UGSLA Recipient: Christopher Adanty

Undergraduate Student Leader: Pharmacology and Toxicology

Christopher Adanty

My personal leadership philosophy is rooted in maximizing the potential in others. I believe that all students have special abilities that can be harnessed to achieve a common goal. My role as a student leader is to encourage and inspire confidence in others to apply their talents so that the university and wider community can benefit as a whole.

I was initially motivated to participate in student leadership by an upper-year pharmacology student mentor. During the course of my second year I attended several Pharmacology and Toxicology Student Association (PTSA) events. At these events I met several pharmacology students and formed friendly relationships with all of them. Eventually, after receiving encouragement from my mentor, I was successfully elected Communications Director and later, Co-President of the PTSA. Overall, my primary concern as a student leader was to share the encouragement, wisdom and inspiration I was lucky enough to receive during my earlier undergraduate years.

During my spell as the Communications Director of the PTSA I learned the importance of teamwork and collaboration. I fulfilled my responsibilities by maintaining the associations website, email and Facebook page. Additionally, as the mentor of a second-year pharmacology student, I constantly looked for ways to support my mentee by giving her academic advice and encouraging her to get involved in research. When I was elected Co- president of the PTSA my primary goal was to create a more inclusive environment and develop a stronger sense of community amongst pharmacology and toxicology students. For instance, one issue me and my Co-president felt strongly about was the rejection of pharmacology and toxicology students who unsuccessfully ran for executive positions within the PTSA. I felt disappointed to see large numbers of talented and passionate students being turned away during the election process.

After meeting with department leadership, me and my fellow Co-President added three new executive positions. Additionally, the PTSA successfully launched the PTSA Members At Large Committee. The PTSA Members At Large Committee is a group of pharmacology and toxicology students who wish to assist the PTSA with their special talents. The PTSA Members at Large Committee has allowed the PTSA to co-op the abilities of graphic designers, artists and photographers just to name a few. Moreover, while noticing a lack of community amongst pharmacology and toxicology students me and my fellow Co-president decided to launch weekly PTSA lounge days. The weekly PTSA lounge days allows pharmacology and toxicology students to meet and socialize once a week with food, beverages and games provided.

The Pharmacology department have not just given me opportunities to succeed in leadership positions but professionally as well. Being one of the few departments in the Faculty of Medicine that facilitates Professional Experience Year positions for their students, I was successfully chosen to work at the world-renowned vaccine manufacturing company Sanofi Pasteur. While working in the Pharmaceutical Science and Technology Platform at Sanofi Pasteur I was able to gain first-hand experience in the day to day runnings of a large-scale pharmaceutical company. During my placement at Sanofi I constantly pushed myself to go beyond expectations. Performing tasks with a quality mindset is absolutely paramount in the pharmaceutical industry. When performing statistical analysis and executing pharmaceutical studies in the lab, I always reevaluated my actions to ensure that quality, responsibility and integrity was at the forefront.

Martin Luther King Jr. stated, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?”. Taking this quote to heart, outside of student governance, I have volunteered my time assisting and advocating for marginalized groups. I consider myself lucky for the opportunities I have been granted and I strive to “pay it forward”. I have volunteered with the Lord Dufferin Mentorship Program to inspire youth from Reagent Park to pursue careers in healthcare. I have also volunteered alongside an educational researcher to determine the disparity in scholarship funding for black students. Finally, I have worked alongside a sociologist to examine how media reporting effects marginalized communities.

The leadership experience I have attained at the University of Toronto has taught me one thing for certain - the ability to make a positive impact in this world starts with you; and once started, the possibilities are endless.