Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
During my undergraduate degree, I was fortunate enough to gain experience working in a research lab. It was here that I gained a deep appreciation for expanding the boundaries of scientific understanding. Growing up, I had always been interested in learning more about diabetes because the South Asian community is disproportionately impacted by type 2 diabetes. I was fascinated to learn about the complexity of diabetes through one of my undergraduate physiology courses. For my graduate degree, I wanted to engage in diabetes research to aid in understanding the pathogenesis of disease, identify new diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers, develop new therapeutic options for the treatment of diabetes, and to help my community better manage and understand diabetes. Pursuing graduate school specifically in the diabetes field was a no-brainer for me because it allowed me to combine my passions for scientific innovation and helping my community.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
UBC is internationally recognized for producing high quality and rigorous research, which made pursuing my graduate degree in the Faculty of Medicine at UBC an attractive option. I was also looking forward to collaborating with world-renowned faculty members including my supervisor Dr. Verchere. For my graduate studies, I knew I wanted to study at a highly regarded institute, and with some of the leading experts in the world on diabetes research which UBC offered.
What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?
I was interested in pursuing my graduate degree in the Pathology and Laboratory Medicine program because of the breath of research happening in the department at the various hospital sites across Vancouver. The multidisciplinary approach to research in the department attracted me because I was eager to have the opportunity to learn from researchers working in various fields, allowing me to be exposed to new ideas and techniques to further enhance my research skills.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
I was amazed to learn how collaborative UBC’s BC Diabetes Research Network (BCDRN) Research Excellence Cluster is! I was also shocked at the number of experts from other countries that I have already met through events held by BCDRN. I will also never get over how beautiful Vancouver is! Even in the rain!
What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?
I took a directed studies course in my fourth year of undergrad at the Centre for Blood Research here at UBC. This experience prepared me well for pursuing a graduate degree because I got a little preview of what conducting research on my own would entail. I learned how to conduct literature reviews, develop methods, perform experiments, analyze results, and present my findings. This experience also taught me to be persistent and find creative solutions when things do not work out as expected.
What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?
I enjoy spending time with my family and friends! During the summer months, I love soaking in the sun on the beach. I also enjoy going on walks around campus and taking in the breathtaking views!
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
Choose a supervisor whose mentorship style matches your learning style. This will be critical to ensuring you receive the type of support that you need to flourish as an early career researcher. Also, have a support system in place both within academia and outside! Although grad school is exciting, it is also very challenging. Imposter-syndrome is real and having a supportive network to help guide you when things get tough will be immensely important. Remember to not be too hard on yourself. Rarely do things work out exactly how you expect them to the first time around, and that is the beauty of science! To troubleshoot and develop critical thinking skills. Be kind to yourself and know that your self-worth is not tied to your results. Find hobbies that are not academic or research related so that you have something different to look forward to at the end of a busy day. Most importantly, have faith in yourself!