Fun Fact: I plan to donate my luscious locks after graduation pictures.
Welcome back to Western! Tell me about what you did this summer.
This was the first summer that I haven’t done a summer course at Western; the last two years I did physiology and physics over the summer. This summer I was able to spend time doing things that I enjoy doing and to spend more time with my family. I live in Sault Ste. Marie, which is a seven hour drive from London, and I’m in fourth year now so depending on what happens next year, I might not be able to see my family as much. Right now I’m in the middle of applying for graduate programs, some of which are in the States. Travelling is going to be even more difficult, so it’s important for me to capitalize on spending time with my family now.
Last summer I got my scuba diving license. So this summer my brother, who also has a license, and I went diving in Sault Ste. Marie. I was also employed with the city, doing a research project on road signs. Essentially, I got paid to run around the city shooting lasers at signs to determine if they were too worn out. Towards the end of the summer, I did a lot of road biking. I’m a soph and so I actually ended up putting together a Training for Terry video filled with running and bike montages for Health Sciences Charity Team. Sophs from all constituency’s work in friendly competition to promote awareness towards Cystic Fibrosis and the T-Fox initiatives. I also was able to come back at the end of the summer for my soph training.
That’s awesome. What’s your soph name?
Poseidon; last year, I was Shakespeare.
What’s your favourite part of being a soph?
My favourite part of being a soph is being able to give back. We always get the question why we help on move-in day—why in thirty-five degree weather, we are lifting someone’s fridge up three flights of stairs. The answer is that someone has to do it. But the truth behind it is that someone did the exact same thing when I moved in first year. I was really far from home and I was the first one to move away from home for school. So on the first day, there was the group of highly energetic and enthusiastic people who were offering to help me move my things into my room. Looking back on that, I think being able to give that experience of being supported to incoming first-years is really fulfilling. Western has given me the privilege to meet a lot of influential people who have challenged me to better myself. Someone helped me to get to where I am now and sophing is an opportunity to help someone else.
You mentioned that you were applying to graduate programs. What kinds of programs are you interested in?
I have a huge interest in public health, especially because of the focus of our program. A huge theme we advocate in the School of Health Studies is the holistic conception of health. For example, in Sault Ste. Marie, there’s the Algoma Health Unit. They monitor the beach for closures, which really drives home the point that the environment plays a huge role in health. Another experience that shaped my interests was the Global Health and Innovation Conference at Yale. Last year, I was really lucky to be able to go to the GHIC with HSSA. A couple of the keynotes and workshops they offered centered on global health and it was really eye-opening to be able to see how other countries carry out interventions. I remember between the second and third keynotes I went to get a coffee. There was a lady who asked me what my name was and where I was from. She ended up being the next keynote speaker and she didn’t put her credentials up, but I looked her up and it turns out that she worked in Rwanda as a health minister! I couldn’t believe that my program was able to send a group of students from my program to the conference where we had the opportunity to meet so many amazing people and to hear them speak about global health. So I’m looking into MPH programs as well PT. But because of what I was exposed to, I think I want to pursue public health.
Where do you see yourself in five or ten years?
Number one, my goal would be probably to have a dog. We’ve always had pets in my family. Currently I think we have four or five aquariums. We’ve had amphibians, dogs, a peach-faced lovebird, hedgehogs and I really miss my dog so I would hope I would have one at some point in the future.
I don’t really know where I’ll be, but I want to keep challenging myself, and making an impact wherever I am. I think that’s one of the biggest rewards you can give yourself. Eventually, I think I want to head back up north to Sault Ste. Marie. It’s pretty cool to be here at Western, but it can be difficult to be so far away from my family.
What kinds of things do you like to do outside of class?
As a soph, I really enjoy seeing my first-years and making sure that they are feeling supported in their academics, and personal and social lives. I’m the coach for the Elgin’s flag football team, this year. This is my second year having a coaching role. Being able to teach the football basics from square one to playing an actual game is really great but the best part is seeing how the team can really bring people together.
I am also part of the Cancer Awareness Society as the executive of promotions. So I do a lot of advertising for upcoming events to let people know about things that going one. This past weekend we did a CIBC run in Victoria Park and our group was able to raise $1600. Through my involvement with Cancer Awareness Society, I was asked by the London Middlesex chapter of Canadian Cancer Society if I would like to network with them as a Student Youth Ambassador. I was really flattered that they reached out to me. After doing some online training, I’m interacting with some local high school students. Some of them are interested in going to university and some are going to college. I provide a perspective on what it’s like to be a university student and integrate them with what they can expect on campus. It’s really rewarding experience.
Know of any food hacks?
Our family are huge outdoor enthusiasts. We have a code that nothing ever goes to waste. Our family does a lot of hunting and fishing. Cooking is really relaxing, except the cleaning part. What I like to do is buy whole chickens. On certain days, Loblaws will have a sale on whole chickens—they cost maybe $6 a chicken. If I sit down and try to eat a whole chicken I can almost eat the entire thing, but usually I get four meals out of a whole chicken. So I take the whole chicken and then I quarter it, and throw the quarters into Ziplocs with marinade. Then I take out and put it on tin foil and bake at 350F until it’s cooked through.
What a great tip. I know a lot of students are wary about buying whole chickens because package chicken breasts or thighs are a lot easier to handle, but it sounds way more economical to buy the whole chicken. Thanks for sitting down with me, Alexei.