Shining Student Elizabeth Trofimenkoff (BSc '20) grew up just outside of Lethbridge. She chose to study at the U of L to stay close to family as well as the smaller class sizes and research opportunities.

Fortunately, due to smaller class sizes, I have made some amazing friends and obtained wonderful guidance from mentors. Additionally, I am now part of a new club, ACID:BASE, which strives to promote inclusivity and diversity in the chemical sciences—an initiative for which I have great passion. My success as a student and an individual would not be possible without my experiences at uLethbridge.

Meet Elizabeth | Enthusiastic. Driven. Mindful.
Program: Master of Science| Major: Chemistry

Please tell us about your work-integrated learning experiences at uLethbridge?
In addition to my current ongoing master's degree, I did my undergraduate degree in chemistry at the University of Lethbridge as well. During my studies, I had the opportunity to work on several research projects in the forms of independent studies and an undergraduate honour’s thesis under the supervision of chemistry professor Dr. Marc Roussel. In addition to these, I worked over the summer of 2020 in the Roussel lab extending the work I did in my honour’s thesis. Math and chemistry have always had my heart, so when I had an opportunity to work with Dr. Roussel as an undergraduate, I was very excited! I was also very nervous to embark on a completely new learning opportunity. As I look back, I am so thankful I made the decision to walk into his office and discuss research possibilities. The independent studies and honour’s thesis I completed taught me many valuable lessons—time management, organizational skills, academic and scientific literacy skills, and, of course, specific research skills suited to each study.

What has been your most memorable uLethbridge experience?
Over the summer of 2021, I was approved to deliver an oral presentation at the Society for Mathematical Biology at their annual meeting based on my honour’s thesis and summer 2020 work. This was my first international conference. It was attended by over 2,500 people from 42 countries across the world. This was an amazing opportunity to present my work to a larger audience and interact with people across the globe. I was honoured to receive one of two “Best Contributed Talk” student awards in my subgroup, ‘Methods for Biological Modeling.’ It was an honour to represent the University of Lethbridge and the Roussel lab and be recognized for my work.

Success is not only quantitative results such as grades and awards, but also mindfulness, growth, the capacity to make meaningful connections, and complete acceptance of oneself.

What is the most important lesson you have learned so far at uLethbridge?
The definition of success is not winning. Success has meant many things to me over my years as a uLethbridge student. As a young undergraduate student, I thought success meant achieving the best grades, receiving awards, and maintaining a high GPA. Although those are standards I still hold for myself and are valid standards, my definition of what it means to be successful has changed significantly over the years. I have come to acknowledge that being successful also means developing new meaningful connections to others, learning and growing as both a student and an individual, being mindful and present in difficult situations, and embracing oneself completely and unapologetically. Success is not only quantitative results such as grades and awards, but also mindfulness, growth, the capacity to make meaningful connections, and complete acceptance of oneself.

Fortunately, due to smaller class sizes, I have made some amazing friends and obtained wonderful guidance from mentors. Additionally, I am now part of a new club, ACID:BASE, which strives to promote inclusivity and diversity in the chemical sciences—an initiative for which I have great passion. My success as a student and an individual would not be possible without my experiences at uLethbridge.

Is there someone specific who has had an important influence on your uLethbridge experience?
Dr. Roussel has had and continues to impact my University experience profoundly. Without his guidance, wisdom, support, and compassion, I would not be where I am right now. I walked into Marc’s office near the end of the fall 2018 semester to discuss research possibilities, and it completely changed my life. I had the opportunity to learn about a fascinating branch of science and math, and I have been enthralled by it ever since. The numerous research projects I have worked on have taught me so many lessons and provided me with many opportunities to showcase my work, including a publication in 2020 and the international conference presentation. I am so thankful for Dr. Roussel and his mentorship. I look forward to all of the other academic possibilities in the future as I continue my studies.

What advice would you give to those who are about to begin their uLethbridge journey?
Give yourself permission to step outside of your comfort zone. New experiences (both life and academically related) will at the very least provide you with an opportunity to learn and grow. Who knows, that step may be the catalyst you need to ignite a new passion and embark on a new, exciting journey.

Favourite class: Nonlinear Dynamics

Favourite social activity at uLethbridge: Anything that has to do with food and snacks!

Favourite place to study: At home, curled up with my cats.

Apply by June 30 to start this fall!

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