Jem Arnold

Using near-infrared spectroscopy and cycling power to detect iliac artery blood flow limitation in endurance athletes
Michael Koehle
Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

I’ve worked as a Physiotherapist, and I found myself getting more and more interested in understanding the fractal that is human physiology. By working with both clinical patients and endurance athletes, I found myself asking questions and thinking about the two populations as being on a spectrum of health, fitness, and performance. I started hanging around the UBC Kinesiology lab and got myself involved working with another PhD student. That showed me I was interested not just in reading and applying science, but doing science as well. After a little bit of convincing, I decided to start my own PhD studies to pursue those questions that I had been encountering in an applied clinical and high performance setting.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

The people. The researchers, professors, MDs, PhDs, Msc, and everyone else in UBC Kin. I feel privileged to be part of a group with such broad and deep expertise in topics across exercise science.

What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?

I appreciate the interdisciplinary nature of UBC Kin and the cooperation of researchers, academics, clinicians, and practicing health care professionals.

What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?

I’ve lived in Vancouver for 15 years since coming from Toronto for undergrad at UBC. And I’m still constantly in awe at the natural beauty of BC and the access to adventures we have from our backyards. I wouldn’t want to call anywhere else home.

I appreciate the interdisciplinary nature of UBC Kinesiology and the cooperation of researchers, academics, clinicians, and practicing health care professionals.
What aspect of your graduate program do you enjoy the most or are looking forward to with the greatest curiosity?

My favourite moments are sitting around after an experiment with colleagues, asking ourselves questions, and speculating about what we have just seen. The most exciting moments are when the group suddenly shifts perspective all together, and we start speculating about some new theory, asking questions that haven’t been answered or even asked, and thinking about the next experiment to try. Hopefully we’ll have more of these face-to-face opportunities again soon.

What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?

I’ve circled back into academic research from an applied clinical and high performance setting. I think that gives me perspective on what questions and outcomes are most relevant for athletes, clients, coaches, and clinicians in the real world.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

Take your time to find a topic of study that you love. Motivating yourself to do the hard work won’t be as difficult when you are genuinely curious about and invested in the topic. Reach out to colleagues, peers, and mentors. Take advantage of the diverse perspectives and experiences of those around you. It’s incredibly useful to have a lab group, or just a few colleagues that you can bounce ideas off of when you find yourself stuck. Read a lot. Take the time to intellectually wander through subjects that aren’t immediately related to your projects. Read deep into a specific topic. And when you reach a limit or encounter a question, pull back and read broad across related areas. See what similar ideas might appear in slightly (or vastly) different subject areas that might help answer a question within your own work.


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