Three research areas, three degrees, three countries; Monica Guzman has always followed her passion no matter the cost. Of course, pursuing graduate education is always easier with funding. That is one reason Guzman has made it a priority to apply to the grants and scholarships available to all graduate and postdoctoral trainees.
Applying to grants during your graduate education is great training for the future. Schulich Medicine & Dentistry and Western University offer many funding opportunities for students. There are also an abundance of grants and scholarships available from outside agencies and the governments of Ontario and Canada. More information on available funding opportunities for Schulich Medicine & Dentistry graduate trainees can be found here.
Next on Guzman's list is the prestigious Banting Fellowship. Awarded to top-tier applicants, the objective of the Fellowship program is to attract and retain top postdoctoral talent, develop their leadership potential, and position them as successful research leaders for the next generation - all qualities Guzman herself exemplifies.
Originally from Colombia, Guzman received her BSc in Biology from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Following that, she spent time at the Universitat Autonome de Barcelona receiving both her master’s and PhD degrees.
She came to Canada as a postdoctoral scholar four years ago to work with Marco and Vania Prado. She was drawn to Canada by the idea of the Robarts Research Institute and the work the Prados were doing.
Guzman knows that receiving the Banting Fellowship will only help her future career. “As a postdoctoral scholar, having this fellowship demonstrates that, as a recipient, you are at very high level of research excellence. It gives recipients a competitive advantage for jobs in the future,” she said.
She encourages all students and trainees to pursue external funding whenever possible. While the application may take a lot of work initially, the results will help, not only fiscally, but with future possibilities.
“If you have two CVs with similar research and similar publications, but one has more grants and fellowships, it really strengthens that candidate’s profile. It shows that they have been recognized for research excellence from other organizations and foundations,” she said.
While Guzman won’t find out if she is awarded the Banting Fellowship until the end of March, just having her application supported by the School for submission is a reward in itself. “Sometimes, with research, things don’t always go the way you planned. Having the University behind me and my submission for this fellowship is great motivation for me to continue working hard.”