Spring convocation celebrates new PhD, MSc and Bridging PharmD graduates

Friday, June 18, 2021

Convocation sign on a lawn

At tomorrow’s virtual ceremony, Waterloo Pharmacy will welcome new alumni from the PhD and MSc graduate programs and the PharmD bridging program.

“While we regret that we cannot celebrate our graduates’ achievements in person, we are so proud of all that they have accomplished,” says Andrea Edginton, Hallman Director. “Our newest graduates demonstrated passion and perseverance completing their programs through a pandemic, and we can’t wait to see what comes next.”

Congratulations to the following PharmD bridging graduates:

  • Niki Bajic
  • Eveline Chiu
  • Jackie Diebold
  • Vicky Sun
  • Bhumi Trivedi
  • Brittany Weber

2021 marks ten years since the launch of the Master of Science in Pharmacy program, the first graduate program at Waterloo Pharmacy. In honour of this milestone, the MSc and PhD graduates shared reflections on their experiences as graduate students and their plans as alumni:

Shannon Callender – PhD in Pharmacy

Shannon CallenderSupervisor: Shawn Wettig

“The graduate program here, although comprehensive and highly engaging, is so much more than that. The ability to think critically, innovatively, and with compassion, is as much a focus of the program as is the rigour of scientific research. To do this in a community that feels like family is beyond what I could ever have imagined when I first entered graduate school – and I do think that there’s something to be said about a program where students evolve into the best versions of themselves before graduating. 

 Aside from persistence and resilience which are arguably the greatest lessons anyone can learn in graduate school, one of the biggest lessons I’ve personally learned is that you’re capable of more than you think. Never let self-doubt get in the way and never lose sight of the bigger picture.  

I’ve always had a passion for scientific communication and am currently working in the Learning and Development field where I get to think critically and apply those research and development skills every day. I’m enjoying the ride and looking forward to seeing where this journey takes me!” 

Samantha Shortall – PhD in Pharmacy

Samantha ShortallSupervisor: Shawn Wettig

“The culture and space (open-lab concept) at the School of Pharmacy allow for many opportunities to share, learn and collaborate with other research groups that have different interests and strengths from your own, which can lead to a more diverse research experience. I advise others to allow yourself to be creative – it’s okay to take a path or approach that deviates from current paradigms. 

I hope to apply my knowledge and skills to tackle formulation challenges within the pharmaceutical industry, with a particular interest in gene therapies. Currently, I am a formulation scientist at Avro Life Science where I am involved in designing a platform to passively deliver small molecules and RNA to the skin.”

Derek Chen – MSc in Pharmacy

Derek ChanSupervisor: Emmanuel Ho

My favourite part of the graduate program were the wonderful people I met. The journey would have not been possible without their support, help, and encouragement. Going through the program, I’ve learned that you need to have something in your life that can help you escape from the stress of grad school. Whether that be exercise, family, friends, or whatever, you need to find something that can divert your focus. I’ve also learned that you can never be too organized or too prepared, for anything and everything. Going forward, I want to improve my knowledge and skill in computer science, and eventually in the future find a job where I can combine my health science experience with science.”

Congratulations to all spring 2021 graduates!

Shawn and Emmanuel wearing convocation regalia 

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