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#UofTGrad17: But when did they sleep?

Victoria College students walk in a procession to Convocation Hall. Students at the U of T college graduated today (photo by Lisa Lightbourn)

Vic grads helping Syrian newcomers, researching transgender rights and more

Handling the demands of medical school this fall should be no problem for Andres Felipe Fajardo  he knows a thing or two about handling a busy schedule.

Fajardo (below), a neuroscience specialist with a minor in Latin American studies, is one of the organizers of the Cultural Exchange Support Initiative (CESI), a weekly language exchange between Arabic and English speaker for new Syrian immigrants and U of T students. He's also the founder of Vic Ventures, a group that explores various Toronto neighbourhoods by bicycle. 

He spent three summers working in research labs, including a summer job at Children’s Hospital in Boston delving into T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

“It was a really great experience,” he said. “I was working in one of the most advanced labs in the field and I had the opportunity to work with CRISPR-Cas9, a gene editing tool – interesting technology.”

Fajardo is one of 571 students graduating from Victoria College at the University of Toronto today. U of T's Class of 2017 comprises more than 18,000 students – with almost 14,000 of them graduating in 27 ceremonies this month. 

Read about Vic grad and Schulich Leader Joan Miguel Romero

Victoria College student Zoe Sebastien also balanced studying and research during her undergraduate years. She was a research assistant for Sociology professor Lorne Tepperman and did project management for Victoria College Principal Angela Esterhammer.

She served two years on the editorial staff of Almagest, the journal of the history and philosophy of science, including one year as editor-in-chief.

This summer, Sebastien (below) received a University of Toronto Excellence Award which gives her the chance to conduct research for Esterhammer, assisting her with an anthology of Scottish entrepreneur John Galt’s works.

“You’d be surprised what Galt wrote about: short stories, poems, novels, economics, and politics,” said Sebastien. “I’m learning a lot of things I wouldn’t have known about otherwise.”

A specialist in philosophy with a minor in the history and philosophy of science and technology, Sebastien, who graduated today, will be living at Massey College as a junior fellow in the fall to begin a master’s degree in philosophy with a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

Her SSHRC grant was based on a paper, analyzing the language of a legal case report dealing with the subject of transgender rights.

Read more about Vic grads