Dr. Sandra Miller wears two different hats within the Faculty of Medicine. As a passionate scientist, she is involved in studying mechanisms for revving up the cells of the immune system to maximum advantage during the growth of cancer. She has published 72 senior-author manuscripts in bio-medical journals, has edited a book in the field, is co-inventor on three patents, belongs to four Learned Societies and speaks frequently at national and international conferences. She has had continuous research funding for 35 years and has guided the research projects of dozens of undergraduate and graduate students. “I conduct in-vivo, pre-clinical research, and I find it very satisfying when an oncologist emails me to tell me that he/she sees clear applicability to the human condition.” Some of Dr. Miller’s research is currently in clinical trials.
At the same time, Dr. Miller teaches gross anatomy to medical students – a topic completely different from her research. “My teaching tools are only one step removed from the blackboard-and-chalk methods that lecturers used 50 years ago,” she noted. “I use an overhead projector and crayons to develop a lecture topic – and the students follow along with their crayons and paper diagrams – and then we apply function and clinical significance. I believe this approach creates interactive teaching and learning.” Her students agree, as her classes are fully attended. Dr. Miller has received three prestigious teaching awards: The Faculty Honours List for Educational Excellence, the Osler Award given by the graduating medical students to their most outstanding professor and the Canadian Association of Medical Educators Certificate of Merit Award.
Xiaoming Jiang is well positioned to study how non-native listeners and speakers communicate their feelings, intentions and attitudes by using non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions, vocal change and body language, in an unfamiliar cultural context. After working for twenty years in China, and completing his PhD at Peking University in Psychology and Neuroscience, he decided to move across the world to conduct his post-doctoral research at McGill University within the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders (SCSD). As a non-native speaker himself, he has found that his own experience adapting to the multicultural metropolis of Montreal has served as a springboard for ideas that he could incorporate into his research.
Xiaoming first became interested in this field while completing his undergraduate degree in psychology, majoring in cognitive neuroscience. He became fascinated by the increasing number of techniques developed in neuroscience that can now be used in the investigation into psychological and communication processes. However, when he started his research in Beijing he encountered a challenge in the lack of non-native speakers that he could study. He chose McGill in part because the SCSD is a centre that combines a variety of research fields and is home to many researchers that specialize in social psychology, psycholingusitics and speech pathology. “The SCSD came equipped with a lot of state-of-the-art techniques and facilities,” he says, “as well as faculty experts that I can collaborate with – I’m very lucky.”
Knowing that she wanted to follow in the footsteps of her father, who attended McGill in the 1980s and had often said that it was the best time of his life, Amelia Joucdar decided to study nursing out of curiosity. Experience volunteering at a hospital convinced her that the field would be a good fit and after completing her undergraduate studies and working as a paedeatric nurse for two years, she does not regret her decision. Amelia is now pursuing her Master’s degree in Nursing, combining her love for helping people with her passion for marketing and administration.
An active member of the community, Amelia is now the Vice-President of the McGill Students in Health Care Professions Alliance, a body that promotes inter-professional education so that students from each school within the Faculty of Medicine learn how to use each other as resources when they enter the workforce and become part of interdisciplinary teams.
Her graduate research investigates the implementation of lean processes in hospitals in hopes of fostering sustainability in hospitals and empowering front-line staff to resolve issues to create an efficient working environment. “In hospitals, we need to be more efficient since we don’t have a lot of money or people, so my Master’s gives me a chance to learn about nursing, change management and lean processes,” she says. “It’s the best of both worlds.”
Growing up in Nigeria, David Anekwe believed that he was destined to help people. He completed his undergraduate studies in Physical Therapy in 2001 at the University of Nigeria, saying “in Nigeria there are a lot of people with physical limitations and disabilities that need to help. I thought that Physical Therapy gave me the possibility and the privilege to offer help to these individuals.” After years working as a clinician, David believed that there was more that he could do to have a positive impact on people’s lives and decided he would pursue graduate studies to have an influence on the academic world and, in turn, on the community at large.
After extensive online research, David decided that based on his own profile and that of the university, McGill offered the best fit. David has now completed his Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Sciences at McGill and has begun work towards his PhD, conducting research in the field of cardiopulmonary physiotherapy. Specifically, David is looking into a new area of physiotherapy for Intensive Care Unit patients.
Prior to choosing McGill, David felt that the university represented what he thought the model for education should be. “The transformation from where I was when I entered McGill to where I am after two years – it’s a large difference, he says. “The time you spend here, through the education, the faculty, the staff - McGill has the ability to take people and to make them the best.”