Samira Matan- 4th Year Honours Double Major in Health Sciences and Sociocultural Anthropology
What’s your favourite thing about Health Studies?
I like the diversity- from the students in the program, to the courses offered. There is a wide range of courses to choose from, each with their own unique attributes. I have found that many of my Health Sciences courses have complemented my Anthropology courses and vice versa.
Have you been involved in any student clubs/councils/extra-curricular activities?
Yes. I have been involved with the USC’s Early Outreach Conference, the REACH Conference. REACH is early outreach conference for low income, at-risk Grade 8 students in the London community. Students spend a weekend at Western were they are engage in sessions that aim to equip them with real life skills, tools and information that will help them make educated decisions about their futures.
Additionally, I have been involved with Western Heads East (WHE), Western’s response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa. I’m currently the Co-Chair of the Fundraising and Education Committee where we host events throughout the year (such as the Western/Africa Collaboration Day during International Week, Art in the Market, Trivia Nights etc.) in order to raise funds and spread awareness about the projects in East Africa. WHE is unique in that it is Western’s only charity. Additionally, the projects in East Africa are sustainable and collaborative.
I’ve been part of the theatre scene at Western and London. I have had 3 acting roles in 3 different productions: All Things Beautiful, Scorched and The Wild Duck.
I’m also a Residence Don.
How have you been able to incorporate travelling into your learning?
I think there is so much that can be learned outside of the classroom! This past summer, I participated in the Ontario-Baden-Württemberg’s Summer Research Program .I spent 2 lovely Heidelberg, Germany where I conducted research as part of a larger project. The research focused on Childloss and Coping. It was an unbelievable experience, and my first encounter with conducting research. My host professor and the department I worked were helpful and kind; I was able to learn a lot from them. It was also absolutely wonderful being in Germany as they won the FIFA World Cup!
I will be travelling to travel to Madagascar this May and June as part of the Madagascar Field Course offered by the Anthropology Department. In Madagascar, I will have the opportunity to work on a range of projects, with Malagasy students, from conservation and humanitarian to development, child malnutrition and others. I’m excited for the lemurs, too.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
My parents. They are incredibly hard working, selfless, and supportive. Truthfully, I owe a lot of my passion and drive to them. Their support has provided me with the necessary confidence to pursue different experiences and opportunities. My parents are my role models.
What kind of career do you see yourself in?
Ideally, the kind that makes me happy! I’ve recently seen myself moving towards a directing and writing career in the Film and Television industry. I hope to tell stories that aren’t being told. I want moviegoers to think critically about film, and the issues that are happening in the world. I think my background in Health Sciences and Anthropology has helped me think critically about the world we live in.
What do you do to be healthy in your everyday life?
I try to remember to eat a balanced diet, workout, sleep, and pursue things I care about.
Do you have any advice for other health studies students?
Take opportunities as they come. Whether this means taking a different course or joining a club, you will learn so much about yourself in the process. Also, don’t be afraid to follow your passion. It’s possible that it may lie outside of what you expected, but that’s okay.
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