Student excels in research, on UA crew team

John Canada has certainly wasted no time in his college career. In his two years at the University of Alabama, he has done more than many seniors as far as research and involvement go, and he has no plans to stop.

“So far, I have put in a lot of work at Bama,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed every minute of my time at the University, and I’ll do it again in a heartbeat.”

The rising junior is a member of a chemistry research team led by Professor Robin Rogers, a world-renowned researcher in ionic liquids and green chemistry. Through his involvement with the team, Canada has been able to present his research at two international conferences, one of which was the 17th United Nations Conference of Parties on climate change in Durban, South Africa. Canada was one of five undergraduates nationwide to represent the American Chemical Society.

Canada was also part of the technology transfer team in an international youth organization to try to petition the UN for the transfers of certain patented technologies to developing countries. During this conference, he created a workshop to help Chinese and American youth delegates work together for this cause. However, his world peace plans had to be put on hold for the details of college life.

“Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay for the workshop I set up because I had to come back to Bama for exam week,” he said.

Canada is also an officer of the UA Crew men’s rowing team, which recently placed third in the largest regatta in the country, the Head of the Hooch, and placed second in a regional competition. To be as good as they are, team members practice as early as possible, usually starting at 4:30 a.m. They’re usually done by 7:30 a.m., and Canada said he makes it just in time for his 8 a.m. classes.

“On good days, I was getting three hours of sleep per night,” Canada said. “I’d wake up at 4:30 to go to practice, get back at 7:30 to shower, eat and go to classes from 8 to 1, then go to the lab and do one last workout at the Rec. I’d get back at night do my homework, take a nap and repeat.”

Canada said that, despite an incredible amount of hard work, he doesn’t regret any of it.

“Sometimes, I admit, it was hard to stay motivated, especially when my friends were able to go partying, and I obviously wasn’t,” he said. “But you just have to keep your eye on the prize and keep going. Nothing is worse than the feeling of not living up to your goals because you were too tired to do your work or you had more interesting things to do.”

Canada eventually plans to become a patent lawyer and continue to change the world, one stroke at a time.

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