Posted on: May 17, 2018
Lavraj Lidher is one of six valedictorians selected to speak at the 2018 spring convocation ceremonies. A science graduate, he will address the Faculty of Science graduating class on June 6. The ceremony starts at 10 a.m. in the Tournament Capital Centre.
It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Lavraj Lidher would end up studying science at university.
The Kamloops student’s elementary school also housed the Big Little Science Centre, so there was always something experimental nearby. When he was in Grade 5, he was impressed by his orthodontist, who took the time to get to know his young patients.
In high school, his science teacher had an enthusiasm that was inspiring and contagious. If that wasn’t enough, in Grade 12 Lidher met TRU Dean of Science Tom Dickinson and toured the university’s science facilities.
There was no question of what he was studying. Nor was there a question of where he would go.
“I was always set on TRU” he said. “I’ve heard only good things about TRU.”
The appeal was big: the small university feel, the small class size and the undergraduate research options were all enticing.
Lidher has thrived at TRU: he was one of 10 students in the Undergraduate Research Experience Award Program (which comes with a $4,500 scholarship) and made the science Dean’s List more than once.
All that while studying chemical biology. Or, as Lidher described it, using chemical tools to solve biological problems. His research topic was “Uncovering the effects of exercise-derived microvesicles on the HUVEC metabolic fingerprint using NMR spectroscopy.”
He wrote his thesis on how high-intensity exercise affects platelet-derived microvesicles (these are shed from platelets in the blood and play a role in intercellular communication).
Not everything he did at TRU was that complex. But he has taken a shot at rocket science—sort of. He spent two summers sharing his enthusiasm for science with younger minds at the EUReKA science camps. And yes, things did get blown up. But nothing major.
“I would try to find the wackiest experiments,” he said.
That included underwater fireworks and a potato cannon (they used little styrofoam rockets).
His friendly smile, curious mind and positive, enthusiastic attitude made him a natural choice for valedictorian for science students during this spring’s convocation. It made him a natural choice when he graduated from high school, too.
“It’s really an honour to represent everyone in the class,” he said.
When he steps up on stage to address the class of 2018, he’ll be reflecting back on four years that were intense and involved a lot of hard work. But they have also passed by in a blink. And no, he won’t be nervous. He’s found a positive approach to facing a crowd during the 10 a.m. ceremony on June 6.
“I think of it as nobody’s out there to get you. They’re all on your side.”
That orthodontist who was one of the first scientific people who really caught his attention did more than leave him with straight teeth. Lidher was so taken by his demeanor and care with his patients that he wants to go into orthodontics as well.
“He took the time to really get to know his patients.”
But before he seeks his destiny in dentistry, he plans on doing some more studies at TRU. So Lidher might just get to shoot rockets and make a few more discoveries on campus.