduation of 697 students today.
Among them were one student who co-founded a group to inspire students to fight neurodegenerative disease – and another who worked with the Ontario Clean Air Alliance, a non-governmental coalition of more than 90 organizations, for a professional experience course.
Christopher Lozano completed his studies in physiology and health and disease. He co-founded the Neurodegenerative Disease Society of Toronto at the beginning of his third year.
“We spent a summer working in a lab at Toronto Western Hospital that researches Parkinson’s disease, and had amazing opportunities to meet world-class researchers and learn about their projects,” explains Lozano. “We felt extremely lucky to have met them and wanted to share what we learned with our fellow students.”
The group held its second annual conference this past winter, featuring talks from leading researchers at the hospital as well as McMaster University, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, and the Huntington Society of Canada.
Lozano hopes to begin medical school at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland later this year.
Madhavi Gupta came to U of T after completing her first year of undergraduate studies at Western University.
“Suddenly my choices had widened from, say, psychology or sociology to over 70 different programs,” she says. “I loved having the choice to try a more niche subject and find what I truly enjoyed.”
Gupta settled on a combination of environmental studies, Spanish, and environmental geography.
A professional experience course in her senior year provided Gupta with the opportunity to work with the Ontario Clean Air Alliance, which aims to help Ontario become a leader in producing and using energy cleanly, efficiently and safely. She describes it as an enlightening experience.
“The organization is currently focused on an anti-nuclear campaign so I helped with outreach and advocacy, which included attending meetings, leafletting, and engaging with activism,” Gupta said. “It was a side of the discussion I had never seen before. I still hope to work within government eventually however it was really interesting to see an NGO at work.”
She hopes to pursue law school, possibly combining that with a master’s degree in environmental studies.