Where and what is your current position?
My largest current contract is providing assistance and training to the Afghan government on their transboundary water negotiations with their neighbours. Afghanistan is predominantly an upstream country in an arid region with neighbours that have utilized the waters of the rivers during the thirty years that Afghanistan was unstable. Now that they are building and improving their downstream water infrastructure, neighbours are understandably nervous and tensions have increased. Delicate negotiations to say the least.
Is your current career path as you originally intended?
Not really, but my career has veered and shifted over the year,s and I think that is the way it will be for many younger graduates. There is a need to be flexible and nimble.
How does this job relate to your graduate degree?
I have been able to apply my research to common pool resource sharing in a variety of areas including helping to facilitate co-management regimes between the Province and First Nations, assist First Nations with social impact assessments of resource development, and work with the World Wildlife Fund to develop criteria for water governance. However, the most directly related work is on facilitating and assisting negotiations regarding the use of transboundary water.
What motivated you to pursue graduate work at UBC?
The professors, the program, the location, the flexibility of the way in which I could conduct research and do my PhD while working almost full time.
What did you enjoy the most about your time as a graduate student at UBC?
The lunch break swims down on Wreck Beach.
What are key things you did that contributed to your success?
I have been able to equally accept the things that hinder me, as well as the things that ride me forward.
What is your best piece of advice for current graduate students preparing for their future careers?
Develop your creativity and your interests. There is no way to predict what kind of careers will be available in 15 or 20 years, other than that they will likely be different than the ones we have now.
Did you have any breaks in your education?
I had one unintended break for six months when I broke my neck. Looking back, I think it helped me in that for a good period of time I basically could only be still and think, meditate and develop patience.
How did you find out about/obtain your current position?
I created it from previous work and through connections developed during my studies at UBC.
What challenges did you face in your graduate degree, or in launching your career?
The biggest challenge that I faced was the difference of opinions that I shared with my supervisors over some aspects of my research or the findings This taught me that almost anything that we do is not entirely ours, but requires compromise, understanding, acceptance, and real communication. The finished product is generally much better...
How are jobs normally posted and filled in your organization or industry?
For many opportunities I use BC-Bid which list numerous requests for proposals. However, the most prolific way of obtaining work has been through word of mouth and recommendations.
What do you like and what do you find challenging about your current position?
I do not carve out enough time to "be" with my family.