All courses for every first-year Science student will be delivered online this fall. A limited number of students in their second, third and fourth years will return to campus for part of the semester.

Meet International Student Amirali Mortazavi

AmirAli MortazaviAmirali Mortazavi is a third-year Integrated Science student who volunteers in Robin Cameron's lab in the Department of Biology.

“Education was the main reason why I came to Canada from Iran in 2016 when I was 17 years old. Back in Iran, I had two choices – medical school or engineering. I had the opportunity to study in the best programs offered in the country. However, I didn’t like the idea of deciding my future career at 17 so I traveled 10,000 kilometers in pursuit of more flexibility.

"I had been looking for a program that would expand my knowledge in all disciplines of science and teach me the proper way of conducting scientific research. I’ll never forget that moment on Dec. 8, 2016, when my high school counselor in Iran told me about the Integrated Science program at McMaster.

"It’s certainly been a challenge being alone and away from my family, friends, culture, and country. I miss the food and waking up to the smell of freshly brewed tea and sitting at a breakfast table with my parents and sister. But looking back at all the ups and downs, it’s definitely been worth it. And after my first year, I found a new group of people who I could call family.

"The most valuable lesson I’ve learned as an international student is that big changes in life are necessary every now and then. They come in, shuffle things around and eventually teach you a lifetime worth of lessons in a matter of weeks and months. The big changes will change our beliefs and experiences and force us to reconsider who we are and who we can become. I encourage everyone to seek changes once in a while and embrace change that comes without advance notice.”

McMaster Joining National Science Festival

Science KidsPHOTO CREDIT - Kira Koop

Volunteers are needed to help take science out of the lab and into downtown Hamilton the first Saturday in May.

McMaster is joining Science Rendezvous, a one-day science festival to be held on May 9 in more than 30 communities across Canada. Launched in 2008, Science Rendezvous is Canada's largest celebration of science and engineering. Last year, more than 6,000 scientists, researchers and engineers from 285 partner organizations shared their passion for science with more than 200,000 participants. The University of Toronto, UBC and McGill among Science Rendezvous' university partners while the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) is the sponsor.

Science Rendezvous logoMcMaster is collaborating with the Hamilton Public Library to hold the free science festival at the Central Library in downtown Hamilton from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.. The event will offer families a mix of eight interactive stations and hourly main stage science demonstrations.

Faculty, staff, students and alumni who aren't working at McMaster's May @ Mac open house on May 9 are welcome to volunteer as science ambassadors for all or part of the Science Rendezvous festival.

For more information on volunteering with Science Rendezvous in Hamilton, please contact Hina Zahid in the Dean's Office at

Scholarships Benefit Students and Faculty

Veronica Griffin Luxiga Angela(Clockwise from top left): Veronica Wu, Griffin LaChapelle, Angela Liang, and Luxiga Thanabalachandran have been awarded Reactive Intermediates Student Exchange scholarships.

A quartet of Chemistry & Chemical Biology undergraduate students will spend their summer doing original research with chemistry professors at four universities across Canada.

The students were chosen in a national competition to receive Reactive Intermediates Student Exchange (RISE) scholarships. Griffin LaChapelle will do research at the University of Toronto under the supervision of Dwight Seferos, Luxiga Thanabalachandran will be at the University of Ottawa with Tito Scaiano, Angela Liang will be at the University of Calgary with Belinda Heyne while Veronica Wu will be at the University of Montreal with Will Skene. Griffin, Luxiga, Angela, and Veronica will deliver talks about their research and lab experience at an end-of-summer RISE conference.

RISE was established in 1996 by chemistry faculty at McMaster and four other universities to provide summer employment to a select group of outstanding students in the chemical sciences. The scholarship program has grown to 23 faculty in chemistry departments at 20 institutions. Forty-nine students from across Canada were vying for summer research positions at nine universities this summer.

William LeighSince the program was introduced, 48 Chemistry and Chemical Biology undergraduate students from McMaster have received RISE scholarships. Professor Willie Leigh has supervised 21 RISE scholarship students from other Canadian universities who've spent their summers doing research in his lab. Willie says three of the all-time best graduate students to work in his lab were RISE alumni. Along with being a way to recruit outstanding graduate students, Willie says bringing students in from other universities adds to his research group's diversity and expands networks for McMaster students.

"For a second- or third-year undergrad student, the opportunity to spend a summer doing research offers immeasurable benefits to their academic, scientific and personal development. Doing research at another university brings a host of additional benefits. Students re-establish themselves in a different city for the summer, meet new friends and get to explore a different part of the country. On a scientific level, they meet and get to know a group of undergraduate and graduate students, professors and others they may never meet and do research in an area they may have never otherwise encountered. The opportunity for personal enrichment is enormous."

New York Times Columnist To Be Inaugural Journalist In Residence

Gretchen ReynoldsNew York Times columnist and bestselling author Gretchen Reynolds will serve as the Faculty of Science's first journalist in residence during the fall 2020 semester.

The Faculty of Science is introducing a journalist-in-residence program to further strengthen the media literacy and communication skills of students and faculty.

Each year, an experienced science journalist will be invited to spend a four-week residency with the Faculty. Journalists will spend the first two weeks learning from faculty members and students by visiting departments and schools, touring labs and attending classes. Journalists will then spend two weeks sharing their expertise by hosting workshops and moderating community events with the Faculty of Science researchers.

“Introducing a journalist-in-residence program will help our students and faculty become even stronger science communicators and champions,” says Dean Maureen MacDonald.

"We're thrilled to have Gretchen serve as our inaugural journalist in residence later this fall,” says Maureen. “Gretchen will bring both an incredible wealth of journalism experience and a real passion for science and research.”

Gretchen's “Phys Ed” column is among the most-read stories in The New York Times and three of her columns were among the newspaper's top 10 most popular health stories in 2019. Her book The First 20 Minutes: Surprising Science Reveals How We Can Exercise Better, Train Smarter, and Live Longer was a New York Times non-fiction bestseller and finalist for the Books That Make a Difference Award. Gretchen has also been nominated for three National Magazine Awards.

For more on the journalist in residence program, please contact Communications Manager Jay Robb at
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