Faces of U of T Medicine: Jaclyn Dawe
Jaclyn Dawe has always been interested in neurological development and recovery, which led her to the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute. On November 7th, Dawe will be graduating with a Master of Science in Rehabilitation Sciences. She spoke to Faculty of Medicine writer Julia Soudat about her experience at U of T and some of the most rewarding moments.
What are your research interests and what sparked your interest in that field of study?
My clinical background as an occupational therapist and my interest in neurodevelopment and neurologically-based recovery led me to pursue research in Rehabilitation Sciences. I was interested in the opportunity to contribute to the development of evidence-based clinical tools for assessment and intervention with pediatric neuro-motor disorders.
What have been some of the most rewarding moments at U of T?
There have been so many rewarding experiences! My collaboration with Computer Engineering grad students Wen Zhao and Jing Wang on the design of a mobile phone app they created for children with hemiparesis, was meaningful and enriching. Also, as an event planner for research-sharing events in my department, I helped facilitate knowledge translation and spread community awareness of research at RSI.
What kind of things helped you get through the stressful or challenging times?
During stressful times, it often helped me to go to yoga classes, where I could center my energy and find more inner peace. I also think I derived a lot of strength from my true sense of connection to family members and friends here. It was really nice to also have open, warm and respectful peers in my cohort at RSI, and a supportive and friendly atmosphere in the lab where I did research. Sharing in both fun and challenging experiences with my new colleagues here really contributed me feeling grounded and supported when I was faced with tough situations.
Where do you see yourself in five years? What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation, I plan to continue to pursue research work with clinical applications at Lyndhurst Centre, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. Five years from now, I hope to be working in a position that allows me to simultaneously pursue my greatest areas of passion: clinical occupational therapy work, research, and teaching.
What advice would you give new and incoming students?
To new students, my advice is to start with (and work to maintain) an openness – to making new friends and connections, and to new experiences and perspectives. U of T has so many great opportunities for extra-curricular learning, inter-cultural sharing, recreation and leisure, and personal and professional development. Seek out the resources and communities on campus that resonate with you, and build up the courage to explore and maybe even dive in. It will surely deepen your learning and enrich your student life here, in more ways than you can expect.
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