Alumni Profile: Hannah Dies

I graduated from McMaster three years ago, with a degree in Integrated Science + Physics. During my time at Mac, I found an amazing community of faith and friends at LIFT Church, and I played the piano for the LIFT Sunday services. Immediately after graduating, I moved to Kingston to do an MD/PhD in Biomedical Engineering at Queen’s University. My PhD focuses on the development of a microchip for fluid-based sensing, with applications in remote and portable diagnostics. It has been an exciting journey, with a lot of hard work, and certainly not without its fair share of struggle and life lessons.

I left McMaster full of excitement for my next step – it was exactly what I had been aiming at for the past four years. But this step – it was hard, in so many ways. I hit a wall of what felt like constant failure in my first year. Experiments didn’t work, I didn’t have a background in engineering, I was shy and awkward and slow at making friends in a completely new city. What I learnt that first year, (and what God continues to teach me throughout this degree) is that when I feel like I am failing, or when I am feeling afraid of failure, that is a sign that I am straying from my faith in His path. His path doesn’t have (my definition of) failure as a part of the plan. It is not my academic ability or my confidence that could ever truly fail me, if I am following God’s path and trusting in Him.

That being said, my last couple of years have been very exciting! My microsensor is now patent pending, and we have a company involved in commercialization efforts. I LOVE medical school, and I feel incredibly called to this combination of service + science. I have been going to Bay Park Church in Kingston, and I have found a community of faith, friends and love in my new home here. I’m excited about potentially specializing in pediatrics at the end of medical school (although I change my mind quite a bit). I do really miss LIFT Church – after being at a different university for a few years now, I appreciate that the campus church environment LIFT constructs is truly unique and wonderful. It helped me to grow in my faith in an incredibly formative time in my life, and it is a community that I will always be thankful of and praying for.