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Commitment to the Community: Empowering youth living with epilepsy

What began as a summer job as a Strategy and Marketing Analyst at the Epilepsy Support Centre turned into an eye opening experience for Justin Cottrell, Medicine Class of 2017. Cottrell’s unique mix of educational experiences and his new path in medicine sparked his interest in working on a career management resource for youth living with epilepsy.

“Individuals living with epilepsy have a higher rate of unemployment than the general population. Getting that first job early in life is crucial for building confidence and applicable job skills, allowing for long-term career development,” Cottrell explained.

Cottrell, a graduate of the BMSc program in 2011, continued his education as a student at the Ivey School of Business. He focused his two years as at Ivey on the non-profit healthcare field. After working for the Epilepsy Support Centre and becoming more aware of the employment barriers that youth living with epilepsy face, Cottrell’s interest in addressing a need in the community heightened.

Cottrell was able to apply the knowledge and experiences he gained from his undergraduate degree at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry toward the development of a career management resource project that would make a difference in the lives of youth living with epilepsy.

Cottrell, along with a team of three others from the Epilepsy Support Centre and Richard Ivey School of Business, championed the development of the career management resource. The 80-page resource provides comprehensive information to support individuals living with epilepsy who are having difficulty fighting the stigma for employment. Individuals who access this resource are able to work with staff at the Epilepsy Support Centre to create an individual plan of action and increase their success of gaining employment.

“I draw energy from projects that empower people in their pursuits, and I am lucky to be part of such a supportive community that exists within this School and London as a whole.”