Tanya Bennet

Airway-On-A-Chip: Development and In Vitro Validation of a Microfluidic Cell Culture Model For Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Karen Cheung
Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

During my undergraduate degree in integrated engineering, I was exposed to the world of biomedical engineering. From this exposure, I decided to continue my education by undertaking a master of engineering degree. During my MEng, I took a class with Dr. Cheung and became fascinated with the BioMEMS field. I was then given the privilege to join her lab and complete my MEng internship. However, before completing my internship I was offered the chance to transfer into the MASc program and approximately one year later was offered the chance to transfer into the PhD program.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

UBC is recognized as a leader in biomedical engineering research. I chose to study at UBC so that my research would be a part of the amazing community.

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

I was originally attracted to the Biomedical engineering program because of how multidisciplinary the program is. It has a wide range of research areas and offers amazing courses. Once in the program, I was then attracted to the Engineers in scrubs program. The engineers in scrubs program is unique to UBC, allowing students to gain first-hand experience in the clinical environment working alongside clinicians to develop technology that helps the medical field.

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

There are so many fun outdoor activities to do. I love the outdoors so I was pleasantly surprised to find out how many amazing hikes, campsites, and ocean activities are close to the university.

What aspect of your graduate program do you enjoy the most or are looking forward to with the greatest curiosity?

I enjoy working alongside incredibly talented individuals and learning each and every day.

What do you see as your biggest challenge(s) in your future career?

I see my biggest challenge being the transition from the academic environment into industry if I choose to pursue a career in industry rather than research.

How do you feel your program is preparing you for those challenges?

I believe that the program is preparing me extremely well for challenges. Although my research is in the academic setting I work alongside many industry members and I am consistently exposed to the industry setting. Although I may not have extensive work experience in industry, when I graduate I know that my education and experience working alongside industry members with help in my transition and make me an asset.

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

I was fortunate enough during my undergraduate degree to participate in a lot of design projects where I worked with others to build and test various designs and devices. This greatly prepared me for research. Also, my undergraduate degree was multidisciplinary in nature and exposed me early on how taking a multidisciplinary approach to a problem can be beneficial. It taught me the importance of being a lifelong learner.

What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?

Hiking, camping, swimming, kayaking, rugby, and running.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

I would tell new graduate students to enjoy the learning experience and take the time during their degree to expand their network. There are so many amazing opportunities to meet people in and out of your field (i.e. seminars, conferences, Graduate Student Society events).


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