Alumni Spotlight

Michelle Mujoomdar

BSc ’99 – Biological Sciences

Rising Star in the Health-Care Field
The Brock alumna was honoured at an awards luncheon at the 2018 Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) Symposium, a premier forum to discuss health care in Canada. The Biological Sciences graduate received the  Dr. Maurice McGregor Award in Halifax, N.S., on April 17. Named in honour of the retired Chair of the Health Technology Assessment Unit of the McGill University Health Centre, the award recognizes rising stars in the field of health technology assessment early in their careers.

Her Time at Brock
Mujoomdar is no stranger to successful early starts. At 17, the Riverview, N.B., native moved far from home to attend school at Brock. The venture paid off and she thrived in her new environment.

Memories at Brock
“It sounds cliché, but there are too many great memories to count. I lived in what we called ‘New Rez’ and made friends for life through residence as well as within Biological Sciences. I’m still in contact with many people to this day.”

Road to CADTH
After graduating with Honours from Brock, Mujoomdar studied at Dalhousie University before joining CADTH in 2008. Her work ethic, leadership qualities and talent helped her quickly advance. In her current role as Director, Scientific Affairs, she is responsible for ensuring the work produced is of the highest quality.

“I oversee a program where CADTH provides advice to pharmaceutical companies on how the clinical trials they conduct can be designed to better meet the needs of health-system payers.”

Mujoomdar’s professional path comes as no surprise. With her entire family in the delivery side of health care, her interest in pursuing a health-related career felt like a natural fit. “I was interested in transitioning to a field more closely related to health policy,” she said. “The concept of promoting evidence-informed decision and policy-making was appealing.”

Mentorship
While at Brock, she counted Biological Sciences Professors Alan Castle and Joffre Mercier as her mentors. They co-supervised her fourth-year honours project and she credits them with her decision to pursue graduate school.

“Find a mentor or sponsor to provide support, guidance and sometimes to challenge you. I can only hope that in some small way, I’ve done the same for others.”

Miso Gostimir

BSc ’14

What are you doing now?
I recently graduated from medical school at the University of Ottawa and have begun my five-year residency in ophthalmology at Western University.

How did your experience at Brock help to prepare you for Medical School?
Brock gave me an unparalleled undergraduate experience. Brock’s strength is in the dedication it has towards its undergraduate student body, which is not the case in many other Canadian universities with large graduate and/or professional school student populations. This made it extremely easy for me to take advantage of existing opportunities and to create opportunities for myself if they were not yet available. Some examples included getting involved in a research, student government, and inspirational volunteer initiatives. More intimate class sizes also made it easy for me to get to know my professors and to learn how to work well in groups. Ultimately, all of these experiences helped develop a solid foundation of skills and experiences to build on during medical school.

What is your favourite Brock experience?
When I received my medical school acceptance, I remember being stopped and congratulated in the hallway by professors whom I had no idea even knew my name or that I had applied. This brought everything into perspective for me and showed me that the staff at Brock truly care about their students.

If you had to give advice to a new student, what would it be?
I’m a big fan of Elon Musk and one of his teachings is that the more time you dedicate to something, the better the outcome and the faster you reach it. It’s a simple thing that we all often forget, but dedicating a few extra hours per day to a task translates into something much bigger down the road.

My other piece of advice is related to practicing good insight. As you get involved with various activities during your university experience, try to reflect as much as possible on why you are doing something and what you have learned. This gives significance to everything and allows you to grow from it in ways that you wouldn’t have if you were just going through the motions. It also helps tremendously with your future interviews.

Olivia Allen

BSc Biological Sciences ’14

It has been almost four years since I graduated from Brock University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Sciences. Since then I have been working hard to complete my Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program at the Ontario Veterinary College. I am currently two short months away from becoming the veterinarian I have always dreamt of being ever since I was a child.

I had many unique experiences at Brock University, all of which helped me prepare for and achieve admission to the Ontario Veterinary College. It began in high school with the Brock Mentorship Program. I was paired with Dr. Joffre Mercier and Dr. Glenn Tattersall to work on a research project. This research was later published in the Journal of Experimental Biology. This project sparked a huge interest in research for me, and over the next three years I was awarded three NSERC undergraduate student research awards from Brock University and went on to co-author two other scientific research papers.

Another unique experience was being the undergraduate student representative for the Animal Care Committee at Brock University. I gained valuable experience in regards to ethical animal care and also learned about the roles of veterinarians in a research setting. I had to write the MCAT exam as part of my admission requirements for the Ontario Veterinary College, and Brock University courses in biology, physics, psychology, philosophy and chemistry helped me greatly to achieve a competitive MCAT score.

In addition, the Ontario Veterinary College required certain courses to be completed at the undergraduate level, most of which were listed as University of Guelph courses. I was able to find and complete the acceptable equivalent of the University of Guelph Courses at Brock University and achieve competitive grades. I was even able to meet with Brock University’s Co-op, Career and Experiential Education Service in order to obtain one-on-one guidance in preparation for my multi-mini interview (MMI). This is the interview format that is part of the selection process at the Ontario Veterinary College.

My favourite Brock University experience isn’t a particular event so much as a recollection of the wonderful people I met and the support I received during my time there. The relationships I formed with my research supervisors, course instructors, teaching assistants, academic advisors, counsellors and friends were ones that will forever hold a special place in my heart. I met so many amazing and wonderful people who helped me grow and achieve my dreams.

I was asked what advice I would give to a new student, and while I could list which courses to take and what intramural sports teams and fitness classes I liked, the one piece of advice I have is to be brave, step out of your comfort zone, and form new relationships. Networking is such a valuable tool and you never know who you will meet along the way, what friends you will make, and the adventures you will share!

Olivia Allen (LePine)