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Chance to do research “a monumental experience” for new grad

Photo of: Hareem Naveed

Hareem Naveed, a mathematics and biochemistry graduate will begin a master’s degree in applied mathematics in the fall. Photo: Diana Tyszko.

Hareem Naveed will never be accused of failing to take advantage of her opportunities or giving back to others in equal measure.

Naveed, a mathematics and biochemistry graduate who will begin a master’s degree in applied mathematics in the fall, has an impressive record of both research experience and student volunteer work.

“I think that’s one of the best things about U of T, there are just all these opportunities if you’re an interested and willing student,” says Naveed.

Near the top of that list of opportunities for Naveed was the Multi-Organ Transplant Student Research Training Program she took in her second year, a “monumental experience” that laid the groundwork for her path.

Working through the kidney transplant program at Toronto General Hospital, she covered everything from physiology and anatomy to biostatistics and clinical epidemiology, including how to read patient charts and test results.

“That helped me develop two important things: one was professionalism and two was depth of knowledge,” says Naveed, adding that getting to observe, ask questions and even take a blood sample during a four-hour surgical procedure on a pig was “one of the coolest things” about the program.

The rigorous training and wide exposure helped lead to external research work with the Melanoma Network of Canada, the Ontario Lung Association and the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael’s Hospital. She also recently won a Starbucks Clinical Genetics/Genomics Research Award, part of a summer internship at Sick Kids Hospital with a lab focusing on machine learning in computational biology.

Naveed also credits U of T for giving her a foundation for future success in her first year with the Vic One Augusta Stowe-Gullen Stream program for students in the biological sciences. The Vic One experience helped expand her original interest in chemistry into biology and then math. As part of her master’s work, Naveed hopes to analyze massive medical datasets using mathematical tools.

If there is anything Naveed enjoys as much as her studies and research it’s talking to other students about U of T and the opportunities it offers.

Her list of accomplishments includes the Gordon Cressy Student Leadership Award for volunteer work as a peer mentor and student ambassador.

She’s notes that participating in extracurricular activities like the student ambassador program is something she and many of her friends who have been successful academically have in common.

Those are the kinds of insights she shares with other students arriving at U of T stressed and worried about what programs to choose or their prospects for employment.

She tells them part of the journey is discovering their own true path as they are exposed to new subjects and experiences.

“I transitioned through many different programs because my interests evolved,” says Naveed.

“Honestly, if you study what you want to study, there will be something waiting at the end of it for you.”