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Graduate Student Life

Katherine Brechun wrote:
I am starting the third year of my Ph.D. in the research group of Prof. Andrew Woolley in biological chemistry, where I work towards developing synthetic proteins with functions that can be controlled by light. I joined the Department of Chemistry after completing my undergraduate degree at the University of Waterloo. As an undergrad student I was in the co-op program, and I spent time researching in the Woolley lab. This gave me the opportunity to familiarize myself not only with the Woolley lab research and group dynamic, but also with the environment of the chemistry department. The chemistry department at the University of Toronto is an exceptional place to study. Not only does the department offer world class research, but it is also a lively and welcoming place to be.

The Department of Chemistry has a very active graduate student body. Numerous events throughout the year are organized and run by the members of ChemClub, a team of graduate students who volunteer their time for the betterment of graduate student life. Due to the numerous events, people in the department know one another well, which fosters a collaborative and support environment. I find equipment is shared openly, while knowledge and advice are spread gladly. Numerous self-organized groups and traditions have developed in the department, ranging from the Friday evening gathering of chemistry students at the Graduate Student Union (GSU) pub, to the volleyball teams and rock climbing groups that meet up on a weekly basis after lab work has been completed for the day. We are fortunate to enjoy a very close knit community.

I didn't apply to the University of Toronto for my undergraduate because I didn't want to live in a large city, however my time as a co-op student changed my opinion. I live downtown, and enjoy that one can easily walk or bike to any destination. I like the multicultural nature of the city. I live close to Chinatown, and enjoy buying my groceries in stores that sell numerous things I cannot identify. I also like being close to the lake, and I spend a lot of time there playing beach volleyball with half the Stephan lab. The UofT Athletic Center is located close to the chemistry building and has become a staple in my life; I spend as much time there playing squash as my schedule will allow.

Toronto is a very expensive place to live, but I can live comfortably on the stipend I earn as a graduate student. In particular, housing costs may cause some alarm. I live in a two bedroom apartment shared with a friend from the Nitz lab in chemistry. Here is an estimated monthly budget:

Rent/Utilities$ 700
Phone$ 30
Groceries$ 150
Tuition$ 700

My experience at the University of Toronto in the Department of Chemistry has been overwhelmingly positive. I would happily recommend the experience to anyone considering pursuing graduate studies with us.

Diya Zhu wrote:
I grew up in Shenzhen, China and completed my honours BSc at Mount Allison University, New Brunswick. After spending 4 years in a lovely small town on the east coast, I decided to go back to a big city and pursue graduate studies.

Toronto was an easy choice: I enjoy living in Canada, U of T is regarded as one of the most prestigious schools in Canada, and the chemistry department at St. George campus has great research and amazing facilities. I moved here in September 2016 to start a PhD program in inorganic chemistry with Prof. Doug Stephan. The department has been helpful in the transition and very supportive of student-run clubs and activities. For example, ChemClub organizes a number of events, which are excellent chances to meet department members as well as releasing stress from study and research. Also if you like running, Toronto is definitely a good choice with beautiful routes.

I am currently living in a one-bedroom condo in the Yonge & Charles area. Itís 30-minute walk from the department. This is a nice residential area with many new high-rise condos. Although the cost of living alone can be expensive, you can have more personal space and itís not hard living if you budget accordingly. My average monthly budget is roughly:

Rent$ 1200
Internet & cell phone$ 100
Food$ 200
Entertainment$ 100

Soha Ahmadi wrote:

I grew up in Tehran, capital city of Iran and completed my BSc in Chemistry at Alzahra University. After several years working as analytical chemist, I decided to continue my education. I began my graduate studies at Shahid Beheshti University, where I received my M.Sc. in Chemistry. Then, I started my PhD at the University Putra Malaysia. Although my PhD remained unfinished due to immigration to Canada, living and studying in Malaysia was full of challenges and experiences for me and my family. Being part of a world-leading interdisciplinary research group, performing outstanding research that will be of value and benefit to the world, is my ambitious aspiration. When I visited University of Toronto I knew that this is exactly the place that I can follow my dream. I started my PhD at the Department of Chemistry in Analytical Chemistry in Fall 2014. I decided to join the Prof. Kraatz's group, which gave me the opportunity to explore the biomolecular interactions relevant to Alzheimer's Disease. Kraatz's group is an interdisciplinary research group at Scarborough campus with several national and international collaborations.

