What education have you taken?
I completed my high school diploma here, in Brandon, Manitoba, at École secondaire Neelin High School in 2016. In the fall of the same year, I began my science degree at Brandon University. I am currently in my final year of my Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree with a chemistry major and biology minor.
What accomplishments are you proud of?
I am both proud and honoured to have been the recipient of all the awards, scholarships, and leadership opportunities that I have received during my undergraduate studies. I was placed on the Dean’s Honour List and inducted into the President’s Honour Society following my first year and each consecutive year after at Brandon University. However, I am most proud of being the recipient of the Dr. Bruce and Mrs. Jane Forrest Scholarship for Majors/Honours in Chemistry three years in a row. I am beyond grateful to be awarded this prestigious chemistry scholarship as it has given me motivation to continue to work hard in both academics and extra-curricular activities. Similarly, I have been awarded the Dr. N Demchuk Memorial Scholarship in both General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry, instructed by Dr. Bushnell and Dr. Hill respectively. Both courses are the reason I decided to pursue a degree in chemistry.
I began doing research within the Department of Chemistry at Brandon University in 2016, during the summer following the first completed year of my undergraduate degree. A year later, I was honoured to receive the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Undergraduate Student Research Award (NSERC-USRA) for my Computational-Biochemistry research. This award allowed me to continue my exploration into the exciting nature of research and uncovering new knowledge on critical topics. Ultimately, it began my interest in pursuing a career in research and as such, I have continued doing research during the summer following my third year, as well as my honours thesis this year.
I am also very proud of the teaching assistant positions that I have held at Brandon University during the course of my degree. I have been a teaching assistant for the math department for several courses including Statistics II and Calculus I for non-consecutive terms during my degree. Additionally, I have been a teaching assistant for the General Chemistry I and II Laboratories for consecutive semesters beginning in the fall of 2017. Through this position I have been able to support many students with encouraging interactions, while also trying to promote the exciting nature of pursuing a science degree and all the opportunities that can come with it.
For the past three years, I have also been an active member of the Brandon University Chemistry Club. In the school year of 2018, I was co-president of the club with my fellow chemistry student Derek Harris; where both he and I were able to collaborate on the organization of club activities and social events including the Pyschemology Social. Becoming an executive member of the club has allowed me to help create an inclusive area for incoming chemistry students to receive additional help and guidance, and current chemistry students to have a safe place to interact or study with their peers.
Give a brief bio about yourself/ your background/ your history.
I grew up 20 minutes outside of Brandon, Manitoba in a rural area, but attended both elementary school and high school in town. My parents, both owners of a local transmission business, taught me how to work hard for my goals. As well, they taught me the meaning of dedication and how to always give my full effort no matter how large or small the task. For this, I am grateful. Their work ethic while running their business still inspires me to this day. Throughout high school I was heavily involved in team sports such as volleyball and basketball, which I still enjoy playing recreationally. This includes playing on teams comprised of the entire chemistry department! Additionally, I enjoy using my spare time to relax with our family dogs, Bella and Teddy.
How did you become interested in your field of study?
During my time at high school I had a great biology teacher that was able to pique my interest in the science of how everything works; primarily the biological systems within our bodies. When I began university, I was convinced I would major in biology until I was introduced to general chemistry. Again, it was the desire to understand how everything works and why it works that led me to pursue my chemistry degree. It has opened my mind to many new concepts and understandings where I found a happy medium between my two interests: biochemistry.
What is your philosophy in life?
My philosophy in life is to always give my absolute best effort no matter the size of the task, because it is always better to try and fail than to not try at all. I have applied this mindset to not only my school work, but also to my friendships, relationships, and family.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
Furthering my knowledge in chemistry and biology, I would like to pursue a master’s degree involving research on disease pathways and pharmaceutical design. In the long term, I would like to finish a medical doctorate degree where I am still able to continue with medical research, but also have a clinical practice.
I write to you today to nominate one of the graduating students from the Department of Chemistry, Cassidy Baumung, for the International Women’s Day award. Throughout her time in our department, Cassidy has been one of our star students in the classroom, in the research lab, and in social and outreach situations. In the classroom, Cassidy has consistently been one of our top students. Her transcript attests to this fact, showing a very high GPA that consists of A’s and A+’s across the board. For her high level of performance, she has been awarded a number of scholarships. Most notably, Cassidy was twice awarded the Department’s top scholarship, the Dr. Bruce and Mrs. Jane Forrest Scholarship for Second and for Third Year Chemistry Majors. Her performance in the research lab has been equally exemplary. Cassidy spent time in my research group holding an NSERC-USRA. Cassidy is currently completing an honour’s thesis in the lab of Dr. Michael Charette. She has presented her honour’s research at the Second Annual Manitoba Chemistry Symposium held in Brandon (May 2019; won third place in the undergraduate biochemistry poster competition), at the international RiboWest2019 meeting in Winnipeg (June 2019). These are all very notable accomplishments, especially for an undergraduate student, as most research conferences are aimed at principle investigators and graduate students. Cassidy has been heavily involved in the University’s Chemistry club, serving in a variety of functions. She was also one of the student organizers of the 2nd Annual Manitoba Chemistry Symposium held in Brandon this past spring. Overall, she has been an incredible student ambassador for the Department of Chemistry, bringing enthusiasm and energy to all she does.
In closing, I strongly and enthusiastically recommend Cassidy Baumung for nomination of an International Women’s Day award.