A commitment to research and community

Thursday, June 13, 2013

For Krista Maria Hawrylyshyn, becoming a scientist was not a childhood dream rather, the result of an inspiring trip and an enriching experience in the Bachelor of Medical Sciences (BMSc) Program.

Receiving advanced entry into the Ivey School of Business, Hawrylyshyn had every intention of pursuing business - that all changed after learning about a scientist, Dr. Yamanaka, at a tour of the Ontario Cancer Institute (OCI). His work used viruses carrying certain factors to turn an epithelial cell into a stem cell. Amazed by the possibilities, she began to reconsider her future.

"I remember that moment, being completely amazed by the implications of this seemingly simple discovery." Hawrylyshyn's eyes opened to the world of research.

Now, graduating from the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry's BMSc Program, Hawrylyshyn has a much deeper understanding and appreciation for Yamanaka's work. "It was through undergrad that I discovered a love for research and became constantly fascinated by the complexity of cell biology. The BMSc program played a large role in this influence by facilitating a research-heavy undergraduate experience."

Throughout her undergraduate years, Hawrylyshyn held a number of lab positions. She volunteered in a genetics lab first year, held a position in a physiology lab in second year and participated in the Hospital for SickKids summer research program. During her third year, she took part in a clinical research study and completed her fourth year thesis in Dr. Pickering's lab. This enabled her to continue her research efforts as part of the Accelerated Master's Program in Biochemistry.

Hawrylyshyn is as passionate about her community as she is about her research. She attributes this to an unwavering interest in understanding those around her. "I always wanted to learn more about the communities around me. I want to gain an understanding of the concerns facing my peers and other youth in London, the health care system, populations that experience barriers to care, mental health and addictions."

Her passion and desire to learn led to a number of very special volunteer roles during her four years of undergraduate education. Hawrylyshyn participated in the Alternative Spring Break and worked with Youth Outreach Unlimited, she sat on the London Intercommunity Health Centres board of directors as an intern and volunteered for a community meal program regularly. She didn't stop there however, and became involved with the United Way, organizing a barbeque as part of their highly successful GenNext initiatives. More recently, she started volunteering at the London & District Distress Centre and is currently serving as a member on the Board of Directors of London Intercommunity Health Centre.

Hawrylyshyn is committed to continuing her passion for research and community outreach. She plans to apply to an MD/PhD program upon completion of her Masters' Degree.