UGSLA Recipient: Natalie Hoffmann

Undergraduate Student Leader: Immunology

Natalie Hoffman

I believe a good leader should have the courage to try new things and be bold enough to follow through with their vision. Throughout my undergraduate years at the University of Toronto I have been influenced by countless role models, both as part of my academic endeavors and outside the classroom. These individuals encouraged me to be daring in my pursuits, but they also demonstrated the importance of giving back to the community.

My main leadership experience has come from being an executive member in the Immunology Students' Association (IMMSA). Currently I am the Co-President of IMMSA and am responsible for managing an executive team, planning events and budgets, and representing the link between undergraduate students and the Department of Immunology. Various events IMMSA holds throughout the year are designed to encourage collaboration between professors, graduate students, and undergraduates, as well as foster a love for research and sense of community outside classes.

One of the greatest advantages of attending U of T is the opportunity to become part of a research group. During my studies I have been involved in several research projects and have been included as a co-author on a research article. I am currently performing a fourth-year thesis project, and I am inspired everyday by the tireless and dedicated attitudes of the post­ doctoral researchers and graduate students. Due to my involvement in research, I am able to mentor first year students in the life sciences and offer advice on ways to get involved or how to approach professors to gain lab experience. In addition to my courses, I have been a member of the U of T Tri-Campus Volleyball team for the past four years, and I am also a staff member at Woodsworth College Residence.

One of the most important things I have learned at U of T is that leadership can come from many different places. While leadership is often embodied in professors and student leaders that plan and execute events, it can also be seen on the volleyball court when teammates encourage each other, or in the advice and experience of graduate students during a research course. My involvement at U of T has not only taught me what exceptional leadership looks like, but has encouraged me to become a more confident leader myself. I hope that in the future I can be bold in my endeavors and continue to give back to the community.