First-Year Learning Communities: Life Sciences

In a Life Sciences First-Year Learning Community (FLC, pronounced "flick"), you will be part of a small community of first-year students and will learn about research and writing norms in the sciences, understand strategies to navigate U of T Libraries, learn how to find research roles at U of T and discover volunteer positions with local hospitals as well as the many program options available to a student in the life sciences. There are different Life Science FLC sections hosted by each college, plus a general FLC hosted by the Office of the Faculty Registrar.  

Apply to a Life Sciences FLC 

  • Application deadline: July 2, 2024 at 12 p.m. ET  
  • All successful applicants will be informed of their acceptance into the FLC program and receive further details by July 15, 2024.

Apply to a Life Sciences FLC

Eligibility

  • First-year students in the Faculty of Arts & Science who have been admitted to the Life Sciences admission category on the St. George campus 
  • Students are eligible to apply to the FLC hosted by their college or the FLC hosted by the Faculty of Arts & Science
  • Students living off campus are encouraged to apply to a Life Sciences FLC

FLC Course Overview

By joining a FLC, you will have the opportunity to connect with a small group of students in regular FLC sessions and core first-year courses. Students in a Life Sciences FLC will meet at a welcome session during the first week of classes and then every week starting September 9, 2024. 

In addition to your FLC sessions, you will be automatically enrolled in six of the same first-year courses (and accompanying tutorials) as the other students in your FLC. These courses include: 

  • BIO120H1-F: Adaptation and Biodiversity 
  • BIO130H1-S: Molecular and Cell Biology 
  • MAT135H1-F: Calculus I A 
  • MAT136H1-S: Calculus I B 
  • CHM135H1-F: Chemistry: Physical Principles 
  • CHM136H1-S: Introductory Organic Chemistry I 

During course enrolment, you will have the option to choose additional courses to complete your first-year course schedule. The courses you are pre-enrolled in with your FLC are the core courses that all your FLC peers will be enrolled in. However, if you have a conflict between these core courses and any new courses that you will be adding to your schedule, you have the option to change your course section. Visit the New Student Guide for more information about course selection and enrolment. 

Life Sciences FLC Sections 

Your Fall Courses

Course Name Course Code Section Day of Week Time
Life Sciences FLC (Arts & Science) FLC099Y1-Y Lecture 0101 Monday 1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Adaptation and Biodiversity  BIO120H1-F Lecture 0101 Monday, Wednesday 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Practical 0202* Wednesday 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Chemistry: Physical Principles  CHM135H1-F Lecture 0301 Monday, Wednesday, Friday 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.
Tutorial 0301 Tuesday 3 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Practical 0301* Wednesday 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Calculus I A MAT135H1-F Lecture 0201 Tuesday, Thursday Tues: 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Thurs: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Tutorial 0701/0702 Friday 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.

*Your BIO and CHM labs occur on alternating weeks. This will not be a conflict in your schedule. 

Your Winter Courses

Course Name Course Code Section Day of Week Time
Life Sciences FLC (Arts & Science) FLC099Y1-Y Lecture 0101 Monday 1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Molecular and Cell Biology BIO130H1-S Lecture 0101 Monday, Thursday Mon: 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Thurs: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Practical 0402* Wednesday 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Introductory Organic Chemistry I CHM136H1-S Lecture 0301 Monday, Wednesday, Friday 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.
Tutorial 0303 Tuesday 3 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Practical 0301* Wednesday 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Calculus I B MAT136H1-S Lecture 0601 Tuesday, Thursday Tues: 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Thurs: 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Tutorial 0604/0605 Friday 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.

 *Your BIO and CHM labs occur on alternating weeks. This will not be a conflict in your schedule.

Your FLC Team

Gretl Baghdadi

Gretl Baghdadi, Peer Mentor

Program(s): Fundamental genetics major, cell and molecular biology major, computer science minor

Year: Three 

College: St. Michael's College 

Hometown: St. Germain, France 

What activities have you been involved in on campus? General member of Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence Students' Association (CASA), Human Biology Students' Union (HBSU), Medical Science Students United (MSSU) and PMSA; Research assistant for the Emotions & Learning Optimization (ELO) Lab at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) and for the Department of Applied Psychology & Human Development.  

Why peer mentorship? I found my FLC experience to be very valuable to my first year and I want to help create that same support group for more first years! I find it very rewarding to provide helpful information to mentees, hear their experiences and share my own. 

What are you looking forward to this academic year? I’m looking forward to diving deeper into my program and meeting people with shared interests! I’m also really excited for the FLC program and meeting all of you! 

What advice would you give to first-year students? Balance socializing with maintaining strong academics – both make up the best parts of your undergrad! 

Rowan Danton

Rowan Danton, Peer Mentor

Program(s): Human biology major, psychology major, physiology minor

Year: Five 

College: St. Michael's College 

Hometown: Surrey, British Columbia 

What activities have you been involved in on campus? BookEnds (a U of T book club), Hart House Barre series and The Mindfulness Project Club 

Why peer mentorship? I want to work in peer mentorship because I am personally aware of how difficult it can be to transition to such a large institution in your first year. I think that students can have the most success at university if they are connected with those who have first-hand experience with the concerns they are facing and with people who want to see them succeed. I want to contribute to peer mentorship so that I can help students – like my younger self – avoid common missteps and help them transition more smoothly to university. 

What are you looking forward to this academic year? Meeting the new batch of first years! Also, having the opportunity to build on what I learned last year and better support my students. 