Scarborough is a beautiful campus next to a picturesque forest and valley, which is located in the east of Toronto. Even though Scarborough is a small campus, there are distinguished research facilities available for all students. Scarborough gives you the opportunity to take advantage of the benefits of a small campus and at the same time being part of the largest university in Canada. There are many lovely and friendly people who are always supportive and helpful. Numerous workshops, seminars and events scheduled weekly to be involved in are also added benefits to being part of this campus. UTSC has a newly built Environmental science & Chemistry building which is technologically advanced providing science education and a research center that offers a very convenient space by connecting the research laboratories and offices around a sunlit environment and crossroads. If you are an athlete and want to have regular exercise, the Pan Am Sports Centre with modern and fantastic facilities is a place for you. No matter you choose to drive or take public transit, both of them are convenient since campus is close to highway and public transport is available at campus.

I am living in North York with my family. Although this is an expensive neighborhood compared to many other places, living here is very convenient. It is close to many shopping centers, a variety of restaurants and not too far from downtown Toronto and Scarborough campus as driving takes less than 30 min travel time. Since I am living with my family, the graduate stipend allows me to pay part of our life expenses. Below is a rough monthly budget for a family of three:

Rent (two bedroom apartment)$ 1900
Tuition$ 700
Internet and utilities$ 200
Groceries$ 500
Transportation$ 200

Cyrille Lavigne wrote:
In 2012, I obtained my Honours degree from McGill Chemistry and joined University of Toronto just after. I chose Toronto because of the excellence of the Chemical Physics Theory Group and joined the research group of Prof. Brumer. I currently work on radiationless transitions in molecular systems. As a theoretician, I cannot vouch for the facilities: I haven't touched a NMR or a MS since undergrad. However the computational facilities are amazing, we get great offices and coffee and the Theory group offers an exciting and stimulating environment.

As a Montrť native, I always thought of Toronto as a boring, corporate city, compared with the bustling artsy scene of Montrť. I am happy to say that this completely unfounded. Toronto is an exciting city where each neighbourhood is drastically different from the others. I pretty much spent the first six months I was here in awe of the sheer number of places I still had to visit.

I have not done everything, but I can attest to the quality of the food and beer. Toronto, being an extremely multicultural city, has a myriad of restaurant of every possible cuisine, most of them very affordable, even for a graduate student. The local food movement is great: Southern Ontario is one of the most important agricultural regions in Canada and farmers markets and local store makes it almost possible to avoid grocery stores completely. The micro and nanobrewery scene is probably one of the best in North America: I can name a dozen brewers within city limits and I'm sure there are more.

I cycle everywhere in the summer and walk to work in the winter. The city is very flat, making it extremely easy to just pick up your bicycle and go anywhere. Endless complaining about transit is a municipal sport here but don't let it fool you: the system is fine and will get you where you need to be.

The stipend is fairly comfortable but requires budgeting, especially due to the high rent prices. Someone with reasonable expenses would not have any problems. I live in the West End (the Best End) at Dufferin and College and greatly recommend it. Finding an apartment is fairly hard, but that is expected in any major city. Here is a breakdown of my current expenses:

Monthly Budget:

Rent/Utilities$ 750
Food$ 200
Transportation$ 50
Bars$ 100

Chad Orsini wrote:
I am a second year Ph.D. student in the research group of Prof. Sophie Rousseaux (organic chemistry), where I am exploring the reactivity of C-O bonds using Ni catalysts, with the intention of characterizing organometallic intermediates to elucidate mechanistic information. I joined the Department of Chemistry after completing both my H.B.Sc. in Biochemistry and M.Sc. in Chemical Sciences at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario. Having already completed a graduate degree I was interested in continuing my education and tuning my research skills here at the University of Toronto.

At first I was nervous and slightly intimidated when I arrived at the University of Toronto because I came from a much smaller institution, where labs consisted of typically 1 or 2 graduate students per supervisor. I would say that I adjusted to this change rather quickly and discovered that the chemistry department is an exceptional welcoming place to study with amazing facilities, clubs and helpful staff. When I joined the Rousseaux group we were only 2 graduate students and over the past 2 years has now grown to include 7. I feel the group is very friendly, we tend to hang out together quite frequently whether it be just chit chatting about Game of Thrones, going out for a beer or grabbing lunch on a regular basis.

