Christine Marie Tipper

My biggest success in grad school came when I realized that the PhD program was not about checking off a box or jumping through a hoop, to get to the good part. The work itself, the whole experience of grad school, was the reward.
 
University of British Columbia, BC Children's Hospital Research Institute
Assistant Professor & Neuroimaging Scientist
Richmond, Canada
Vancouver, Canada
Faculty of Arts
Brain mechanisms of attention in a meaningful world
2008
 

Where and what is your current position?

My work utilizes multimodal brain imaging along with cutting edge analytical techniques to quantify complex brain network organization and dynamics. My primary goal is to map complex clinical phenotypes to complex anatomical, functional, and biochemical organization in brain systems that support attention and social awareness. I am building research partnerships with clinicians to better understand developmental, neuropsychiatric, and neurological disorders such as autism, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, chronic pain, and traumatic brain injury. A key emphasis is to pursue avenues holding promise for the development of non-pharmacological interventions that can improve quality of life for children and families affected by these conditions.

How does this job relate to your graduate degree?

My graduate studies provided me with the basic scientific training to conduct experimental psychological research, and the initial hands-on experience I needed to pursue advanced multimodal brain imaging research. I also learned a lot about leadership, working with diverse people from around the world, the ins and out of lab operations, and how to share my work and incorporate criticism to improve the end product of my research. Really, one of the most important aspects of grad school was all of the unwritten lessons that happened between the lines - absorbing what it meant to be a scientist.

What motivated you to pursue graduate work at UBC?

I've wanted to be a scientist since I was four years old. I was so fortunate to have UBC as my home town University. There was no reason to leave when I had such a great institution right in my own back yard!

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

My biggest success in grad school came when I realized that the PhD program was not about checking off a box or jumping through a hoop, to get to the good part. The work itself, the whole experience of grad school, was the reward. While the accomplishment of getting the PhD is a worthy goal, the best part of the whole thing is actually working toward it. That's where the fun is, all the great experiences, new friends, exciting discoveries, and a sense of pride in your work. Don't wait until you're done to begin your life....get out there and soak it all up!

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

Learn how to enjoy the process - immerse yourself. And be honest with yourself about what you truly desire. Remember that there are many routes to success, and with dedication, you can create your own path.