Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
After graduating from my honours program I wanted to have the freedom to do something I am passionate about while developing the skills and expertise I would require for my future career. Earning a graduate degree felt like a great way to accomplish those goals.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
Aside from my amazing supervisor and the opportunity to take on a research project perfectly suited to me, I decided to study at UBC because it is one of the world’s top schools for ecology (and is #1 in Canada). The opportunity to live in Vancouver was also very appealing.
What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?
I wanted to do something that combined my love of entomology and my emerging interest in computer vision, which isn’t exactly a common combination. Luckily for me, my supervisor (Dr. Katie Marshall) had an opening for a project that was doing exactly that. It was a match!
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
The weather isn’t nearly as bad as people make it out to be. The rain is very tolerable as it rarely ever storms, and the temperature is ideal year-round. Very mild in the winter (at least by Canada’s standards), and not too hot in the summer. I actually consider the weather to be one of the many great things about living in Vancouver.
What aspect of your graduate program do you enjoy the most or are looking forward to with the greatest curiosity?
I love collaborating with my peers on our research projects. We all have unique and complementary skill sets, so the quality of our research is increased when we work together. But even more so it’s a great way to make connections and friendships.
What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?
I took some programming courses during my undergraduate studies that have really come in handy for my graduate work. Even if you’re not planning on doing lots of programming in the future, I highly recommend taking at least one statistics course and one introductory programming course in undergrad. If you've already graduated, look for graduate stats or programming courses. You will use those skills if you go into grad school.
What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?
Vancouver and the surrounding areas have lots of great parks to explore, so I try to hit those up on weekends. I’d also recommend going to rocky areas around the coast during low tide to see intertidal marine life (sea stars, crabs, anemone; Stanley Park has a few nice spots).
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
Don’t stress if you feel like you’re behind after 3-6 months. You’ll be adjusting to a new program, have distractions like coursework and TAing, and probably will need to set up your study design. Almost every new graduate student I talk to tells me they feel like they’re behind on their research. They all turned out okay. You will too.