Sometimes a course fits right in with your dreams and ambitions. That was the case for Vanier Science student, Rayhaan Bassawon, and some of his classmates from the Research Methods course in their final semester of Science at Vanier. For each of them, the course provided a unique opportunity to do a research internship in a top university lab, something that usually only happens once you’re a graduate student.
Rayhaan knew he wanted to do research and taking the course allowed him to concentrate on a project and give him a credit as well. More importantly, Rayhaan also won a $2,000 award at the 2016 Sanofi BioGenius competition for the work he did. His project, at the Université de Montréal lab of Dr. Gaëlle Roullin, investigated how to use nanoparticles to target and deliver treatment medications to brain tumours.
“I learned so much from this project. I developed team work abilities and learned that in the lab you may be working on a big idea but it gets broken down into many different approaches that are worked on by different teams. You have to know how to discuss your results and get help with problems. You need to develop good communication skills to be able to make presentations at meetings. And you learn humility because every big idea must get narrowed down to something that is doable.”
Fellow-classmate Andrei Guevorkian, who plans to study Electrical Engineering at McGill, was equally enthusiastic about his research at McGill that focussed on Measuring the Background Noise Levels of a Scanning Ion-conductance Microscope in Different Conditions. The aim of his work was to ultimately find ways of improving the resolution of such microscopes.
“It was great to work with actual scientists in a serious research environment and to see what it’s like to be at the forefront of research in this field. I saw how much work goes into research and how much is done by hand. What was also great was that I found out how to solve problems on my own. I’m sure I’m going to want to do research in the future.”
Another classmate, Tobaa Ahmad, worked on a at the Institut Armand Frappier, where she examined how the drug rapamycin which is has immunosuppressant functions in humans, can be used to treat excessive inflammation caused by septic shock.
Again, she had a unique opportunity to do research in a leading Montreal biomedical lab whose work has real implications for the potential future treatment of serious medical conditions.
“I was very satisfied because my project worked out. This is a terrific course for students interested in research. I learned how to read a scientific article and how to determine whether you can trust the source and the results. I also learned how to be autonomous, independent, organized and careful. I definitely improved my time management skills.”
There is no limit to the rich opportunities and experiences you can find in Cegep. No matter what your interests, there is something special for you.
Rayhaan is currently studying Medicine at McGill University.
Tobaa is studying Teaching at Université de Montréal.