Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
I'm curious almost to a fault. When I observe something I easily become obsessed with understanding exactly what is going on beneath the surface, and the reasons why things work the way they do. A graduate degree in ecology seems like the perfect way to combine my love of the outdoors with this determination to better understand the natural world.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
UBC seemed to offer the perfect combination of outstanding research in a vibrant city that was surrounded by stunning scenery. By the time my plane landed, I was sold.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
Although Vancouver is a major metropolitan area, there is a lot of green-space both within and around the city. Pacific Spirit Park is in my backyard, so I never feel closed in or overwhelmed by the size of the city.
What do you hope to accomplish with your research?
I hope to contribute to our understanding of how the specific attributes of breeding habitat directly influence fitness in songbirds. Knowledge gained from my research on a relatively simple and isolated system may provide insights which can be applied to a wide range of studies focusing on breeding animals in heterogeneous landscapes.
What has winning a major award meant to you?
It is a huge benefit and gives me the freedom to really concentrate on research. While TAing and applying for external awards are always important, it is nice to know that you’re on solid ground and have the ability to shift your focus to where it is most needed.
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
It's a huge campus with a lot of opportunities to learn outside of your specific research area. Take advantage of lectures and classes in other departments to gain a well-rounded research experience.