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McMaster graduate, Maryam Denno

Meet Mac grad, Maryam Denno

Maryam Denno is graduating on June 15, 2022, with a major in social psychology. She spoke to us about her favourite McMaster memories, including her welcome week experiences and how Mac allowed her to step out of her comfort zone.

Jun 13, 2022

  1. What is your major and why did you choose it? 

I came to McMaster with my heart set on choosing political science as my major after my first year. The beauty of a general social sciences first-year program is that I had the chance to explore so many courses and disciplines. Through the introductory social psychology course, I became incredibly interested in the topics explored and ended up majoring in Social Psychology! This major helped answer my questions, and I have always been curious about groups of people. I especially loved how it combined aspects of psychology and sociology to give an operational understanding of the world. The program is very multidisciplinary and I enjoyed it. I focused on families and children, but you can easily gear it towards other topics of interest, such as mental health. I found studying social psychology very rewarding because it applied to real-life situations, and it was easy to see concepts learnt in class come alive in my daily life. It’s also the only program of its kind in Canada, which made it that much more unique and exciting to be a part of. Conducting research was also very intriguing to me, so I was excited about the opportunity for the 4th year thesis. In addition to my degree, I pursued a Mohawk/McMaster certificate in Business Studies, which was so great! The certificates are an exceptional way to explore other interests and get some formal training, and I’ve always been interested in marketing and entrepreneurial studies, so it was a natural fit!


  1. How would describe your time at Mac? 

My time at Mac has been so formative, I’ve grown a lot within the past 4 years. Mac provided the perfect environment and opportunities for me to step out of my comfort zone, learn about myself, and continue to grow and develop personally, academically, and professionally. I took on many leadership roles that allowed me to grow as both a leader and a teammate. There were also so many challenges, with the pandemic and the transitions to and from online learning, that made me more resilient and adaptable. Being part of the Mac community lets me form lifelong relationships that I will cherish forever.


  1. What’s your favourite memory from Mac? 

A favourite memory of mine at Mac is Welcome Week! From being a first-year student and meeting all my friends at Welcome Week to being a student representative with the faculty and helping welcome first years and create connections both in-person and online during the pandemic, to my very last Welcome Week as a planner, they have all been completely different experiences, but the bottom line remains that Mac has the best community! Seeing everyone come together to welcome first years into the Mac community is so special, and it showcases how diverse and inclusive our community is. The energy at welcome week is like no other and it never fails to reaffirm my love for McMaster and the Mac community!

On another note, a memorable day of my undergraduate career is presenting my 4th-year thesis on the formation and maintenance of romantic relationships during COVID-19. Working on it all year, from proposal to conducting research to analyzing data and finally seeing it come together, was incredible. Definitely a highlight!


  1. If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your first-year self?

Speaking from my experience in the first year, I would tell myself that it’s okay to not have everything figured out. Changing my pursuit from political science to social psychology was a source of stress for me in the first year, and looking back now, I would reassure myself that it is completely okay to change the “plan” that you might’ve set for yourself! Undergrad, and especially the first year of school, is a time to explore your interests and figure out which future path might give you the most fulfillment. Another thing I would highly encourage any first-year to do is to get involved and make the most of all the opportunities that are presented to you, and I know Mac presents a lot! McMaster is so diverse, with endless clubs and societies to pique anyone’s interest, and there is something for everyone. I was so scared to get involved in the first year, but getting out there and joining societies and clubs made my undergrad experience so memorable, enriching, and rewarding!


  1. What’s next for you? 

I look forward to travelling for a bit, especially after not being able to do so during the past two years. I then look forward to working towards pursuing a legal education. I want to focus on increasing access to justice for immigrants, as they currently face many barriers within the legal system. Having so many incredible professors at Mac and seeing the difference they can make in the quality of education and the lives of their students has made me realize I would also love to teach in the future, farther down the line.