Humans of Biology
Meet Our Newest Alumni: Sukhmani Bagga
My name is Sukhmani Bagga, and I am a Biology graduate from the University of Toronto Mississauga.
I grew up wanting to help others, whether it was through health care, education, or activism, I just knew that I was meant to give back to my community. I was also always interested in how the mind connects to the body, allowing for evolutionary adaptations that are still prevalent in our everyday behaviours. Thus, after obtaining my secondary school diploma (OSSD), I accepted my admission into the life sciences program at the UTM campus, focusing on human biology and psychology. I particularly became interested in the Biotechnology field, which is the integration of health science with business & tech applications. I have always seen myself in an innovative and constantly evolving industry, which is a perfect way to describe this path. As I was educated more on the gaps in our public systems, I quickly understood the demand for health care and pharmaceuticals, specifically in BIPOC regions, which further increased my enthusiasm for creating change. During my undergrad, I was offered placements in-between semesters in various co-ops, which further guided my interests and kept me eager to learn more about public health conversations. I am now graduating with a major in Biology, minor in Psychology, and minor in The History of Religions. I am grateful to my colleagues, advisors, and professors, who have sparked my direction in this path.
What advice would you give to your undergrad self on your first day?
Looking back at my earlier undergrad days, I feel that most of my challenges transitioning to university level of academia were due to self-doubt. There is a feeling of imposter syndrome when starting at any prestigious institution, such as UofT, so it is important to keep yourself passionate and eager. When I began my classes in the fall of 2017, I remember a strong feeling of anxiety as I didn't have much of a support system and had little knowledge of the student resources offered. In terms of advice to incoming UofT students, I strongly urge you to become familiar with the student resources on campus, such as the registrar office, the RGASC, and the Health and Wellness center. I credit a lot of my success to these student resources, as they helped me re-gain confidence after becoming on academic probation in my first year. I went from having panic-attacks to building a healthier relationship with my academic journey. Joining accessibility was a defining factor in my ability to boost my GPA and become confident as an undergrad student. There will always be rough times, like a global pandemic, so its best to be aware of the solutions at hand.
How were you involved at UTM?
During my time at UTM, I was not only able to grow as a student, but also as a mentor. After the challenges of my first year, I began helping other students in a similar path when I started my role as a Program Assistant at the RGASC for the PASS program. This program catered towards academically at-risk students who needed to revisit their study habits and be reminded that they are capable. I assisted students with building better studying habits, marked assessments, and mentored those who needed help re-gaining confidence in their academic career. This leadership skill translated to my second position at UTM as a co-coach of the tri-campus women’s flag football team. As a beginner league, it is important to create a safe space for young women, especially in sports that are otherwise male dominated. Winning our first game as quarterback was an incredibly joyous memory and pushed me out of my comfort zone. Thinking back to when I was a part of the Elly In Action contest, where I shyly performed a song at the loved Blind Duck Pub, I have certainly grown a lot as a student, leader and person.
What’s next for you?
Academically, I definitely see further education in my path, such as a masters or certification that will assist my biotech journey. I am also finishing up some research with the MBiotech program that dives in medical devices, marketing, and FDA guidelines. Currently, I am working at Trillium Health Partners (THP), at the Credit Valley Hospital site, who did their hiring on UTM campus. I began my work at THP two years ago during a medical technology implementation. From that first taste of working in the hospital, I have moved around 6 different hospital locations, with careers focusing on IT Support and Pandemic support. I have loved this work so far and am pursuing permanent career opportunities within health management and biotechnology.
Follow Sukhmani's journey on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sukhibagga17