Read Our Scholars Stories

Avery Lam-Hong
Third Year Student, Double Major in Chemistry and Biology for Health Sciences
UTM197 Humans in Nature (Winter 2019)

UTM197 is by far one of my favourite courses during my time as an undergraduate student. Not only was it enjoyable and engaging, but the environment makes it even more enticing. At the time as a 1st year student, all my courses had the monotonous feeling to it. Attend lectures with hundreds of other students, tutorials, tests, quizzes, etc. But with UTM197, it was a unique and invigorating experience, no one course was quite like it.

My favourite aspect of the course was being able to do a research project for a specific topic about which I was passionate, leading me to do a group project regarding ethnopharmacology. No other course has challenged me to take such initiative of critically analyzing scientific literature and papers, come up scientific approaches and questions, as well as recapitulate the complex information to be elucidated in a manner that anyone can understand. The skills of critiquing scientific excerpts, identifying biased or potentially misleading information even from peer-reviewed articles, effectively using databases to find ideal articles, and working with others through discussions, collaborations, and projects have all helped me become the scholar that I am today.

Furthermore, there are additional occasions embedded within the curriculum to help students access resources on campus, connect with opportunities to foster a holistic university experience, as well as learning beyond the classroom through on-campus events, workshops, and seminars. If all that doesn't captivate you to take a utmONE Scholars course, then I recommend you try it out for yourself!

Nigarish Ahmad
Third Year Student, Major in Chemistry, Minors in French and Forensics
UTM197 Humans in Nature (Winter 2019)

As a first-year student, it is intimidating coming into university where class sizes are significantly larger, the workload is heavier, and you may not have anyone you know coming into this university with you. I know that is how I felt when I was in first year, and the shift is difficult.

When I look back at my experience as a utmONE Scholar, I see how the scholar’s course was able to provide me with a more intimate learning environment where I was able to break out of my shell a bit more. I was able to interact with my professors more one-on-one, get to know my peers better, all while improving skills such researching academic papers through the discussions and projects. The course was also very interactive! As a shy person, the large class sizes of my other courses made me a little hesitant to ask questions or participate in class, but as I began to participate in 197 more, I also began to speak more in those other classes as well.

The scholar’s community is also something I did not expect that I would carry with me throughout my university career but being part of it is something exclusive and allows you to connect with others in that community as you all share the experience. Coming into UTM I was hesitant to take the utmONE Scholars course, but I can say that it was a great decision that I strongly recommend to any incoming first years.

Silvia Pedruco Choi
Second Year Student, Double Major in Biology for Health Sciences and Psychology
UTM193 Nations Colliding (Winter 2020)

The utmONE course I took in 2020 was UTM193: Nations colliding. Taking a utmONE Scholars course has allowed me to become more comfortable participating in class. I didn’t have any friends in this class, so it was initially nerve-wracking to voice my opinions to even a small group of strangers. In this utmONE course, I realized how inclusive and open-minded my fellow peers were. Initially, we were uncomfortable with articulating our thoughts; but by the end of the course, we all shared our opinions and analysis of literature easily. The encouragement to participate in this course encouraged me to engage more in my other classes as well. As a result, I learned to retain knowledge longer by actively participating, answering questions, and asking more questions. I would recommend first-year students to take a utmONE Scholars seminar to help improve academic skills like communication and comprehending literature. utmONE Scholars also establishes connections with peers that last beyond first year.

Aalia Rangnekar
Third Year Student, Comparative Physiology
UTM197 Humans in Nature (Winter 2019)

In January 2019 I enrolled in the utmONE Humans in Nature course and I loved my experience there. As a first-year student, it’s difficult to make meaningful connections with peers and professors, especially when most classes have over 300 students. The small seminars of Scholars courses had about 20 students and promoted groupwork, making it an ideal environment for first-years.

I also enjoyed learning important skills, such as analyzing primary literature. Every week we would read several themed articles and then the professors would pose discussion questions. These discussions broadened my perspective of scholarly articles and made them seem less daunting, especially because as a first-year student I had very limited experience with academic literature.

But the best part of the course, for me, was the culminating task of designing a research project. My research group and I chose a topic to investigate, learned about important research protocols such as the ethics approval process, and presented our conclusions at a Scholars Symposium. Having gained a better understanding of the research process in my first-year has helped prepare me for my upper-year courses. Inevitably, any science student will encounter opportunities to become involved in research and speak at research conventions. This is why the utmONE Scholars course is instrumental in building the foundation for successful science students and I encourage any first-year students to enrol in and learn from this amazing course.