Lindsay Wainwright

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Community engagement clarifies career choice

June 08, 2015
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By Diane Mar-Nicolle

Dynamo Lindsay Wainwright, 32, has already completed her second year of medical school at UBC even though she is just graduating with her SFU B.Sc. this June. But that’s typical for Wainwright, who is happiest doing two things at once.

The mature student had already earned a horticultural diploma at Kwantlen University and spent a few years orchid farming in New Zealand and Canada before enrolling in SFU’s biological sciences department in 2009.

Despite a heavy course load, she carved out time to volunteer with SFU Peer Programs, the First Nations Student Association, the Indigenous Student Centre and, outside of SFU, at Royal Columbian Hospital and the Urban Native Youth Association.

Her volunteer work in professor Nicholas Harden’s lab in early developmental biology led to a semester of full-time paid work funded by an SFU Vice President of Research Award. Additionally, Wainwright undertook two co-op work placements that helped her acquire basic scientific research skills and earned her a National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada Award.

Her diverse academic and community experiences ultimately cemented her decision to pursue medicine.

Of her SFU experience Wainwright says, “As a Cree student, SFU has an excellent Aboriginal community and tons of resources. There are lots of opportunities for undergrads to do research, which opened many doors for me.”

The two-time recipient of the Aboriginal Community Involvement Award adds, “I appreciated that SFU has financial awards that recognize community involvement and not just grades. It just makes sense to reward those who are improving their community.”

For the summer, Wainwright has already lined up a research position with UBC’s Department of Plastic Surgery, a specialty she’s considering after medical school. She’s also hoping to squeeze in a weeklong hiking trip in Tofino, some surfing, gardening and a bit of wine tasting. Sounds like a jam-packed summer—not surprising for a super achiever like Wainwright.