Hacina Gill

 
Mechanisms of structural bioprosthetic heart valve degeneration
 
Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

My decision to pursue a graduate degree came from my undergraduate research experience. I began research in chemistry and biochemistry in my first year and fell in love with it. I think I owe this love in part to the amazing lab environment at my university. I was surrounded by motivated and supportive peers who made it truly fun to come to the lab every day. I also just find that I enjoy the research process. It is exciting to be able to test and see my theoretical knowledge of systems and to expand my understanding of concepts. I enjoy problem-solving, collaborating with fellow students and learning from those who are experts in their fields. I can't imagine my life without research and so chose to pursue a thesis-based graduate degree to improve my research skills and to build connections to researchers within my field of interest.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

I chose UBC for three main reasons: its reputation, its location, and its fit with my hopes of grad school. UBC is not only one of the best universities in Canada, but it also happens to be less than an hour away from my hometown. Even though the location was convenient for me, I considered several grad schools across Canada comparing their research programs, the supervisors, and the projects that would be the best fit for me. UBC's Experimental Medicine program offers an array of different research interests and I was able to find supervisors and a project that make me excited to do science.

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

I think that Experimental Medicine offers a lot of flexibility and therefore exposure to different things for their students. It is somewhat of a catch-all program that fits several different research methodologies and subjects into one program. A benefit to this is that I get to learn from diverse researchers and projects expanding my view of research and exposing me to new techniques and ideas.

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

Although this was not a surprise for me (being born here), I never get sick of the big blue mountains, lush forests, and coastlines here. Vancouver is undoubtedly a beautiful place to live.

UBC's Experimental Medicine program offers an array of different research interests and I was able to find supervisors and a project that make me excited to do science. Experimental Medicine offers a lot of flexibility and therefore exposure to different things for their students. It is somewhat of a catch-all program that fits several different research methodologies and subjects into one program. A benefit to this is that I get to learn from diverse researchers and projects expanding my view of research and exposing me to new techniques and ideas.
 
What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?

My prior research experience in my undergrad certainly helped prepare me for grad school. My undergrad experience helped me discover my interests, laid a good foundation for further lab/research skills, scientific writing, and critical thinking.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

My greatest advice for new grad students is to advocate for yourself and know that you are valuable. Entering grad school can be hard - it's overwhelming and can shake one's self-confidence - but know that you deserve to be treated with respect and you should get as much out of grad school as possible. Grad school is not only about academic development, I think equally integral to your grad experience should be personal growth and professional development. It's really important to find people (ie. supervisors, advisors, friends/family) who really care about you and support your goals and interests.

 
 
 

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