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A kinesiology grad travelled 4,000 kilometres to find her home at UNB

Author: UNB Newsroom

Posted on May 16, 2023

Category: UNB Fredericton

Amy Thomson

A chance presentation by a University of New Brunswick (UNB) recruiter in her home country of Trinidad set valedictorian Amy Thomson on a path to New Brunswick.

“I had never heard of UNB but was immediately drawn to the close-knit community the presenter described,” the kinesiology grad explained.

In Grade 10, Thomson was selected to attend a recruitment presentation and before the end of the presentation, she had already set her sights on studying in the Maritimes.

“A year later, I took a road trip to the East Coast,” she said. “UNB was the first campus I toured and after hearing about the amazing opportunities for students and hands-on experiences offered in the programs, no other school came close in comparison.”

Thomson will deliver her valedictorian address on May 17 at 2:30 p.m. to graduates from the faculties of management, education and kinesiology on the Fredericton campus.

Thomson recently sat down to reflect on her time at UNB and her plans for the future as she graduates this spring. Here’s what she had to say:

What made you decide to pursue your studies in kinesiology?

I was unsure when leaving high school exactly what I wanted to do in the future. I had always been interested in science, swapping back and forth between astrophysics and marine biology, when something tugged in my mind that I wanted to work with children. After hours of research about physiotherapy, occupational therapy and osteopathy, I learned about rehabilitation science and decided that was the path for me. I saw kinesiology as a wonderful stepping stone for a future in or related to the medical field that would allow me hands-on experience to explore my interests in every area from biomechanics to motor control to functional anatomy, before having to make a more definitive decision about my path for the future.

What are your plans after graduation, both immediate and long-term?

This summer, I am starting an accelerated MSc in Kinesiology doing research in exercise physiology, which I will be working on until next May. After that, I am considering doing an M.D., Ph.D., or both, focusing on physical medicine and rehabilitation! Long-term, I am open to any opportunities that may present themselves. However, my main interests are rehabilitation science and translational research so, ideally, I would like to find somewhere I can combine these two passions as a researcher or medical professional. Needless to say, I have quite a few more years of school ahead of me.

What is the most important lesson you are taking away from your time at UNB?

One of the most important lessons I am taking away from my time at UNB is that knowing the information is not enough and to never stop asking questions or trying to understand things from different perspectives. The world is everchanging and research is progressing, meaning new information and ideas are constantly being shared. Throughout many of my classes, I have been encouraged to not only learn this information but to ask questions, think beyond the classroom and try to understand the ‘why’ behind things. This resulted in many hours in ‘research rabbit holes,’ creating more questions while striving to answer the original, but it also showed me how many different perspectives there are for topics from ethics to sociology to physiology. I have gained an appreciation for how important it is to understand the framework behind the ideas and consider different ways of answering the same question. I am incredibly grateful for my professors and mentors who have shown me the value of critically reflecting on information and that there is always more to learn.

If you were to offer a piece of advice to someone embarking on their university journey, what would it be?

One piece of advice I would offer someone starting their university journey would be to be patient with themselves and remember that it is okay not to have everything figured out yet. When starting university, it is very easy to feel like everyone else knows what they are doing and you are less prepared or behind from the start. The truth is that whether you come to university with a 10-year plan or pick a random major because you do not know what you want to do, things will change and most of the time you finish your degree with a different plan than you started with. Just know this is normal and no one starts behind; everyone approaches university differently and you have lots of time to figure everything out. You could reach graduation with a plan for the future or be like me and keep many options open; either way, it will all be okay.