When I first moved to Toronto I was living at the UofT Graduate House, which gave me the perfect opportunity to meet other graduate students. I would highly recommend this for students who are unfamiliar with the city and looking to settle in easily as furniture and utilities are provided with the rent. Since then I have moved to another apartment downtown in the Annex, around Bathurst subway station (~20 minute walk to the lab). This neighborhood has a several nice grocery stores (Metro, Independent City Market), restaurants and coffee shops. There are also plenty of things to do around the city. When not in the lab, I enjoy walking around, exploring other neighborhoods/parks and attending concerts since the music culture is very prominent here. I would also recommend checking out the beaches on Toronto Island or the Harbor front.

The Department of Chemistry has several student run organizations, Chem Club, the Women in Chemistry Initiative (WICTO) and the Green Chemistry Initiative (GCI) that host numerous events throughout the year such as going to blue jays games, formals, trivia or cultural nights, and seminar series. These events, allow people in the department to get to know one another better, making a collaborative network.

As some would guess, Toronto is an expensive place to live, but I can live comfortably on the stipend I earn as a graduate student. I have always had roomates, currently living in a three-bedroom apartment and would highly recommend it to save on rent. Here is an estimated monthly budget:

Rent/Utilities$ 900
Phone$ 50
Groceries$ 200
Tuition$ 700

Rita Straus wrote:
I completed my B.Sc. in chemistry at the College of William and Mary, a small liberal arts university in Williamsburg, Va, USA. Williamsburg is a small town famous for it's historical village and colonial reenactments so moving to Toronto, and a university with more than 80,000 students, was definitely a big change! When I began thinking about grad school I never expected to leave the States, but my undergraduate research advisor encouraged me to apply to U of T. I came to visit during the prospective students weekend, and was immediately impressed by the high quality of research and friendly department. I joined the Jockusch group as a Ph.D. student in September 2012 where I am now using a combination of mass spectrometry and fluorescence techniques to study gas-phase biomolecules.

Although I've never considered myself a city girl, I have loved living in Toronto. There is so much to do, and you can always find others with similar interests. In the summer I enjoy taking advantage of the beautiful parks throughout the city, and play in a tennis league downtown. Toronto Island is also a great place to go for a relaxing summer day. There are also fun social events put on by Chem Club throughout the year, including culture nights, a holiday party, and a spring formal.

The cost of living in Toronto can be high, but I've had no problems living comfortably on the stipend offered by the Chemistry Department. Having roommates has helped to keep rent down, and allowed me to live within walking distance of campus. There are also plenty of places nearby to get cheap groceries, such as Kensington Market and Korea Town. Here is a breakdown of what my typical monthly budget might look like.

Rent/Utilities$ 800
Phone$ 40
Groceries$ 150
Tuition$ 700

Mark Miltenburg wrote:
I grew up outside of Waterloo, about 2 hours southwest of Toronto. I completed my B.A.Sc. in Honours Nanotechnology Engineering at the University of Waterloo, and after experiencing both industry and academic labs decided to continue to graduate school. I visited the University of Toronto during the Graduate Recruitment Weekend, where I saw firsthand the great research and community the department fosters. I joined the Seferos group in 2013 for my Masters, and switched to a PhD shortly after. My current research is on graphene-based materials for organic electronics applications.

Toronto is a great place to live. There's a lot of diversity, and tons of things to try. New and interesting activities like escape rooms, board game cafes, axe throwing, or archery tag keep popping up each year. There are specialized hobby shops for everything. I never get tired of exploring the city with friends as a cheap way to have fun. Within the department, Chemclub puts on a number of activities each year, which are fantastic for meeting department members and usually pretty cheap. There.s also intramural teams in the department, like hockey, basketball and soccer, which are a great way to stay active.

I live in a small apartment within walking distance of the department. I chose to live alone, so my expenses are on the high end. It can be tough budgeting lump sum payments, but you get used to it. My average monthly budget is roughly:

Rent/Utilities$ 1050
Internet & Cell Phone$ 100
Tuition$ 650
Food/Restaurants$ 250

Amir Babalhavaeji wrote:
I grew up in Hamadan, one of the world's oldest cities, located in west of Iran, with a population of 500,000. In 2012, I obtained my Bachelor's degree in Chemistry from Sharif University in Tehran. I then moved to Canada to join the Department of Chemistry at University of Toronto to pursue a PhD in Professor Woolley's lab. Currently, my research is focused on the photocontrol of protein structure and function.

The University of Toronto has three campuses and Chemistry department has labs in all three. Our lab is located at St. George campus in Toronto's downtown area. Having lived in the densely populated city of Tehran for four years, I found Toronto rather quiet. People are surprised when I say this, probably because Toronto has the highest population in Canada and most visitors describe it in the exactly opposite way! I can say this city is a beautiful place; in particular, I love its summers! Winters are long here. I don't usually complain much about the extreme low temperatures, because my hometown has freezing winters too! Toronto is greatly multicultural. You meet people from all over the world. In fact being able to learn about other nations and cultures is what I consider a big opportunity that living here has offered me.

