Emily Bliven

Femoral augmentation to prevent hip fracture in a sideways fall
Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

I decided to pursue a graduate degree for the innovation, creative freedom and autonomy it enables while carrying out high-level research, as well as the opportunities it would allow later on in my life and career.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

I chose to study at UBC for the international reputation and high-level research opportunities, and for the chance to live in beautiful British Columbia.

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

I was particularly attracted to the applied and interdisciplinary nature of my program. I get to collaborate with surgeons, mechanical engineers, and computational experts in solving complex problems and, at the end of the day, can walk away with something tangible that we've created. The direct human impact associated with applied research is really important to me.

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

The best surprise about UBC was Wreck Beach.

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

I am looking most forward to the design components of my program. It is such a privilege to brainstorm and put into reality ideas that I find interesting or meaningful, and have the resources and expertise available to vet them with experts from various fields, before finally evaluating their efficacy in an effort to increase human well-being.

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

I anticipate the biggest challenge in my future career to be carrying out impactful and relevant research while maintaining a healthy work-life balance and prioritizing non-academic goals like having a family.

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

My program prepares me for these challenges by requiring growth in personal skills like time and stress management, providing a positive workplace and open culture, and also offering mental health resources for students.

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

I moved around a lot as a kid, and the adaptability and resilience that comes with being a part of a military family offers me strength in navigating new situations and uncertainty. I also spent some time working in industry after undergrad and learned an incredible amount from my mentors, colleagues and those experiences. All of the opportunities I've been blessed with in my career so far can be drawn back to connections I made at my alma mater, the University of Portland. Finally, the time I spent working in Germany fundamentally shifted my worldview.

What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?

I like being outside--moving my body, laying in the sun, jumping into various bodies of water. I like to run, read, cook, and connect with the people I love. I am a consistent fan of trying new things, big or small!

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

My advice for new grad students: set boundaries with your work, try not to compare your progress others, and don't be afraid to ask for help (whether it be academically or emotionally). Working sustainably at a high level simply isn't effective if you are unable to connect with yourself, others, and nature when you need to. Getting into parasympathetic mode from time to time is SO valuable!


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