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Vincent Leung, PhD Chemical Engineering student

“Mentorship is about helping students see themselves as people living in the real world.” - Vincent Leung

Research: Vincent is creating vaccine formulations that are thermally stable so they can be easily transported and stored. “I stabilize labile molecules like enzymes and viruses that are thermally unstable. Most vaccines need to be kept in the cold-chain, which means that they need to be refrigerated and transported in a refrigerated state. Our formulation would make it easier and cheaper to transport vaccines, without the need for refrigeration.”

Why his research matters: This solution could help people living in developing countries who do not have consistent access to electricity. “We could make vaccines more accessible to those who need vaccines the most.”

The big picture: “At McMaster, there's a conscious focus on the larger issues that we face. A brighter world for me means influencing a new generation of researchers who are using their skills to make the world a better place.”

Guiding students towards their life goals: Vince’s goal is to be a full-time teaching professor. He is building experience as a TA and sessional lecturer. “The joy of being a supervisor is not just making sure that students doing well academically, but also helping them sort out what is important in life and the steps to get there, whether they want to start a family or achieve a dream career. So, being invited into the lives of the students is really the most rewarding part for me.”

Thinking critically: “Mentorship is about helping students see themselves as people living in the real world. Students should ask themselves, what are some of the life skills that are required to be a successful engineer? What kind of values do I have? My mentor taught me to do what makes me happy. It’s not just about making money, it's not just about doing the work, it is about doing what brings you satisfaction and joy in life.”

Helping the community: “There are many opportunities to do good work in Hamilton. There are a lot of social services, especially in Hamilton’s inner city that need support. During my undergrad and Master’s, I had the opportunity to serve inner city children through CityKidz. I would love to see more students engaged outside of the university to help rejuvenate the community.”