Cory Macklin’s hard work leads to a Governor General’s Silver Medal

June 07, 2022

SFU Molecular Biology and Biochemistry student Cory Macklin never planned on coming to university. After leaving high school he took a job in the trades as a painter.

“I felt like I could do something more,” he says. “I had a close friend with a similar story go back to school to be a lawyer and that was inspiring to me. I decided rather impulsively that I was going to try and be a doctor, as I figured it would be a rewarding career path.” He decided to study biology because it was the most common degree for med school applicants.

But there was a little issue: his grades. By his own admission Macklin had been a poor student, graduating from high school with a C+ average. He knew he would have to do a lot of upgrading, and enrolled at Douglas College. “It was a bit of an experiment for me,” he says. “At that point in my life I did not know if I was academically challenged or just lazy.”

College wasn’t easy, but he found that when he worked hard on his courses he was able to achieve the top grades he needed. After three years at Douglas, he transferred to SFU with a GPA of 4.22. He adds, "I had a very rewarding experience there and really enjoyed it. I feel like it prepared me for university quite well."

He also continued to work as a painter during the summers and winter breaks, so that he could afford to pay for school without taking on any debts. Outside of school he found the time to volunteer at Last Door Youth Program, an addictions treatment centre in New Westminster where he has volunteered for the past ten years.

Today, Cory is one of two Governor General’s Silver Medalists at Simon Fraser University’s Spring 2022 Convocation. This means that he is one of the two top undergraduates of his graduating class, finishing his degree with a perfect GPA of 4.33.

He’s grateful for the support of the Faculty of Science professors who helped to shape his time at SFU: "Dr. Nabyl Merbouh in the CHEM department always had time to answer my questions. Dr. Irina Kovalyova was amazingly supportive of me in both MBB 222 and 309W, and Dr. Lisa Craig invited me into her lab and guided me in my research experience.”

Cory will be applying to UBC medical school in next year’s admission cycle.