A high instructor-to-student ratio and access to research as an undergraduate student drew Zachary Robinson to the University of Lethbridge. And while he knew he wanted to study biochemistry, he really had no idea where his degree would take him once he graduated. After completing many independent studies and a summer work term in Dr. Trushar Patel’s lab, he decided that scientific research was something he wanted to pursue long-term.
After completing multiple independent studies and gaining a greater understanding of how graduate programs operate, I hope to continue to be involved in research as a graduate student after completing my undergraduate degree.
Meet Zachary | Ambitious. Focused. Determined.
Program: Bachelor of Science | Major: Biochemistry
Please tell us a bit about your experiential or work-integrated learning at ULethbridge.
I have completed two independent studies and a summer work term with Dr. Trushar Patel in the Laboratory of Medicinal Biophysics. My time in Dr. Patel's lab has been one of the highlights of my ULethbridge experience and really helped me to decide that scientific research was something I wanted to pursue long-term. I was able to see how a lab focused on academic research operates and how to work effectively and independently in this type of setting while also being introduced to many concepts and techniques that I otherwise would not have learned about until much later in my degree. At the same time, I was fortunate enough to be mentored by many talented post-doctoral researchers and graduate students. For these reasons, my research experience has been invaluable in developing my knowledge and skills in biochemistry.
What is your most memorable ULethbridge experience so far?
This summer, I was able to attend the 4th annual symposium of the Canadian Society for Virology. This was absolutely my most memorable experience as a student at the U of L. It was amazing to see what students from all around Canada had been working on in recent years while also having the opportunity to present my own research.
How have your professors impacted your education?
Dr. Trushar Patel has profoundly impacted my planned career path and my perception of scientific research in general. He has been an incredible mentor to me, and I feel I have been able to grow into the person I am today due in large part to my involvement in his research program.
Zach is one of the most talented, hard-working and compassionate undergraduate students we have had an opportunity to work with. – Dr. Trushar Patel and Wayne Lippa, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, nominated Zachary as a Shining Student.
Is there someone else who had an important influence on your ULethbridge experience?
Post-doctoral researchers Dr. Maulik Badmalia and Dr. Higor Sette Pereira, as well as MSc student Gerardo Balderas Figueroa, have also been incredible mentors to me during my time at the University of Lethbridge.
Have you received any scholarships and awards? If so, please tell us a bit about how they helped you throughout your studies.
Yes! I was fortunate to receive an undergraduate student research award from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. This award helped make it possible for me to continue my work in Dr. Patel’s lab last summer.
What is the most important lesson you have learned so far at ULethbridge?
Not to be afraid to ask for help. Inside or outside the classroom, plenty of resources are available at the U of L for students who need them. Things such as scheduled tutorials, professor office hours, and academic advising are there for a reason and have helped me immensely throughout my degree.
What are your hopes/plans for the future?
In the short term, I hope to continue learning and growing in biochemistry as a graduate student. Eventually, I would love to establish my own research program.
What advice would you like to give those who are about to begin their journey at ULethbridge?
Find what you are passionate about and get involved as early as possible. As a new student, I would have loved to have known even more about the extent and diversity of the research conducted at the University of Lethbridge and the many opportunities for undergraduate students to become involved in this research.
Favourite class: Physical Chemistry
Favourite social activity at ULethbridge: Getting a coffee with friends
Favourite place to study: The biochemistry study area
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 Zachary!