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Curiosity and Compassion Drive Rachel Bartel

Concordia Arthroplasty Research Encourages Next Generation

By Concordia Foundation Staff Writer

Rachel Bartel has worked with us in our engineering test lab as a co-op student. She stayed on after her co-op term to work with our team to execute hip and ankle wear tests on our joint simulators.  She has become an expert in explant processing of retrieved implants gathered from Concordia Hospital.  She also has been part of maintaining our quality system by performing internal audits.   She works with us during the school year while studying at Canadian Mennonite University as well.

How did you end up at Concordia working in our research lab?

One of the researchers at Concordia knew my high school chemistry teacher and recommended me for a student co-op position. I had no idea what orthopedics was at the time, but I was interested in a part-time and summer job in the science world. The opportunity came at a perfect time.  

I am learning so much and gaining immersive experience. I have also taken my volleyball and sports experience to the lab here at Concordia since it is all about teamwork and collaboration that gets things done.

There are distinct parallels in my student life and my personal values that relate directly to what we do here at Concordia.

Curiosity and Compassion Drive Rachel Bartel

We sat down with Rachel Bartel to learn more about her career journey and to explore why she has chosen to work with us at Concordia Arthroplasty Research under the direction of the Orthopedic Innovation Center.   

Rachel is a 3rd-year student at Canadian Mennonite University in the Natural Science program and is completing the four-year program in three years with a plan to graduate with BSc in 2025. She is also captain of the CMU Blazers Women’s Volleyball team, which she points out, contributes to her success in her work and academic life.   

Why science, Rachel? Tell us more about what you are working on now. 

I have always been interested in science and was good at it in high school. At first, I did the general science route to test what I might like and pivoted to Biology. What I love about biology is the layers of biology.

I love to drill down into the specifics and get into the depths. There is so much to learn, and I am driven to keep learning more and more.  

My dad is a biology teacher at Linden Christian School, and he encouraged my love of scientific discovery.  My mom is a grade 8 teacher, and she encouraged me to explore different paths; find where I need to be, and to find my passion. 

 Science suits my personality. I am a factual person, and I look for answers. Science speaks to me.   

How does your work and academic life align with your values?

Good question. My fundamental values are to continually learn more compassion, empathy, and curiosity, to always do better and to be non-judgmental.  

The community I have at Concordia OIC, and CMU aligns beautifully with who I am and who I want to strive to be.  

Working here has shifted my mindset completely. I give my profs at CMU credit for the incredible encouragement.  Dr. Rachel Krause, has profoundly influenced me and helped me develop my skills for the future. Dr. Nicolas Malagon, assistant professor of Biology, helps students see the results of their work.

Did you have an ‘aha’ moment?

I had that moment of clarity about how much I love my job. When talking with others and sharing what I do here at Concordia, the more I realize that we are working on vital work and the fantastic reality we explore. I love my team, and it is energizing to have people surrounding me who love their work and are striving for ways to positively impact people. I believe that the notion of ‘radical kindness’ is integrated into our work at Concordia and students in the CMU community.  

What does your future look like?

I am not sure at this point, as there are still a lot of paths to explore. I plan to study for my MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) this summer and see where I am led.  I look forward to continuing my work here at Concordia and working with the simulator and supporting the work of the Implant Retrieval program which is pivotal to the research work here.

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