My name is Sara El – Galmady and I am a recent UTM Bio graduate & a UTM Alumna of 2020.
In my undergrad, I took part of the Cell & Molecular stream as the basis of my biology studies at UTM. I’ve always been fascinated by what makes us who we are from a molecular level. You get to see the beauty of life through the details of these processes. It is so intricate as all these molecular changes carry out at one time to give us our daily functions. Everywhere you turn, there’s a biological process that is taking on, right that very second. It never stops. How can that not be so beautiful. Why is that important in the real world? Because these processes are the basis for understanding the mechanisms of health and disease. Studies are done all around the world using these cell processes to come up with cancer cures, antidotes, implants as well as ongoing trials that can change and save the lives of many people. I wanted to be a part of a world that does good on a daily basis. I wanted to be part of a revolutionary that would take the world by storm with every step it consistently takes.
One of my greatest moments during my undergrad at UTM was when I became a Program Assistant for the PASS Program at the RGASC.
This program is focused on helping students get back on track academically and succeed during their undergrad education. I for one was a student who struggled a lot in her studies when I first came to UTM. What many people do not know was that I was a PASS student myself. I was one of the first few to be recruited to help with the program as a previous PASS student. I did not think twice - I wanted them to see that there is always hope and there is always a way out of this little bump in the road. I was able to connect with students and help guide them in the right direction by using my personal experience as well as my own academic success. Students within the program felt comfortable approaching me after the sessions to discuss personal or academic concerns they encountered. Many students have stayed in touch with me after the program, keeping me updated with all their successes. I continue to work as a PASS Tech PA at the RGASC and I am very grateful. Knowing that I am making a difference in these students’ lives, I feel like I am serving my purpose and it feels incredible. Even though I was a biology student, my main focus was not only science/medical related. There was more to me than that.
After I graduated university, I was still in the dark in regard to what I wanted to do career wise.
I decided to take a step back and take the time to focus on myself. I will be honest, I was severely impacted by the Covid 19 pandemic. Self-Isolating and being in lockdown ripped away one of my most precious qualities – my extroverted personality. I thrived off of interaction so without it, I was not in a good place mentally and physically. Due to the stress and pressure of isolation, I began to binge on unhealthy foods and was not motivated to do any form of physical activity. I was not aware of these “negative habits” until several months later when I looked at myself in the mirror. I did not like how my clothes fit which made me feel so insecure, less confident, and unhappy with myself. I woke up every day feeling very lazy… no energy to conquer the day. I was really disappointed in myself. That is when I knew had to change my life around – I wanted to feel like myself again and I knew that my first goal was to lose that unhealthy weight and begin to make healthier food choices. With physical exercise (I am now a long-distance runner), this type of lifestyle changes and awareness along with an overall better diet helped me reach my goal of losing 23 pounds. It is not only about losing weight for me, but also about really living my life the right way. I feel a lot more confident in myself, in my outfits, and I mentally am in a better place – little did I know that I had to hit my lowest to realize the importance of Nutrition and how it changed my life forever. Implementing a healthier eating lifestyle allowed for my mind to be at ease. I understood how mind, food, body and soul are all interrelated. This when I knew I wanted to go into Nutrition because if I came out of it stronger, imagine how many people I can help to see this same vision when it comes to Food Healing. I needed to have a background in Biology to understand Nutritional research and really believe in the processes of food healing. I began to do more intensive research in healthy eating as I wanted to know more from a scientific perspective on how certain foods can help with our cell processes and bodily functions. When you look back at molecular biology, the cells’ processes are being studied to understand our life functions. It’s crazy how alike that is.
Currently, I volunteer at St. Michael’s Research Centre at Dr. Vuksan’s Lab for a Nutritional Study.
The study is based on nutrient components in dehydrated vegetable powder, specifically looking into high and low Nitrate dietary interventions, and its correlation with lowering blood pressure and Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors.
I am currently also working as a Nutritional Manager at a private healthcare centre in Mississauga, E Clinic United Healing.
My position is to overlook our nutritional services at the clinic, manage the Dietitians and provide the best healthcare for our clients. I get to assist clients the same way I assisted students in the PASS program but using the skills I have developed over my years of undergrad. When I look back as to how I got this position, during the interview, the boss of the clinic asked me two things “Do I have a science degree?’ and “What is my passion?”. My undergraduate degree in Biology got me here. You will never know what life will throw at you and what you will run into as you conquer your path to success. I plan to apply to my Masters in Nutritional Sciences at UofT this year so I can deepen my understanding and knowledge in nutritional research. In 5-10 years, I see myself scaling up to a higher position within a private healthcare clinic, owning my own nutritional clinic or even working full-time as a UofT Faculty Member in Nutritional Research. All I know is my options are endless. If there is one advice, I would give someone studying Biology at UTM, that advice is to never give up on your dreams because even during the moments where you are uncertain in where this degree will lead you, life will surprise you. Big things await you if you put your mind to it. It all begins with studying biology. It’s the step to a lifetime of experiences and endless opportunities.
Follow Sara's food blog on Instagram: @sara_foodstyle