I live a little far from downtown; so I have to take the subway every day. However, most students find a place close to the campus to make the daily commute less expensive and less time consuming. Rent is higher in Toronto; so sharing an apartment is always a good option to consider.

During the week, I spend most of my day in the lab. My schedule is way more flexible than it was during undergrad years, and I guess that's true for all grad students. I also have to TA (i.e. teaching assistantship for undergrad courses) as part of my funding package and I really enjoy it.

As a PhD student, I receive a stipend from which I pay my tuition and life expenses. For one month, a rough breakdown of my major costs would be:

Below is my monthly budget.

Rent & utilities:$ 1200
Internet and mobile:$ 100
Tuition:$ 550
Groceries:$ 200
Transportation:$ 100

Angel Lai wrote:
graduating high school, I wanted to try moving out on my own, so I went to McMaster University and got an Honours B. Arts Sc. degree with a Combined Honours in Chemistry. My four years at Mac were amazing but I really missed home, so I came back to pursue my PhD at the University of Toronto. I joined the lab of Professor Peter Macdonald where I now use Solid-State NMR to study dynamics in membrane mimetics.

Because I spent most of my life in Toronto's suburbs, I've always been fascinated with living in the heart of downtown. Even though my lab is at UTM, I chose to still live downtown and take the shuttle to Mississauga every morning. I share a condo on the Harbourfront with one of my roommates from McMaster. We are both crazy sports fans, so the fact that the Rogers Center is a 10-minute walk away means we go to Jays games whenever we both have a free evening. The entertainment and fashion districts on King West and Queen West are both within walking distance, so we never have a shortage of food or shopping options. In the summer, I love going for a run along the lake after dinner or grabbing drinks with friends on one of the Harbourfront patios.

The commute to and from UTM everyday was taxing at first, but I've adjusted to it. I always travel at non-rush hour times, so the bus ride takes between 30-45 minutes. The UTM chemistry community is smaller, but we're a tight-knit bunch. We also have strong ties with grad students in physics, biochemistry and biology, which results in lots of good advice as well as collaborations in research. The Graduate Student Association hosts a lot of great events throughout the year for the grad students to hang out and relax.

Monthly Budget:

Rent/Utilities$ 850
Groceries$ 200
Transit$ 100
Entertainment$ 150

Andrew Proppe wrote:
I obtained my BSc. in chemistry from Concordia University in Montreal, QC, my hometown. I worked in various research groups throughout my undergrad, in addition to one co-op job in industry. I wanted to pursue a doctoral degree, and spent the first year and a half of my graduate studies at Princeton before transferring to University of Toronto. I currently am co-supervised by Shana Kelley and Ted Sargent, and my research focuses on carrier transport in quantum confined nanomaterials for light harvesting and light emission.

I love city living; UofT was my best option for graduate school since it has the most prestigious chemistry department in Canada, but is also located in an exceptionally great city. There are activities occurring constantly all over the city, e.g. festivals and gigs. There are tons of great bars and restaurants with a huge variety. Great beers and breweries as well. Most importantly, there are great people in the department to enjoy these things with! ChemClub organizes numerous events throughout the year that take advantage of many of the things Toronto has to offer, such as pub crawls, Jays games, brewery tours, curling, etc.

Compared to Montreal, I find Toronto to be more expansive, but the TTC makes it very easy to commute quickly anywhere in the city limits. The rent in Ontario is tragically high, but the stipend from the chemistry department makes this a non-issue. Most students I know live within walking / biking distance from the campus. I live on Spadina & Fort York, close to the CN Tower and the Rogers center. With some minor budgeting, itís very affordable to often go to pubs, go out to eat, and just enjoy the city. My monthly budget:

Rent/Utilities$ 900
Food$ 300
Entertainment/Beer$ 200
Tuition$ 700

Tyler Schon wrote:
I grew up in the small town of Lucan just north of London, ON with a population of around 3500. I finished my undergraduate degree close to home at Western University, obtaining an Honours BSc. in Chemistry. After being in the lab for a few years, I decided that I wanted to pursue a PhD after I graduated and ultimately decided on U of T. I started my PhD in September 2012 with Prof. Dwight Seferos with projects focusing on organic materials for energy storage applications.

