What are your main responsibilities or activities in your current position?
Write grants, analyze data, publish, mentor students, present research findings.
How does your current work relate to your graduate degree?
My current work is an extension of my graduate training. My skill set acquired during my pre-doctoral training has been essential for performing my job, including research design, research methods, statistics, writing scientific publications, grant writing, presentation skills, team building, teaching.
What do you like and what do you find challenging about your current position?
Everyday is challenging/exciting in its own way - new problem in lab to trouble shoot, new data to interpret, new questions from students, generating new ideas for a new grant.
Is your current career path as you originally intended?
Somewhat. There have been less opportunities for advancement than I had originally anticipated, yet I've had more success than expected with the opportunities that do arise.
What motivated you to pursue graduate work at UBC?
Amazing faculty as mentors.
What did you enjoy the most about your time as a graduate student at UBC?
Integrity of training, being on the UBC campus, my cohort of fellow students that are now life-long friends.
What key things did you do, or what attitudes or approaches did you have, that contributed to your success?
Ask for help when needed, be very collaborative, pay attention to work/life balance, use healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with stress, be respectful and professional in class/lab, know your worth, always fully acknowledge everyone's contributions towards your work.
What is your best piece of advice for current graduate students preparing for their future careers?
Journal about your priorities in life before you begin training, as well as where you see yourself in 15 years, 30 years? Then, revisit that journal entry every year throughout your training and revise as necessary. This helps: 1. Maintain personal integrity, and 2. improve focus on long-term career goals.
Did you have any breaks in your education?
I took a planned break between undergraduate training and graduate school to earn money and have a better idea of what direction to pursue in my career.
How did you find out about/obtain your current position?
I found a lab I wanted to train in and contacted them about joining their team.
What challenges did you face in your graduate degree, or in launching your career?
Biggest challenge was figuring out how to live off the low-income of a PhD student and post doc, particularly while family-planning. Pay is low, work is hard, but there is a level of work flexibility that helps. I have learned to always negotiate for large raises, advocate for yourself, apply for every scholarship/travel award/grant mechanism that is an excellent fit.