What advice would you give to first-year students? When in situations where seemingly a thousand things need to be completed, use planning to organize your time, use logic to chunk the workload into smaller pieces and use mindfulness to only worry about the things you can control. In this way, you can work on more obtainable goals toward a very large  accomplishment, like a getting a degree. 

Your Fall Courses

Course Name Course Code Section Day of Week Time
Life Sciences FLC (Innis) INI099Y1-Y Lecture 0101 Monday 2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Adaptation and Biodiversity  BIO120H1-F Lecture 0101 Monday, Wednesday 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Practical 0202* Wednesday 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Chemistry: Physical Principles  CHM135H1-F Lecture 0301 Monday, Wednesday, Friday 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.
Practical 0301* Wednesday 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Tutorial 1402 Friday 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Calculus I A MAT135H1-F Lecture 0201 Tuesday, Thursday Tues: 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Thurs: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Tutorial 0703/0704 Friday 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.

*Your BIO and CHM labs occur on alternating weeks. This will not be a conflict in your schedule. 

Your Winter Courses

Course Name Course Code Section Day of Week Time
Life Sciences FLC (Innis) INI099Y1-Y Lecture 0101 Monday 2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Molecular and Cell Biology BIO130H1-S Lecture 0101 Monday, Thursday Mon: 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Thurs: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Practical 0402* Wednesday 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Introductory Organic Chemistry I CHM136H1-S Lecture 0301 Monday, Wednesday, Friday 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.
Practical 0301* Wednesday 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Tutorial 1101 Thursday 4 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Calculus I B MAT136H1-S Lecture 0601 Tuesday, Thursday Tues: 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Thurs: 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Tutorial 0606/0607 Friday 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.

 *Your BIO and CHM labs occur on alternating weeks. This will not be a conflict in your schedule.

Your FLC Team

Photo of Any Dicks, Chemistry SLC Faculty Advisor

Andy Dicks, Faculty Advisor

Department: Chemistry

Title: Professor, Teaching Stream & Chemistry Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies

About me: I moved to U of T in 1997 from the United Kingdom after earning undergraduate and graduate degrees in chemistry. On arrival, I quickly discovered that I loved teaching, and I currently oversee the successful delivery of more than 50 chemistry undergraduate courses each year. I'm very interested in designing new laboratory experiments for students and measuring their pedagogical effectiveness, especially in the areas of green chemistry and sustainability. Outside the university, I'm a huge sports fan (mainly football — the English version — and cricket), and also a semi-serious runner. My latest race was the May 2023 Toronto Marathon — I'm still suffering from it now!  

Why FLCs? I love meeting with and talking to students at all academic levels, and part of that is helping to facilitate smaller communities within our larger Arts & Science undergraduate community. I designed a Course Community for CHM151Y back in 2006, and I am also the Faculty Advisor for our Chemistry Second-Year Learning Community. I have been a faculty advisor to the Innis College First-Year Learning Community for 18 years and am very invested in helping students to enjoy their university experience and to be as successful as possible (in as many different ways as possible!).        

Top tip for incoming students: Make the most of the enormous amount of support available to you that is embedded within and related to your first-year courses. These include student hours offered by professors, online course discussion boards, Recognized Study Groups (RSGs) and peer tutoring. Reaching out for help is a sign of strength (not weakness!) and an important component towards ensuring your academic success.     

Photo of FLC Staff Advisor Denise Gray with her dog

Denise Gray, Staff Advisor

Department: Innis College

Title: Associate Registrar, Recruitment & Transition

About me: I am an academic advisor who works primarily with first-year students from Innis College in support of your academic transition from high school to university. This includes course enrolment, program planning, academic support, referrals to campus services and more! I have been working at U of T in this role since 2006 — clearly, I enjoy it immensely! I hold a Bachelor of Arts from Rowan University with a teaching degree in Special Education from Rowan University in New Jersey, USA. I earned my master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from Suffolk University in Boston, MA, USA. Away from the university, I love spending time with my family and friends, cooking, walking my dog and cheering for my favourite sports teams — mostly the Boston Red Sox.

Why FLCs? I enjoy working directly with first-year students. I appreciate the opportunity to get to know students away from the more serious academic advising role I typically inhabit. FLCs help to expose students to the wealth of opportunities and resources available around the university and being a part of that learning is very gratifying!         

Top tip for incoming students: My one piece of advice is to plan. Plan your day. Plan your schedule. Plan your activities. Plan your free time. If you become adept at making a schedule — and sticking to it — you will find you have room in your day/week/month/years for a variety of meaningful activities and events. This helps to minimize stress, maximize mental health, contribute to your well-roundedness, academic capacity and social well-being. Learning to plan is a lifelong skill!

Juliana Concini

Juliana Concini, Peer Mentor

Program(s): Fundamental genetics major, physiology major, immunology minor

Year: Three 

College: Innis College 

Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta 

What activities have you been involved in on campus? I love sports and being active; I have played on a number of Innis intramural teams (football, ultimate frisbee, soccer). I have also been playing on the U of T Tri-Campus League women's soccer team for the past two years. Additionally, I am passionate about student governance and am a member of the Innis Residence Council, Innis College Student Society and the Innis College Council. 

Why peer mentorship? I participated in the Innis Innsider Peer Mentor program this past year and really enjoyed mentoring first-year students and helping ease their transition to university. I also had a really positive FLC experience in my first year and want to provide the same experience for incoming first-year students! 

What are you looking forward to this academic year? I am looking forward to meeting the FLC students and getting to know them! 

What advice would you give to first-year students? There is such a diverse range of opportunities, clubs and supports available at U of T and at Innis. Exploring these opportunities early and getting involved in activities you are excited about can be a really great way to make friends, take a break from classes and find community at U of T. 

