Meet Health Sciences valedictorian Armaan Makhani Kotadia

A headshot of Armaan Makhani Kotadia

Armaan Makhani Kotadia will deliver the valedictory address at the Faculty of Health Sciences Convocation ceremony on May 22nd.

Faculty of Health Sciences valedictorian Armaan Makhani Kotadia graduates May 22nd with an Honours Bachelor of Health Sciences (BHSc) with Interdisciplinary Minors in both Sustainability and Community Engagement.  

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

How has McMaster shaped the person you are today? 

My time at McMaster has been truly transformative. It has been a place where I could not only discover my interests but also turn my passions for sustainability and community engagement into actionable change.  

As my time in the BHSc Program comes to a close, I find myself reflecting on this incredible journey. The mentors I’ve met at McMaster have been instrumental in shaping my academic, professional, and personal growth. They have provided guidance, challenged me to think critically, and inspired me to push beyond what I thought was possible.  

Representing my faculty as valedictorian has been a highlight of my McMaster journey, but it’s the day-to-day interactions with these amazing mentors and peers that have left the most lasting impression. They have shown me the power of a supportive community and the importance of mentorship in driving both personal and collective progress. 

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

There are so many memories to choose from, but one of my earliest and fondest McMaster experiences was our second-year welcome day. Since I began my McMaster journey online due to the pandemic, the university organized a special welcome day for incoming second-year students. This event allowed us to finally meet our classmates in person after a year of virtual interactions. It was during this event that I formed lifelong friendships and connections that I still cherish today. The excitement and energy on campus were palpable; it felt like the beginning of a new chapter. We could finally experience the vibrant campus life we had heard so much about. I remember walking around campus, feeling genuinely excited for what the next few years of undergrad had in store! 

What’s a piece of advice you’d give your first-year self?  

One piece of advice I wish I had received earlier is to follow your passions and enjoy the process, focusing less on the destination. Your years at McMaster will pass quickly, so take the time to be present and enjoy every moment. If I could advise my first-year self, it would be to truly embrace and pursue what excites you. Passion is a powerful driver, making the journey more rewarding and fulfilling. When you’re passionate, challenges become opportunities for growth rather than obstacles. It’s important to focus on the journey rather than the destination. Often, we get so caught up in future goals that we forget to appreciate the present.

Your time at McMaster will fly by, and the experiences, relationships, and personal growth along the way are what truly matter. These moments shape who you are and create lasting memories. Take the time to be present.

Engage fully in your classes, activities, and social interactions. Savour the small victories and learn from the setbacks. Enjoying every moment helps you build a richer and more meaningful university experience. 

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

So many professors and faculty members have profoundly shaped who I am today, that it is impossible to choose just one. The first is Dr. Stacey Ritz. I had the pleasure of working closely with Dr. Ritz throughout my undergraduate years, initially as an instructor for various courses and more recently as my thesis supervisor and advisor in my role as Chair of the Bachelor of Health Sciences Society (BHSS).

Anyone who has worked with Dr. Ritz can attest to her passion for teaching and her genuine care for others.

She has demonstrated what it means to lead with compassion, and her commitment to improving the BHSc community is truly inspiring. Her dedication has been a constant source of motivation for my work within the BHSS. I would also not be where I am today without the support and mentorship of Dr. Kate Whalen. Dr. Whalen took a chance on me in my third year, offering me the opportunity to be a Sustainability Teaching Assistant and has also supported our group’s work within the Student Sustainability Ambassadors program. Working under her supervision in SUSTAIN 4S06, I got to closely observe as she modelled what it means to be a true advocate for sustainability.

Dr. Whalen has taught me how to translate advocacy into impactful community initiatives that create tangible change.

I am forever grateful for her mentorship and for the opportunity to continue learning from her beyond my time at McMaster. 

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

Looking ahead, I plan to pursue a career in healthcare, where I will continue advocating for sustainable practices. My experiences as a sustainability teaching assistant and a leader in the Student Sustainability Ambassadors Program have fueled my passion for integrating sustainability into various fields. Additionally, serving as Chair of the Bachelor of Health Sciences Society allowed me to spearhead and support numerous community initiatives, reinforcing my commitment to community engagement. I aim to bring this blend of sustainability and community-focused leadership into my healthcare career, working towards a more sustainable and equitable healthcare system. 

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

I loved every second of my time here at this amazing institution! I look forward to maintaining my connections to McMaster moving forward as part of their vast alumni network! 

Watch some of Kotadia’s valedictorian speech below!

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

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