Scientist. Artist. Snowboarder. Superstar.

July-Ann El Baze, a fourth year Double Major Biology Health Sciences and Fine Arts student, is a superstar. Not only is she an excellent student, she is part of the Quebec Snowboard Association as a prominent snowboarder. July-Ann, born in France, will be exuding “Gaiter Spirit” this summer when she competes in the Junior Freestyle Ski & Snowboard World Championships 2018 in New Zealand.

Photo credit : Natasha Torres

When searching for the perfect university to pursue her undergraduate studies, July-Ann wanted a school that interpreted extracurriculars as something to gain rather than avoid. “In France, there is so much emphasis on achieving high grades and only that.” Bishop’s University gives her the chance to not only foster academic excellence but also develop in activities outside the classroom.

This kind of environment allows July-Ann to pursue her studies in Health Sciences and Fine Arts as well as train for snowboarding, her passion. She joined a snowboarding club when she was 12 and started competing in France not long after. The sport is an important part of her life, and she has learned to manage her time efficiently to combine high level snowboarding and academic achievements. Thankfully, at Bishop’s, she does not have to sacrifice her love of the sport. During the week, she is a dedicated student. On weekends, she is hitting the slopes in Bromont, training for her next competition. Although it took a little bit of time to adjust, July-Ann found the balance that worked for her. “Snowboarding gives me the structure I need to balance my academic and athletic careers.” She has had the opportunity to excel not only athletically, but academically as well, having presented her her poster “Laser Sheet Microscopy to Evaluate Optic Nerve Damage” at the Journée Scientifique du 1er cycle FMSS 2017 at l’Université de Sherbrooke. She has also been chosen, among other Fine Arts students, to present her artwork that the Art Mûr Gallery in Montreal that showcases top promising Canadian artists every year.

Acceptance, 2018
plaster, white glue
4 x 20 x 12 in
Photo credit : Art Mûr Gallery

One thing that has helped July-Ann keep that balance is compassionate teachers. “The professors are really accepting. They understand when I have to miss class for a competition. They give me extra help with the course material when I come back, and they even take an interest in how my competitions went!”

July-Ann is grateful for the liberal arts model that is highly valued at Bishop’s University. Having to set your mind on a major from the start can be a big decision, but July-Ann takes comfort in knowing she can explore her interests. She recommends potential students to go outside their discipline even if they have their major picked out. “Here, you have the chance to take classes in different disciplines, and are actually encouraged to do so! I may be majoring in sciences and arts, but I have taken courses in Classics and English to name a few. Have fun with it!”

Photo credit : Natasha Torres

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