Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
Coming out of my undergraduate, I knew that I wanted a career with more responsibility than I would be getting with a Bachelor's degree. I felt that a PhD gave me the flexibility to carve out a career path that suited me, rather than follow a program in a professional degree. It also gave me the opportunity to pursue independent research and become self-reliant.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
As a top tier Canadian university, I felt UBC would offer access to all the facilities and resources I would need to successfully complete my degree. It was also a perk to be able to come back to Vancouver for graduate school!
What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?
I came to UBC specifically to join the Hudson group. I liked the multi-disciplinary research being done in Zac's group and felt it would give me ample opportunity to learn tons of new skills.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
Having grown up in the Vancouver area, not much was a surprise for me! That being said, I love living in this city - it has everything you could ever want. Everyone fits in here and you can find a community for just about anything!
What aspect of your graduate program do you enjoy the most or are looking forward to with the greatest curiosity?
My favourite part of my degree is how diverse my research is. My supervisor really gives us the freedom to pursue what we are interested in and carve out a niche for ourselves in the group. I have learned so many skills so far, ranging from materials characterization to cell culture.
What do you see as your biggest challenge(s) in your future career?
The biggest challenge will be finding a career that combines all the elements that are important to me. Obviously, science and chemistry are crucial parts of my future career, but I also am very passionate about EDI work and improving the climate in STEM for minorities. I would like a career where I would be able to blend all of these.
How do you feel your program is preparing you for those challenges?
In addition to doing research, I am also able to take part in student groups in our department, as the co-chair of the EDI committee in our department. This is helping me learn a lot about what types of careers are available for people with my interests and broadening my skill set.
What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?
I had previously done several undergraduate research projects, which helped me find my footing in a synthetic chemistry lab. Having a good foundation on which to build has helped me to be successful in my degree thus far.
What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?
In the summer, I open water swim in the lakes/ocean surrounding the city. The nice thing about Vancouver, is that the open water season is much longer than most places in Canada! In the winter, I like to snowboard at the North Shore mountains.
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
Do your research and find a program/research group that suits you! Grad school is a long, difficult, confusing but incredibly rewarding journey. You want to make sure you're in a program that you truly love, that you can come back to day after day. Also, build yourself a support system outside of grad school. Whether that is spending time with family, friends or a hobby you love, it is important to have something outside of school that you're passionate about. There will definitely be times when you want to think about anything but school, and having another outlet to channel your energy into is crucial. It helps you stay in it for the long haul!