The University of Lethbridge has a solid computational chemistry research program, incredible faculty and excellent facilities. When Briana Boychuk realized she wanted to pursue a life-long career in research, ULethbridge seemed to be a perfect fit.

After learning about the high-quality research performed by Dr. Stacey Wetmore's group, we connected, and I joined her lab to begin my exciting graduate journey.

Meet Briana | Driven. Innovative. Inquisitive.
Program: Doctor of Philosophy | Major: Theoretical and Computational Science

What is your research based on? What unique opportunities do you get by taking part in this research?

The overarching theme of my research is exploring the structural and chemical information of metal–nucleic acid interactions and potential modifications using computational chemistry to rationally design nucleic acid biosensors for metal detection.

What is your most memorable ULethbridge experience?

This past summer, I had the opportunity to disseminate my work at the international WATOC conference, which was an incredible experience.

How have your professors impacted your education?

Dr. Wetmore has had a significant impact on my graduate journey, wherein she has provided endless support, guidance, and new perspectives to research. Through her mentorship, I have developed essential research skills such as written and oral scientific communication and project management. Additionally, she has always shown enthusiasm and support for exploring exciting new research prospects. Overall, I am grateful for the time I have spent in her lab and the insight I have gained from her as both a researcher and as a person.

Briana is an outstanding scientist. She has worked extremely hard this year, and her efforts have paid off with more than one publication in press/submitted to top tier chemistry journals. – Dr. Stacey Wetmore, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, nominated Briana as a Shining Student.

Have you received any scholarships and awards? If so, please tell us a bit about how they helped you throughout your studies.

I am fortunate to have received multiple awards; NSERC (PGS-D), the SGS Dean’s Scholarship, the Board of Governor’s Research and the SGS Tuition Award. Without these awards, I would be unable to pursue a research career, and I sincerely thank all funding agencies for this opportunity.

Are you participating in any extracurricular activities like sports or the arts? If so, how are these experiences enhancing or complimenting what you are doing in the classroom?

I have been a part of a new club on campus called ACID:BASE, which aims to promote equity, diversity and inclusivity in the chemical sciences. This past year we hosted our first event that featured two prominent Canadian chemists to discuss barriers they faced in their STEM careers. Being a part of this club has been a rewarding learning experience and has given me a fantastic opportunity to connect with my peers and meet new people.

What are your hopes/plans for the future?

I hope to become a research scientist in the future, wherein I use computational chemistry to solve chemical problems.

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

Be flexible and ready to adapt to changing conditions; you never know what new opportunities may arise. The time you spend now in the graduate program will be some of the most enjoyable years of your life. Use this opportunity to learn as much as you can.

Quick Answers

Top things to do in or around Lethbridge: I enjoy walking my dog, hiking and reading.

Favourite social activity at ULethbridge: Grabbing coffee from coffee co. with friends

About Shining Students

Shining Students engage inside and outside of the classroom. What makes a student shine may differ from person to person, but they all share a passion for learning. They may be top students, involved in an innovative project, participating in ground-breaking research, playing Pronghorn athletics, fighting for social issues or all of the above! When students find something they enjoy and combine it with what they are good at, they shine.

Each year, the Faculty of Arts & Science's faculty and staff nominate students who exemplify the ULethbridge student spirit. Congratulations Briana!