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Jin Lee

A passion for creating positive change August 23, 2018

Jenna Harris, an incoming Integrated Biomedical Engineering & Health Sciences (iBioMed) student, earned a $70K scholarship for community leadership.

McMaster was a top choice for 17-year-old Harris for a long time.

For the past two years, the Mississauga native has had close ties with the Faculty of Engineering as a participant of LEAP, McMaster Engineering’s STEM youth program for high school students, and Eng Overnight, an event that gives grade 11 girls a deeper understanding of engineering and university life. 

“These programs showed me a real sense of community at McMaster. They also taught me a lot about the different engineering streams offered,” she says.

 The stream that interested Harris most was the iBioMed program, an interdisciplinary undergraduate program that launched last year.

“Most of the other programs I applied to at other universities were just biomedical engineering. I like how iBioMed incorporates health sciences. I feel like this will open up so many paths for me.”   

Harris’ academic ambitions coupled with a desire to create a sense of belonging for black students at her high school, earned her a $70,000 Scholarship Community Leadership award through TD.

Each year, the award is given to 20 students across the country in an effort to recognize them for making a difference in their communities and helping them attain their educational goals. 

Harris was recognized for creating the Black Students Association at her high school in 2017 in response to racial prejudice experienced by some of the students. In just one year, the association organized an assembly on racism, led Black History Month events, and raised over $800 for those impacted by the East African drought, among many other initiatives.

“There are still a lot of improvements that need to be made. However, our creation of the association started a much needed conversation about race at our school.”

Harris’ passion for creating positive change aligns with her future career goals. She wants to develop biomedical devices that make healthcare more accessible and cheaper for living in underprivileged communities.

With an opportunity to design solutions to help solve real-world problems in her first year in the program, she is one step closer to achieving this goal.