Maiesha Kanieze

Maiesha Kanieze, Peer Mentor

Program(s): Neuroscience major, immunology major

Year: Three 

College: Innis College 

Hometown: Toronto, Ontario 

What activities have you been involved in on campus? I have been an event director and the vice-president of StrengthIN and an ambassador for Cam's Kids, which are both mental health-focused clubs. I have also done basketball intramurals. I have been a Research Opportunities Program (ROP) student, so I have also presented my research at an ROP fair. 

Why peer mentorship? FLC mentorship was an integral part of my first year, connecting me to resources and opportunities and providing me with a supportive community to ease my transition to first year. As a mentor, I want to support incoming first years in the same way while facilitating their growth and development. 

What are you looking forward to this academic year? I am looking forward to taking IMM385Y1: Special Research Project in Immunology. I am excited to work on my lab skills and conduct research in the field of neuroimmunology. I am also looking forward to joining more intramurals, particularly basketball and volleyball! 

What advice would you give to first-year students? Take care of yourself! It can be easy to get carried away with studies, but make sure to focus on having a balance between personal and academic goals. 

Your Fall Courses

Course Name Course Code Section Day of Week Time
Life Sciences FLC (New College) NEW099Y1-Y Lecture 0101 Monday 1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Adaptation and Biodiversity  BIO120H1-F Lecture 0101 Monday, Wednesday 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Practical 0202* Wednesday 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Chemistry: Physical Principles  CHM135H1-F Lecture 0301 Monday, Wednesday, Friday 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.
Practical 0301* Wednesday 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Tutorial 1401 Friday 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Calculus I A MAT135H1-F Lecture 0201 Tuesday, Thursday Tues: 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Thurs: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Tutorial 0705/0706 Friday 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.

*Your BIO and CHM labs occur on alternating weeks. This will not be a conflict in your schedule. 

Your Winter Courses

Course Name Course Code Section Day of Week Time
Life Sciences FLC (New College) NEW099Y1-Y Lecture 0101 Monday 1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Molecular and Cell Biology BIO130H1-S Lecture 0101 Monday, Thursday Mon: 10 a.m. – 11a.m.
Thurs: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Practical 0402* Wednesday 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Introductory Organic Chemistry I CHM136H1-S Lecture 0301 Monday, Wednesday, Friday 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.
Tutorial 0402 Tuesday 4 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Practical 0301* Wednesday 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Calculus I B MAT136H1-S Lecture 0601 Tuesday, Thursday Tues: 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Thurs: 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Tutorial 0509/0510 Friday 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.

 *Your BIO and CHM labs occur on alternating weeks. This will not be a conflict in your schedule.

Your FLC Team

Annie Bosire

Annie Bosire, Staff Advisor

Department: New College

Title: Academic Advisor

Tell us about yourself. I am an academic advisor at New College, where I primarily focus on supporting first-year students. I graduated from U of T with a double major in human biology and cell and systems biology, along with a minor in immunology. I have worked in various roles across different departments and faculties within the university for the past five years. In my free time, I enjoy cooking, listening to music, dancing and engaging in flower and nature photography. Recently, I have developed a keen interest in flower arrangements, particularly Japanese flower arrangement (ikebana).

Why are you interested in being a staff advisor/faculty advisor for FLCs? It is easy for first-year students to feel like just one among many, especially in large classes with over 100 students. Being part of a FLC can transform that experience and significantly shape a student's first year. I want to contribute to this transformative process by leveraging my experience as a former international student to help make the first year enjoyable and less overwhelming. My goal is to ensure that students feel like valued members of the university community, not just numbers. I aim to create a safe and supportive environment where they can confidently access the university's vast array of resources.

What is one piece of advice you want to give to first-year students? Be flexible to changes with your academic plan through your undergraduate degree. Be open to new experiences and perspectives. University is a time for growth and exploration, both academically and personally.

Everest Chan

Everest Chan, Peer Mentor

Program(s): Human biology major, bioethics minor, physiology minor 

Year: Three 

College: New College 

Hometown: Hong Kong 

What activities have you been involved in on campus? I'm an executive in the U of T Climbing club! I often go bouldering with my friends  and volunteer at Fort York Food bank! 

Why peer mentorship? I've been lucky enough to have had a welcoming community of seniors when I came to U of T. This program allows me to give back to the community in a constructive way! 

What are you looking forward to this academic year? Anatomy 300! I took ANA301: Human Embryology (highly recommended) and I am passionate about this topic, so I’m looking forward to this progression! 

What advice would you give to first-year students? Don't be afraid to reach out!! Everyone is generally friendly and doesn’t  mind helping out. 

Wei Siman

Siman (Leslie) Wei, Peer Mentor

Program(s): Global health specialist, nutritional science major, immunology minor

Year: Three 

College: New College 

Hometown: Fuzhou City, Jiangxi Province, China 

What activities have you been involved in on campus?  I have been a tutor in the Saturday Program, teaching high school students math, English and statistics. I have also been a peer mentor in the Human Biology Student Union, providing tips to my mentees about university and major selection, as well as time management and study skills.  

Why peer mentorship? Peer mentorship is very  rewarding  to me. I can leverage my knowledge and experience from my first two years in university to help first-year students better transition to life and learning at  U of T’s life sciences programs.  

What are you looking forward to this academic year? I look forward to getting to know first-year students and listening to their ideas and stories. I want to make new friends and learn from each other. I also want to improve my multitasking, time management and networking skills by working with the FLC teams. 

