Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
Following my graduation from my undergraduate degree, I was working as a research assistant in a biomedical engineering lab. I really loved the work I was doing, but it was contractual and did not offer stability. I figured that having more advanced degrees in my field would allow me to find more permanent type of research positions.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
During my undergraduate degree, I discovered my interests in imaging and mental health. The research I was doing at the time focused mainly on image analysis, but I wanted to use the skills I had developed in a more translational way. I found my supervisor at UBC due to his work on MRI in mental health (bipolar disorder), and so I thought that this would be a great place to bring my two interests together!
What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?
The research that my supervisor was doing.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
How warm the winters are here! Coming from the prairies, I'm used to piles of snow and bitter cold, so I was pleasantly surprised to find how livable it is here.
What do you see as your biggest challenge(s) in your future career?
Competing for research positions against all the other graduates who are working in my field.
How do you feel your program is preparing you for those challenges?
UBC is one of the most highly rated schools in the country as well as being internationally recognized for its excellence in research. I feel that having a degree from UBC will put me at a great advantage over other job applicants.
What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?
My undergraduate degree was an honours degree, so I spent my final year working on a mini-thesis project. Having this exposure to a research environment has diminished the learning curve I am facing here.
What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?
I love to hang at the beach and enjoy the beautiful scenery Vancouver has to offer. We don't have oceans or mountains back in Edmonton!
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
Form a good relationship with your supervisor! This can make or break your entire degree.