Where and what is your current position?
In my current position, I am responsible for teaching undergraduate and graduate level classes within the School of Health and Exercise Sciences at UBC's Okanagan campus. In addition, I maintain a research program and direct the Cardiopulmonary Laboratory for Experimental and Applied Physiology.
Is your current career path as you originally intended?
Going through my undergraduate degree at UBC, I never intended on completing a PhD. It wasn't until my fourth year of study when I became exposed to the research setting that I decided to complete graduate training.
How does this job relate to your graduate degree?
My graduate degree at UBC is fundamentally related to my current research activities as an independent investigator. My research as a graduate student pertained to the human physiological response to environments of low oxygen and I continue to conduct research in this area today. During my graduate training, I learned a variety of skills that helped prepare me for an academic career. These include organizational skills, project management, technical skills, grantsmanship, and the research method.
What motivated you to pursue graduate work at UBC?
I pursued graduate studies at UBC for several reasons. First, after completing my undergraduate degree at UBC, I was able to identify who I wanted to work with for my graduate training. Second, UBC is a highly ranked research-intensive institution known on the international scale. Finally, being from the lower mainland, its proximity to family and friends was an important consideration for me.
What did you enjoy the most about your time as a graduate student at UBC?
The relationships that were made with faculty and other graduate students have been long-lasting. Looking back at my time navigating through the academic setting, the most important thing is the people I met and continue to work with today. It is these relationships that make it possible to get through the tough times and make the good times even better.
What are key things you did that contributed to your success?
My success in my current position has a lot to do with maintaining focus and choosing the right people to work with. I never turned down an opportunity to be involved in different research activities or to learn new skills. Having a variety of skills and the resourcefulness to use different methodologies and techniques has likely contributed to my success.
What is your best piece of advice for current graduate students preparing for their future careers?
Work hard and play hard. To be successful in the academic setting you need to be driven and ambitious. Never turn down an opportunity.
How did you find out about/obtain your current position?
Successfully landing an academic position at UBC's Okanagan Campus has been a long-time dream. Obtaining this position was a combination of the right timing and maintaining good relationships with other researchers in my area.
How are jobs normally posted and filled in your organization or industry?
There is a variety of websites and email listings where academic positions are advertised. In some cases, your provincial or national society will advertise academic positions. For example, in my area the Academic Affairs website and the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology are useful resources.
What do you like and what do you find challenging about your current position?
I love going to work every day and having the flexibility to drive my research program in any which way I choose. Having the opportunity to learn every day and share my knowledge with undergraduate and graduate students is very rewarding. However, being able to keep my research focused and balance my work and family time can be a challenge.