It’s Spring Convocation again, and this year the Faculty of Science will grant over 850 students their hard-earned Bachelor of Science degree. But for Susan and James Hadden, both BSc ’90 biology alumni, there’s one graduate in particular who they’re most excited to welcome into the club: their daughter, Jocelyn, who has earned her Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences.

Despite both parents sporting a biology degree, and an aunt with an engineering degree from Waterloo – Darlene Moritz, Geological Engineering (BASc ’89) – Jocelyn’s decision to enter biomedical sciences was entirely her own. “They didn’t pressure me to come here,” she says, “I knew from an early age that I loved science and eventually wanted a career in dentistry. When I visited campus, I was awed by the DC library and after talking to some science students, felt like I belonged here. My parents were pleased and supportive of that decision. Of course, then came the stories.”

Susan is a retired high school teacher of 25 years and James owns his own multidisciplinary chiropractic practice. They do indeed have some stories, and a clear affinity for the academic and social side of life at Waterloo. With so many classes together, it was only a matter of time before Susan and James met one another. “I finally spoke to her while we were watching some shenanigans in the fountain by engineering,” says James, “after that we were pretty inseparable. We became lab partners too, and had a lot of fun in our refluxing labs. Susan was far more prepared for labs than I was!

Jocelyn and her mother hugging in front of Village 1 residence on move in dayMove in day at Village 1 residence


Both James and Susan enrolled in co-op and had some incredible work placements. Susan spent eight consecutive months collecting water samples and testing the water quality in Nahanni National Park. “The experience was incredible,” she says. “I canoed for days, spent a month in a log cabin and was flown in a small airplane to collect water samples. I love the outdoors and this is what eventually lead me into teaching at the Outdoor Ed Centre and to pursue a career in teaching. I can’t imagine getting that kind of experience anywhere else.”

James had similar praise for his co-op adventures, crediting the program for giving him tremendous opportunities in genetic research, pharmaceuticals and microbiology. He’s quick to point out that he and Susan still dated while she was in the North West Territories. “We sent letters through the mail. There was no internet then,” he grins as he looks over at his daughter, Jocelyn, “oh and I made her a mixed tape. That’s what we did back then.” 

Jocelyn will be attending dentistry school at either Western University or the University of British Columbia. Her brother Benjamin is graduating from Lakehead University this spring with an engineering degree. As she prepares to watch her own virtual convocation ceremony on Saturday, Jocelyn acknowledges that becoming a fellow science alumnus with her parents makes her happy, “over the years we’ve shared stories about campus, academics and compared stuff we did differently. When I went home for reading week, my dad had his textbooks out ready to help if I needed it.” 

“She didn’t need it,” says James. “She’s done just fine on her own… and I’m pretty certain she got better grades than I did.”  Susan is in full agreement, “We’ve always encouraged her to reach for the stars and here she is graduating from our alma mater and forging ahead with her own career. We couldn’t be prouder.”

Congratulations Jocelyn Hadden, BSc ’21!