Undergraduate Student Resources
Your academic and career success are our main priorities. Here, you will find everything you need to help you succeed, including information about academic assistance.
The two course unions related to the Department of Biology are networks of enthusiastic students in the field of biological sciences. Though the course unions are unique, they are both committed to fostering a great academic experience through member engagement, events, advocacy, and increasing access to resources.
The Biochemistry Course Union is a student organization on UBC’s Okanagan campus for those interested and/or majoring in biochemistry.
Olivia Ireland, President
Olivia is a third-year student, majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. She is excited to be on the BCCU team this year as President.
Some of Olivia’s responsibilities include decision making, facilitating team communication, and connecting with the SUO. She strives to ensure that students are being supported through our programming – accessibility is at the forefront of our decision making as a team, tutoring hours are made available for peer support, and events are led smoothly for networking, professional growth, and career opportunities.
Outside of academics, she enjoys Irish dancing, painting, gardening, reading, and exploring the great outdoors. Olivia looks forward to welcoming new members to the BCCU. She is happy to help students and welcomes the opportunity to talk about anything UBCO.
Suhel Paudel, Vice President
Suhel Paudel is a third-year student majoring in medical and molecular biology. He was born in Nepal but has lived in Calgary, Canada for the past 8 years of his life. He is vastly interested in gene editing and synthetic biology. He is ambitious about becoming a genetic engineer in the future. Outside of school, he enjoys watching anime and youtube, cooking, and playing video games.
As the Vice President of the BCCU, he will assist with all of BCCU’s external meetings and will help sign all the required forms. He will also be in charge of leading the internal BCCU meetings and will help facilitate the needs of the other executives.
Alissa Taki, VP Internal
Alissa is a fourth-year student in the Medical and Molecular Biology program. She will be VP Internal of the BCCU for this year. This is her first year being an executive for the BCCU and she is excited to see what’s in store. You can find her as VP for a couple other clubs on campus as well. Alissa enjoys being an active member of our community through club involvement, volunteering, and research.
As VP Internal, Alissa’s role is to ensure proper communication amongst the BCCU team. This includes organizing meetings, communicating to all executives, and assisting the president whenever needed. Although her tasks are within the executive team, she looks forward to meeting all our members and would love to connect with other biochem majors!
Seamus McRae, VP Academic
Seamus is a fourth-year student in the Medical and Molecular Biology Honours program, planning to graduate this spring. Outside of school he jogs leisurely, reads voraciously, and picks up other hobbies as quickly as he drops them.
This will be his second year as a VP Academic, and just like last year Seamus’ goal will be to improve the student experience for undergraduates in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology program. If you ever have questions about choosing your major, getting into research, or anything along those lines, don’t hesitate to reach out! He would love to talk with you about it.
Zainab Mohammad, VP External
Zainab Mohammad is a third-year BSc student at UBCO, who is specializing in Medical Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. She was born in Pakistan but has spent most of her life here in Canada. She has dreamt of becoming a doctor since she was a little girl, hence she is pursuing a career in medicine. In her free time, some of the activities Zainab enjoys are cooking, going on hikes, nature photography, and logic puzzles like sudoku.
This year, Zainab will be joining BCCU as the VP External. Her role will consist of establishing an online presence for the course union by running various social media and email accounts, and reaching out to students and potential members by regularly updating everyone about upcoming events and activities. She is excited for this year, and looks forward to spending it with you!
Clara Letef, VP Academics
Hello everyone! My name is Clara and I am a fourth-year Biochemistry and Medical Molecular Biology major. I will be VP Academics this year for the BCCU, and am pursuing a career in medicine. Outside of school and other extracurriculars, you can find me spending time with friends and family, skiing, biking, hiking, and playing the piano.
As the Vice President of Academics, I will work to plan and execute study sessions for various biochemistry courses. In addition to study sessions, my goal is to help bridge the gap between lecture and learning. If you see me on campus, come say hi!
Mrinaal Tomar, VP Finance
Mrinaal is serving as the VP Finance of the BCCU, and it is his second consecutive year in the role. He loves the Leafs, as well as late-night hikes. He is a third-year Medical and Molecular Biology major, and he intends to apply to medical school. He is great with numbers and has loved accounting and financing since the 6th grade, which is what makes him love his role as VP Finance. When he is not preparing for the MCAT, he is constantly finding ways to bring the best deals to all BCCU members for things like the BCCU merch, Pub Crawl and other events the BCCU has planned. He looks forward to meeting all the BCCU members in person and hopes to make this year a memorable one for all of them. P.S. The mink in his photo was named Blaire by him and BCCU’s VP External Zainab, and they’ll forever cherish their memories with Blaire.
Karah Hopgood, VP of Events
Karah (she/her) is a fifth-year student majoring in Honours Biochemistry and minoring in Psychology. She is very excited to serve again on the BCCU’s executive team as the VP of Events! Outside of academics, Karah is passionate about connecting with the campus community in her roles as a Peer Mentor, a UBC Student Ambassador, a volunteer research assistant for the CORE lab, and various other campus committees. She also loves exploring the Okanagan by hiking in the mountains or paddleboarding on the lake, and spending time with Beasley, her 17-week old shih tzu puppy.
This year Karah is looking forward to helping plan, organize, and administer events for all members of the BCCU, and all science students at UBC Okanagan. In addition to events that cater towards academic support, she strives to facilitate events that will help students in all avenues of networking, professional growth, engagement opportunities with the university and broader alumni community, as well as events that explore and connect students to diverse career opportunities. She is looking forward to connecting with you all this year and welcomes the opportunity to connect with students and answer any questions around the BCCU or UBCO!