What advice would you give to first-year students? My advice to students is never be anxious about anything that has not happened yet and take it easy. Although learning at U of T can be challenging, it is manageable if you put in a lot of effort, use effective study strategies and manage your time wisely. Focus on the present, take manageable steps and ask for help if necessary. Be optimistic, everything will be fine! 

Your Fall Courses

Course Name Course Code Section Day of Week Time
Life Sciences FLC (New College) NEW099Y1-Y Lecture 0102 Thursday 3 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Adaptation and Biodiversity  BIO120H1-F Lecture 0101 Monday, Wednesday 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Practical 0202* Wednesday 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Chemistry: Physical Principles  CHM135H1-F Lecture 0301 Monday, Wednesday, Friday 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.
Tutorial 0302 Tuesday 3 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Practical 0301* Wednesday 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Calculus I A MAT135H1-F Lecture 0201 Tuesday, Thursday Tues: 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Thurs: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Tutorial 0707/0708 Friday 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.

*Your BIO and CHM labs occur on alternating weeks. This will not be a conflict in your schedule. 

Your Winter Courses

Course Name Course Code Section Day of Week Time
Life Sciences FLC (New College) NEW099Y1-Y Lecture 0102 Thursday 3 pm – 4:30 pm
Molecular and Cell Biology BIO130H1-S Lecture 0101 Monday, Thursday Mon: 10 am – 11am
Thurs: 10 am – 12 pm
Practical 0401* Wednesday 1 pm – 4 pm
Introductory Organic Chemistry I CHM136H1-S Lecture 0301 Monday, Wednesday, Friday 12 pm – 1 pm
Tutorial 0401 Tuesday 4 pm – 5 pm
Practical 0302* Wednesday 2 pm – 5 pm
Calculus I B MAT136H1-S Lecture 0601 Tuesday, Thursday Tues: 1 pm – 3 pm
Thurs: 1 pm – 2 pm
Tutorial 0507/0508 Friday 1 pm – 2 pm

 *Your BIO and CHM labs occur on alternating weeks. This will not be a conflict in your schedule.

Tim Hau

Tim Hau, Peer Mentor

Program(s): Pharmacology and biomedical toxicology specialist

Year: Three 

College: New College 

Hometown: Vancouver, British Columbia 

Why peer mentorship? I know first year can be challenging for some people because of the new environment and workload. Being a peer mentor will give me the opportunity to assist students in navigating their first year. I am excited to share my experience with other students and help them access resources that may ease their transition into university. 

What are you looking forward to this academic year? This academic year, I am looking forward to joining Dr. Wilder Scott's lab at Sunnybrook as a research assistant, where I will be studying how mesenchymal stem cells can be targeted for therapeutic purposes. I am also excited to be taking more in-depth courses on pharmacology and toxicology. 

What advice would you give to first-year students? You made it to the top school in Canada! This is only the start of your academic journey; get involved in as many opportunities as you can.  

Lisa Yuen

Lisa Yuen, Peer Mentor

Program(s): Biochemistry major, statistics major

Year: Two 

College: New College 

Hometown: Winnipeg, Manitoba 

What activities have you been involved in on campus? New College House Council Treasurer for Powell House, Recognized Study Group for BIO130. 

Why peer mentorship? In my first year, being in a FLC showed me the resources and opportunities at U of T and peer mentors gave insightful advice. Since adjusting to university can be tricky, I want to share my experience to help guide first-years to ease the transition. 

What are you looking forward to this academic year? I am looking forward to meeting new people, being a peer mentor and learning more about chemistry and statistics in my second year. 

What advice would you give to first-year students? Find a healthy balance between your own life and academics. University is a great time to get to know yourself, explore and build long-lasting friendships! 

Your Fall Courses

Course Name Course Code Section Day of Week Time
Life Sciences FLC (SMC) SMC099Y1-Y Lecture 0101 Monday 1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Adaptation and Biodiversity  BIO120H1-F Lecture 0101 Monday, Wednesday 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Practical 0202* Wednesday 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Chemistry: Physical Principles  CHM135H1-F Lecture 0301 Monday, Wednesday, Friday 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.
Tutorial 0203 Tuesday 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Practical 0301* Wednesday 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Calculus I A MAT135H1-F Lecture 0201 Tuesday, Thursday Tues: 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Thurs: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Tutorial 0611/0612 Friday 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.

*Your BIO and CHM labs occur on alternating weeks. This will not be a conflict in your schedule. 

Your Winter Courses

Course Name Course Code Section Day of Week Time
Life Sciences FLC (SMC) SMC099Y1-Y Lecture 0101 Monday 1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Molecular and Cell Biology BIO130H1-S Lecture 0101 Monday, Thursday Mon: 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Thurs: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Practical 0401* Wednesday 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Introductory Organic Chemistry I CHM136H1-S Lecture 0301 Monday, Wednesday, Friday 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.
Tutorial 0302 Tuesday 3 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Practical 0302* Wednesday 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Calculus I B MAT136H1-S Lecture 0501 Tuesday, Wednesday Tues: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Wed: 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Tutorial 0504/0503 Friday 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.

 *Your BIO and CHM labs occur on alternating weeks. This will not be a conflict in your schedule.

Anavi Parekh

Anavi Parekh, Peer Mentor

Program(s): Neuroscience specialist

Year: Three 

College: St. Michael's College 

Hometown: Toronto, Ontario 

Why peer mentorship? Joining a FLC in my first year helped me find my place at U of T amongst what felt like a crowd of students. As my experiences and years studying at U of T have increased, I want to share what I have learned and help other students feel seen and flourish within our community. 

