Associate Chairs back-to-school advice to grad students

Charles Jia and Molly ShoichetGrad students juggle many roles and responsibilities, which have been amplified during the pandemic. In her role as Associate Chair, Graduate Studies, University Professor Molly Shoichet has been there every step of the way assisting our grad students in their challenges and celebrating their achievements with them.

On July 1, 2022, Professor Charles Jia was appointed Associate Chair, Continuing Professional Development. He will join Shoichet in ensuring the excellence of our graduate programs, which foster innovation and success.

What advice do you have for new grad students?

Shoichet: Graduate school opens up new opportunities for you. Take advantage of the diversity of opportunities at the University of Toronto while focusing on the advancement of knowledge. Try to answer big questions and solve big problems.

Jia: Welcome to U of T – the leading university in Canada. With over 60,000 students, it is one of the largest universities in the world. Its size offers unique opportunities for you to build your career and, at the same time, presents challenges for you to navigate the paths. You have worked hard to become part of the distinguished group. While you continue to work hard, please don’t forget to make friends, build your social network, and stay physically active. You are here to build a foundation for a successful career and a fulfilling life. Your physical and mental health is an essential part of the foundation.

What advice do you have for our current grad students?

Shoichet: Hopefully you are refreshed and ready to tackle new challenges, advance knowledge, disseminate that knowledge with papers and presentations, and of course graduate.

Jia: I hope your summer has been enjoyable and restful. Although you are experienced in university life, you still have much to learn in and outside the classroom. Your courses may become more challenging, and you may feel more demand for your time. But, please remember your physical and mental health is your top priority. Investing time and effort in your health always pays back.

What are you most looking forward to this year in your position as Associate Chair?

Shoichet: We are focused on graduate student funding and time to completion. We encourage our students to dive into their projects and put the fun of graduate school back into graduate education. We look forward to CEGSA and in-person learning to help achieve the “fun” aspect.

Jia: I look forward to meeting many of you face-to-face to help make your time with us rewarding, productive and enjoyable.

What do you hope to accomplish this year as Associate Chair?

Shoichet: More funding for graduate students, attracting more great students into our MASc and PhD programs, working with colleagues to have graduate students finish within the timelines established.

Jia:I will be working with my colleagues to enrich our MEng program and hope to  make our department the go-to place for the continuing professional development of chemical engineers.

What is something most people might not know about you?

Shoichet: I enjoy downhill skiing and snowshoeing with my dog.

Jia: I play badminton regularly in a club from 9 pm to 12 midnight.