Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
During an elective at the Albert Cecil Graham Development Centre in Barbados, I met children and adults whose clinical features made me suspect they had genetic disorders. However, they were stuck without a proper diagnosis as there were no local genetic services or regional services in the English-Speaking Caribbean. I decided I wanted to build capacity for genetic and genomic services in the Caribbean, one of the goals being: to set up and direct a diagnostic laboratory in Barbados. Also, if I had to pick a time that sparked my interest in rare disease research, that elective would be my choice. I knew I needed exposure, experience, and a solid knowledge base, so I embarked on my graduate school journey.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
I wanted to ensure, that I would be a highly competitive candidate for future pursuits after my PhD. UBC fulfilled this requirement as being a top university in the world, with a reputation of research excellence. Additionally, I wanted to study in a place that would offer a new experience; previously I had never been to BC. After a little research, I decided that Vancouver would make a great place study. Lastly, the weather. No harsh winters!
What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?
I specifically wanted a program that was focused on medical genetics, with a diverse selection of research areas/ topics. At the time, I was interested in multiple areas in the field, and I found that the medical genetics program had potential supervisors that would be able to cater to whatever area I would finally pursue.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
At UBC I was happy to the see the myriad of services dedicated to student wellbeing. For life in Vancouver, I was not expecting the number of green spaces. It's very easy to find a park/ trail where you can go for a walk.
What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?
I have a prior master of science in medical genetics and a medical degree. Therefore I came into my program with a solid grasp of concepts and skills that made it easier to do well in my courses and to carry out my research.
What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?
I love to read! You will always find me with my kindle.
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
The experience that you have at UBC is pretty much in your hands. For your academic journey endeavor to build healthy working relationships with your supervisor and your lab mates, as this will set the stage for a great working environment. Additionally, make sure you have a good work-life balance. It is very easy to get caught up in experiments. There is something for everyone at UBC and by extension in Vancouver, and you can definitely find activities that you will enjoy.