Kevin Shopsowitz

Often times projects/nature don't behave as expected: it's important to be flexible, listen to the data, and be willing to take risks on new research directions/abandon old ones.
 
University of British Columbia
Medical student
Toronto, Canada
Vancouver, Canada
Cellulose nanocrystals
Mark MacLachlan
2012
 

Where and what is your current position?

Currently studying medicine.

Is your current career path as you originally intended?

Not exactly. I was originally on a traditional academic research path, but become more and more interested in medicine as my research progressed and especially through interactions with medical professionals and medical researchers.

How does this job relate to your graduate degree?

I hope to apply my background in chemistry/materials science to solving medical problems by developing/implementing new technologies. A solid understanding of chemistry is important to many fields, including medicine. More importantly though are the more general skills that I learned throughout graduate school: approaching problems scientifically, thinking and working independently, leadership, teaching, and creativity.

What motivated you to pursue graduate work at UBC?

I had always wanted to become a scientist and found that UBC had both an excellent reputation as a research institute along with being situated in such a great location. I was not disappointed and found that I had both a stimulating intellectual experience and great lifestyle throughout my graduate studies.

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

Keeping an open mind. Often times projects/nature don't behave as expected: it's important to be flexible, listen to the data, and be willing to take risks on new research directions/abandon old ones. On the other hand, perseverance is also very important: knowing when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em is one of the most challenging and important aspects of being a successful researcher.

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

Try to understand your reasons for doing graduate studies before just jumping into it. It can be a long and challenging endeavor, and I think it is important to know your long term goals and motivations to get through it. Also, try to find a research area/question that you are really passionately interested in.

What do you like and what do you find challenging about your current position?

Constantly learning new things and being pushed outside of my comfort zone. The ability to directly interact with people and solve problems on a daily basis.