Mays Al-Dulaymi (PhD’18) obtained her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy from Al-Zaytoonah University in Jordan before coming to USask to pursue her master’s degree. She worked as a community pharmacist in Jordan and as a research assistant at the University of Toronto before joining the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition in 2012 as a master’s student before transferring to the PhD program in 2014. She is now working as an application scientist in the research and development department for SCIEX, a research firm in the Toronto area.
Why did you choose to attend USask?
After finishing my undergraduate training in pharmacy and starting to work as a community pharmacist in Jordan, I faced the reality that available treatment options are not adequate in addressing the root cause of diseases like cancer. I experienced patient struggle in the fight against cancer and the financial burden of traditional chemotherapy on the healthcare system. So, I wanted to build on the knowledge I gained during my bachelor’s degree and pursue a graduate research program that focuses on developing innovative approaches to treat cancer. Here when I came across the research that Dr. Ildiko Badea and Dr. Anas El-Aneed were conducting at the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition. The research aimed at developing novel technology to deliver genetic material (DNA) to cure cancer by fixing the problem at its origin. As such, I decided to join the University of Saskatchewan since the project ignited my interest and satisfied my passion. The reputation of USask as a research-intensive university and the availability of many state-of-the-art facilities such as the Canadian Light Source and the core mass spectrometry facility has further solidified my desire to join USask.
What have you taken away from your time at USask?
A lot of things, honestly. I had a rich experience at USask that I believe was pivotal to my professional as well as personal development. On the professional level, USask provided me with the opportunity to interact and collaborate with world-class scientists, deepening my understanding of the current/future challenges faced in my field of study and the skills required to address such challenges. Furthermore, my interpersonal and leadership skills were greatly honed by the countless leadership opportunities, societies and organizations within the college and the university. It prepared me to be a global citizen and allowed me to make an impact on the world around us.
Can you provide a favourite time on the USask campus?
It’s very hard to select just one since there were many great moments. But a memorable time for me was working on a project with fellow students in the Graduate Student Association (GSA) that aimed at developing a tool to regulate the relationship between graduate students and their supervisors. The moment when this guideline was granted approval, I felt that I was over the moon! It was a validation to me that USask is a place open to change and I was very proud to be able to contribute to that change and have an impact on the university that I love!
Was there a moment at USask when you realized you have made a good decision on attending here?
I felt this along the way during my time in USask, not in a particular moment per se. The realization maybe was more amplified when I was supported and encouraged to pursue my interests and follow my passion. In 2015, one of my fellow graduate students and I co-founded the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) Student Chapter at the University of Saskatchewan; a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of students’ scientific knowledge and fostering career growth. The chapter was the first initiative of its kind in Saskatchewan and the fifth in Canada. I was extremely pleased by all support and recognition we received from the USask community. For example, the College of Pharmacy & Nutrition, and the Graduate Student Association (GSA) provided us with seed funds to support the chapter’s activities. Furthermore, the dean of the college facilitated many visits by renowned scientists in the field. In less than two years, the chapter has grown to embrace 60 student members affiliated with various departments across campus. The highlight of the Chapter in the international AAPS Magazine only two years after inception was a testament not just to the work we have done but also to the support that we received.
What have you told others not from this area about USask?
I tell them that the University of Saskatchewan is a unique place with an immensely supportive culture, limitless growth opportunities and amazing people. I cherish the time I spent at USask and I am grateful to all the mentors who helped in shaping my path.
It’s the People of USask who enable us to be what the world needs.