Strong connections have always held U1 Science student Nousin Hussain’s life in place. Whether connections to her family, her friends, her Bengali past, or her current Toronto community, Hussain is always creating and maintaining bonds that contribute to the secure place she has today. As Hussain maps out her future plans, it is clear that there is a connection between her major, Microbiology and Immunology, and her minor, International Development Studies, which she hopes will manifest in the career she dreams of in scientific research.
According to Hussain, these goals must result in change. Hussain hopes to fuse science with her international development knowledge, in order to spread any scientific discoveries worldwide.
“I can’t be looking at a microscope all day—I need to understand that this is really going to make an impact,” she said. “It’s all about making connections.”
A couple of connections that Hussain said she always keeps in mind are those of her family and her past. Hussain, who was born in Bangladesh and moved to Toronto as a toddler, posits that her wanderlust is a result of familial roots.
“Being a child of an immigrant family, it’s always been instilled in me to be successful,” she said. “I’m the generation where [my parents’ sacrifice] means something. I’m expected to become successful. I don’t want to just have a job. I want to be something more—a leader—and engage the community.”
Hussain has stayed true to her words. She is co-director of the Comparative Healthcare Systems Program at McGill, a global health organization that is currently organizing a refugee healthcare conference on health equity in March. She is also VP Internal at Amnesty International, a program that works to raise awareness for different social justice issues. In the greater Montreal area, Hussain has worked for the South Asians Women’s Community Center and the YMCA. When she was living in Toronto, she helped volunteer with youth empowerment efforts and community building activities.
Hussain admitted that she had a more familiar volunteering experience in Toronto, due to having a better understanding and an easier time connecting to her hometown’s culture. Nonetheless, she has jumped into Montreal volunteering full-force, as she recognizes that it is good preparation for a future career involving travel to other new places.
“I know my community,” she said. “But you always have to take a step back, and listen to other people’s ideas.”
Hussain has experienced other travel opportunities, exercising her ability to adjust to new situations and help others. This past summer, she traveled to Kenya with Reach Out to Humanity, a global health organization, where she worked to create alternate income options for HIV/AIDS patients. This coming summer, she hopes to work at a pharmaceutical company, and she was also recently admitted to a research program in Taiwan, where she can compare healthcare systems between Canada and Taiwan and write a research abstract on the topic.
Hussain said she treasures creating connections and using her education to make an impact in the community. According to Hussain, the people she has met along the way while at McGill have contributed greatly to her positive experience.
“[At McGill] you can really meet people with whom you connect,” she said. “You are in a place where people are so passionate about what they are doing.”