Before heading to medical school this fall, Felicia Sinclair (BSc 20) is spending her summer taking part in molecular neuroscience research with Dr. Renee Douville as part of The University of Winnipeg’s Indigenous Summer Scholar Program.
It is important to me that as a future physician, I help to reduce barriers to healthcare for under-represented and marginalized individuals.
“It’s a very interesting project, performing a computational biology analysis to predict COVID-19 cross reactive epitopes and then identify the MHC alleles that present them,” said Sinclair. “This work is strengthening my understanding of virology and immunology – topics that will surely come up in medical school.”
Sinclair has been interested in studying medicine for a long time, but as a non-traditional student it took a while for her confidence to match her capabilities.
As a single mother entering medical school in her thirties, she knows she is not the status quo.
Navigating academia as a single parent requires determination and the ability to balance competing priorities, but it has also been a source of inspiration, driving Sinclair to create the kind of world she wants her daughter to grow up in.
“The person that inspires me the most is my daughter Winter,” she said. “She is the reason that I do anything and inspires me to be a better version of myself everyday.”
Sinclair hopes her success will encourage other students considering a career in medicine. As a First Nations woman from Hollow Water First Nation, she has seen first-hand the obstacles that prevent people from addressing their healthcare needs and she wants to fix that.
“There are amazing Indigenous doctors in the community advocating for change in the healthcare system. Their work in the community inspires me,” she said. “It is important to me that as a future physician, I help to reduce barriers to healthcare for under-represented and marginalized individuals.”
When Sinclair joined UWinnipeg, she was working toward a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, but her growing interest in the natural sciences drew her to a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience where she had opportunities to explore the mechanisms of diseases that affect the brain and nervous system.
The program helped prepare Sinclair for her ultimate dream of becoming a doctor, and she is excited to see her hard work pay off as she heads to medical school.
“Moving on from UWinnipeg will mean letting go of what has become so familiar to me,” she said. “Having said that, there once was a time when The University of Winnipeg was new and daunting and has now become familiar. I imagine that moving on to Max Rady College of Medicine will be the same way, new and daunting right now, but one day familiar.”