Inspiration can spring from the most unusual of wells.
For example, during an orthodontist appointment.
Fourth-year Arts and Science student Jonathan Nari, who thought teaching would be his future career, began to consider orthodontics as a profession while having his new braces adjusted.
“All those visits piqued my interest,” he says. “Maybe I’ll figure out a way to combine both.”
No one would be surprised if Nari, whose program includes a Biochemistry thesis and French minor, found a way to do that. He has set a standard of excellence from his first day on campus in the classroom, the research lab and in the community.
When he arrived in 2014, Nari was accepted as an Outstanding Scholars Program candidate and as a full scholar the following year. The program gives exceptional students the opportunity to be mentored in their discipline and to be paid to work in a research placement for up to six semesters.
“The opportunity has opened the door for me to the world of research. I deeply appreciate a school that rewards academics just as much as it does athletics.”
He has spent 100 hours each semester in the lab with research biologist Dr. Phillip Karpowicz investigating the presence of circadian rhythms in colon regeneration of mice.
The research could help improve the timing of drug administration to patients to enhance drug effectiveness.
“I owe a great deal of my success and advancement to my supervisor, Dr. Karpowicz,” says Nari. “He has been a teacher, an advisor, a mentor, and a role model.
“Through his guidance, I’ve become much better at examining problems thoroughly and analytically. I can’t thank him enough.”
The Interdisciplinary Arts and Science program in which Nari is enrolled is designed for highly motivated students who want a well-rounded and challenging education in the arts, social and natural sciences.
Nari says that, “Arts and Science has given me an interdisciplinary perspective when confronting problems and helped me combine knowledge and insights from the different elds and subjects I’ve studied. I find it has made me a well-rounded student and a jack-of-all- trades, budding-master-of-some.”
He has most enjoyed how tight-knit his program is. “We’re small but that just means we get to know the other students on a more personal level.”
Small program size has also meant seeing the same professors in the classroom over the course of his degree. “Many of them have become inspiring mentors to me, whether they know it or not.”
Nari’s dedication to community service begins with the notion that volunteering is all about giving time to a cause that you enjoy and in which you believe. “I think everyone has a responsibility to give back to their community. Volunteering your time is the easiest, cheapest way for anyone to help and pull their own weight.”
During his time at UWindsor, Nari has compiled a strong volunteer record, serving as a leader on the Outstanding Scholars Student Council for two years, and as co-president of the Bachelor of Arts and Science Association.
He initiated an Outstanding Scholars canned food drive that yielded impressive results.
In addition, he coaches a youth soccer team. “The organization I volunteer for is the same one I played in as a kid. I felt an obligation to give to the next generation of soccer players the same chance I had.”
In summer 2017, Nari served as the University of Windsor’s student representative to the “G7 University Education for All Actions for a Sustainable Future” conference in Udine, Italy.
While there, he worked directly with UWindsor president Dr. Alan Wildeman and others from around the world to chart a course towards global citizenship in higher education.
Beyond being a researcher, leader, and a tireless volunteer, he’s modest to boot says Simon Du Toit, co-ordinator of the Outstanding Scholars program: “Jonathan remains a humble, personable, and highly collaborative leader. I am con dent he’ll succeed in achieving his ambitions. He sets the highest standards for himself.”
The key to his success? “Learn how to manage your time effectively and to not procrastinate,” Nari says.
He admits that this is something with which he, himself, has struggled. “There’s always more to do than you initially realize, and less time than you thought to do it all.”
He suggests doing things progressively as they arise, planning, and holding oneself accountable. “The last thing anyone wants is to be scrambling at the last minute. It’s discourteous to the people counting on you, and even more so toward yourself.”
Although he will graduate in June, at press time he’d not finalized a decision on what he will do next. “Whichever path I choose, as long as I’m experiencing personal growth, learning new things, and meeting interesting people, I’m becoming a better version of me, and that’s my overall goal.”