Kenneth Tupper

I undertook a program of study (psychedelics as educational and therapeutic tools) that was not respected in the academy for many decades but is now the cutting edge of medicine and neuroscience.
 
British Columbia Ministry of Health
Director, Problematic Substance Use Prevention
Vancouver, Canada
Victoria, Canada
Ayahuasca, Entheogenic Education & Public Policy
Daniel Vokey, Dennis McKenna, Tirso Gonzales
2011

To seek career advice from Kenneth please email your request to graduate.pathways@ubc.ca.

 

Where and what is your current position?

Developing public policy on harm reduction and the prevention of illicit and non-medical pharmaceutical drug use for British Columbia's health system.

Is your current career path as you originally intended?

No, I had no idea I would end up working in the area of public policy.

How does this job relate to your graduate degree?

My graduate studies allowed me to do research in the areas of psychedelic studies, drug education, and policy analysis: fields which directly relate to my current employment and ongoing research.

What motivated you to pursue graduate work at UBC?

I wanted to study at a high-quality and prestigious Canadian university.

What did you enjoy the most about your time as a graduate student at UBC?

I had the opportunity to live at Green College, which was a great on-campus residence experience for inter-disciplinary networking. I also appreciated that I was able to pursue an unorthodox dissertation topic.

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

I undertook a program of study (psychedelics as educational and therapeutic tools) that was not respected in the academy for many decades but is now the cutting edge of medicine and neuroscience. When I began this path, I was told it was "career suicide" and that I'd never get a job, but now I'm laughing at the naysayers who tried to scare me against it many years ago.

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

In the words of Joseph Campbell: "follow your bliss" (i.e., develop and pursue your own intellectual passions; not what your parents, professors, or peers think is best for you).

Did you have any breaks in your education?

Since finishing high school, my formal education has always been interspersed with extended periods of work and travel, which I think were essential in helping provide a more well-rounded perspective on the world and the meaning of life.

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

I did my Ph.D. program while working a (more than) full-time job. It was very difficult in terms of time-management and took me eight years to complete, but I'm glad I did it this way.