Maya Deeb, Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology

Maya DeebMaya Deeb Looking at the Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology Student Union (LMPSU) logo on the sweaters of undergraduates at the University, I am always reminded of the process by which I created it – a process that exemplifies my leadership philosophy. Last year, I took every draft I made to the specialist classes and to the events my team organized for the students. With an attitude that welcomed failure, I absorbed and implemented the opinions of faculty and students in a feedback loop that—after many cycles— created a logo that was truly representative of everyone in LMP. This year, I have the privilege of representing all LMP students as Co-President of LMPSU. In this capacity, I steered the direction of the events we organized – from socials that brought us together as family to our annual conference that attracted over 200 attendees from the University community.

Beyond organizing science-inspired study breaks and faculty involvement, I enjoy passing on my undergraduate experience– from research to academics— to junior students. As a clinical research student at Toronto General Hospital’s Multi-Organ Transplant Program, I was able to elucidate the incidence, risk factors and outcomes of myocardial infarction in a Canadian kidney transplant population. My work has since been presented at international conferences and prepared for publication. I also guided high school students in their year-long placements at the program, supervised their independent projects, and   delivered seminars on the immunology of transplantation. Today, I find their achievement in that project  is my own greatest achievement. The rewards of teaching them motivated me to work with my mentors to develop a curriculum that gives high school students exposure to clinical research, which was later presented at the Canada International Conference for Education. Empowered to share my experience at the transplant program with the university community, I gathered a group of similarly passionate friends      and founded the only student group on campus that advocates organ donation.

With my exposure to research, I feel compelled to create niches for student participation in the research process and provide touchstones for interaction between faculty and students. As the editor-in-chief for the Journal of Undergraduate Life Sciences (JULS), I lead an editorial board of over 30 students and faculty members in the running our University’s only peer-reviewed undergraduate journal. Together, we created opportunities for undergraduates across Canada to submit, critique, and discuss science in an inclusive manner. Giving actionable and individualized feedback enhanced my communication in other activities and gave me the humility to absorb criticism.

Outside of academics and research, I enjoy helping the next generation of students achieve success. Having attended high school outside Canada, I identify with the struggles international students. As a leader at the iConnect International Student Mentorship Program for the past two years, I function to bring the international student community together for events that enhance their experience. I shared my knowledge of the University to help my mentees navigate UofT and explore its treasure of opportunities. From my fellow peers, I learned to respect and value diversity and to listen to and sympathize with their concerns. I connected with my mentees on a personal level and acted as their trusted ally and advocate. I am proud to have inspired them to become mentors in the upcoming year.

The GLSE Undergraduate Student Leadership Award calls for outstanding student governance, academic achievement, and peer mentorship. For the diverse contributions I have made to the University community, I believe I merit consideration for this prestigious award. Regardless of the outcomes, I continue to be motivated to expand upon my leadership experiences and determined to be an inspiration for others to engineer their own successes, both academically and socially.