The University of Winnipeg



Paving a pathway to graduate studies

Student presenting in front of a chalkboard.

Paige Gordon delivers a presentation during the 2023 Pathway to Graduate Studies Program closing ceremony in May 2023.

A year ago, Paige Gordon wasn’t sure graduate studies were for her.

“I thought graduate studies were kind of a daunting topic,” Gordon, a biology major, said. “I was kind of nervous.”

That changed last summer when she participated in The University of Winnipeg’s four-week Pathway to Graduate Studies (P2GS) Program.

It has been fantastic to witness Paige’s growth as a scientist.

Dr. Yannick Molgat-Seon

“There was so much support and it’s amazing to be contributing to scientific research yourself,” Gordon said. “It kind of opens you up to the world of graduate studies and to pursuing a career in research.”

Launched in 2019, P2GS has opened the door for dozens of Indigenous students to gain valuable research opportunities in the natural sciences and engineering. This year’s P2GS program, which runs May 6-31, is currently accepting its sixth cohort of students. Registrations are open until March 15. Last year, nine scholars and more than 20 faculty members participated.

Funded by an NSERC PromoScience grant, P2GS is open to Indigenous students who have declared or intend to declare a major in the natural sciences or engineering and will be enrolled in UWinnipeg classes this fall. There is no minimum GPA requirement. Students engage in science education in the morning and participate in a paid, supervised research program in the afternoon.

Gordon’s supervisor was Dr. Yannick Molgat-Seon, Associate Professor in the Gupta Faculty of Kinesiology and Applied Health. Gordon and Dr. Molgat-Seon researched how the respiratory system responds to exercise and how this response is affected by biological factors, such as age, sex, and chronic respiratory disease.

“It was really interesting and cool to be doing your own research and to be coming up with a hypothesis and writing all that out,” Gordon said.

Gordon’s time in the P2GS program convinced her to change her three-year bachelor’s program into a four-year Pre-Professional Studies track, apply for an NSERC grant to enable more summer research on muscle training, and apply to medical school.

“It has been fantastic to witness Paige’s growth as a scientist,” Dr. Molgat-Seon said. “She dove right into the research project. Since completing the program, Paige has been working in my laboratory, preparing to undertake another research project this upcoming summer. She has a genuine passion for research and I’m privileged to be working with her.”

Professor smiles in front of beige backdrop.

Dr. Yannick Molgat-Seon

Gordon said the P2GS program clarified her academic interests and professional ambitions.

“Before, I wasn’t too sure if I was interested in research,” Gordon said. “It was kind of like a trial run. I knew nothing about respiratory physiology before I entered, but Dr. Yannick taught me so much, and really got me passionate about the subject.”

To apply to the 2024 Pathway to Graduate Studies program, visit the program homepage.

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