Devynn McIntyre is set to receive two top convocation awards: the University of Saskatchewan Film Society Prize and the Arthur Collingwood Convocation Prize in Music. (Photo: Submitted)

From music to medicine

University of Saskatchewan (USask) student Devynn McIntyre is interested in the arts and the sciences.

By Shannon Boklaschuk

In June, McIntyre will receive a Bachelor of Music (honours) degree at USask’s 2019 spring convocation. She will also be recognized with two top awards at the College of Arts and Science Convocation Awards Dinner and Ceremony: the University of Saskatchewan Film Society Prize and the Arthur Collingwood Convocation Prize in Music.

“I’ve worked really hard these last four years, and I’m very grateful to be recognized and to have the chance to be one of the students representing the College of Arts and Science this year at convocation,” she said.

After she receives her degree, McIntyre will explore a new educational path. She has been accepted into USask’s College of Medicine and is set to begin her studies there in the fall.

“My primary goal going forward is to immerse myself in the study of medicine and see where that takes me,” she said. “At this point, I look forward to becoming a practicing physician and discovering an area within the field that I am really excited about.”

For McIntyre, who is originally from Churchbridge, Sask., majoring in music for her first degree seemed inevitable; in fact, she is the sixth member of her family to enroll in the music program in USask’s College of Arts and Science.

“From the age of seven, I would say that I was going to study music in university like my mom—so that was my early inspiration,” she said. “As I got older, it became more about the fact that I just loved playing and studying music. I have been playing piano for 15 years, and music has always been a big part of my life. I knew that I wanted the chance to study music at a higher level and improve as a pianist after high school, and I’m very happy that I made that decision because I have so genuinely enjoyed my time in the Department of Music.”

McIntyre said the best part of her academic experience was the support she received from professors and instructors who “were so generous with their time when it came to discussing papers or offering extra lessons or masterclasses.” She also studied abroad in Germany during her second year of university, and was given the opportunity to take part in a research trip to Paris after her third year of studies.

“There are so many different opportunities for undergraduate students in the College of Arts and Science in terms of travel, research and employment, and administrators and professors do a great job of connecting students with these opportunities,” said McIntyre.

“I think that USask—and, more specifically, the College of Arts and Science—allowed me to receive a well-rounded undergraduate education. Throughout my degree I primarily improved as a music scholar and a musician, but I also had the freedom to take classes in other disciplines, which allowed me to discover new interests and academic passions that I will be pursuing in the future,” she added.

Among those new interests and academic passions is medicine. While the majority of McIntyre’s classes were focused on music during her undergraduate degree, she also enrolled in science courses.

“I took a number of chemistry classes that contributed to a secondary area in my degree, but I also took a few extra life science courses this past year for interest’s sake,” she said.

When asked about her advice for incoming USask students, McIntyre replied that they should “try different things.” She suggests taking classes in many subject areas and meeting students from other colleges.

“It benefitted me a lot,” she said. “Also, explore campus. I learned a lot about the university and found some excellent study spots by wandering around different buildings and walking paths.”

While McIntyre has had a longtime passion for playing piano, she said a number of factors ultimately led her to the realization that a career in medicine would be the right fit.

“From an academic perspective, I’ve always had a love for science—and my fascination with medicine has grown over these last several years—but there are also a lot of personal reasons that contributed to this decision,” she said. “My mother had a fairly serious illness a couple of years ago, and I was genuinely so inspired by her physicians. I was inspired not only by their depth of knowledge, but also by the role that they played in my family’s lives. It made me realize that I want to be a part of that process and be in that role for someone else. I took some time to really think about what I value and what I desire in my future life and career, and it led me to medicine.”