Stories - Your Impact - Research

You Make The Coolest Student Summer Jobs Happen

The coolest jobs of the summer can be found at the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba (CHRIM), all thanks to your donations.

Designed to provide exposure to career opportunities in child health research, the CHRIM Summer Studentships are awarded each year to undergraduate university or college students.

Andrew Pierce, a 20 year old student working towards a bio-psych degree at the University of Winnipeg, is one of those students.

“I found out about the program through my brother Matthew, who won a studentship several years ago,” says Pierce. “He had a great time when he did it, and he recommended the experience to me.”

Andrew’s tenure as a researcher will be supervised by Dr. Bob Schroth, Associate Professor and Clinician Scientist in the Department of Preventive Dental Science (College of Dentistry) and the Department of Pediatrics and Child Health (College of Medicine) at the University of Manitoba and a member of CHRIM.

Andrew is already intrigued and invested in Dr. Schroth’s study of pediatric tooth decay

“There are over 2300 pediatric oral surgeries a year in Manitoba,” says Pierce, “and we are trying to figure out why. Not only are the surgeries costly, but they are actually kind of debilitating for many of the kids, so being able to do research to figure out how to reduce those numbers is really worthwhile.”

As a mentor, Dr. Schroth sees firsthand the remarkable value in this unique program, that wouldn’t exist without the support of donors.

“These Summer Studentship awards provide students with the opportunity to get involved in child health research and appreciate the different ways one can contribute to improving childhood health and well-being, says Dr. Schroth. “In addition to developing basic research skills, Andrew has had opportunity to get involved in the analysis and writing of study findings. Plus, he’s been provided opportunity to shadow me in clinic and also see firsthand a case of pediatric dental surgery in the operating room. I hope this shows him that there are many future career possibilities for him.”

Andrew agrees that the diversity of his experience has been tremendous.

“Getting a lot of exposure to different things that I wouldn’t necessarily have been aware of without this program has been invaluable,” says Pierce. “I’ve had other summer jobs, but nothing like this.  Everyone here is so supportive and encouraging of each other. It’s a really inclusive, positive environment.”

Another component of the Summer Studentship that Andrew is well aware of is the fact that none of it would be possible without donations to the Children’s Hospital Foundation.

“Donors are not only supporting some really important research,” says Pierce, “they are also providing a unique opportunity. It can really spark an interest in choosing research as a career. I had no idea that oral surgery is the most common day surgery for kids at Children’s Hospital. I found that shocking, and it makes me want to be a part of the research that changes that.”

Whatever career path Andrew ultimately chooses, it will undoubtedly be influenced by the priceless experience afforded him by the Summer Studentship program.

“It’s been a great experience to be able to learn about something and spur an interest in myself that I wasn’t even aware I had,” says Pierce. “This has been an amazing opportunity to see how the process works and to see first-hand how research is conducted. I’m very grateful.”