Medical student Matthew Hynes earns Rhodes Scholarship
Matthew Hynes, second year Medical student at Queen’s University, has been selected as a 2021 Rhodes Scholar.
The prestigious scholarship, which is awarded by the Rhodes Trust, covers two years of postgraduate studies at Oxford University in England. The scholarship is a life-changing opportunity, meant to bring together future leaders and exceptional youth with the potential to make positive change in their field of study and across the world.
From a young age Matthew has been passionate about advocacy and healthcare. When he was a child, he organized a fundraiser for a friend who had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and this set him on a path towards healthcare and social policy. Since then, he has been involved in numerous community initiatives and extra-curricular activities including competitive lifesaving sport, tutoring refugees and volunteering with individuals with mental and physical disabilities. Matthew earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology at the University of New Brunswick. At Queen’s, he is a member of the executive teams for the Dermatology Interest Group and the LGBTQ+ Global Health Committee and is also a member of the Canadian Queer Medical Students Association.
During his time at Oxford, Matthew plans on pursuing education in Global Health Science and Epidemiology and in Public Policy. Matthew hopes that his time at Oxford will help connect him with other individuals who are passionate about advocacy. Looking forward, he wants to help enact institutional changes that improve access to healthcare for marginalized communities across Canada and the World.
“I'm definitely not aiming to be the one person who changes the entire world, but even the tiniest, smallest change is still immeasurable in the lives of the people that it impacts,” says Matthew. “Being from New Brunswick, a lot of things that come to my mind are problems that affect rural communities, and now being in medical school there are also a lot of healthcare concerns, specifically pertaining to Indigenous communities, LGBTQ+ populations, and other marginalized groups that I hope to address. What I lean towards is institutional changes, things like implementing comprehensive LGBTQ+ curriculum across medical schools or ensuring access to healthcare for marginalized communities. I don't have a grand vision of the finite things I want to see done yet, but I know that I want to be a part of the groups and organizations that strive for these kinds of changes.”
Matthew encourages all future medical students to, like him, follow their passions and know that they too belong in the medical field. “It's really easy to feel like you don't necessarily fit in,” says Matthew. “I remember coming to medicine feeling like I didn't really belong in these spaces. I don't have a huge family background in academia, and it was a new place for me to enter. The biggest advice that I could give is, know that you belong in these spaces. And know that you really can achieve great things.”