What are your main responsibilities or activities in your current position?
Teaching (45%), Research (45%), Service (10%)
How does your current work relate to your graduate degree?
In my research lab we are continuing to study adaptation in plant species, particularly with how it relates to restoration in a rapidly changing climate. We are using and expanding upon molecular and quantitative tools I developed during my PhD and expanding upon the network of collaborators that were key to my success during my dissertation.
What do you like and what do you find challenging about your current position?
Time management and the ability to multi-task. I have improved upon those skills a lot as of late, but there's still a lot of room for improvement.
Is your current career path as you originally intended?
Yes - one of the motivations for the PhD was prior to my PhD, when I was a lab technician working for the government. It was a good job, but I was the small cog in the wheel of a large research project. Starting my PhD, I was motivated to be the person that would lead the research project, design the experiments, and ask the important research questions that really motivated me.
What motivated you to pursue graduate work at UBC?
The chance for a world-class education and an offer to work alongside Dr. Sally Aitken was the motivator for attending UBC. The Faculty of Forestry at UBC is one of the premiere institutions of its kind in the world. As the field of conservation genetics was expanding rapidly at the time (and still is) I saw that Forestry would be an excellent department to link fundamental with applied research.
What key things did you do, or what attitudes or approaches did you have, that contributed to your success?
When I was on the job market and getting my first interviews an advisor gave me excellent advice - they said, 'enjoy it!' and that's what I've tried to do. I've been lucky enough to do the research that I'm passionate about and I get to meet fascinating people that do the most amazing things along the way and so when opportunities present themselves I really think its important to enjoy it.
What is your best piece of advice for current graduate students preparing for their future careers?
Present and publish your research early and get involved with the community of researchers you see yourself engaging with for the rest of your career. Becoming active in your research community.
Did you have any breaks in your education?
I worked for two years between my MS and PhD degrees and I think this helped my career progression substantially as I learned how to manage large projects.