Christina Weber has spent hundreds of hours volunteering in her hometown of Grimsby, and she can’t wait to continue to serve the community as a family physician.
Weber is one of the medical students graduating from the Niagara Regional Campus of McMaster University’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine this month. As she prepares for her final exam, she is eagerly anticipating staying at McMaster for her rural family medicine residency in its Grimsby stream.
“Through all of my community initiatives, I’ve had the chance to see a really beautiful side of the area,” said Weber. “This is where I want to practise as a doctor.”
While at Grimsby Secondary School, she completed more than 500 hours of volunteer work in the Niagara Region, notably helping rally her community to raise $81,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society. She has also been a longtime employee of the Town of Grimsby, where she has done everything from coaching gymnastics to teaching safety courses.
“I love getting involved,” she said. “There are so many amazing initiatives locally and globally, and I get to meet new people. Volunteering is my favourite way to spend my time.”
The daughter of two high school teachers, Weber was going to follow in their footsteps, until her plan changed in secondary school.
“As I went through high school, I realized how much I liked the sciences,” she said. “I have also always wanted to help people, which is my mantra. I feel I have the best ability to help people by becoming a doctor.”
Weber’s commitment to her studies was rewarded with the Governor General's Academic Medal for having the highest average – a 99.3 per cent – in her high school class. She went to Queen’s University on scholarship, earning a bachelor of science degree in life sciences. Weber found herself homesick, so, when it came to applying to medical school, McMaster’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine and its Niagara Regional Campus was at the top of her list.
“I was so excited to have the opportunity to come back to Grimsby for medical school,” she said. “I knew I wanted to be close to my family, but I was also drawn to the program, the problem-based learning and the people.”
And while some medical students are uncertain about which specialty to pursue upon graduation, it was easy for Weber.
“Family physicians have the greatest ability to advocate for their patients and for system-level change,” she said. “You get to work with patients throughout their lives and provide continuing, comprehensive care.”
Weber is grateful to her parents, Michael and Paula Weber, and her high-school sweetheart, Jeremy Spiece, for their ongoing support and love. She added that she’s extremely excited for a career that seems to be pre-destined.
“One of the coolest things during medical school was that one of my preceptors was family doctor Dr. Seamus Donaghy, who is also an anesthetist at the West Lincoln Memorial Hospital. I was able to see my first caesarian section birth with him, but the amazing thing is that he was the anesthetist when I was born by C-section in that hospital. I’ve come full circle.”
McMaster's spring convocations will be held on the same days as scheduled but, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, graduands will be receiving a personalized video and entrance into a website with video greetings from university officials. In-person celebrations will be scheduled later. The School of Nursing celebrates its convocation of 547 students on May 20. Next day, the 199 graduands of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, with 143 from the Hamilton campus, 29 from the Waterloo Regional Campus and 27 from the Niagara Regional Campus, join 419 students of other programs of the Faculty of Health Sciences for their convocation. More information on the Faculty's convocations may be found here.