Skip To Main Content

How High School Science Inspired Me: Alumnus POV

It has been about 12 years since Dr. Ryan Muir ’08 graduated from St. Michael’s College School (SMCS), but his memories of particular interactions and experiences that left an indelible mark remain fresh, even as his own academic journey continues.

“I really owe immense credit to St. Michael’s and all the teachers here, the community,” says Dr. Muir, a neurology resident at the University of Toronto, who recently returned to SMCS to deliver a lecture on biology to Grade 11 and 12 students.

Dr. Ryan Muir speaks to SMCS students on biology in the theatre.

“Importantly, the culture of St. Michael’s, too, in instilling balance --- because a career in medicine is more than an interest in biology and applied biology, it’s about maintaining a balanced lifestyle, being a leader, being involved in extracurriculars and St. Michael’s taught me all of that and equipped me to be ready for that,” he says.

In speaking to about 100 science students on biology, bioethics, and virology --- some of the topics they are currently studying in class --- Dr. Muir fondly recalled a similar experiential learning opportunity he encountered in an intermediate science class taught by retired teacher, Enzo Vitullo.

“He brought a few of the biology students down to the University of Toronto for medical lectures to gain more first-hand exposure to current-day issues,” remembers Dr. Muir. “This for me confirmed that applying the biology I learned in Grades 11 and 12 was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”

Dr. Ryan Muir speaks to SMCS students on biology in the theatre.

Dr. Muir’s visit to SMCS was facilitated by the Science Department and the Community and Learning Partnerships Programme.

“We coordinated this effort in order to expose senior biology students not only to the history and roots behind vaccines, viruses, disease, and health care, but where we are today and where we go from here,” says Jacob Lang, biology teacher.

“We hope that this talk also exposes students to the plethora of career opportunities that await in the field of neurology and disease prevention and research,” he says.

Dr. Ryan Muir speaks to SMCS students on biology in the theatre.

Pin-drop silence during the 60-minute presentation and plenty of insightful student questions during the Q&A portion were a testament to their engagement in the lecture.

“The most surprising thing I learned from Dr. Muir was his ability to break down those undergrad and med-school terminologies into something that high school biology students could understand,” says Hailiang (Jason) Xu, a Grade 12 student.

“This lecture not only presented to us information that aligns with our studies, but also informed us of potential future career paths in the healthcare field,” adds Andrew Lobo, Grade 11 student.

Knowledge and inspiration offered to a new group of high school students, just as Dr. Muir experienced years earlier.

How did high school science impact Dr. Ryan Muir during his time as a student at St. Michael’s College School? Watch the video story.

Learn more about Community and Learning Partnerships and Mentorship at SMCS.