uOttawa MD student Kevin Roy wins 3M National Student Fellowship Award
By Chonglu Huang
Kevin Roy (MD 2023) is a recipient of the prestigious 3M National Student Fellowship Award 2021, an honour coordinated through the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.
Each year, this fellowship awards up to 10 post-secondary students from colleges and universities across Canada who demonstrate outstanding leadership and a vision for quality education.
For Roy, it was his second time applying before garnering this recognition and he attributes this success to the age-old mantra that “failure is a step towards succeeding.”
Roy was neither discouraged by the initial setback nor put off by the lengthy application process. Instead, he welcomed criticism as a way to improve and sought constructive feedback from his teachers and peers to help enhance his application the second time.
“I wouldn’t be here today if not for the support from my professors and what I learned from my mentors and fellow students,” said Roy. “Particularly, my undergraduate supervisor Dr. Alison Flynn who nominated me for this fellowship.”
Prior to entering medical school, Roy completed an Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Ottawa during which he worked in Dr. Flynn’s research group on developing open education resources (OER) as part of her work as Chair in University Teaching.
OERs are teaching, learning and research materials for the public domain or that have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution with little or no restrictions.
“When I first started on this project, it was a bit scary,” said Roy, who got the chance to do hands-on research with Dr. Flynn through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. “I came from a natural sciences background and entered into this new world of teaching and learning.”
But Roy was a quick learner who went on to co-author three peer-reviewed publications on evaluations of learning modules for open education resources.
As someone who always strived to make a concrete difference, Roy expanded on the values of OERs for his Honours thesis. Furthermore, he went on to initiate an independently-funded project to create and pilot an open textbook for chemistry at uOttawa available for the course “Principles of General Chemistry” (CHM1311) in English and its French equivalent (CHM1711).
Roy described that being a part of an interdisciplinary project like creating an open textbook gave him more appreciation for the value of teamwork. He consulted with professors, students and University administration who contributed to making the open textbook a reality.
Roy worked alongside OER advocates from the uOttawa Library, Teaching and Learning Support Services and a team of highly-motivated undergraduate students to create the visual and technical aspects of the textbook.
In addition, he consulted directly with the professors who teach “Principles of General Chemistry”— Dr. Kathy-Sarah Focsaneanu, Dr. Brandi West and Dr. Alain St-Amant—who provided input as subject matter experts and offered to pilot the open textbook for the sessions they teach.
“Kevin Roy is a thoughtful, collaborative, and inspiring leader. He purposefully identifies people whose voices haven’t yet been heard and seeks their input in a humble and respectful manner,” said Dr. Flynn, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences.
“I am thrilled that he has received a 3M National Student Fellowship, which will allow him to connect with even more people across the country and take his leadership to yet another level.”
Along with the rest of the 3M Fellowship cohort winners for 2021, Roy will have the opportunity develop and complete a project on teaching and learning funded up to $25,000.
“I am honoured to have been awarded this fellowship and I very excited to work with the other fellows on our project that will help create a more equitable, diverse and inclusive post-secondary community in Canada,” added Roy.
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