Scientific method: Mylène Juneau, Elyse Schmidt and Lima Kayello 

By Dawn Wiseman

Science College grads Mylène Juneau, Lima Kayello and Elyse Schmidt used the project-based program to fuel their futures. Magnifying glass

Science College grads Mylène Juneau, Lima Kayello and Elyse Schmidt used the project-based program to fuel their futures.

When Lima Kayello was finishing high school in Lebanon, her family had already made the decision to move to Montreal. They had chosen the city because of its multiculturalism and choice of post-secondary institutions. Science College tipped Kayello’s decision decisively to Concordia. “As soon as I heard about it, I thought ‘This is the jackpot, I need this.’”

Kayello is a co-winner of this year’s Science College Prize, awarded to the most outstanding student(s) in the graduating class. She will be walking across the stage with fellow classmates Mylène Juneau, who started her degree at Université de Laval but transferred into Science College after visiting a class in which a friend was enrolled, and Elyse Schmidt (Arts and Science valedictorian), who wanted to combine the college’s project-based environment with co-op work terms.

Science College is fairly unique in undergraduate experiences; students work closely with each other and their professors in collaborative research that is focused on developing a multidisciplinary appreciation for science as an integrated field of endeavour. While each student is attached to a specific science department, they are expected to undertake at least one project in an area outside their primary field.

One of Juneau’s projects took place at the Alan Edwards Centre for Research on Pain at McGill University where she helped develop a protocol for rating pain for “people who can’t rate it on their own - such as babies and people with motor or cognitive impairments.” She will be presenting a poster on her research at the 13th World Congress on Pain in Montreal this August.

The highlight of Kayello’s research opportunities occurred during a summer internship at the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program based at the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Fla., where she spent most of the summer on a boat studying dolphins and sea birds. The experience was “dead-on exactly” what she wanted, even if she was exhausted some evenings from hauling 200 metre-long nets back onto the fishing boat.

Schmidt learned the value of the negative result in examining sediment dredged up from the bottom of the St. Lawrence River. “We were expecting to find a specific lipid that indicates the presence of a bacteria that contributes to nitrogen gas depletion in water.” Because the lipid was not present, researchers will now have to look elsewhere for the cause of depletion.

Each of the young women believes Science College has given them an experience they would not have had elsewhere, and credits the College with helping define the next steps they will be taking.

Schmidt will be attending Duke University in the United States to begin a doctorate in molecular genetics and microbiology. Juneau is staying closer to home to undertake an MD / PhD in medicine at l’Université de Montréal. Kayello will be taking courses in marine mammal biology at McGill and in ocean sciences at Boston University over the next year. She plans to apply to a Canadian graduate school, “somewhere on the coast” for September 2011.


Concordia University