What are you looking forward to this academic year? I hope to take a wide variety of neuroscience and psychology courses in my last year as I start volunteering at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), which has been a dream of mine since high school. Most of all, I look forward to meeting all of you! 

What advice would you give to first-year students? Embrace the opportunities at U of T and talk to professors in courses you’d like to learn more about. First year is nothing if not diverse in its content; don't be afraid to take advantage of that! 

Riddi Saini

Riddi Saini, Peer Mentor

Admission Category: Life sciences

Year: Two 

College: St. Michael's College 

Hometown: Toronto, Ontario 

Why peer mentorship? I chose to be a peer mentor because I've experienced first-hand the challenges of navigating university life. I want to use my experiences to support and guide fellow students who may be facing similar challenges. Being a mentor allows me to give back to my community, help others succeed academically and personally and foster a sense of belonging on campus! 

What are you looking forward to this academic year? This academic year, I'm looking forward to diving into new courses that align with my interests and passions! I'm also looking forward to participating in extracurricular activities, joining clubs and of course mentoring incoming first years. Overall, I'm excited for the opportunities for personal and academic growth that this year will bring, as well as the chance to create cherished memories with my friends and peers. 

What advice would you give to first-year students? Your experience at U of T will be what you make of it. Step out of your comfort zone and socialize, join clubs and explore your interests. It might seem daunting to approach a stranger or apply to academic or leadership opportunities, but the chances you take might literally change your first year for the better! 

Your Fall Courses

Course Name Course Code Section Day of Week Time
Life Sciences FLC (SMC) SMC099Y1-Y Lecture 0201 Thursday 1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Adaptation and Biodiversity  BIO120H1-F Lecture 0101 Monday, Wednesday 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Practical 0202* Wednesday 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Chemistry: Physical Principles  CHM135H1-F Lecture 0301 Monday, Wednesday, Friday 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.
Tutorial 0202 Tuesday 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Practical 0301* Wednesday 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Calculus I A MAT135H1-F Lecture 0201 Tuesday, Thursday Tues: 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Thurs: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Tutorial 0609/0610 Friday 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.

*Your BIO and CHM labs occur on alternating weeks. This will not be a conflict in your schedule. 

Your Winter Courses

Course Name Course Code Section Day of Week Time
Life Sciences FLC (SMC) SMC099Y1-Y Lecture 0201 Thursday 1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Molecular and Cell Biology BIO130H1-S Lecture 0101 Monday, Thursday Mon: 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Thurs: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Practical 0401* Wednesday 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Introductory Organic Chemistry I CHM136H1-S Lecture 0301 Monday, Wednesday, Friday 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.
Tutorial 0301 Tuesday 3 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Practical 0302* Wednesday 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Calculus I B MAT136H1-S Lecture 0501 Tuesday, Wednesday Tues: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Wed: 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Tutorial 0505/0506 Friday 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.

 *Your BIO and CHM labs occur on alternating weeks. This will not be a conflict in your schedule.

Zoyeb Ehsan

Zoyeb Ehsan, Peer Mentor

Program(s): Neuroscience major, Russian minor, psychology minor

Year: Three 

College: St. Michael's College 

Hometown: Etobicoke, Ontario 

What activities have you been involved in on campus? Muslim Students' Association, Judo Club and Science Rendezvous. 

Why peer mentorship? I owe much of my success to having good mentors, both within school and outside it. So much of our learning comes from the people we surround ourselves with, so I hope to provide guidance and insight to incoming first years to help get them oriented, just as others have done for me in my first year. 

What are you looking forward to this academic year? I'm looking forward to continuing my Russian studies as that has probably been my most enjoyable course at U of T. I'm also excited about getting more involved with the Muslim Students' Association here on campus and hopefully continuing some research work. 

What advice would you give to first-year students? Embark on your own, unique path. Don't pick courses or programs simply because they're easy or because others are doing so. Take the time to see what U of T has to offer and make the most out of your degree and university experience. 

Shaden Mehdi

Shaden Mehdi, Peer Mentor

Program(s): Fundamental genetics and its applications major, cell and molecular biology major

Year: Two 

College: St. Michael's College 

Hometown: Lebanon 

What activities have you been involved in on campus? I am an executive member of a club, enrolled in a Research Opportunity Program (ROP) next year and I’m in my college’s student union academic affairs team, where I help organize events. 

Why peer mentorship? I love sharing knowledge with other people and helping in any way possible. I myself benefited greatly from peer mentorship as I learned about opportunities and stayed up-to-date on deadlines, so I want to do the same for others! 

What are you looking forward to this academic year? I’m looking forward to my ROP course related to stem cells! 

What advice would you give to first-year students? Go to events and seminars and follow clubs that interest you on social media to discover events! You never know when and where you might meet people who could become your friends. Take every chance and make the most of your first year!  

Your Fall Courses

Course Name Course Code Section Day of Week Time
Life Sciences FLC (Trinity)  TRN099Y1-Y Lecture 0101 Monday 1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Adaptation and Biodiversity  BIO120H1-F Lecture 0101 Monday, Wednesday 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Practical 0301* Thursday 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Chemistry: Physical Principles  CHM135H1-F Lecture 0301 Monday, Wednesday, Friday 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.
Tutorial 0201 Tuesday 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Practical 0402* Thursday 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Calculus I A MAT135H1-F Lecture 0201 Tuesday, Thursday Tues: 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Thurs: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Tutorial 0607/0608 Friday 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.

*Your BIO and CHM labs occur on alternating weeks. This will not be a conflict in your schedule. 

