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Annika Yardy

Chemical & Biomedical Engineering | A few of my favourite things

Hiking trails and exploring Hamilton. Developing 3D models of the heart. Professors who always have your back. These are a few of my favourite things at McMaster. 

Much like Julie Andrews' famous song in the Sound of Music, there are several small things that make my experience at McMaster great. As a third-year chemical and bioengineering student, I am grateful for the resources and opportunities provided to me and for the connections I’ve made.

As part of my program, I took an anatomy class with Health Sciences students and I had access to an anatomy lab with cadaver specimens. This course has shown me how interdisciplinary my engineering degree can be. You know that pain in your leg you can get from sitting and studying too much? Because of this course, I’ve seen the exact muscle responsible for this pain. I've also seen the part of the brain responsible for memory and a lung inflating (it doesn't happen all at once).

I was fortunate to win a Dean’s Excellence scholarship, providing me with funding for a research position after first year, along with 100 of my colleagues. Between my friends and I, we worked on developing more sustainable fertilizers, tissue engineering, cancer treatment, and 3D modelling of hearts from MRIs, among several other things.

One of the most interesting parts of my job was operating equipment capable of sizing the particles I was forming, and performing calculations to determine how much of the chemical leaked out over time. Throughout the summer, I received guidance and friendly advice from a postdoc and several other graduate students. Because of this opportunity, I’m returning to the lab this summer.

The most important aspect of the Mac community is the professors’ kindness. When I was having a challenging semester, I stopped by a professor’s office hours to discuss how we could ease my load and stress. Not only did we discuss this, but my professor also looked up my academic history, asking me about my high school life in the States. I was touched by his genuine interest, and his willingness to ease my worries.

Several of my professors have offered their office hours for academic discussion, but also to speak about personal struggles. Even if you never discuss anything with your professor, it’s always comforting to know someone is there for you.  

Although the academics and professional opportunities are a crucial part to any education, the community on campus is undeniably important. McMaster is where I found a second home and family.

And so, with Julie Andrews as my muse;

When the assignments loom,
When the exams come,
When I’m feeling sad,
I’m simply remember my favorite things,
And then I don’t feel so bad.