Being from a small town, the idea of living in a large city such as Toronto was initially unappealing. However, the high prestige of U of T, as well as the excellent research led me to apply here. After visiting the department during the graduate recruitment weekend, there was no hesitation to accept my offer. The chemistry department at U of T is very supportive and the events that Chem Club organizes are always something to look forward to.

The city itself is excellent and I have really come to enjoy my time here. There is always a lot to do in terms of festivals, sports, and anything else you can think of. The transit in Toronto makes it very easy to get anywhere in the city, despite the fact that everyone likes to complain about it.

I am currently living in a studio apartment in a neighbourhood just north of U of T called The Annex near Spadina and Dupont. This is a very nice residential area that has many grocery stores, restaurants, and pubs within walking distance and school is only a 15 minute walk away. Living close to campus can be expensive especially if you aren.t living with a roommate but the savings on transit fees and commute times make it worthwhile.

Although the cost of living is high in Toronto, the financial support offered by U of T has allowed me to live comfortably and be able to enjoy what the city has to offer with a little budgeting. Here is a rough breakdown of what I spend in a typical month:

Rent$ 1050
Utilities/ Internet$ 100
Groceries$ 200
Entertainment/ restaurants$ 200
Tuition$ 600

Lori vandenEnden wrote:
I grew up in rural southwestern Ontario and completed my undergraduate degree in Integrated Science and Chemistry at McMaster University. After a number of positive experiences working in research labs, I knew I wanted to go to graduate school. I chose to attend the University of Toronto because of the Environmental Chemistry program. This is a unique program that allows me to take courses and do research on environmental topics with a chemistry focus.

My current research project uses biomarker techniques to study the role of litter and root inputs in forest carbon storage. My supervisor is Dr. Myrna Simpson and because her lab is located on the Scarborough campus, I am a UTSC affiliated graduate student. This means that I spend most of my time in Scarborough, but if I need to go downtown for a class or a seminar, it is quite convenient to take the TTC. Although the Scarborough campus is smaller than the downtown campus, there are still excellent research facilities such as the Environmental NMR Centre and TRACES analytical lab. There is also a Graduate Student Association at Scarborough that organizes events such as trivia nights, invited speakers and professional skills seminars. I can also attend events downtown organized by the ChemClub, such as cultural nights and trips to locations such as Toronto Island.

The campus is in a residential area and is bordered by a forest and a creek. Nearby there are a number of parks and the PanAm athletic centre. I currently rent a one-bedroom basement apartment close to campus. I find this to be a nice balance because I get to live in a quieter area of the city with a lower cost of living, but it is still easy to get downtown.

Below is an approximate breakdown of my monthly expenses:

Rent$ 800
Tuition$ 112
Phone$ 50
Food$ 250
Entertainment$ 150

Megan Willis wrote:
I completed my BSc. in chemistry and math at Vancouver Island University, a small university in Nanaimo, British Columbia. I decided to come to UofT to do my PhD because of the focus on environmental chemistry that is unique to this department compared to other schools in Canada. Enviro Chem has provided me with a number of great opportunities, beyond what I ever expected when I joined the department. I joined the Abbatt group in the fall of 2012, where my research focuses on the composition and sources of aerosol in Arctic regions.

Growing up in a pretty small town on Vancouver Island meant that making the decision to come to Toronto was a big one. I must say that I found the city both exciting and a little overwhelming at first. But, I quickly realized that Toronto is a very friendly city that has a lot to offer. I've chosen to live a little further from campus than a lot of my lab-mates, in the Junction area of West Toronto. I like this area because it is near a lot of parks, and the neighbourhoods feel a little smaller and less busy than other areas in the heart of downtown.

I can cycle everywhere from about May to October, and can easily get to and from campus by subway during the colder parts of the year. The city is really flat, so this makes commuting about 30 minutes by bike really doable.

One of my favourite things about Toronto is the food. Since Toronto is so multicultural, you can get authentic food from almost anywhere you can think of somewhere in Toronto, and it.s usually quite affordable. Toronto also has a lot of really great farmer.s markets than tend to run from May into November.

With some budgeting the graduate stipend allows me to live quite comfortably. Here is a breakdown of my monthly budget:

Rent (utilities and internet included)$ 900
Tuition$ 600
Phone$ 55
Transportation$ 100
Food$ 200

Kelvin Anggara wrote:
I grew up in Medan, the fourth largest city in Indonesia. After obtaining my Bachelor's degree in Chemistry at National University of Singapore in 2012, I travelled half the globe to enroll in the PhD program at the Department of Chemistry under the supervision of Prof. John C. Polanyi. I studied reaction dynamics of a molecule on a metal surface one-at-a-time by using a microscope.

