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Marlie Valencia

To: My Fellow Nerdy Girls

From: Your Fellow Nerdy Girl

The very first word many of my friends would use to describe me would be ‘nerdy.’ Growing up, I always thought of this word in a negative context and today, I wear it like a badge of honour – I am quite nerdy. Being ‘nerdy’ means working hard to get good grades, giving it your all when working as a group, and most importantly, being 100% dedicated to the task at hand and these are all characteristics that have served me well in the future.

In high school, I spent every lunch period in the library studying with my group of fellow nerdy girls. This is something many of my friends would mock me for but today, I feel so grateful that I began this habit quite early, especially before university! These study habits eventually led me to being accepted to the most competitive undergraduate program across Canada, the Bachelor of Health Sciences at McMaster University.

Being a student in this undergraduate program eventually opened up doors that allowed me to conduct research throughout my undergraduate and later, graduate degree. I have had the opportunity to conduct research for my university, present research at international conferences, and prepare scientific manuscripts. More importantly, I’ve had the opportunity to find mentors who have become my role models, and this is why I think ‘Nerdy Girl Success’ provides such an important opportunity for young women.

Through ‘Nerdy Girl Success’ I hope you are all able to find the opportunities to begin exploring your different interests. Through the Hamilton Health Sciences, there is an annual High School Research Bursary program that is open to students in Grades 11 and 12. The High School Research Bursary program provides high school students with the opportunity to experience what being researcher is like for an entire summer and gain the skills necessary to conduct research in the future. (P.S. For those of you who are naturally curious and love to find the answers to all of your questions, research may be something you could also enjoy!)

My mentors have pushed me to pursue my dreams and have believed in me before I began believing in myself. I hope you all find the courage to pursue your dreams and find the people who believe in you wholeheartedly, they will help you remember how courageous and capable you truly are.

As Walt Disney once said, “all of our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” Today, I am making a cross country move to pursue a career in psychiatry and I hope to focus my future psychiatry practice and research on the mental health of young women.