Meet this afternoon’s Science valedictorian
“I believe that undergraduate students are capable of a lot more than is sometimes assumed,” says Lauren Smith, seen here on the Brooklyn Bridge, but this afternoon she’s in Hamilton to offer the valedictory address at the Faculty of Science convocation.
If you had a superpower, what would it be? What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you? Lauren Smith, valedictorian at the June 16 afternoon convocation for the Faculty of Science, answers these and other pressing questions in our Daily News questionnaire:
- Your home town:
- Your degree & subject area:
Honours Integrated Science with a concentration in Physics
- Where are you headed after convocation?
Back up to Hearst, Ontario to plant some more trees! My tree-planting job ends in July so I plan to travel in Europe at the end of summer before starting graduate school at Western (I know…) in the fall.
- Your best memory of Mac?
There really are too many great memories to choose from, but one of my favourites would definitely be preforming in air bands for Matthews Hall during Welcome Week 2012. Joining the air bands team was my first jump into participation in the McMaster community and it was probably one of my best decisions. Little did I know at the time some of the girls on my team would end up being my housemates and best friends four years later. This memory will always remind me of what great things can come from taking a chance and trying something new.
- The best advice anyone ever gave you?
Don’t take yourself too seriously because no one else does.
- Your biggest accomplishment so far?
Well, being valedictorian is pretty cool. I’ve never really been one to win awards or be good at sports, so let’s not even get into that. I think my biggest accomplishment has been growing into who I am today and learning all I have through my experiences. During my time at Mac I’ve taken chances, learned a lot, and made decisions (good and bad), all which have given me the perspective to understand who I want to be in the future. Maybe that doesn’t sound like much of an accomplishment to you but, hey, I’m only 22 years old!
- If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
My superpower would be the ability to stop time. There are just not enough hours in the day to do everything and I would love to have more time. If I could stop time I could prevent awkward situations from happening, have a nap whenever I wanted, or take time to come up with a really witty comeback in a conversation. The possibilities are just endless!
- What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned (so far)?
That (almost) anything can be solved by using a Taylor series expansion. Okay, in real life this means that any problem or situation, no matter how bad, can be broken down into something that’s easier to deal with. So even when life gets complicated, one day at a time doesn’t seem too overwhelming.
- What do you think the future holds for higher education?
In the past, higher education was for the elite only, but we are now lucky enough to live in a time when this is changing. We do have a long way to go but I believe with the advancements of technology, higher education will continue to be more accessible to all members of society. I think that education at the university level will also become more personalized. Emerging teaching modules and problem based/interactive learning may overrun traditional lecture styles. I believe that undergraduate students are capable of a lot more than is sometimes assumed. In the future I hope to see more opportunity for students to inquire, experiment, and create with their knowledge.
- While at Mac, did you receive donor-funded financial assistance (e.g., a scholarship, award, bursary)? Any thoughts on the importance of giving back to your alma mater to support future generations?
I did not receive any financial assistance during my time at Mac. I think it is important that future generations are given the opportunity to study without taking on unbearable financial burdens. I think I may have a better answer to this question in a few years when I have an actual pay cheque.
Learn more about Spring 2016 convocations here: http://registrar.mcmaster.ca/grad/convo-dates/