Your Winter Courses

Course Name Course Code Section Day of Week Time
Life Sciences FLC (Trinity)  TRN099Y1-Y Lecture 0101 Monday 1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Molecular and Cell Biology BIO130H1-S Lecture 0101 Monday, Thursday Mon: 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Thurs: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Practical 0502* Thursday 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Introductory Organic Chemistry I CHM136H1-S Lecture 0301 Monday, Wednesday, Friday 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.
Tutorial 0204 Tuesday 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Practical 0401* Thursday 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Calculus I B MAT136H1-S Lecture 0501 Tuesday, Wednesday Tues: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Wed: 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Tutorial 0201/0202 Friday 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.

 *Your BIO and CHM labs occur on alternating weeks. This will not be a conflict in your schedule.

Your FLC Team

Headshot of FLC Staff Advisor Cherryl-Lyn

Cherryl-Lyn Holder-Olamuyiwa, Staff Advisor

Department: Trinity College

Title: Academic Advisor, Career Exploration & Education

About me: I mostly do career, job and grad school advising to undergraduate students as well as career programming, such as group work, seminars and other employment related things. I also do academic advising, which connects with careers in various ways. I have a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Manitoba, with a major in Women & Gender Studies and a minor in Family Social Sciences. However, my entire career has been in career advising, student advising and career programming. My favourite hobbies are overseas travelling and reading. Every year I try to visit a new country that I have never been to before. I'm also a member of two book clubs that are based in two different countries. One is based in Trinidad (where I am originally from) where we read books from mostly Caribbean and Black authors, and the other is based in Wales, where we literally read a bit of everything.

Why FLCs? I was a staff advisor last year and I loved being able to meet and work with new students throughout their first year. It was amazing to see them go from shy high school students to independent university students who were able to navigate their first years successfully. 

Top tip for incoming students: Don’t worry if you don't have it all together just yet. It's normal to feel overwhelmed in the beginning. Just do your best and you will look back at it and wonder what you were worried about. 

Jana Mahmoud

Jana Mahmoud, Peer Mentor

Program(s): Human biology major, physiology minor, psychology minor 

Year: Three 

College: Trinity College 

Hometown: North York, Toronto, Ontario 

What activities have you been involved in on campus?

  • Clubs: U of T Premedical Student Association, Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA), University of Toronto Robotics Association (UTRA) Hacks Robotics. 
  • Sports: Hart House Aquatics (Swim Instructor, Lifeguard), Intramural Badminton and Frisbee 
  • Research: Retinal Degeneration and Organoids, Lung ARDS 3D Segmentation, MRI Analysis. 
  • Passions: Teaching and Mentorship. 

Why peer mentorship? I truly love peer mentorship because I believe in the power of community and sharing knowledge. I've learned a lot from my own mentors and even more behind the scenes after taking on the role last year. I want to give back by supporting others as they navigate this exciting chapter of their life! 

What are you looking forward to this academic year? I'm really looking forward to meeting new people and watching our community grow. It's always exciting to see students overcome challenges, develop new skills and reach their goals. I'm here to help them every step of the way. 

What advice would you give to first-year students? Embrace the journey and be kind to yourself. University is a time of growth and it's okay to not have everything figured out right away (especially when program selection creeps up). Stay curious, ask questions and don't hesitate to reach out for support – we're all here to help you! 

Daniella Sbrocchi

Daniella Sbrocchi , Peer Mentor

Program(s): Cell and molecular biology major, French language minor, English studies minor

Year: Three  

College: Trinity College 

Hometown: Mississauga, Ontario 

What activities have you been involved in on campus? In first year, I participated in the Human Biology Students' Union (HBSU) and U of T Mental Health Student Association mentorship programs as a mentee. Additionally, I participated in the Research and Health Science Education Shadowing Program offered by the Temerty Faculty of Medicine. In second year, I participated in the Cell and Systems Biology Student Union (CSBSU) mentorship program as a mentee. 

Why peer mentorship? I remember what it was like to be a first-year student coming into U of T. While this school is amazing and offers so many opportunities, it's also incredibly large with a lot going on at all times. Being a part of a FLC in first year really helped me to meet other people, learn about the opportunities and resources available to me as a first-year student and get my footing in our community. I loved being a peer mentor last year and being able to help first years acclimate to university life and find their interests. I'm excited to continue with peer mentorship this year! 

What are you looking forward to this academic year? I'm of course looking forward to continuing as a peer mentor for the Life Sciences FLC at Trinity College this year! In terms of academics, I'm really excited to take more specialized cellular biology courses and participate in smaller lab groups. Additionally, I'm looking forward to taking higher level French courses with a higher emphasis on generating fluidity in the language. I'm starting to prepare my applications for grad school in fourth year, so I'll also  begin  preparing for the required entrance exams. 

What advice would you give to first-year students? One piece of advice I'd like to give to first-year students is to not be afraid to try something new or difficult! U of T has many opportunities available to you and sometimes it can feel daunting to try something new or apply to a highly competitive program or research team. You get out of university what you put into it and some of the best opportunities lie in pushing yourself outside your comfort zone! You'll never know if you like something new if you don't try it. 

Your Fall Courses

Course Name Course Code Section Day of Week Time
Life Sciences FLC (University College)  UNI099Y1-Y Lecture 0101 Monday 1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Adaptation and Biodiversity  BIO120H1-F Lecture 0101 Monday, Wednesday 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Practical 0301* Thursday 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Chemistry: Physical Principles  CHM135H1-F Lecture 0301 Monday, Wednesday, Friday 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.
Tutorial 0103 Tuesday 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Practical 0402* Thursday 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Calculus I A MAT135H1-F Lecture 0201 Tuesday, Thursday Tues: 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Thurs: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Tutorial 0605/0606 Friday 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.

