Connecting with your community

How to find your niche, thrive in new experiences, and give back as a leader.

Connecting with your community
CategoryStudent
NameValeria Narykina
FromSamara, Russia
ProgramCombined honours in Biochemistry and Chemistry

Science undergraduate student Valeria Narykina arrived at UBC with an open mind and aspirations to develop her skills as a leader. She talks about how she found her UBC community, the value of the co-op program, and how she plans to give back as a mentor

Valeria came to UBC in search of a diverse university education – one that would expose her to new fields of interest, develop her leadership skills, and offer her formative experiences outside the confines of a traditional classroom. “For me, UBC seemed like the perfect place to fulfill my potential,” she says, “with its strong research faculties, tons of opportunities to get involved in student life, and of course, the location.”

 

“As a science nerd, I find it amazing that UBC hosts so many great researchers and Nobel laureates who give talks in different fields, from quantum physics to genetics. It exposes you to all the opportunities available to science students and makes you feel like you’re a part of the global scientific community.” – Valeria Narykina, Combined honours, Biochemistry and Chemistry

 

Having already lived away from home, and in multiple countries, moving house was a familiar feeling for Valeria. “The most surprising thing was the campus itself – it’s like a city within a city,” she says. Participating in Jump Start – the on-campus multi-day orientation for new students – made her transition “even easier” and helped acquaint her with UBC’s expansive Vancouver campus. The orientation was even the birthplace of her first UBC friendships.

As a Science undergraduate student, Valeria had already singled out Chemistry as her program of choice, but did not have a concrete career or goal in mind. First-year coursework strengthened this love of Chemistry, and also introduced her to its fascinating application to biological systems. From there, she found the Combined honours in Biochemistry and Chemistry, and dove head first into the science community.

 

Valeria’s co-op experience in Montreal

 

“Co-op was an invaluable experience that helped me decide what I wanted to do in the future. I am currently considering medicinal chemistry as my career.”

 

Where: Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research; Montreal, Canada

 

Position: Undergraduate research trainee, cancer research laboratory

 

Favourite moment: “[Montreal’s] proximity to other cities made it very easy to travel, and I got a chance to explore Ottawa, Quebec City, and even New York.”

 

Biggest takeaway: “This experience taught me how to manage my time wisely – since I was also taking online courses – and still fit my hobbies into a busy schedule.”

 

Best co-op advice: “Set goals for your co-op term and follow up on them. I wanted to work independently on a smaller project, and after several weeks of helping in the laboratory, I showed initiative and asked my supervisor about it. It is important to remember what your goals are and communicate them to your supervisor as often as you can.”

 

After joining the Undergraduate Chemistry Society (UCS) at the end of her first year – which she says was one of her best decisions at UBC – Valeria found opportunities to participate in chemistry research with top UBC professors. Through the UCS, she attended and helped organize events, and found support from her peers. “[The UCS] made me feel like I was a part of UBC’s chemistry community and made my transition into second year very smooth,” she says.

Now in her fifth year, Valeria’s UBC undergraduate experience has come full circle, and she volunteers as a Jump Start orientation leader, giving back to the first-year community where she began. “This also made me realize how much experience I’ve gained throughout my degree,” she says.

In that same vein of leadership and giving back, Valeria started a mentorship program for chemistry students, which pairs second-year chemistry majors with senior students, and launches this year. She’s also working on her thesis project and looking forward to a bright future in medicinal chemistry.

Latest Stories

Previous
Alicia Morgono Student Story

Making the most of opportunities

How work placements and extracurricular activities enriched one student's degree
student

Making the most of opportunities

"My first Co-op was during the summer of 2018 at RBC Toronto. I had a supportive, fun team, and a great experience at a Fortune 500 company." - Alicia Margono, International Relations and Psychology
Nadine Truter student story

Making an impact

How one student hopes to put her own stamp on healthcare
student

Making an impact

"I knew I wanted to have a positive impact on the world in one way or another – the next step was to determine how I would do it." - Nadine Truter, Biomedical Engineering
Student Story Sila Rogan

Connecting to her roots

Using a UBC science degree to solve real-life Aboriginal issues
student

Connecting to her roots

One Inuit student is transforming her love of science into solutions for real-world Aboriginal issues.
Zachary Bingley UBC Student Story

Success after UBC

How classes and community can launch a career
alumni

Success after UBC

Zachary left UBC Okanagan's Management program employed by one of his teachers on a project that helps reduce food insecurity in the Okanagan area.

Preparing for the future

Developing real-world skills and an international network
alumni

Preparing for the future

“The education I created for myself has prepared me for the career I want.” - Kenny Ponto, Integrated Engineering

In search of diversity and culture

student

In search of diversity and culture

“UBC has given me the resources and confidence to come out to my friends and family as transgender.” – Fruin Pow, Biology
international students, ubc

Adjusting to life at UBC

Six students from around the world share their experiences.
student

Adjusting to life at UBC

Find out what they found daunting, how they overcame their fears, and what advice they have for future UBC students.
Michael Flood, Philosophy, Politics, and Economics

Putting a personal touch on your degree

How a vibrant social and academic culture fuelled one student’s journey.
student

Putting a personal touch on your degree

“I came to UBC to get curious and explore different areas of social change.” – Michael Flood, Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
next