Stephanie Hunter

Stephanie Hunter

What education have you taken?

During my first two years at Brandon University I pursued a Bachelor of Phys Ed before changing my mind and switching into the sciences. I am currently in my last year of a 4-Year Honours Bachelor of Science with a major in Biomedical studies and a double minor in Chemistry and Psychology.

What accomplishments (awards, scholarships, volunteer work, organizations, memberships) are you proud of?

My greatest accomplishment was becoming a member of the Brandon University Women’s Basketball team and completing 5 years as a student athlete. This experience has led me to many coaching opportunities within the community which allow me to stay connected and give back to the sport I love.

Another great opportunity I have been given is the chance to perform research in Dr. Mousumi Majumder’s lab here at Brandon University where we do molecular breast cancer cell research. Last year I was awarded an NSERC USRA to make this opportunity possible. Currently, I am continuing my research as her honour’s student. Due to my interest in science I also spend time volunteering through Let’s Talk Science at Brandon University, which allows me to share my interest for science with youth in our community.

Tell us about yourself/ your background/ your history

I grew up in Brandon with my older sister and our parents. Both my sister and I are driven, and hardworking individuals and it is no doubt that this comes from watching our parents work hard and excel at the things they love in life. My sister and I were heavily involved in multiple sports throughout our childhood and as the younger sister, I spent multiple hours getting dragged to watch my sister play basketball while we were growing up. Not long after, I decided to follow in her footsteps and also found a passion for basketball. This sport led me to the amazing opportunity to play university basketball in my hometown, which was an experience that truly helped shape me into who I am today. Aside from basketball I am an avid coffee drinker, board game enthusiast, cat lover, coach, sister, daughter, friend, and science lover.

How did you become interested in your field of study?

When my older sister was 16, she was diagnosed with a rare form of genetic diabetes (Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young). From my first science fair project in grade 4 on diabetes, up to writing a detailed review paper and giving a presentation on MODY in my 3rd year Biochemistry class, I have continually wanted to know more about her disease, and this essentially carved my path towards my interests in both science and medicine.

What is your philosophy in life?

My philosophy is to work hard for the things you truly want in life, and to be respectful and thankful for both the people and opportunities that you are given.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

Because of my interests in both research and medicine, my long-term goals are to attend medical school and one day conduct clinical research while also practicing as a physician. My experience in breast cancer research has specifically sparked my interest in potentially becoming an oncologist.

Nominator’s Comments

I would like to nominate an outstanding student, Ms. Stephanie Hunter, for this award. She is an excellent student with a high GPA.  She is a great researcher and community service provider. Her volunteering services are countless. I write this nomination with the highest degree of enthusiasm in favour of Ms. Stephanie Hunter. Currently, Ms. Hunter is an Honours student at the Department of Biology in my laboratory.

I have known Ms. Hunter for over two years, since she was a student in an advanced cancer biology course designed for fourth year undergraduate students and graduate student, while Ms. Hunter was a third year student. She caught my attention as an attentive, engaged student who always participated in case studies and discussion with advanced knowledge. Ms. Hunter’s scored 100% in her assignment, and was the top scoring student in a class of twelve, including Masters and fourth year students. Later Stephanie took another fourth year course, which required writing a summary of a scientific article and presenting the article. She greatly improved her written and oral communication skills and demonstrated a tremendous understanding of the ways and means of scientific research, an understanding that only a few of our best students attain. She secured the top score in this course amongst fifteen students.

Ms. Hunter is a University Athlete, a Bobcat Champion and she missed a few crucial lectures in both my courses to play for Brandon University in the National games in 2018. However, Stephanie amazed me by her sincerity and determination. She submitted her assignments before the deadline so that she could play at the national games. She had carried a full course load throughout her tenure in BU and maintained an excellent grade point average. These are strong indicators of an ambitious, hard working, sincere student, who is determined to be successful. These qualities make her ideal fit with my research program and are the main reasons I enjoy teaching Stephanie. She is the best student I have taught so far.

Ms. Hunter expressed interest in learning more about my area of biology and in conducting research on breast cancer in my laboratory. Stephanie received an NSERC-USRA scholarship last spring so was able to work as a research student with me for the summer. Within a few weeks in that summer, Stephanie was fulling trained in the lab techniques needed and generated data, and now she is writing her very first manuscript as first author. She also collaborated with another senior student in that project and become co-author in two more articles.   In my career I have never had any undergraduate students so ambitious, focused and productive as Stephanie. She wants to continue her project as a masters student. Her long-term goal is to become a clinical scientist.

Currently she is completing her Honours thesis project with me and working in a group of five trainees. Due to her friendly nature and good understanding with team members, she soon will become the team leader. Everyone in my lab depends on her.  I can see how she discusses lab problems with other trainees and they try to trouble shoot experiments together. She helped an international student in my lab find a place to live, transportation and all kinds of help possible. She is a leader and loves to serve people, a rare leadership and management quality I have seen in few undergraduate students at this level.

Also to her credit, Ms. Hunter has won several high school and undergraduate awards, for academics and athletics.  Stephanie is a reputed athlete with a strong ambition to become a Doctor. Stephanie also serves the community, volunteering as girl volleyball coach at Crocus Plains Regional Secondary School; every year visiting schools on behalf of Brandon University to engage high school student in science and research though ‘lets talk science’ program, writing blogs along with me for patient knowledge for Canadian Breast Cancer Network. In my experience, she is among the top 1% of the best students I have known at the undergraduate level.

Stephanie is outstanding! I know her sincerity, passion for community service, hard work, dedication will be invaluable to her professional career and she will be an asset to our Canadian society. She deserves the award.