I've been spending all my time as a graduate student in the St. George Campus. Located in downtown Toronto, it is surrounded by nice parks and impressive array of facilities such as Robarts Library and Athletic Centre. I lived in Graduate House, which is located in the campus itself, to eliminate the need of commuting to my lab . which was very helpful when I had experiments that ran for 24/7. I stayed in a single room in a suite shared by 3 other suitemates. As the Graduate House allows cooking, and provides adequate kitchen in every suite, I usually cook my own meals. Given that the campus is conveniently located near various commercial districts, depending on what I felt like having for the coming week, I could do my groceries either at College Street for Western flavors, or Koreatown for East Asian flavors. I also frequent some places at Chinatown to get some Southeast Asian seasonings and Vietnamese coffee.

During weekday, I spent large chunk of the day in my lab; analyzing data, planning/doing an experiment, preparing presentations, or attending seminars and meetings. I also carry out tutorial classes as a teaching assistant (TA) in the undergraduate courses. It was a rewarding and interesting experience.

Below is my monthly budget.

Rent$ 954
Tuition$ 645
Groceries$ 300
Others$ 100

Eliar Mosaferi wrote:
I grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia and attended UBC for BSc in Chemistry. I have always enjoyed the beautiful outdoors that came with territory of living in Vancouver but I eventually decided it's time to get out and explore other cities. I'm glad I made the switch to Toronto. I moved here in September of 2013 to start a PhD program in inorganic chemistry with Prof. Doug Stephan. The city is always full of fun activities, the chemistry department at St. George campus has outstanding facilities, and the group members have been immensely helpful in the transition, both in the lab and outside.

For my first year in Toronto I lived in Graduate House and would recommend it as a transitionary residence to anyone coming in. Despite the fact that it.s often four people per suite, I have met many people there whom I have stayed in contact with long after I moved out. Now, I live at University Ave. and Dundas St. and love it. The proximity to grocery stores, Eaton Centre, entertainment and nightlife makes it an excellent location.

Although Toronto can be an expensive city to live in, it's not hard to live comfortably if you budget accordingly. I receive a standard stipend from the university and the following is a typical breakdown of my monthly costs:

Rent and utilities (including Internet)$ 900
Phone$ 80
Groceries$ 250
Entertainment$ 150
Savings$ 200

Samantha McWhirter wrote:
I grew up in a small town in the Gaspe Peninsula in Eastern Quebec, so I had always imagined moving to a large city like Toronto to experience another pace of life. During my time at Mount Allison University (in Sackville, NB) I realized that Chemistry really excited me and while doing my honours research project, I decided that I wanted to pursue my PhD. It was after visiting the department during the prospective student weekend that I decided that I wanted to come to U of T. Seeing the world-class research being done here with the facilities and resources that were available and immediately feeling a sense of community in the department made it an easy decision. I am now entering my third year in Prof. Gilbert Walkerís lab, which is located at the downtown St. George campus. My research has focused on developing gold nanoparticles for biodiagnostic applications.

Life in the Chemistry department has been really great over the last two years. ChemClub regularly hosts all sorts of that bring graduate students and postdocs together, so that everyone can meet students from other labs while playing board games, going to a sporting event or enjoying some great free food. I decided to join the ChemClub executive as the Internal Events Coordinator this year so that I could participate in the planning of these events. ChemClub hosts large events like the holiday party and the formal that most of the department attends, as well as smaller trips outside of Toronto such as the ski trip and camping trip. Participating in these events definitely brings us together as a department, and it fosters a really supportive environment which is one of the best things about the Chemistry department at U of T.

The stipend that I receive from U of T allows me to live quite well even in a relatively expensive city like Toronto. Finding an apartment downtown can be competitive and may take longer than expected, but keep an eye out and donít give up because there are definitely lots of great places to live! I live in an apartment with two roommates in Kensington Market, one of the most vibrant and interesting neighborhoods Toronto has to offer with tons of unique bars, restaurants and shops to explore. I also take advantage of the cheap groceries that are available in the market and Chinatown as well. Itís only a short walk (less than 10 minutes) away from Lash Miller and is within walking distance to most of downtown, so I do not have to pay for transit very often which keeps costs down. Below is an example of what my monthly budget for necessities might look like:

Rent/utilities$ 900
Phone/Internet$ 70
Groceries$ 200
Tuition$ 600

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