Mary Keyes winner Maryam Badv

February 1, 2018

In conversation with ... Mary Keyes Award recipient Maryam Badv

Maryam Badv received the Mary Keyes Award for Outstanding Leadership and Service to McMaster during the fall Graduate Student Recognition Awards. Maryam is in her final year of a PhD in Biomedical Engineering. She hopes to complete this summer.


Graduate students are busy individuals, yet you chose to contribute time – and leadership – to the McMaster Graduate Community. Which contribution do you think has made the most impact on your fellow students? Why?

I think being President of the Engineering Graduate Society (EGS) and President of the Biomedical Engineering Graduate Association (BMEGA) have made the most impact on my fellow graduate students. These roles have given me the opportunity to be a voice of the graduate community and have broadened my perspective in related matters. I’ve tried to address grad student issues and help individuals make their graduate experience better. I’ve tried to reflect student needs and expectations of grad life in different committee meetings. My main goal is to create a friendly atmosphere where students feel comfortable to share their main concerns.

How has your experience impacted you personally?

As President of EGS, I have been able to enhance my leadership and communication skills and had the pleasure of building a team and working alongside graduate colleagues. Together, we’re working to build a better community and enhance the graduate student experience. I can say with confidence that this role has made me a better person, both professionally and personally. The experience I’ve gained during my term as the EGS president is priceless. 

You've been active in University governance as well, sitting on University committees where you represented graduate student interests.When did you first get involved at the institutional committee level?

Back in 2013 when I was elected by my department to be the graduate student representative sitting on the Graduate Curriculum and Policy Committee. 

What was the motivation to get involved?

Back then, I wasn’t aware of the impact that graduate student representation could have on institutional committees. I was always interested to see how decisions related to graduate studies are made or how changes are implemented – I wanted to be a voice in that level of decision-making.

Why do you think graduate student representation is important at the institutional level?

The growth of any institution depends on how integrated the members are and how involved they are in high-level decision-making committees. Without having a graduate student representative to reflect the grad student voice on committees, decisions made will be poorly reflective of the University as a whole. And as that representative, it’s very important to first listen to graduate student problems and bring those issues to the conversations. This is where the role of the representative becomes crucial.  

Has your volunteer service added to the graduate experience?

I think the volunteer service has been beneficial to my research and graduate experience in general – I’ve enhanced my time management skills and become more patient when it comes to research. We all know doing a PhD is not trivial and in my case, volunteering has been my remedy towards overcoming the challenges I face during my studies. It has made me a better researcher, problem solver, and overall, a better thinker. Volunteer work has broadened my view and in most cases has helped me think outside the box, which I think is a necessary skill to have in research and graduate studies in general.  

What does receiving the Mary Keyes Award mean to you?

It has been a huge honour. Now, I am more motivated to be involved in the graduate community. The experience and hard work during my time as president has come to fruition with this award, and my confidence in being a helpful member in any community has increased.