January 16th, 2021

Diversity propels U of L grad to Arts & Science Gold medal

By Jensen, Randy on July 8, 2020.

Lethbridge Herald

Kate Chua’s academic diversity has earned her a prestigious award as she graduates from the University of Lethbridge.

The Catholic Central High School graduate has earned a BSc Neuroscience and has been awarded this year’s Faculty of Arts & Science Gold Medal (Science).

She is one of four southern Alberta high school graduates to receive prestigious medals during the recent U of L online Spring 2020 Convocation.

By taking advantage of some uLethbridge outreach programs, Chua began to impress faculty at the U of L before she even started her final year of high school.

While at the university, she excelled in many upper-level courses, both inside and outside of her own major, showing a great interest in many diverse fields. Chua is the co-author of one publication and presented her own work at a number of conferences including the NeuroRepair Conference in Dresden, Germany.

She has also been involved in numerous clubs and other volunteer organizations in the larger community such as cancer awareness groups.

“I learned that it is important to allow yourself to make your own path and not one that is expected of you,” said Chua. “I used to feel like there was a formula of activities to be done and expectations I must fulfill, but once I learned that it was my own path, everything opened up. If you find yourself passionate about something, take action. Life is a continuous journey, so appreciate the fact that you can change and develop in any way possible. Be excited about it. Embrace it and encourage it in others. You are allowed to be scared, but never let fear stop you from doing what you want.”

Chua credits Robert Sutherland as an important influence during her time at the U of L.

“Robert has been a great supporter of mine for every year of my University of Lethbridge experience,” she said. “He has been a mentor and a guide for me and my research, he has immensely impacted my experience at the university. He encourages curiosity in his students and will always inspire me with his wisdom and ability to work with purpose and precision. I owe a lot of my academic achievements and excitement for science to him.”

Away from the classroom, Chua recalled the Luminary Lap during the Relay for Life that occurred in the university’s gym as her standout memory at the U of L.

“Lights that represented survivors and the lives of those who were lost to cancer lined the track,” she said. “As we walked this lap, I felt waves of emotion and I felt proud that the university supported events like this.”

Chua hopes to enter the medical field to eventually be able to practise as a physician.

“I believe my love of science and eagerness to help others is well suited to a profession in medicine,” she said. “I understand that every individual is impacted by a multitude of different factors, whether it be biological, social, economic, etc. Therefore, being able to assess an individual, find out what is wrong given their circumstances, and help them is such a powerful concept to me. Lastly, medicine exposes you to the peaks and lows of humanity, and thus, the dedication that doctors have for this inspires me.”

For students about to depart on their post-secondary journeys, Chua said education is a cornerstone of personal growth, development and confidence.

“Post-secondary can be exhausting and demanding but take this as a chance to find what you love, pursue it with all your being and open yourself to the millions of opportunities at your feet. Work hard in your academic journey, but especially in your own personal journey. Never limit yourself, instead define your passions, and engrave it in your actions. Good luck and have fun, it’ll be the slowest and fastest experience you’ve had yet.”

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