UGSLA Recipient: Adam Bai

Undergraduate Student Leader: Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology

Adam Bai
Photo courtsey of Adam Bai
Adam Bai

For me, leadership goes beyond directing and managing others. I believe leadership is a two-way street where the leader not only accomplishes certain tasks, but also serves to empower and drive the improvement of his followers. Conversely, by being receptive to criticism and identifying weaknesses, a leader is concurrently able to better himself and ultimately improve his leadership capabilities. Growing up, I had always been good with people; it had come easy to me. Although my sociable personality was one of my greatest allies in many of my accomplishments to date, I noticed that this did not necessarily translate to great leadership. Over the years, my experiences have collectively guided me to realize the importance of leadership and the necessary tools required to carry out the responsibilities of a quintessential leader.

My very first job was instrumental in laying the stepping stones for my commitment to leadership in my later years. When I was 16, I worked as a summer camp leader where I was primarily responsible for supervising and leading youth ages 5 to 12. Soon after, the far reaching implications of my role became apparent. Due to the young age of the participants, their performance in specific sports determined their level of satisfaction with the sport. As a result, this led to short-lived passions for certain activities. As a camp leader, I was able to establish relationships with the youth and target their weaknesses while encouraging their resilience in braving through their challenges. By providing such simple guidance to the youth, it helped them to recognize the importance in persevering through the struggles of being a beginner and acknowledging their weaknesses in order to improve. This not only motivated my students to continue fighting for their passions for certain sports, but it also further served to kindle my drive to foster their development and support their endeavours. This experience undoubtedly laid the foundation for a lifelong commitment to strive to empower and support the development of others.

Throughout university, I had the fortunate opportunity to hold many leadership positions in various clubs: First Year Representative at the U of T Pre-Med Association (2019-2020), VP of Events at the U of T Pre-Med Association (2020-2021), VP of Finance at the U of T Pre-Med Association (2021-2022), Vice President of the U of T Pre-Med Association (2022-2023), Diversity Equity and Inclusion Director at the U of T Mental Health Association (2021-2023), External Affairs Coordinator at U of T Cam’s Kids (2022-2023), and the Treasurer of the U of T Biochemistry Undergraduate Student Association (2022-2023). However, the most meaningful leadership experience I had was my role as the Co-Founder and Co-President of the non-profit organization, the Ontario Association for Undergraduate Research. Research has always been central to my identity.

Growing up, I was always curious of my surroundings, as I yearned to fully fathom the world I live in. In 2018, I placed first in the 2018 national high school scholarly writing challenge for the biological sciences category, which was a national research competition hosted by Stem Fellowship and Canadian Science Publishing. This achievement was the stepping stone for my lifelong commitment to scientific discovery. In 2021, I inaugurated and founded the Ontario Association of Undergraduate Research, which is a centralized platform to provide undergraduate students in Ontario access to research resources and opportunities, and uses the work of students to educate the public on various disorders. Over the past few academic years, our services have reached over 1000 undergraduate students. This accomplishment resonates closely with my personal values. I believe my exemplification of leadership in this experience will continue to provide me with the necessary tools for leadership in my future ventures.