Balancing a full course load and extracurriculars is a challenge for any student, but with hard work, determination and a zest for experience, anything is possible.
Alessandra Gabriel (BSc ’20), outgoing president of the Faculty of Mathematics and Science Student Council (FMSC), began her role in the fall of 2018, and watched it grow from 10 members to over 30 active members.
“It took a lot of work to start it, but after watching students from our Faculty network get to know each other, I couldn’t be happier,” she said, adding that she will “look back on this council as one of the best parts of my Brock experience.”
Dean Ejaz Ahmed is proud of the council’s work and its valuable addition to the plethora of services and opportunities the Faculty and University offers students.
“I wish to commend the strong leadership Gabriel and the executive council show each year,” he said. “Our students truly benefit from the council’s organizational and outreach skills”
As president and co-founder of the FMSC, Gabriel learned a lot about the Faculty as a whole.
“How we work together with student services and other clubs to form a supportive environment for students is great,” she said.
“When I started the council, I aimed to run this council to help students academically, socially and professionally. Since then, we’ve help study nights, social pizza and games nights, and helped to promote professional events within our faculty.”
Her favourite event is the first social gathering of the year in the fall, which allows the opportunity “to see new faces and encourage a lot of new students to get involved.” She’s grateful that the University makes resources available to students, noting the council’s partnership with A-Z Learning Services and coordinating drop-ins and tutoring help.
She said one of the biggest takeaways from her experience as being council president was learning more about leadership and time-management.
“I would parallel running FMSC almost like a small business since I had to work on funding proposals, advertising and networking,” said Gabriel. “These skills really helped to enhance my understanding of management and professional skills. Overall, being on FMSC has been a very rewarding experience.”
Gabriel recommends that all students across the University would benefit from being more involves in their Faculty, which have opportunities to suit any hobby.
“The friends you make and the skills you learn are so beneficial to your Brock experience and future career,” she said. “Students who want the best for other students and our Faculty should run for executive positions. This allows you to represent those within our Faculty and be able to shape the experiences that you want at Brock University.”
Her hope for the council moving forward is to focus on hosting networking or professional events of their own, adding that new students who don’t have a clear idea of what they want to do when they graduate would benefit from networking to spur on new ideas.
“For the students that do know what they want, it would give them a chance to speak to those in positions that they want to be in one day,” she said.
“When I started at Brock University, my main goal was to go to medical school. As I continued with my undergraduate degree, I found that while this is a noble profession, it isn’t for me. I really wanted to stay working alongside others, something that FMSC helped me realize. I really started branching out, and I’ve decided that I would like to stay on the business side of the pharmaceutical or medical devices industry.”
Gabriel is returning to Brock as a student of the joint, two-year MBA/MPh program, which will provide her with a robust business background, and open opportunities in the field of Public Health, a key area of importance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To support her community during the pandemic, Gabriel continues to work at a local pharmacy as an essential worker, while doing yoga daily to stay active.
“Although things might not return to ‘normal’ anytime soon, take the time to appreciate all the things we took for granted,” she said.