When describing Dr. Nadine Caron, extraordinary is a word often used. Even as a student Nadine was extraordinary, winning more than 20 major academic awards. She was a star basketball player at SFU and earned the Shrum Gold medal as the top undergraduate student. She became the first female First Nations student to graduate from UBC’s School of Medicine, again as the top student, and was named one of Maclean’s “100 Canadians to Watch”. While completing her surgical residency, she completed her Masters of Public Health at Harvard. Today she continues to distinguish herself as an outstanding surgeon, researcher, mentor, educator, patient advocate and community leader. She is a faculty member in the Northern Medicine Program at University of Northern BC, an associate faculty member at John Hopkins Centre for American Indian Health, and an assistant professor with UBC's Faculty of Medicine. She is passionate about health policy and has served on many committees to help shape Canada’s health agenda, including the BC and Canadian medical associations and the BC health ministry.
Why did you choose to go to SFU?
I chose SFU as my first “home away from home” after Allison McNeill agreed she would too. Coach McNeill accepted the position as head coach for SFU’s Women’s Varsity Basketball team and I had the truly incredible honour and life-changing opportunity to join the SFU Clan on Burnaby Mountain.
Where did you spend the most amount of time on campus?
I spent most of my time in the SFU gym, walking to the gym, or rushing to class (slightly late) after playing basketball at the gym. That place holds thousands of memories, moments of laughter, tears, frustration, agony, joy and celebration. They are all a part of who I am today.
What is your favourite memory from your time at SFU?
These are hard questions! One that comes to mind is the last home game we played as 4th year Seniors in our SFU gym. No team could be more supported by the students, fellow athletes, faculty, staff and administration, as our team was. That night was magical.
Who was your favourite SFU professor and why?
Thinking back so many make me smile. Parveen Bawa for agreeing to be our first “honorary coach” during a SFU basketball home game, Glen Tibbits for writing my letter of reference for medical school after years of support and encouragement and Keith Slessor for recognizing that it was really, really hard to study for biochemistry finals on a 12 hour bus ride home from a basketball road trip (hence my significant effort to build a “buffer” on the midterms!). I still remember his hug on graduation day.
How has your SFU degree impacted your career?
My degree – and the path to reach it – has greatly impacted my career. Kinesiology gave me an introduction to the anatomy and physiology of the human body that fostered my interest in the pursuit of a career in medicine. The professors I met along the way were role models and mentors that gave me glimpses into the world of academia that I eventually became committed to hold on to.
What is your favourite SFU snow story?
The first thing that comes to mind regarding snow and SFU is tobogganing down Gaglardi Way on Boxing Day on various impromptu sleds – including the cafeteria trays.
If you could give advice to students today, what would you tell them?
Seize the opportunities to explore. Behind every door lies new opportunities but you have to look for them, find them, and believe in yourself enough to walk through those doors to get them.
What is the one thing about SFU that must not change?
One thing I hope doesn’t change at SFU is the pride that comes with being a SFU Alumnus.
This post was originally posted to the SFU BPK Alumni Page.