Rivkah Gardner-Frolick

 
A novel methodological framework for air pollution and environmental justice in Canada
 
Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

I began considering a PhD while I was in my master's program. I was unsure of how a PhD would fit into my career goals but during my program, I began to interact with more PhD holders doing innovative research in non-profit and start-up spaces. After an internship at the Environmental Defense Fund where I worked with many PhD scientists, I realized a PhD would help me to do what I want most - to work on exciting projects that help people understand and improve air quality!

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

I chose to attend UBC for a PhD because of the proposed research project, my supervisors, and the availability of a broader community studying air quality and the social aspects of environmental issues. Both of my supervisors are appointed in the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability so even though I am registered in Mechanical Engineering, I have access to a highly interdisciplinary department to inform my research. One of my supervisors, Dr. Giang, is a brilliant environmental systems researcher and an amazing mentor. My other supervisor, Dr. Boyd, is the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment and offers expert guidance on environmental law and policy, as well as fantastic mentorship.

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

I decided to apply to Mechanical Engineering instead of another discipline doing similar work because I wanted to work with my current supervisors and because I want to continue working to advance women in engineering.

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

How beautiful the city and campus are! When it's not raining, seeing the beach and the mountains at the same time is amazing.

I chose to attend UBC for a PhD because of the proposed research project, my supervisors, and the availability of a broader community studying air quality and the social aspects of environmental issues. Both of my supervisors are appointed in the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability so even though I am registered in Mechanical Engineering, I have access to a highly interdisciplinary department to inform my research.
 
What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?

I've been fortunate to have a variety of research experiences through both academia and nonprofits. Seeing the research process in various stages has always been exciting, and it prepared me for planning and completing projects from start to finish.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

Take care of your relationships and health. Graduate school can be hard! However, it can be easier if you don't take it too seriously and make sure you enjoy other parts of life.

 
 
 

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