Celebrating the graduates of Fall 2021: Sorina Chiorean

Meet some of the amazing members of the graduating class of Fall 2021 from the Faculty of Science.

Andrew Lyle - 19 November 2021

Meet Sorina Chiorean, member of the class of Fall 2021, graduating with a PhD in chemistry.

Meet Sorina Chiorean, member of the class of Fall 2021, graduating with a PhD in chemistry.

This year, the University of Alberta is celebrating the achievements of our graduates with a virtual convocation ceremony on November 19. As we acknowledge the achievements of our graduating class, we’re sharing just a few of the amazing stories of our graduates.

Meet Sorina Chiorean, graduating with a PhD in chemistry, and hear from her on a cross-Canada journey to attend the U of A, her time founding and working with UAlberta Working for Inclusivity in Chemistry (UAWIC), and her advice for fellow students.

Congratulations, Sorina! 

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

In the third year of my undergraduate, I attended an info session in Toronto where representatives from various chemistry departments throughout Canada gave a short talk outlining their universities and facilities. The professor from the U of A had so much passion and excitement about the department — it was contagious! I trusted my gut instinct, applied to the graduate program, and drove 3,400 kilometres across Canada to make it happen.

Tell us about your experience in the Faculty of Science.

I started my adventure in 2016 as a graduate student in the Department of Chemistry. I joined the group of Dr. John Vederas where I studied bioactive compounds, namely antibacterial peptides, for their use as therapeutic agents. I was also a teaching assistant for the various organic courses offered by the department.

Outside of the lab, I was part of a great community. From the phenomenal staff that went above and beyond for students, to the organic lab director that always had emotional support candy at the ready, to the friends that came together to form UAlberta Working for Inclusivity in Chemistry (UAWIC) — I had the pleasure of forging many cherished relationships during my time in the Faculty of Science. 

What is one of your favourite memories from your time at the U of A?

I would have to say that one time Dr. Rik Tykwinski got pied in the face!

UAWIC hosted a Pie Day event in 2019 where department members bid to pie others (who volunteered) in the face. It was a fun event that saw students, staff, and faculty come together and enjoy an afternoon of laughter and pie. Plus, UAWIC received many generous donations to go towards our efforts of improving EDI within the department!

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

Life is hard and, as we have seen in recent times, very unpredictable. Making time for yourself is so important in keeping yourself sane and happy. Whatever that means for you, volunteering or sport or art or meditation, keep the things you love doing as part of your routine. Especially when exams and work feel like they are weighing you down, spend some time reconnecting with the things that make you smile.

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

I spent the majority of my time enjoying the great outdoors. Thanks to Alberta’s amazing mountains, I went on many camping and hiking and skiing adventures with friends. 

How do you plan on celebrating convocation?

Convocation this year falls on my birthday! So I’ll be somewhere on a beach. With a mimosa. 

What's next after graduation?

I’ve just started an NSERC postdoctoral fellowship in the Dawson Group at Scripps Research in La Jolla, CA. I plan to continue my research on bioactive molecules that have valuable applications in therapeutic settings.