Anastasia Pavlenkova

As an international student, moving abroad and deciding on what university to join was a really tough decision to make. I decided to move to Canada to explore the country and joined SFU for a myriad of reasons. One reason I love SFU is the flexibility of setting your own course schedule and path, which allows you to realistically create a healthy balance between academics, well-being and having fun.

I joined MBB because I enjoy the nitty gritty part of biology. I love understanding the intricate pathways that dictate the way our cells live, die and everything in the middle. Immunology and cancer biology is an integral part of MBB courses and those topics align with my interest. I love what I study because it's fascinating how logical and systematic our survival is on the smallest scale.

In addition to general science knowledge you gain from your courses, I didn’t miss the opportunity to gain research and lab experience from the MBB lab courses and Directed Research (honors). Diversifying your experiences is the best way to figure out what you want to do with your life. Therefore, I wanted to gain insightful industry work experience through co-op, which prepares you for the real world before you graduate. I also benefited from meeting people from different walks of life and mentors who inspire you to become a more well-rounded individual. I highly recommend doing research and co-op.

For fun, I love playing badminton at the SFU gym every week and adding some movement to my debatably sedentary lifestyle. I’m also a stem cell executive at the Blood, Organ and Stem Cell club and have proudly set up about 15 stem cell drives and recruited over 200 committed donors in 2 years. Every experience and person I encountered throughout my undergrad has taught me valuable lessons that have positively contributed to my strengths and weaknesses. This is your leap into adulthood, so pursue your passions and embrace the things that challenge you.