By Shannon Boklaschuk
Brant Morrow decided to pursue a Bachelor of Arts and Science (BA&Sc) degree in health studies at the University of Saskatchewan (USask) because of his long-time interest in human health and illness.
“One thing that interests me most about health is how interconnected the health of a person is. It is interesting that we generally do not view health in a holistic way, when most facets of our health are related to one another,” he said. “Ultimately, I chose to study health studies because I was interested in becoming a health-care provider as my career.”
During 2021 Fall Convocation, Morrow will receive his degree and will be honoured alongside his fellow graduates during a livestreamed ceremony on Nov. 10. He will also be celebrated as one of the top graduates from USask’s College of Arts and Science, as this year’s recipient of the University Medal in the BA&Sc Degree.
“Thinking about Convocation has made me reflect on the past four years. It is a big accomplishment to be rewarded after four years of hard work,” he said.
Health studies is an interdisciplinary undergraduate program that combines the sciences, social sciences, humanities and fine arts and adopts an integrative perspective that emphasizes how the various aspects of health and wellness, including mental health, are understood within the context of interrelated systems such as the individual, society, culture and the environment. It is offered through the Department of Psychology and Health Studies in the College of Arts and Science.
Morrow, who chose the health studies program’s biology, development and health stream, is now a student in USask’s College of Dentistry. He said his BA&Sc degree helped prepare him for this new challenge.
“My degree had a strong focus on health being holistic, both by providing a broad background in the sciences and specific health studies classes about health. This has made me understand the need to work with other health-care practitioners to ensure my patients have the best overall health possible,” he said.
“In other words, my degree has helped me see health from a more holistic view and the importance of interdisciplinary connections in the health-care provider community.”
Morrow was born and raised in Saskatoon and began his studies at USask in 2017 after completing Grade 12 at Bishop James Mahoney High School. He was awarded a Guaranteed Entrance Scholarship in 2017, as well as a scholarship from the Saskatoon Hilltops football team in 2019 and 2020. Morrow has served as a defensive back with the Hilltops since 2017—an athletic endeavour that has been a very positive experience for him.
“The Saskatoon Hilltops won the national championship in each of my first three years. I am currently playing in my fifth year with the team after my fourth being cancelled because of COVID-19,” he said.
“Outside of playing football, I have been actively involved in my community with the Saskatoon Hilltops, coaching football teams, camps and attending events in the community, such as YCMA Liftoff and TeleMiracle.
“Playing football is an amazing experience, because it is an easy outlet to meet friends and make connections with mentors. With that, staying active in season while playing, and outside of season training, is great for both the physical and mental health. Also, being part of a championship team is something I am very proud of as a person, and the lessons learned playing football and achieving that success will stay with me forever.”
One of the reasons Morrow chose to study at USask was to be close to his friends and family. He is now pleased to continue his education at the university as a dentistry student.
“The best part about studying at USask was how pretty the Bowl looks when walking to classes in the fall, and other parts of the beautiful campus,” he said. “Also, having my family and a good crew of friends going through similar courses close to me was especially important from a social support standpoint.”
As a successful student and a new university graduate, Morrow has some advice for other students who are just beginning their studies at USask: have a goal in mind and take steps toward reaching it.
“I did not really enjoy the academic part of high school. However, when I got to university, I had a goal in mind, and I think that this played a big role in choosing the right degree for me and enjoying the content of my classes,” he said.