My name is Mark Christopher. I am a fourth-year student athlete on the varsity men’s rugby team at the University of Guelph.
I am currently working to complete my undergraduate degree in Human Kinetics, with a minor in Nutrition. I intend to pursue a career in healthcare.
I have been privileged to work in Guatemala on four occasions, with a team of truly outstanding individuals. My first trip was in grade 6, where I helped build homes and organize food donations. In grade 11, I joined a medical service mission and have traveled to Guatemala the last two summers to continue efforts to improve life via better access to basic medical care.
Our team organizes clinics in remote areas of Guatemala. We see about 350 to 400 patients in an eight-hour day. The work is exhausting and deeply rewarding.
I have learned how to take a patient history, how to diagnose certain respiratory conditions, and how to use certain medical equipment. I also learned how to facilitate trusting doctor-patient interactions. These are lifelong skills that I will practice throughout my personal health care career.
I also pursue local volunteer work. I have been privileged to improve life via the McMaster Welcome Group, to help Syrian refugee families transition to their new lives in Canada.
This year, I began volunteering at the Guelph YMCA as a wellness coach. I attend weekly NeuroFit classes to help members with neurological disorders.
I completed grief and bereavement training so that this summer, I can help at Camp Keaton, a three-day camp that helps children who have lost a loved one.
Due to Covid-19, I was unable to return to Guatemala for my third consecutive year. It is truly inspiring to witness a patient’s quality of life improve after access to medical essentials and I hope that we can return to Guatemala soon.
As I approach the end of my undergraduate studies, my goal of becoming a doctor is becoming more attainable. One of the many requirements for medical school is a successful Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and I intend to enroll myself in a prep course to enhance my prospects.
I am honoured by the opportunity to afford my MCAT fees and still participate in humanitarian work! Because of the Summerlee Humanitarian Scholarship I can do more, even as I continue my academic journey. I am deeply grateful.