Jolande Fooken

 
The role of eye movements for visual predictions
Miriam Spering
Bonn
Germany
International Tuition Award
 

Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

I really enjoy doing research. It combines my interests in reading, writing, and science, and satisfies my general curiosity of how things work. It also took me some time to figure out which field to pursue. Taking courses that you find interesting during your undergrad does not necessarily mean that you will enjoy doing research in that field. Once I found a lab and research project that I truly enjoyed, graduate school was really the only option to live such a versatile and self-paced life.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

I was offered a position with Miriam Spering after completing a summer project in her lab. I loved the environment and field of study of her lab, so I decided to come back. In addition to being able to join an excellent lab, UBC is an excellent, internationally recognized university, which I hope will open doors in my future career in academia.

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

The ability to do the research I like and, especially, to have a say in the direction my research is going. I am involved in all stages of my projects (i.e. planning, data collection, data analysis, writing the manuscripts) which makes me care for my projects and keeps me interested.

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

The summers are absolutely beautiful and must be enjoyed!

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

All the research and attending conferences.

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

Taking care of my family while also being productive in academia.

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

I found the support in my lab and department to be excellent. UBC daycare is outrageously expensive, but also a great facility so, currently, the family and academia thing is still working out.

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

I think just a general curiosity in life, research, and a drive to stick with things. I have also tried to work in several labs before coming to UBC to make sure I found a good fit.

What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?

Play field hockey, drink beers on patios (ideally after having played field hockey), and go to the beach or lakes and cool down after a warm summer day.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

Hang in there! But if you are truly miserable it is ok to look for an alternative career path. Grad life should be fun (for the most part) and you should be passionate about what you do.