Finding your way – from Biology to Student Retention
Jody Rotchford, Student Retention Coordinator for Distance Education, Learning and Teaching Support (DELTS), shares her story of academic enlightenment.
I came to Memorial University not really knowing what I wanted to become. I have given some consideration, much to my parent’s delight, to becoming a doctor or pharmacist, but I was never truly passionate about it. As a result, I spent the first two years of university in the Faculty of Science taking courses in biology, chemistry, physics and psychology and hoping for my “Aha!” moment that would help me decide my academic path.
My moment came in the form of Dr. Brian Staveley and Dr. Faye Murrin, my professor for Cell Biology 2060. For the first time in my university career I felt like more than just a student. Dr. Staveley and Dr. Murrin challenged me, encouraged me and showed me what true passion for teaching and learning is. They took a subject as complex as cellular biology and made it fun and interesting. I was so inspired by their dedication that I decided to stick with biology and earn my Bachelors of Science (Honours) degree. During the course of my degree I was lucky enough to be able to work with both of the individuals that I now consider my mentors. In addition to completing my Honours thesis with Dr. Staveley, I was also able to conduct additional research with him thanks, in part, to the Undergraduate Research Awards from the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). I also worked with Dr. Murrin, not only as her MUCEP student, but as a coordinator of the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Program.
While my career path has taken me on a detour from the world of science (as I am now the Student Retention Coordinator for DELTS), the lessons I learned from Dr. Staveley and Dr. Murrin in that cell biology class have stayed with me. Every day I strive to help as many students as they have and to make each student’s experience at Memorial as memorable as they have made mine.