Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
I was always interested in genetics and specifically human genetics, and not in things like med school or pharmacy or any other of those type of programs. Doing a graduate degree seemed to be the next logical step in opening up opportunities in this kind of field.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
I chose to study at UBC for two reasons. One, because I'm from Comox and enjoy the west coast and being somewhat close to my family. Two, because the BC Cancer Agency is highly touted and there are very impressive researchers working on amazing projects.
What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?
The program offers me the ability to focus primarily on working on my research projects and not on having to take too many classes or TA undergrad labs. It does require certain classes, which I found for the most part to be very relevant for not only my research but also in helping me make a more informed decision on my future plans.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
Life in Vancouver is very busy, and there is always something going on or something to do in and around the town. West coast weather is pretty amazing, and I really enjoy being able to easily leave Vancouver to go hiking or camping. I've also really enjoyed the number of sports leagues and especially like the number of bike routes that make it easy for me to bike to and from work and everyday and around town year-round. The city is definitely a great place to be young, athletic, and adventurous.
What aspect of your graduate program do you enjoy the most or are looking forward to with the greatest curiosity?
I am most excited about getting some papers out, as I've done a lot of lab work and am now just getting some data back that I hope will contain relevant and print-worthy results.
What do you see as your biggest challenge(s) in your future career?
For me my biggest challenge is still trying to figure out what kind of job and what kind of lifestyle I want ten years down the road. There are many different options and paths for me as of right now, all with their own positives and negatives, so it's just trying to figure out what I think is best for future me.
How do you feel your program is preparing you for those challenges?
The program provides countless opportunities to meet with people of different professions with different career paths and opens up a lot of opportunities to see all the different types of careers that are out there.
What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?
I had a co-op job at Environment Canada in Ontario after my third year where I ended up working for 16 months. As I wasn't really an environmental science student, it prepared and showed me that if you are committed, work hard, and put the time in, even if you start out knowing hardly anything about the specific field, you can overcome this and do a great job.
What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?
I don't do too much relaxation, and most of my free time is taken up playing a lot of different sports including soccer, volleyball, tennis and softball, which for me is tons of fun.
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
I would advise new graduate students to take some time to really think and try to figure out what they want to do and if a graduate degree would help in achieving that goal. I would also advise any new graduate student to look into projects they are interested in, but most importantly to find a supervisor who you like and think you could work well with as you will be working with them for at least two years, if not more.