Anne Bjorkman

University of Edinburgh
Postdoctoral researcher
Lovettsville, United States
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Faculty of Arts
Impacts of climate change on Arctic plant communities
Greg HR Henry, Mark Vellend

Where and what is your current position?

Research and some teaching/co-supervision of graduate students.

How does this job relate to your graduate degree?

The topic of research is similar. Many of the techniques I learned during graduate school (analytical methods, writing, etc.) are the same as those I am using now.

What motivated you to pursue graduate work at UBC?

UBC has one of the best programs in the world for Ecology and Evolution. I took advantage of the myriad discussion groups and seminars while I was there, and I feel this really helped me learn how to think critically and analytically. It also helped me to develop a broader understanding of a range of ecological topics and to not just focus on my specialized area of study.

What are key things you did that contributed to your success?

I tried to be very active in discussion groups and seminars, both because it was good for my own learning and because it allowed me to meet and correspond with many other scientists in a range of fields related to mine.

What is your best piece of advice for current graduate students preparing for their future careers?

Network. Some people are much better at this than others, so if it doesn't come naturally to you, do your best to learn. It's all about who you know (though of course hard work is important too!).

Did you have any breaks in your education?

I took two years off between undergrad and my MSc to do field research in various locations and on various topics, to try to get a range of experiences and at the same time travel and live in different countries. It was a "break" from school but at the same time still contributed to my learning. I look back on those years very fondly now that I have to be a responsible adult and worry about money and family.

What challenges did you face in your graduate degree, or in launching your career?

My PhD took much longer than I planned, in part because all of my chapters required multiple seasons of fieldwork. In retrospect, it would have been smarter to plan a mix of projects, some that could be completed early on in my PhD.