UGSLA Recipient: Sonya Kim

Undergraduate Student Leader: Immunology

Sonya Kim

I have been a recipient of numerous awards and scholarships while pursuing double majors in immunology and neuroscience. Throughout my undergraduate studies, I have been extensively involved in scientific research and in a wide range of extra-curricular activities, which helped me build robust interpersonal skills and demonstrate substantial leadership capabilities.

Throughout my undergraduate studies, I have been engrossed in research that improves healthcare for patients. For my first research experience, I took on a clinical research project at the Hospital for Sick Children, aimed to improve patient outcomes following organ transplantation. Then, to broaden my perspective on research, I sought experience in a basic science research laboratory in Dr. Adam Gehring’s lab where I study the capacity of circulating T-cells to respond to hepatitis B antigen.

My passion towards healthcare extends beyond the boundaries of research. I remain informed of current health issues and raise awareness in our society by working in as an executive member of the University of Toronto International Health Program (UTIHP). I joined a sub-committee of UTIHP called High School Partnership Program (HSPP) as the external partnership coordinator. We intend to host a global health conference for high school students to discuss antibiotic resistance challenge with current university students and professors.

This year, I have been working as the Co-President of Immunology Student Association (IMMSA), representing over 400 students enrolled in the undergraduate immunology program. A fundamental role of the Co-President is to act as the bridge between the undergraduate students and the immunology faculty and I help students and faculty connect. I wish to create a cohesive team of students who wish to have a memorable learning experience during their undergraduate years and share that experience with the rest of the students. I believe that developing such a team would help us not only to communicate better but also to enhance performance by allowing us to be part of a tight-knit community. In order to accomplish this goal, it is important to have frequent meetings to hear their feedback on our progress and entertaining team-building activities to create a friendly environment. Through extracurricular activities inside and outside of the university, I have contributed to enhancing the student learning experience of my peers and the wellbeing of our community.