Celebrating the graduates of Spring 2020: Farynna Loubich Facundo

Undergraduate student Farynna Loubich Facundo recognized with Gold Medal in Science.

12 June 2020

Today, the Faculty of Science celebrates the graduation of 1,045 undergraduate and 170 graduate Science students as they complete this step of their academic journeys and look back on their amazing achievements during the University of Alberta’s first-ever virtual convocation.

One of the graduates celebrated today is Farynna Loubich Facundo, graduating with a BSc Specialization in immunology and infection—and yet another cause for celebration is her recognition with the prestigious Gold Medal in Science, awarded to the convocating student from the Specialization programs in the Faculty of Science who has shown the highest distinction in scholarship.

Congratulations Farynna!

What led you to pick the University of Alberta for your studies?

Choosing the University of Alberta allowed me to continue living with my family in Edmonton, while attending one of the top universities in Canada with an excellent research program. The immunology and infection specialization program also greatly piqued my interests since biology was my favourite class in high school.

Tell us about your experience in the Faculty of Science.

My experience was everything I could ever ask for in my undergraduate years. Participation in summer research projects played a big role in creating a fulfilling undergraduate experience. For two summers, I participated in iGEM teams under the supervision of professors Michael Ellison, Dominic Sauvageau, and Robert Campbell. With support from both the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Engineering, our team was given the opportunity to present our research findings at the annual international synthetic biology competition in Boston. From there, the fascinating topics I learned as I progressed through my immunology courses propelled me to pursue research focusing on signal transduction and virology under Robert Ingham. In addition to research, the numerous clubs and fun volunteer opportunities available allowed me to explore more of my interests outside the classroom and meet new friends. The overwhelming support I received from the University of Alberta community made my four years as an undergraduate student truly unforgettable.

What is one of your favourite memories from your time at UAlberta?

Listening to professors share their research and experiences in the field were always the best parts of lecture for me. Whether it was a presentation on Criminology (SOC 225) with Marta-Marika Urbanik or stories of medical cases involving parasitic worms in Medical Parasitology (MMI 426) with Kinga Kowalewska-Grochowska—they all got me hooked. I wouldn’t miss a single day in class just to hear more of them.

What advice do you have for current and future students at the Faculty of Science?

Learning proper time management goes a long way. It’s tempting to put off an assignment until the last minute—I’ve been guilty of this multiple times— but the stress that haunts you as you attempt to finish on time is not worth it. It also becomes difficult to present your best work when you’re pressed for time. Spreading the workload for multiple projects over several days and strictly following a self-imposed schedule helps you meet those deadlines without feeling extremely overwhelmed. Knowing you have everything under control also allows you to enjoy your leisure time more.

How have you spent your time during COVID-19 distancing?

Aside from spending more time with my family and keeping up-to-date with friends on social media, I decided to invest a few hours each day to learn a new language. I've been self-studying Japanese for the past month, and I hope to one day become proficient enough to speak it confidently.

How do you plan on celebrating convocation?

My family and I are planning a simple celebration in our living room. We’re excited to tune in to both the general University of Alberta and the Faculty of Science convocation ceremonies. 

What's next after graduation?

I look forward to applying to the MSc Pathologists' Assistant Program in the coming year.