Kate Chua, who has earned a BSc Neuroscience, has been awarded this year's Faculty of Arts & Science Gold Medal (Science). By taking advantage of some uLethbridge outreach programs, she began to impress faculty at the University of Lethbridge before she even started her final year of high school. While at the university, Kate excelled in many upper level courses, both inside and outside of her own major, showing a great interest in many diverse fields. She 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 been involved in numerous clubs and other volunteer organizations in the larger community such as cancer awareness groups.

What is your most memorable uLethbridge experience?
My most memorable uLethbridge experience was the Luminary Lap during Relay for Life that occurred in the University's gym. Lights that represented survivors and the lives of those who were lost to cancer lined the track. As we walked this lap, I felt waves of emotion and I felt proud that the University supported events like this.

Is there someone specific who had an important influence on your uLethbridge?
Robert Sutherland has been a great supporter of mine for every year of my uLethbridge experience. 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.

What is the most important lesson you learned?
I learned that it is important to allow yourself to make your own path and not one that is expected of you. 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.

What are your hopes/plans for the future?
I hope to enter the medical field to eventually be able to practice as a physician. I believe my love of science and eagerness to help others is well suited to a profession in medicine. 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.

What advice would you give to students who are about to begin their post-secondary journeys?
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!