Bonita Shin

2021 International Women's Day Nominee - Bonita Shin

Give a brief bio about yourself/ your background/ your history.

I immigrated to Canada from South Korea in 2008. As a second-generation immigrant, I was taught to excel and succeed in the new, favourable environment my parents provided me with. Over time, my love for knowledge grew, and I grew more passionate about accumulating knowledge for my personal growth and widening my perspective of the world. Aside from academics, I also pursued fine arts and music, as I was very artistic and creative from a very young age.

What education have you taken?

I graduated from Vincent Massey High School in 2017. Currently, I am in my 4th year of completing my Honours Bachelor of Science, with a major in biomedical science and minor in chemistry.

What accomplishments are you proud of?

I am forever grateful for all the scholarships and awards I have received during my school years. While I am proud of my academic achievements, I am also thankful that I was given an opportunity to develop my love for music – competing in national piano competitions, playing at Carnegie Hall, and sharing my music with the elderly at Fairview Personal Care Home. I also had the experience of being the leader of the Spread the Net campaign in Brandon (collecting donations for nets for protection against malaria), receiving the NSERC USRA, and building a school in Ecuador as a part of the Free the Children organization. Currently, I am most proud of being a part of Dr. Majumder’s lab studying breast cancer and being the first author of two scientific papers discussing the relationship between microRNAs and breast cancer.

How did you become interested in your field of study?

I have always been fascinated with the intricacy and objective nature of science. At the same time, I realized that I wanted to help people when they are faced with a limitation that prevents them from moving forward in their lives, which made me pursue my dream of becoming a doctor. The fact that cancer is a currently incurable disease that involves one’s own body attacking itself intrigued me and attracted me, and my desire to challenge and control this disease made me want to become an oncologist.

What is your philosophy in life?

I believe that to achieve satisfaction and personal growth in my life, I should strive to reach my full potential in as many things as possible in life to bring happiness to those around me. However, working to reach your potential should never get in the way of your own mental well-being and happiness.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

I want to fulfil my dream of helping and bringing happiness to those around me while pursuing my own goal of personal growth by becoming an oncologist. Thus, I hope to enter medical school to pursue my studies in medical care and research.

What do you #ChooseToChallenge?

I #ChooseToChallenge implicit and explicit gender biases.

Nominator’s Comments:

I would like to nominate Bonita Shin for this International Women’s Day Award. She is an outstanding undergraduate student who excelled in both academia and research. Bonita started as a second-year undergraduate student at my laboratory with a NSERC USRA award in 2019. She is born leader. Within a few weeks after joining my laboratory I noticed Bonita is a brilliant student with strong leadership qualities. As a second-year undergraduate student, Bonita’s experience in laboratory techniques were limited. In 2019 summer, we had only one month in hand to finish and submit an invited article in a very reputed journal. The task was very challenging. Among 11 trainees working at my laboratory in 2019; the junior most one was Bonita and she took responsibilities in a group meeting to strategies our plan to reach deadline and she did! She became the first author in that article. I saw a passionate researching in her, who is determined to be successful. As an undergrad student she already published two peer-reviewed scientific articles as first author. We can find these qualities only in senior level graduate students and Bonita is exceeding her level both in academia and research. She made oral presentation at the BU’s homecoming event in 2019 and was the only undergraduate student among all eminent senior researchers at BU. She is now an Honours student at my laboratory working on ‘oxidative stress in breast cancer’. Due to her excellent academic record she received many accolades namely a few: undergraduate entry scholarships at BU, Centennial Scholarship, D&R Scott Scholarship in Science, Guru Nanak Dev Scholarships and NSERC-USRA. Bonita is a stupendous student who wants to peruse career as a clinician. We need more women like Bonita in STEM. She deserves this award.