Meet Faculty of Science valedictorian Elise Shupe

A headshot of Elise Schupe

Elise Shupe will deliver the valedictory address at the Faculty of Science Convocation ceremony on June 13.

Faculty of Science valedictorian Elise Shupe graduates June 13 with a kinesiology degree.   

We asked the McMaster graduate a few questions to get to know her ahead of her valedictory address. 

How has McMaster shaped the person you are today? 

I can definitely say that I wouldn’t be the person that I am today had I made the decision not to come to McMaster. Everyone that I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with during my time at Mac, including classmates, professors, and staff has been extremely supportive and has allowed me to succeed in a way I wouldn’t have thought possible. 

Is there a faculty or staff member that helped you that you’d like to give a shoutout to?  

I would have to give a shoutout to Dr. Maureen MacDonald who has given me so much support and advice over the last year. I was a placement student and research assistant in Dr. MacDonald’s lab this year and it has been so valuable to have a mentor who is so caring and compassionate while also pushing you to be your best. She is also the one who nominated/convinced me to apply for valedictorian so I can honestly say I would not be here without her! 

Tell us about a favourite memory during your time at McMaster. 

One of my favorite memories from my time at Mac was our welcome day for kinesiology which happened in second year (thanks Covid). Getting to interact with classmates in person for the first time, who I had only gotten to know through a screen, was a bit of a surreal experience. We sat around just chatting, painting wood cookies, and doing karaoke. Although it seems so simple, everyone was in the same boat of not knowing anyone and was excited to make up for lost time from first year so the environment was just great for meeting fellow kin students. It’s awesome looking back and seeing how close our class has come now to how we started. My favorite part about the day was the kin tradition of getting painted blue and being ‘kin’itiated. I felt like a part of a larger community. 

Two photos side by side. Each show McMaster students in blue clothing during Welcome Week

What’s a great piece of advice you’ve been given that you think other students could benefit from?  

I think that a lot of students think that we have to absolutely know what we are going to do after our undergraduate degree and that university is about finding what you’re meant to do. This can be a pretty stressful mindset, especially as you get closer to the end of your degree. My mom told me that university is as much about finding what you do want to do as what you definitely do not want to do, and learning this about yourself is just as valuable. Get involved in lots of different types of things and finding out what you don’t like is extremely valuable and can help narrow it down a bit!

What do you plan to do/see yourself doing in the future?  

Well in the very near future I am moving to Banff for the summer so hope to be doing lots of hiking, climbing, camping! After that hopefully pursuing some kind of career in health care, but what exactly I’m not sure — only time will tell! 

Is there anything else you’d like to share about your time at McMaster? 

For anyone still in school soak in every last minute! The people you meet and the opportunities you get while at Mac will last a lifetime. 

Read more about Shupe’s time in the Faculty of Science and the meaningful connections the varsity swimmer and dedicated volunteer was able to make with her community

Click here for stories, videos and highlights from Spring 2024 convocation ceremonies and celebration events 

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