*Your BIO and CHM labs occur on alternating weeks. This will not be a conflict in your schedule. 

Your Winter Courses

Course Name Course Code Section Day of Week Time
Life Sciences FLC (University College)  UNI099Y1-Y Lecture 0101 Monday 1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Molecular and Cell Biology BIO130H1-S Lecture 0101 Monday, Thursday Mon: 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Thurs: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Practical 0502* Thursday 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Introductory Organic Chemistry I CHM136H1-S Lecture 0301 Monday, Wednesday, Friday 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.
Tutorial 0203 Tuesday 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Practical 0401* Thursday 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Calculus I B MAT136H1-S Lecture 0501 Tuesday, Wednesday Tues: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Wed: 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Tutorial 0207/208 Friday 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.

 *Your BIO and CHM labs occur on alternating weeks. This will not be a conflict in your schedule.

Your FLC Team

Jonathan Blaize

Jonathan Blaize, Staff Advisor

Department: University College

Title: Coordinator, Student Success and Transition

Tell us about yourself. In my role, I support students in the planning and execution of important transitional programs at University College (UC). I myself graduated from UC in 2022 with a Honours Bachelor of Arts in Spanish. I then worked in undergraduate student recruitment before making my return to the College.

Why are you interested in being a staff advisor/faculty advisor for FLCs? Being a staff advisor has been an excellent way of providing essential information and resources to first-year students, while also supporting the professional development of upper-year mentors. I've also enjoyed being able to stay connected with the student population at University College.

What is one piece of advice you want to give to first-year students? Stay curious! Being at university is an excellent way to explore your passions and interests (both inside and outside the classroom), as well as discover new ones.

Stella Luke

Stella Luke, Peer Mentor

Program(s): Biochemistry major, human biology major, psychology minor

Year: Three 

College: University College 

Hometown: Toronto, Ontario 

What activities have you been involved in on campus? Biochemistry Undergraduate Student Society (BUSS) director of social events, Human Biology Students' Union (HBSU) peer mentor, UC orientation leader, lead copy-editor at The Varsity. 

Why peer mentorship? I understand how difficult it can be to navigate the change from high school to university life and how important it is to build a supportive community. I also love sharing my own stories and advice to help others. Sharing experiences can show you that you are not alone in how you feel about starting university. You can also learn so much from others’ anecdotes and experiences. 

What are you looking forward to this academic year? I am looking forward to supporting incoming students by providing advice and resources to help them navigate their first year of university, while guiding each student to find their own path to success because it is different for everyone. On a personal note, I am looking forward to starting my biochemistry and human biology lab courses this year. They are very different from lecture-based classes and I am excited that I will be able to develop new lab skills, while applying my knowledge from previous courses. 

What advice would you give to first-year students? Be open to trying new things, whether it’s joining new extracurriculars, running for student society elections or applying for academic opportunities and jobs. Whether you get these positions or not, it’s always a good learning experience! 

Alexandra Valera

Alexandra Valera, Peer Mentor

Program(s): Psychology major, environmental ethics minor, environment & behaviour minor

Year: Four 

College: University College 

Hometown: Vancouver, British Columbia 

Why peer mentorship? Navigating university life can be really challenging and having someone to help guide you and direct you to the right resources is really important. In my first year, I was in FLC and I learned about a lot of different strategies and all the resources available to me. I also want to help other first years navigate this new stage in life and make the most out of it! 

What are you looking forward to this academic year? Being a FLC peer mentor again and making connections with more people! I also can't wait to be in more upper year classes because they're smaller and really tailor themselves towards niche interests. 

What advice would you give to first-year students? Use the resources you have to your advantage – such as  academic advising, writing center, athletic center, Hart House classes, etc. These resources are included in your tuition, so make sure to use them and make the most out of them! 

Your Fall Courses

Course Name Course Code Section Day of Week Time
Life Sciences FLC (Victoria College) VIC099Y1-Y Lecture 0101 Tuesday 1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Adaptation and Biodiversity BIO120H1-F Lecture 0101 Monday, Wednesday 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Practical 0301* Thursday 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Chemistry: Physical Principles CHM135H1-F Lecture 0301 Monday, Wednesday, Friday 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.
Practical 0402* Thursday 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Tutorial 0601 Wednesday 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Calculus I A MAT135H1-F Lecture 0201 Tuesday, Thursday Tues: 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Thurs: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Tutorial 0603/0604 Friday 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.

*Your BIO and CHM labs occur on alternating weeks. This will not be a conflict in your schedule.

Your Winter Courses

Course Name Course Code Section Day of Week Time
Life Sciences FLC (Victoria College) VIC099Y1-Y Lecture 0101 Tuesday 1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Molecular and Cell Biology BIO130H1-S Lecture 0101 Monday, Thursday Mon: 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Thurs: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Practical 0502* Thursday 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Introductory Organic Chemistry I CHM136H1-S Lecture 0301 Monday, Wednesday, Friday 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.
Tutorial 0502 Wednesday 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Practical 0401* Thursday 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Calculus I B MAT136H1-S Lecture 0501 Tuesday, Wednesday Tues: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Wed: 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Tutorial 0209/0210 Friday 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.

*Your BIO and CHM labs occur on alternating weeks. This will not be a conflict in your schedule.