Parker Thibert, Vice President of Academics
Parker is returning for his fifth and final year at UBCO completing his dual major in Medical Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, along with Psychology, Hoping to pursue a career in the field of medicine. Parker likes to spend his free time at Big White skiing and snowboarding, when he isn’t on the mountain you can find him at the hockey rink or in the gym. When the weather is more favourable he will be hiking and exploring BC.
This year Parker will be returning to his role as Vice President of Academics, Where he will work in conjunction with other members. He will provide resources to undergrads through study sessions, exam prep, and informal office hours where you can stop by to say hi and introduce yourself and get help on any questions you have related to course material or just chat. He looks forward to meeting all the new faces and making the workload of being an undergrad a little more manageable.
The Microbiology Course Union (MCU) is a student-built organization aiming to offer a wide range of services to students at UBCO, including those interested in Microbiology – events, midterm study sessions, office hours, and more!
Visit the Microbiology Course Union website.
Sara Vujakovic, President
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Sara Vujakovic (she/her/hers) is a fourth-year microbiology student originally from Calgary, Alberta. She decided to pursue an education in microbiology after watching a documentary on the AIDS pandemic. She hopes to find a career in a clinical setting, doing research that would go towards helping individuals with terminal illnesses. As a part of her undergraduate degree, she has completed several co-op terms, and is currently working as a TA for UBCO. Her hobbies include embroidering, road trips, and exploring new cafes.
As the President of the Microbiology Course Union, Sara oversees the executive team and organizes meetings, meets with the SUO, understands the bylaws, and helps the executive team if needed.
Alexa Wong, Vice President
Alexa is from Kelowna and is in her fifth year of a Bachelor of Science degree double majoring in microbiology and psychology. She is the Vice president for the microbiology course union and is responsible for working alongside the president to oversee the executive team as well as working directly with the other executive members on their specific duties. After graduating at UBCO, she hopes to further her education as an optometrist and provide optical care for underserved populations. Outside of school she enjoys skiing, snowboarding, hiking, and camping!
Alisha Davis, VP Finance
Alisha is a fourth-year BSc dual major in microbiology and psychology from Kelowna BC. Growing up in the Okanagan, Alisha’s family started a winery that sparked her initial interest in the field of microbiology. Since then, Alisha has had a strong and growing passion for microbiology and continues to further her knowledge on the topic through UBC’s microbiology program. Alisha’s hobbies include hiking, paddle boarding, and taking care of her numerous tropical plants. She is currently the VP of Finance for the microbiology course union and previously served as the MCU president in the 2020/2021 school year. Her position with the MCU is to budget for the course union along with planning and funding the events that the MCU has to offer.
Unjalee Parmar, Communications Head
Unjalee (she/her) is a third-year student majoring in biology with the interest of pursuing a career in Dentistry after her undergrad. She was born in Calgary, Alberta and has spent many of her summers in the Okanagan region. She is excited to be on the MCU team this year as VP Communications. Part of her role includes distributing information about the course union to members and promoting events going on within the course union. She also keeps an online presence of the course union by updating the MCU’s website, bulletin board, and social media accounts. Outside of academics, Unjalee is involved with the campus community in her roles as Peer Mentor, Secretory of the Pre-dental club, a volunteer research assistant for the Barker Lab, and various other campus clubs. She also enjoys spending her time outdoors hiking, rock climbing, and skiing. Unjalee looks forward to meeting new members of the MCU and is open to answering any questions about MCU or UBCO!
Biology undergraduate awards
The biology department provides a $6,500 award to a third-year student majoring in biology or microbiology who has completed a minimum of 75 credits toward his or her degree, and has submitted a proposal for a summer research project with consent of a faculty supervisor in biology.
Faculty program advisors
Program advisors are faculty members who can help you with course selection, deciding on a major, ensuring you are meeting degree requirements, and even career advice. They serve as a valuable resource in helping you achieve your educational and career goals.
Undergraduate Student Forms
The following documents are in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format. Most online fillable forms can be saved to your computer.
ACADEMIC ADVISING AND LEARNING SUPPORT
Get help with planning your program, study skills, exam preparation, tutoring, career planning, and more. Academic advisors are all about helping you succeed.
UBC OKANAGAN LIBRARY—WRITING AND RESEARCH
More than just books, the library offers research guides, style guides, tutorials, and workshops on writing and researching, as well as a specific librarian for each subject.
CAREERS AND WORK EXPERIENCE
The Department of Biology offers opportunities for undergraduate teaching assistants in the September, January and May terms. These opportunities help our undergraduates develop their teaching and mentoring skills while undertaking their studies.
GO TO DEPARTMENT OF BIOLOGY CAREERS
Whether you’re looking to gain some work experience while you study, need to augment your finances, or are looking for a career after you’ve graduated, Career Services can help. Visit their website to get information on the Work Study employment program, Co-op program, labour market stats, resume building and interview skills, career fairs, volunteer opportunities, or to browse the UBC Okanagan job board.
UBC Okanagan offers a wide range of opportunities to learn and do research abroad through programs like Go Global, exchange and research abroad, and summer study at partner universities. If you’re looking for an opportunity to travel and learn, make sure you take advantage of these programs.
EVERYTHING ELSE—STUDENT SERVICES
Didn’t find what you were looking for above? Visit the Student Services website, where all of the information about the services offered to students is housed. In addition to the services already mentioned, you will find information on everything from courses, registration and exams to tuition, scholarships, housing and wellness.