Dr. Mary De Vera is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and her current research is devoted to supporting and informing the journeys of those living with chronic disease. She also studies the epidemiology and outcomes of cancer. Throughout her career, she has dedicated time to mentor the next generation of researchers and has led a number of initiatives to enhance the opportunities and environment for graduate students and postdocs in Pharmaceutical Sciences. She was awarded the Women’s Health Research Institute Mentorship Award in Women’s Health and the UBC Killam Award for Excellence in Mentoring (mid-career) in 2021.

Why did you want to become the Associate Dean for Postdoctoral Fellows at Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies?

As a professor, I take joy in working with my graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and feel privileged to help shape their career paths. Being an Associate Dean at Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies is an opportunity to take on a wider role of enhancing training, supporting experiences, and amplifying graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who bring so much to the university. 

What makes UBC an exciting place for postdoctoral fellows?

As someone who did one of two postdocs at UBC, I can speak to the outstanding research programs and opportunities. It is these programs and opportunities that have allowed me to work with and collaborate with exceptional researchers here at UBC and beyond. These collaborations, along with the supports, resources, development opportunities – both professional and personal – and being a part of a community of ‘thinkers’ and ‘doers,’ is truly everything needed to facilitate a holistic postdoctoral experience. 

What do you want postdoctoral fellows to know about the Postdoctoral Fellows Office?

We are committed to serving and supporting postdoctoral fellows at UBC. We offer programs and supports that are tailored to unique needs of postdoctoral fellows while preparing them for their future careers. I encourage everyone to check the PostDoc website for information on our postdoc specific programming, funding and job opportunities, along with many other available resources. 

What do you want faculty members to know about the Postdoctoral Fellows Office? 

The Postdoctoral Fellows Office is here to support postdocs but also department administrators and faculty members. Recruiting and training postdoctoral fellows is a commitment of time and energy. We support recruitment through postings on our channels as well as resources (e.g., template appointment and welcome letters) that are available on our website and on the Faculty Relations website. We support training through the programs that we offer on professional development and wellbeing. I encourage anyone to check our website or to subscribe to our newsletter for administrators by emailing us. We are here to offer information and resources to support you.

What will be your main area of focus in your new role?

I will be supporting the incredible efforts of the Postdoctoral Fellows Office in their service to UBC postdoctoral fellows, administrators and faculty. I also hope to work on initiatives centered on equity, diversity, and inclusion. I do not take for granted my privileged position as an academic, and now an Associate Dean who can be an advocate for, and represent those I reflect as a BIPOC, woman in STEM, a mother, and an immigrant, among many things. 

Do you have any advice for graduate students who are wanting to become a postdoctoral fellow?

The advice I offer to my graduate students is to start early in terms of exploring potential universities, programs, and postdoc supervisors, so ideally at least a year before finishing their PhD. This will allow the necessary time for the application process and the ability to apply for and secure postdoctoral funding.