Emily Hagens (BSc '23) is described as a talented, dedicated and insightful student who has a natural aptitude for team building. Along with an impeccable work ethic, Emily has a heart full of compassion and generosity towards those around her. As a neuroscience major, she completed Independent Studies and an honours thesis through the Canadian Centre for Behavioural Neuroscience (CCBN). Her work on research projects allowed her to become the only undergraduate student at the CCBN to be certified in rodent surgery.

I am very grateful to have been chosen to receive a Gold Medal in recognition of the work I have put in throughout my undergraduate degree. This award not only acknowledges my individual efforts, but also recognizes the tremendous contributions of the people who have guided me over the past four years. Their support and encouragement have been instrumental in shaping my academic success.

Meet Emily. Kind. Compassionate. Passionate about iGEM.
Hometown: High River, Alberta
Program: Bachelor of Science | Major: Neuroscience

What is your most memorable ULethbridge experience?

This past October, I had the chance to travel to Paris to participate in the iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine) competition with nine other members of the ULethbridge iGEM team. I learned a lot from the competition and I also had a great time exploring Paris with the rest of the team!

What is the most important lesson you learned during your time at ULethbridge?

While classes are important, a lot of the learning that happens at university takes place outside of the classroom. Participating in iGEM, getting involved in undergraduate research and having a wonderful group of friends all contributed to making my university experience meaningful.

Is there someone specific who had an important influence on your ULethbridge experience?

Dr. Majid Mohajerani has given me a lot of great opportunities to do research in his lab. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know and work with all of the Mohajerani lab members, especially Dr. Brendan McAllister, Mojtaba Nazari and Behroo Mirza Agha, from whom I’ve learned a lot through the projects we’ve worked on together. As well, I’m thankful to all of the ULethbridge iGEM team’s graduate student and faculty advisors, and in particular Fabian Rohden, Marcel Koupantsis, Kristi Turton, Dr. Angeliki Pantazi and Dr. Vineet Rathod, for all of the time and effort they put into supporting the iGEM team.

What are your hopes and plans for the future?

Next year, I am planning to attend the University of Oxford to pursue a one-year MSc in Genomic Medicine. Following that, I have also been admitted to the Bioengineering PhD program at Stanford University for the fall of 2024. These programs will provide me with the opportunity to further explore my interests in both synthetic biology and neuroscience, and hopefully allow me to one day work in an area that combines these two fields. I am also very excited to live in both England and California over the next few years!

What advice would you give those who are about to begin their journey at ULethbridge?

ULethbridge provides a very supportive environment for students to try new things, so don’t let the fact that you might not have relevant experience in an area deter you from getting involved in something that interests you; you will pick up the skills you need as you go.

Congratulations, Emily!

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