During the school semester, I worked as a teaching assistant in the first-year physics courses, where I learned to communicate complex ideas clearly. Both are opportunities that may not have been available to a young undergraduate student at another institution, and both of which have helped me to develop the skills that have proven to be vital today. Although Dr. Nelson was shaping me to become the scientist that I am today, he never tried to funnel me along one path. To the contrary: he urged me to pursue interests outside of astrophysics, and to expand my scope on a more multidisciplinary level. Because I was also working towards a minor in Biology, I pursued my studies in the area of biophysics. Instead of studying extremely large objects, I began studying some extremely small ones. I began applying the methods I had learned from him, such as computer simulations, to the world of physiology (cellular biology). This would ultimately form the basis of my doctoral (and now postdoctoral) work.
It may be a (very) slight exaggeration to say that my time at Bishop’s made me the man I am today. But I am not exaggerating in the least when I say that without the opportunities I had at Bishop’s, without the people I met there, without the work I’d done, and without the boundaries I’d expanded, I would not be where I am today. Drew MacCannell, '02 BSc., PhD. (University of Calgary, Faculty of Medicine)
It was a bit worrying to hear those lyrics when I first came to Bishop’s as a frosh. However, it did not take long for me to understand why it is so hard to terminate the Bishop’s experience. I did both my undergraduate and Master’s degree in physics at Bishop’s. That means I spent a lucky 5 years there! Apart from its splendid beauty and lovely community, I found Bishop’s to be a very caring and active university. I was impressed at how events and club meetings were generally very well attended. While I was there, I got involved with Amnesty International, WUSC, and the refugee sponsorship committee on campus and cannot enumerate the benefits of joining these groups. On the academic side, small class sizes meant that teachers had time to answer questions, discuss ideas and learn my name! These discussions have had a significant impact on my choice to pursue astronomy as a career and finally leave Bishop’s to further my education. I am currently pursuing my PhD at Swinburne University, in Melbourne, Australia where I study extra-galactic astronomy. I found that my research experiences at Bishop’s, both as an undergraduate summer research assistant and as an MSc student studying the evolution of cosmic voids, as well as the opportunity to use the Bishop’s observatory have significantly helped prepare me for my future career as a scientist.
So as it says in the BU school song: I ‘Raise a toast to Bishop’s University!’ and especially to the physics department. Caroline Foster '05, BSc., '07, MSc., PhD Student at Swinburne University
Rest assured, if you are a student at Bishop’s, you will be given every opportunity to develop the academic and research skills that will give you the best possible chance of obtaining NSERC funding so that you can pursue your studies at the graduate level and beyond. These opportunities include teaching assistantships, tutoring positions, research assistantships, USRAs (Undergraduate Student Research Awards), and paid participation in national and international scientific conferences (all of which I received during my studies in the physics department).
As if this were not enough, you will also be permitted and even encouraged to pursue your other interests in completely unrelated faculties and play leadership roles in extra-curricular activities, resulting in a much more challenging, stimulating, and rewarding university experience. I studied Spanish and German, and sang with the outstanding university choir for three years. I also served on various committees and was involved in hiring a professor in the physics department (who later became my Honours thesis supervisor). Unfortunately I am no longer a student on this campus because I am pursuing my true passion in life (space engineering at the graduate level), but I will always cherish my memories as a Bishop’s student! Michael Jensen, '06 BSc., MEng student at U. Sherbrooke