Top academic honours don't rule out engagement in research and community
By Emma Keeler-Dugas
Jeff Chen, who moved to Canada from Taiwan when he was four years old, was surprised to learn, as he grew up, that everyone in Canada has access to a physician.
“That really resonated with me—it set me towards wanting to pursue a career in medicine,” he says, noting that he wants to ensure all Canadians continue to have access to quality medical care.
With that goal in mind, Chen majored in biomedical physiology and kinesiology at SFU. This month he convocates with a bachelor of science and a Governor General’s Silver Medal, awarded to the two graduating students who have achieved the highest academic standing in a bachelor's degree program.
Chen earned a near-perfect cumulative grade point average of 4.32 out of a possible 4.33, all while volunteering as a tutor for elementary school children and working in SFU science professor Glen Tibbits’ molecular cardiac physiology lab at the Child and Family Research Institute.
“I dedicated a lot of time to focus on my studies and to do the best I could do,” says Chen. “SFU provided me with countless opportunities to reach my potential, including volunteer opportunities in research and mentorship.”
Chen’s high grades earned him early enrollment in UBC’s medical school after his third year at SFU. After completing two years at UBC, he applied those credits to complete his SFU degree program. He now has one more year at UBC medical school before becoming a resident physician.
“I am hoping to either focus on pediatrics or family medicine,” he says. “I want to be able to build long-term relationships with my patients.”
Chen says winning the Governor General’s Silver Medal “represents all the work I put into my education, and I am proud of that,” he says. “My experience at SFU was everything I had hoped it would be. My advice to new students is to reach out to every opportunity that is offered to you.”
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