Your FLC Team

Radia Salam

Radia Salam, Peer Mentor

Program(s): Global health major, statistics major

Year: Two 

College: Victoria College 

Hometown: Dhaka, Bangladesh 

What activities have you been involved in on campus? International mentor for the International Student Orientation at Victoria College in 2024-2025, first-year representative for the Victoria University Students' Administrative Council (VUSAC) Academic Commissioner, vice-president for the Main Annesley Floor Council, Recognized Study Group leader for CSC108, U of T Intramural Women’s Volleyball - Division ll. 

Why peer mentorship? Drawing from my experience as a mentee in the Human Biology Students' Union Mentorship Program during my first year, I truly understood the value of effective mentorship. Inspired by this and bolstered by my previous roles as a mentor and tutor to high school students, I feel well-equipped to embrace and excel in this challenge. I aim to leverage my insights and experiences to provide meaningful guidance and support to new students in navigating their university journey. By sharing strategies that worked for me and learning from past hurdles, I aim to help mentees build confidence and skills that pave the way for a rewarding university experience. 

What are you looking forward to this academic year? As peer mentor, I am excited to meet new faces this academic year. I look forward to fostering a welcoming community for my mentees where we share experiences, tackle challenges and celebrate successes together. I am eager to get to know more people through my engagements and grow as an individual. 

What advice would you give to first-year students? One piece of advice I'd like to share with first-year students is the importance of learning to balance your time efficiently. Mastering time management is a skill that requires practice and effort. As the pace of university life increases, balancing coursework, extracurricular activities, social engagements and personal responsibilities can become challenging. Prioritizing tasks and creating a realistic schedule are essential skills that will serve you well throughout your university years and beyond! 

Your Fall Courses

Course Name Course Code Section Day of Week Time
Life Sciences FLC (Woodsworth) WDW099Y1-Y Lecture 0101 Tuesday 2:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Adaptation and Biodiversity  BIO120H1-F Lecture 0101 Monday, Wednesday 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Practical 0301* Thursday 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Chemistry: Physical Principles  CHM135H1-F Lecture 0301 Monday, Wednesday, Friday 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.
Tutorial 0101 Tuesday 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Practical 0402* Thursday 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Calculus I A MAT135H1-F Lecture 0201 Tuesday, Thursday Tues: 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Thurs: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Tutorial 0601/0602 Friday 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.

*Your BIO and CHM labs occur on alternating weeks. This will not be a conflict in your schedule. 

Your Winter Courses

Course Name Course Code Section Day of Week Time
Life Sciences FLC (Woodsworth) WDW099Y1-Y Lecture 0101 Tuesday 2:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Molecular and Cell Biology BIO130H1-S Lecture 0101 Monday, Thursday Mon: 10 a.m. – 11a.m.
Thurs: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Practical 0501* Thursday 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Introductory Organic Chemistry I CHM136H1-S Lecture 0301 Monday, Wednesday, Friday 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.
Tutorial 0501 Wednesday 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Practical 0402* Thursday 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Calculus I B MAT136H1-S Lecture 0501 Tuesday, Wednesday Tues: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Wed: 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Tutorial 0205/0206 Friday 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.

 *Your BIO and CHM labs occur on alternating weeks. This will not be a conflict in your schedule.

Your FLC Team

Meredith Koehler

Meredith Koehler, Staff Advisor

Department: Woodsworth College

Title: Academic Advisor

Tell us about yourself. My role is to support students with formulating academic goals, selecting courses and understanding degree requirements. I also help students navigate their options when challenges arise that may impact a student’s academic performance. I did my undergrad in Psychology and Theatre, have my teaching degree and recently finished my Masters in Education. I'm passionate about helping student navigate the university so that they have the resources and support to succeed!
 
Why are you interested in being a staff advisor/faculty advisor for FLCs? I think FLC is an amazing way to form community at U of T. It's a great space to meet people and learn from each other. The peer mentors are excellent resources of knowledge!
 
What is one piece of advice you want to give to first-year students? Give yourself time to transition. Go easy on yourself as you learn the ways you like to learn. Also, never hesitate to reach out to your instructors, peer mentors or academic advisors if there is something you need. We love to help!

Elaine Guan

Elaine Guan, Peer Mentor

Program(s): Psychology specialist, physiology minor

Year: Three 

College: Woodsworth College 

Hometown: Mississauga, Ontario 

Why peer mentorship? I enjoy passing down knowledge to younger students. I have a passion for working with others and enjoy an environment where I am able to make deeper connections with others and create a lasting impact. 

What are you looking forward to this academic year? This year I am looking forward to taking more in-depth courses related to my degree and gaining more applicable work experience. 

What advice would you give to first-year students? Don’t worry too much about marks in your first year. It is a difficult transition period and each year will get better. 

Meng Qi Jiang

Meng Qi Jiang, Peer Mentor

Program(s): Pharmacology major, health & disease major

Year: Four

College: Woodsworth College 

Hometown: Rome, Italy 

What activities have you been involved in on campus? U of T run club, FLUX dance workshop, intramural volleyball and pingpong, Hart House festival of music and Hart House swimming. 

Why peer mentorship? As a returning FLC peer mentor, I’ve enjoyed sharing experiences and advice with first-year students. Not only can you learn by talking and listening to other people's stories, you can also support each other along your unique university journey and beyond. To me, peer mentorship is a great tool to provide that support. 

What are you looking forward to this academic year? I look forward to delivering FLC sessions that are of value to my peers, as well as engaging in meaningful conversations with people from diverse backgrounds in and out of the classroom. 

What advice would you give to first-year students? Go out there and fully pursue all passions you have! University is a great place to try new things and develop new perspectives.