SHIFTer of the Month
Hi everyone, my name is Jocelyn Bel, and I am honoured to be your SHIFTer of the Month! I am currently in my eighth year of study at Lakehead… no, I’m not a slow learner... I just started my PhD in the fall of 2018 where I am conducting research at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine in the field of fetal programming.
Born and raised in Thunder Bay, I always knew I wanted to go to Lakehead just like my Dad. My first degree from LU was an HBSc in Applied Bio-Molecular Science. While being an undergraduate student, I was involved with Superior Science, the summer camp on campus, where I eventually became Director of the program. With experience running the summer camp and learning all about small business, I changed gears a bit and completed my MBA. The MBA was an amazing experience where I met some of my best friends who came from across the world to study here. This range of cultures all mixed in one classroom was an amazing year that I will never forget. After my MBA, I went back to science with a new mindset and completed my Master of Science in Biology where I studied E. coli isolated from Boulevard Lake and areas around Lake Simcoe and Georgian Bay. I am excited to continue my research journey as a PhD student where I get to be a part of a research team at NOSM and collaborate with others to conduct studies that can hopefully positively impact people’s health long term. All of this schooling would not be possible without the support of my parents, younger brother Nick, five Shih Tzu, and the many friends I have made along the way.
For the past four years, I have been the Coordinator of Superior Science’s Girls Club program where 27 young girls (in grades 3 through 8) come on campus once a month to participate in hands-on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) activities that I design myself. The meetings are not lectures where the girls feel like they are in school, but instead, they are a question-driven inquiry session where the interests of the girls shine through to help build their knowledge of scientific principles. The girls leave each meeting excited and inspired to learn more in the fun, female-driven environment. This type of programming is so important, as many young girls don’t realize that STEM is everywhere, not just in a textbook and that they can be really good at it. Not only does this program and all of Superior Science’s activities promote youth to pursue their dreams, but it also gives them the opportunity to come to Lakehead’s campus and interact with a variety of labs/equipment and spaces that would otherwise be inaccessible to them. By allowing the young people of today to see the possibilities that are right at home, we can propel Thunder Bay forward for tomorrow.
I became a part of SHIFT to be able to meet more young people in Thunder Bay who love the city and are professionals working towards making it better in the future. I love going to SHIFT events and hearing about the great work all of the SHIFTers partake in every day.
Thanks for selecting me to be your SHIFTer of the month and I look forward to seeing/meeting current and future SHIFTers at the upcoming events!